On Tuesday morning Grand Master Helio Gracie was tanning at his ranch in Brazil, and on Thursday morning at 9:15 he passed on due to natural causes. His legacy will survive forever in all members of the Gracie Family, jiu-jitsu practitioners around the world, and all those who have benefited from the revolution he began.
In his final years, the creator of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu often spoke of his satisfaction with his life’s work. He openly stated that he had accomplished everything he had set out to do, displaying his preparedness for the transition into the afterlife.
The Grand Master believed that such a transition should be seen as a positive step in one’s spiritual evolution. In a recent interview he declared: “I’ve already told my sons that when I die I want there to be a party. No drinking, no debauchery.”
To honor his request and his legacy, the Gracie Academy will host a celebratory gathering/slideshow presentation on Saturday, February 7, 2009. In anticipation of a large turnout of friends and family, we intend to have three showings starting at 4:00pm, 5:00pm and 6:00pm. If you can’t make it to the party, but would like to express how the Grand Master has affected your life, please send your story firstname.lastname@example.org so we can post it on the Gracie Academy website.
In one of his final magazine interviews the Grand Master expresses his concern for the future of Jiu-Jitsu:
“O Jiu-Jitsu que criei foi para dar chance aos mais fracos enfrentarem os mais pesados e fortes. E fez tanto sucesso, que resolveram fazer um Jiu-Jitsu de competição. Gostaria de deixar claro que sou a favor da prática esportiva e da preparação técnica de qualquer atleta, seja qual for sua especialidade. Além de boa alimentação, controle sexual e da abstenção de hábitos prejudiciais à saude. O problema consiste na criação de um Jiu-Jitsu competitivo com regras, tempo inadequado e que privilegia os mais treinados, fortes e pesados. O objetivo do Jiu-Jitsu é, principalmente, benificiar os mais fracos, que não tendo dotes físicos são inferiorizados. O meu Jiu-Jitsu é uma arte de autodefesa que não aceita certos regulamentos e tempo determinado. Essas são as razões pelas quais não posso, com minha presença, apoiar espetáculos, cujo efeito retrata um anti Jiu-Jitsu.”
“The Jiu-Jitsu that I created was designed to give the weak ones a chance to face the heavy and strong. It was so successful that they decided to create a sportive version of it. I would like to make it clear that of course I am in favor of the sportive practice and technical refinement of all athletes, whatever their specialty may be, as well as good nutrition, sexual control, avoidance of addictions and unhealthy habits. The problem lies in the creation of a sport-oriented Jiu-Jitsu, based on rules and time limits, which benefits the heavier, stronger, and more athletic individuals. The primary objective of Jiu-Jitsu is to empower the weak who, for not having the physical attributes, are often intimidated. My Jiu-Jitsu is an art of self-defense in which rules and time limits are unacceptable. These are the reasons for which I can’t support events that reflect an anti Jiu-Jitsu.”
-Grand Master Helio Gracie (October 1, 1913 – January 29, 2009)