Royce Gracie & Royler Gracie out for bite to eat at some of Winnipeg’s great restaurants!

Ed, Royler Gracie and Randal during a recent training session at Headquarters in San Diego.

2016 Gracie Humaita Headquarters Annual Meeting with the Gracie Family and the Valente Brothers.

Gracie Humaita

Our roots with the Gracie family has been developing over time with our instructors and members frequent travel to San Diego, California and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to learn and train from the First Family of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, being the Gracie family.

While it’s not widely publicized, the Gracie’s often travel to Winnipeg to provide seminars, intensive training and their friendship in order to ensure that we continue hold up the high standards with BJJ and Self Defence that their father Helio had intended.  They are the sons and the direct descendants of Helio Gracie who are now passing their knowledge, experience and high standards along to us.

Our programs are not watered down as they come directly from The Source!

Gracie Humaita, Brazil

Gracie Humaitá or Academia Gracie de Jiu-Jitsu is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy on Humaitá Street, in Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, founded by Helio Gracie.

Gracie Humaita is one of the most traditional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academies, which is deeply connected to the founders of the art, being also one of the juggernauts of BJJ in its competitive scene. The name Gracie Humaitá emerged in the mid 1980’s as a way to differentiate the newly opened academy in the Humaitá neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro from other BJJ schools that were sprouting up at the time.

In the early years at Gracie Humaitá, the academy’s main coach was Helio and his son Rickson Gracie one of the most skilled BJJ competitor and the most famous vale tudo fighter of all time.  So good in fact that Chuck Norris took lessons from him.

The team already had strong roots in Jiu Jitsu and took off quickly in the competition scene with Royler Gracie, one of the best featherweights in the history of the sport, leading the way.

History

In 1801 a Scottish immigrant by the name of George Gracie moved to the state of Para in northeastern Brazil. There he and his family lived for many years. In the early 1900s a Japanese man named Mitsuyo Maeda moved to the same area. The Japanese government was eager to form a colony in Brazil, and Maeda was there to help the colony prosper. In addition to his political skills, Maeda happened to be a former champion in the Japanese art of Jiu-Jitsu, and he began teaching lessons in Brazil, hoping to pass on the tradition. He became close friends with Gastão Gracie, the grandson of George Gracie. Gastao was a political figure in the State and used his influence to help Maeda and the Japanese colony. Maeda in return for the help offered to teach Gastão’s son Carlos the art of Jiu-Jitsu in return for all the help from Gastao.

In 1925, after moving to Rio de Janeiro, Carlos and his brothers opened the first Academy of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, in the Flamengo area of the city. At the time, Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Brazil. The academy quickly became an enormous success and soon the brothers were teaching the top politicians and personalities of the country.

The Gracie Academy had many instructors teaching classes all day long. What they taught, at first, was the traditional Japanese style of Jiu-Jitsu Carlos had learned from Maeda. Like judo, it was a grappling style of combat with many formal rules. Weighted down under centuries of ritualized tradition and technique, there was little room for innovation. But, half a world away from Japan’s influence, the sport found room to breathe in Brazil. Carlos and his brothers knew little of formal martial arts, and were thus able to simply discover what works best in any given situation. Free to emphasize what was effective and leave behind anything that didn’t serve a purpose, the sport quickly evolved from its parent sport into something quite different, and came to be known as Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.


Over the next few years, Carlos and Helio developed a new style, called Gracie Jiu-Jitsu or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Because of his small stature and frailty, Helio could not use many of the Japanese moves that were based on power and speed, so he developed new leverages and new ways of doing moves. As Helio tells it, “My brother Carlos was very athletic, quick and flexible. He could do those moves no problem, but myself, I was a sickly young kid and couldn’t use the same leverage points or the same speed, so I had to adapt.” With Helio doing more of the instructional work, Carlos was able to dedicate himself to the managerial side of the family business and to developing the famed “Gracie Diet.” (a diet based on food groups and how they combine with each other, it has been developed, perfected and used by the family for the last 75 years)

Helio turned out to be a brilliant innovator, and the style he developed proved to be victorious against all others, regardless of size. Helio Gracie became the top sports figure in Brazil in the 1930s. Fighting in public events in front tens of thousands of spectators, his reputation grew immensely. For over two decades the Gracies accepted many challenges and fought a variety of opponents from different backgrounds and of different sizes. In one extreme example, brother Osvaldo Gracie, who weighed 140 pounds, fought John Baldy, who tipped the scales at 360 pounds. Osvaldo defeated Baldy with a choke hold in just two minutes.

Eventually the Gracies’ fame reached outside the borders of their homeland, back to Japan, home of the most skilled martial artists in the world at that time. The Gracie brothers issued a challenge to the best martial artist Japan had ever produced, Masahiko Kimura. Kimura stipulated that he would not fight Helio until Helio had proved himself against the second-ranked fighter in the world at that time, known as Kato.

Kato was forty pounds heavier than Helio and considered by many to be the best Jiu-Jitsu technician in the world. The two fought a legendary battle to a draw. In the rematch, Helio choked Kato unconscious with his favorite move, the front lapel choke.

Master Kimura then challenged Helio to a fight. Kimura stated at the time that if anyone so slight could survive three minutes in the ring with him, he would consider it a defeat. Helio, despite the huge weight difference and strength difference, battled valiantly for thirteen minutes before he was caught in a brilliant arm lock called “the Kimura”—now a standard move in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Seeing his brother’s arm about to be broken, Carlos threw in the towel.For the next seventy-five years the Gracie family dedicated itself to the preservation and dissemination of this great fighting style—once called Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, now more widely known now as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In the past years, the newest generation of Gracies have brought a popularity to the sport beyond the wildest dreams of Carlos and Helio.