Helio Gracie (1913-2009)
In the early 1900s, Brazilian businessman and politician, Gastao Gracie, befriended Japanese prize fighter Mitsuyo Maeda. In exchange for his friendship and hospitality, Maeda offered to teach Gracie’s son, Carlos, the Japanese martial art of Jiu-Jitsu.
Helio Gracie learned from Carlos Gracie, who founded a martial arts academy to pass on this knowledge to his family. However, Helio Gracie, while understanding the techniques in theory, had trouble executing them due to his frail physique. He modified the martial art to place more of an emphasis on leverage and timing over strength and speed, thus creating "Gracie Jiu-Jitsu".
Helio Gracie challenged all reputable fighters in Brazil, including boxers, wrestlers, and judokas. His victories proved the effectiveness of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, and he has often been referred to as the first sports hero in Brazilian history.
The second-oldest son of Helio Gracie began learning Jiu-Jitsu at age 2 and entered his first competition at the age of 10. He was the Brazilian National Champion for 22 years straight and, during this period, went undefeated in his weight and the open weight division. He became so popular that he attained the nickname “Campeao” or “Champion” among his friends and fans. Relson represented his family’s style in the rough streets of Rio de Janeiro against all challengers. At the time, he was considered the meanest of the Gracie representatives. Relson, as a Master of Jiu-Jitsu, still learns and follows the promotion standards set by his father. Relson’s style of instruction is detail-orientated and technical. His world-renowned, submission-based style of Jiu-Jitsu is best suited for self-defense.
Relson Gracie Academies
With my Military obligations and service to our great nation, I found myself traveling from one great Relson Gracie Academy to another. Mike & Chris Onzuka from O2 Martial Arts - 2010 -2014, Tracy Hopkins from Bushido Martial Arts - 2014 - 2018 to today living and training in Ocala, Florida, where I've had the privilege's to work closely with the Pedro Sauer Organization to continue the Self Defense Legacy we practice today. My Promotion to Purple Belt 2016 with Grand Master Relson Gracie.