Helio Gracie’s third son Rickson was born into Gracie Jiu Jitsu on November 21 1959 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rickson entered his first competition at the age of six; by fifteen he was teaching the art and was awarded his black belt by grandmaster Helio Gracie at eighteen. When the twenty-year-old Gracie defeated Rei Zulu, a 230-pound Brazilian brawler with 120 consecutive wins, Brazil took notice. After a second, even more decisive victory against Zulu in Rio’s Maracanazinho Stadium in front of 20,000 spectators, the world took notice.
By the age of 25, Rickson Gracie was well established as one of the greatest fighters in the history of this family of fighters. For almost two decades Rickson Gracie reigned as World Jiu Jitsu champion in both the middle heavy weight and open divisions. For the next thirty years, he fought in the ring, in the street, and on the beach, all the while carrying the weight that came with being the Gracie family’s last line of defense.
Rickson moved to America in 1989 to help his brother Rorion establish the first Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Torrance, California.
Although he trained his younger brother Royce for the first UFC, Rickson only fought in Japan and won Japan’s premier fighting tournament, the Japan Open Vale-Tudo, in 1994 and 1995.
Both times he defeated three opponents by submission in a single night. After these dominant performances, the Japanese fans begrudgingly paid Rickson Gracie the ultimate compliment, they acknowledged, whether he knew it or not, the Brazilian possessed the "Samurai Spirit." Gracie returned to the Tokyo Dome in 1997 and defeated Japan's top-ranked fighter, Nobuhiko Takada by submission in the first round. A year later, in a highly anticipated rematch in front of 50,000 spectators, Rickson defeated Takada by submission again. Rickson Gracie’s fought his final fight in the ring in 2000. 30 million television viewers watched him defeat Japan's number one fighter, Masakatsu Funaki by rear naked choke in the first round. After retiring in 2006 with a remarkable undefeated record of 465-0, Gracie focused all of his energy on spreading the art of Jiu Jitsu. Even today, the 8th degree black belt’s technique is considered to be the finest expression of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in the world.
Celebrated for invincibility on the mat and dignified conduct outside the ring, Rickson is known as a modern day samurai, inspiring others to follow in his footsteps and strive for greatness. He has taught students from all walks of life: men, women, children, senior citizens, handicapped students, FBI Agents, SWAT Teams, Navy Seals, military personnel, martial artists of various styles, athletes and actors. Thanks to his dedicated efforts as teacher, Gracie has built a legacy of disciplined students, teachers, and warriors. Today he continues to teach on special classes and seminars to help spread and further refine his family’s art. He presently is the president of the JIUJITSU GLOBAL FEDERATION whose mission is to restore Jiu Jitsu’s effectiveness, increase the art’s popularity by offering Jiu Jitsu community with a true representation of our culture, art, and tradition.