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; was teaching the art by fifteen and was awarded his black belt by his father at eighteen.
When the twenty-year-old Gracie defeated Rei Zulu, a 230 -pound Brazilian brawler with 120 consecutive wins in 1980, Brazil took notice. After a second, even more decisive victory against Zulu in Rio’s Maracanazinho Stadium in front of 20.000 spectators in 1984, 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 he reigned as World Jiu Jitsu champion in both the middle heavy weight and open divisions. Gracie took on all challengers in bouts in the ring, on the street, and on the beach and carried the weight that came with being his family’s last line of defense.
Rickson Gracie moved to America in 1989 to help his brother Rorion establish their first Jiu Jitsu Academy in Torrance, California.
Although he trained his younger brother Royce for the first UFC, the Gracie family’s greatest fighter only fought in Japan. He won Japan’s premier fighting tournament, the Japan Open Vale-Tudo, in devastating fashion in 1994 and 1995. During both tournaments he defeated three opponents by submission in a single night. After these dominant performances, the Japanese fans begrudgingly paid Rickson Gracie the ultimate compliment and acknowledged, that whether he knew it or not, the Brazilian possessed the "Samurai Spirit."
Rickson 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, he again defeated Takada by submission. 30 million television viewers watched his final fight against Japan's number one fighter, Masakatsu Funaki, by rear naked choke in the first round. After retiring in 2006 with an unprecedented, 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 Gracie is known as a modern day samurai and inspires 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 special classes and seminars to help spread and further refine his family’s art. He presently is the president of the JIUJITSU GLOBAL FEDERATION and RICKSON GRACIE CUP 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.