Rickson (pronounced Hickson), son of Helio Gracie, was born into
Jiu-Jitsu. At six years old he began competing; at fifteen
he started to teach the art; and at eighteen he received his Black
Belt. At twenty Rickson won his first awe-inspiring victory against
the famous 230-pound Brazilian brawler Zulu who until that time
had enjoyed a 140-match, undefeated record. With this victory, Rickson
gained immediate national acclaim as the top free-style fighter,
leaving his mark on the history of Jiu-Jitsu and the Gracie
challenge. Five years later Zulu requested a rematch and lost to
Rickson again, in Maracanazinho before an audience of 20,000 spectators.
Rickson is a 7th Degree Black Belt Open Class Champion of the Gracie
Family, whose technique is considered to be the finest expression
of Jiu-Jitsu in the world. His innate talent and early mastery
of the sport have resulted in an impeccable undefeated record in
more than 400 fights, Jiu-Jitsu tournaments, free-style wrestling,
Sambo, open weight free-style competitions, and no holds barred
challenge matches. Rickson is a two time Brazilian Champion in free-style
wrestling, a Gold Medal Winner of Sambo, and for the last sixteen
years he has been the middle-heavyweight and no weight division
World Jiu-Jitsu Champion. Most recently, he conquered Japan’s
elite fighting in a tournament, the Japan Open Vale Tudo, winning
both in 1994 and 1995. At this time, Rickson was acknowledged by
the Japanese for possessing the Samurai Spirit.
In the 1997 Pride 1 Vale Tudo match in Japan’s Tokyo Dome (before
47,860 spectators), he defeated Japan’s top ranked fighter, Nobuhiko
Takada, in 4:47 of the first round. A year later, to the day, in
the 1998 Pride 4 Vale Tudo match, Rickson defended his title. In
the most awaited rematch in martial arts history, drawing an overwhelming
50,000 spectators to Japan’s Tokyo Dome, Rickson defeated Takata
once again. At Colosseum 2000, held at the Tokyo Dome, broadcast
to 30 million TV Tokyo viewers (the highest viewed television program
for its time slot), Rickson fought Japan’s number one fighter, Masakatsu
Funaki. He defeated his opponent with a rear naked choke in 11:46
of the first round.
Rickson has proven himself as accomplished a teacher as he is a
competitor. He has been teaching his martial arts style for over
20 years and his array of students have included FBI Agents, SWAT
Teams, Navy Seals, military personnel, martial artists of various
styles, athletes and actors. His highly practical self-defense style
is widely recognized as the superior martial art, for real-life
Rickson Gracie established the Rickson Gracie International Jiu-Jitsu
Association in 1996 in order to help unify the community of Jiu-Jitsu.
Through the Association, the traditional, technical and philosophical
aspects of Jiu-Jitsu are able to be shared with people around the
world. Rickson presently competes in invitational tournaments and
teaches on Special Tours and seminars as well as at the Rickson
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Center in West Los Angeles. Rickson’s students
credit his teachings with the achievement of great self confidence,
heightened awareness, stress reduction, youthful vitality, increased
physical energy, balance improvement and inner peace.
A modern day legend, Rickson Gracie has gained international acclaim
for his leadership in disseminating the art and philosophy of Gracie
Jiu-Jitsu. He espouses strong family values and a healthy life-style.
He is the epitome of discipline, determination and sportsmanship.