Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rorion Gracie

We often talk about Helio and Carlos Gracie and all that they have done for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but a person who I think deserves a great deal of credit for the popularization of Jiu-Jitsu is Helio’s son Rorion Gracie. Rorion is the one who really helped popularize Gracie Jiu-Jitsu thru the “Gracie Challenge”, his "Gracie in Action" Videos and his invention of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

I occasionally hear people say how much they dislike Rorion because he is “money oriented” or he is “dishonest” or “Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is weak” or “they give away belts” or for any other number of unfounded reasons to hate this great man. I have met Rorion on several different occasions and even watched a UFC with him. I think the sentence I would use to describe him is “Passionate about Jiu-Jitsu.” I am sure he is probably very blunt and hard headed like his dad was, but that wasn’t a fault for Grand Master Helio, why should it be for Rorion?

I know that in my career I have achieved a small level of notoriety and I understand how critics can hate. I’m cool with that and I think that Rorion Gracie is ok with what people think of him as well. He has helped carry on the legacy of his father and uncle and whether you like him or not I think he deserves the credit that is due.

Think about this….What if Rorion Gracie never came to America and never made Gracie Jiu-Jitsu popular through his efforts? Where would you be in your training?

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  1. I visited Gracie HQ a couple years ago. Master Rorion was nothing but polite and gracious with me. He showed me around and we even chatted in his office. The martial arts business is a tough one and I wish nothing but success to him and his family. If only all martial arts teachers were so lucky. We wouldn't be ANYWHERE without his influence to bring GJJ to the mainstream. Well said Keith and thank you Rorion!-Ari Bolden Knazan

  2. I honsetly can't see justification for hating Rorion. Maybe peoples harsh feelings towards him are actually based out of their own insecurities. He and his family have done nothing but give us and the rest of the world a wonderful gift.

  3. Very good thoughts, Keith. Rorion does sometimes get forgotten. I do question some of his ideas, but that doesn't take away from the fact that i very much respect him and what he has done for the art.

    all the best to you and your students!

  4. Rorion's contribution to the martial arts world is not big, it's huge! he was responsible for the spread of the most effective martial art in history.
    The Gracie family knew the effectiveness of their style, and their idea (as opposed to the traditional Eastern view) was to spreading it around the world. He achieved that goal and change the way to see martial arts. Now he took a new challenge, a bigger one, wich is to change the way of how people eat, to help them to improve their health and live better. I wish him good luck and I can say as a personal experience that the Gracie diet has been very useful to me.

    Rorion is a great person, a very wise and humble man, those ones who you really can call MASTER.

  5. Wow!!! Mr. Keith... you were reading my mind.

    I am going to make a list of people in my life that influenced me the most and Rorion Gracie was one of my first picks.

    He promoted Gracie Jiu-Jitsu for years and I was fortunate enough to watch Gracie Jiu-Jitsu In-Action Vol. 1 & 2. I instantly knew I had been missing a big piece in my martial arts training.

    His non-stop promoting of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu with unmatched passion led to the creation of the UFC.

    He has positively influenced millions, me being one of them.

    I will be forever be indebted to Rorion Gracie.

  6. Anyone that hasn't directly trained and learned with this remarkable family haven't got a clue how talented, welcoming, professional and down to earth they are. I trained at Gracie academy Torrance from '95 to '00. From my very first class until I moved and changed schools, I was treated with respect and received world class training. Rorion was an extraordinary teacher and it was a pleasure when he took the time out to teach group classes. I remember the first and only time I addressed him with honorific tittle of "sir". He stops in his tracks and said "we all put our komonos (they were still calling a gi that back then) the same way. Just call me Rorion". Royce too. This was at the height of his popularity and he still taught almost every single class. I ran into Royce last year and he STILL remembered my name. Class act the both of them.