Global Training Report Archives 1997-2018

 

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Who was Oscar Gracie and who taught him Jiu-Jitsu?

By Robert Drysdale 

Special to GTR, February 13,  2018  

Updated August 12, 2018

 

Did Carlos Gracie learn the gentle-art of gjiu-jitsuh under the auspices and intimate gpaternal supervisionh of Mitsuyo Maeda, aka Conde Koma, as he and his supporters claimed (and still do), invariably without any substantiating evidence. 

A recent discovery throws important light on the question.  

In 1921, an event took place in the gCampo da Recreativah in the city of Belém do Pará in the Brazilian Amazon. It was announced in the June 26 edition of the local newspaper gEstado do Paráh. It read as follows: gterminado esse numero seguir-se-ão jogos de jiu-jitsu entre os srs. Donato Pires dos Reis e Oscar Gracie, alumnus do prof. Jacintho Ferro. Servirão de arbitros nessa lucta os profs. Conde Koma, Jacintho Ferro e dr. Matheus L. Pereira.h[gc at the end of this act, Jiu-Jitsu games will follow between Mr. Donato Pires dos Reis and Mr. Oscar Gracie, students of the Professor Jacintho Ferro. The Referees for this fight will be Professors Conde Koma, Jacintho Ferro e Dr. Matheus L. Pereirah.

The article is relevant for several reasons. First, it is the first time that a gGracieh was ever associated with the practice of Jiu-Jitsu. Second, there was no gOscarh in that generation of the Gracie family, raising the question gwho was Oscar Gracie?h More precisely, could he have been Carlos Gracie, possibly due to the sort of editorial errors that were very common during that period? Most likely it was Carlos. The other Gracie brothers were either too young, and in fact, with one highly atypical exception, none of them ever claimed to have trained with Maeda or even denied it. 

Another reason for suspecting that Oscar was actually Carlos was a comment later made by one of Jacintho Ferrofs students, namely Donato Pires dos Reis, to the effect that gsome peopleh exaggerated their training with Maedah. By gsome peopleh Donato was clearly referring to Carlos.[1] 

The article is also relevant because it refers to both Donato Pires dos Reis and gOscar Gracieh as galumnos do prof. Jacintho Ferroh [gstudents of Jacintho Ferroh] and not Mitsuyo Maeda gConde Komah, despite the fact that he was present at the event.

Based on the evidence available, Carlos Gracie was a student of Jacintho Ferro who, in his turn, was a student of Mitsuyo Maeda. Carlos may have taken a few classes from Maeda during his stay in Belém, although there has never been any evidence of it. At present, the best available evidence indicates that Carlos Graciefs jiu-jitsu teacher was fellow countryman Jacintho Ferro.  

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Update August 12, 2018: "Subsequent to the publication of 'Who was Oscar Gracie and who taught him Jiu-Jitsu?' in GTR on February 13,  2018, I discovered that similar results were previously reported in 2013 in O Livro Proibido do Jiu-Jitsu: A História que os Gracies não Contaram Volume 1, Second edition, page 287." --Robert Drysdale.

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 Notes

1. See Myths and Misconceptions, # 5.  

© Robert Drysdale, 2018. All rights reserved.

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Other articles by Robert Drysdale:

Robert Drysdale Disagrees with Rickson Gracie

Robert Drysdale on Self-Defense

Robert Drysdale is Skeptical about BJJ History

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