Gracie: O Criador de uma Dinastia
Rio de Janeiro: Record, 2008
by Roberto Pedreira
May 3, 2013
Chapter 10. Carlos Gracie x
Manoel Rufino dos Santos
In 1931 the Gracie brothers
stepped up their efforts to divulge jiu-jitsu and demonstrate its efficiency by
engaging in matches with representatives of luta romana, luta livre, and capoeiragem. The luta
livre and capoeiragem people were already rivals. Jiu-Jitsu was simply one more
variety of fight on the pro-wrestling scene.
In chapter 10 Reila
describes jiu-jitsu battles with luta livre (Manoel Rufino), luta Romana (Joćo
Baldi and Jayme Ferreira), and capoeira (Mario Aleixo). The Manoel Rufino
contest was the most historically significant, because Rufino was the only one
of the four who had legitimate qualifications and was not either old, or fat, or
both. It was also the only fight that there is any record of Carlos
participating in (apart from the mysterious match with
The fight took place on
August 22, 1931. Carlos won, according to himself. According to the judges, and
everyone else, including his brother George, he lost. Carlos felt that he had
won because he thought that Rufino had "desisted." The fight was set
for five 5-minute rounds. Observers agreed that Rufino had the edge in the first
two rounds. In the third round, Carlos managed to apply a dangerous front choke
[perigosa gravata] near the edge of the ring. Rufino dragged Carlos
toward the outside of the ring area. Carlos said at that point that Rufino gave
the signal to desist. Rufino denied that. The judges discussed the matter and
asked the fighters to return to the center of the ring and resume the dispute,
as provided by the rules. Carlos refused, claiming that he had already won, and
went home. The judges declared Rufino the winner, because Carlos
"abandoned" the ring (as was the convention). George agreed that
Carlos lost because he had abandoned the ring, something that he said he would
never do. The next day, Carlos wrote a letter justifying his decision to go home
in the middle of the fight. According to Carlos, Rufino tapped out, but the
judges didn't witness it. Rufino denied it, needless to say. Essentially, Carlos stopped because he felt that he
had won. It was that simple. He never fought again.
Reila also briefly describes
the contests between Oswaldo and George and luta romana representatives Joćo
Baldi and Jayme Ferreira, respectively. The Gracie brothers won easily. Both fights
demonstrated that a smaller, younger man who knew ground fighting could defeat
an older, larger (in Baldi's case, "obese" is a more accurate word)
man, who had no ground fighting background, and indeed, probably no training at
all. It was advertised as a victory for for jiu-jitsu, the secret oriental art
of the samurais by which a weak man can defeat a strong man. It didn't make much
more sense then than it does now but it was effective marketing. Joćo Baldi
's name was invariably mentioned when Oswaldo was opening a new academy or
attempting to stimulate demand for tickets to his latest wrestling match.
Reila also mentions George's fight with Mario Aleixo, Carlos'
sister Helena Gracie's use of jiu-jitsu in a real-life self-defense situation,
and the brothers' attacks on Joćo Baldi and Donato Pires dos Reis.
Reila doesn't go into great
detail. Her subject is Carlos Gracie. Readers who want to know the (fully
documented) details about the fights and other incidents will have to wait for Choque.
Chapter 11. Helio Sobe Ao Ringue.
(c) 2013, Roberto Pedreira. All rights reserved.
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