The Day BJJ Lost
In which Masahiko Kimura proves
that judo is the strongest kakutōgi
by crushing Helio Gracie
By Roberto Pedreira (Special to GTR)
Helio Gracie fought Masahiko Kimura. Helio's first born son, Rorion,
made it the centerpiece of his campaign to deify his dad (incurring
Reyla Gracie's ire as a consequence: see here).
Everyone also knows that Helio lost (more accurately, was annihilated),
and also that he didn't believe that he "really" lost (see here),
because he didn't give up (instead he let his brother throw in the towel
Rorion wasn't writing a history dissertation. It's what Brazilians call
Tokyo will host
the 2020 Olympics. It's the second time for Japan. The first was 1964 in
which judo was introduced as an Olympic sport. Japan of course
dominated. Since then other countries have had good success in judo.
Japan wants to stay on top. Most Japanese people, contrary to
stereotype, don't train judo and don't really care that much, but they
like it when Japan wins. They also like to see good, classical judo no
matter who does it, but especially when a Japanese judoka does. Anyway,
the various martial arts groups in Japan are now working to arouse
enthusiasm and support.
manifestation of that is the comic book series devoted to Kimura's life
and career published in the magazine Budo (武道).
Kimura of course was born to soon to participate in any Olympic events,
but he did something that resonates even more with ordinary people here:
He beat Helio Gracie. The July 2018 issue describes how the event came
about. [Translation below is by Roberto Pedreira unless otherwise
Helio Gracie （エリオ・グレイシー),
the "man" in the Brazilian kakutōgi
world who used jū-jutsu.
Masahiko Kimura (木村政彦):
"OK! I'll do it!"
(above, panels are read left to right, top down):
from previous pages)
1. But, the
regional tour did not go well. The troupe's finances were precarious.
[Comment: Kimura was a member of the International Judo Association
It offered professional judo matches as paid spectator entertainment. It
was not successful. The panel shows that all the seats are empty].
2. Kimura talking
in dressing room with Yamaguchi Toshio (山口利夫).
"Really, my wife has a lung disease. I need money to buy drugs."
"I'm going to Hawaii." Yamaguchi: "Hawaii? Well, ok. You
can't make enough money with the International Judo Association, can
you?" (cartoon image of propeller airplane taking off).
Hawaii, the judoka's fights were popular in the pro wrestling world.
Kimura and Yamaguchi become pro wrestlers.
6. In the year Shōwa
26 (1951), the publisher of the São Paulo Nikkei Newspaper invited Kimura Masahiko, Yamaguchi Toshio, and
Yukio to go to Brazil. They went.
７．In Brazil, they did pro wres挑戦状)
a jiu-jitsu man (柔術家).
8. He used
"Brazilian" jiu-jitsu (ブラジリアン柔術) and
was the "man" in the kakutōgi
world in Brazil (the name Helio Gracie is written below the cartoon image
of Helio, who looks pretty formidable).
1. First, Katō
faced (Helio) and was defeated by choke.
(looking angry): "Ok then. I will do it."
3. The match was
three 10-minute rounds with no ropes. Submission rules (決着ルール
) were in effect, meaning verbal submission, tap-out, or unconsciousness
4. In the 2nd
round, Kimura executed an ōsoto-gari
with an ude-garami.
5. (The position
that resulted is shown, with "gui" indicating powerful pulling).
6. The referee
asks, "give up?"
"It's about to break!"
8. The referee
again asks, "give up"". Helio responds, "No".
9. The sound of
bones breaking ("gugi") emanates from the entangled combatants.
(One fan says
"Oh!". Another says, "no").
second taps Kimura to indicate "submission" (決着).
fighting Helio Gracie, Kimura Masahiko proved that judo is the strongest
holds Kimura's left hand up, Helio's second consoling him.)
continues with other incidents in Kimura's life.
Rorion Gracie, Helio proved that jiu-jitsu reigned supreme by beating Katō,
while Kimura's victory proved nothing because Kimura
was not really a judo man, but rather a jiu-jitsu fighter. At least that's
what Rorion said in Gracies in Action 1
and Gracies in Action 2].
Kimura wrote two
memoirs and discussed his Brazilian experiences in both of them. For details about
this fight and Kimura's other fights in Brazil in 1951 and 1959, see Choque
(c) 2018, Roberto Pedreira. All rights reserved.