Top 18 Myths and Misconceptions about
from Gracies in Action 1
By Roberto Pedreira
Special to GTR
April 19, 2016
Updated May 16, 2016
Updated November 3, 2018
"Truth is the quality that moves us forward, expands
and ultimately sets us free. We should never fear it. Those who do, do so
perhaps, because they have something to hide. Perhaps they worry that the
relentless light of truth may expose the inadequacies or worse, the deliberate
deceptions, in their own words."--Rorion Gracie (Gracies in Action 2,
By 1992, Rorion had decided that the truth was
important. At least that's what he said (above). In 1988, he felt free to make
stuff up (actually, he did it in 1992 too, and didn't stop then). Making stuff up
is what entertainment and marketing are all about. Rorion Gracie with his legal education and
Hollywood career understood this very well. It made him rich.
of what the world believes about BJJ came from Gracies in Action 1 (1988)
and 2 (1992), and the 1989 Playboy article by Pat Jordan. They were built
on by bloggers, forum posters, and academy owners, who with rare exceptions,
simply recycled the same myths and misconceptions or expanded them, made up new
myths of their own, or posted guesses which then spread to the point of becoming
accepted as true because they were so often repeated. This article
address Gracies in Action 1. As always, readers are welcome to believe
whatever they want. GTR and Roberto Pedreira have no agenda.
sources are in Choque and other works as indicated.
Myth 1: Maeda was "former world champion of
Reality: Many people
claimed to be jiu-jitsu champion of one place or another, including the world.
They were all without any foundation in fact or reality. There was no such thing
a world jiu-jitsu champion. In addition, Maeda rarely, if ever, participated in
non-faked jiu-jitsu matches. He followed the money, and the money was in catch
wrestling, at which he was reasonably successful (Maeda's catch wrestling career
is described in detail in Roberto's forthcoming book Craze: The Life and
Times of Jiu-Jitsu, Volume 2, 1905-1914. In the Meantime, check out Volume 1
Myth 2. "In 1925 Carlos and his four brothers opened the
first jiu-jitsu academy in Brazil...."
Reality: Mario Aleixo had a jiu-jitsu academy in Rio, in 1913, before
Maeda came to Brazil. He was teaching out of a sports club, but so were almost
all academies (and still are). According to Reila Gracie, the 1925
"academy" was an extra room in the family's rented house. Geo Omori had an academy of jiu-jitsu in São
Paulo in 1928 (Choque 1, chp. 8). The first real academy in Rio was
established in 1930 by Donato Pires dos Reis. Carlos and George Gracie
were monitors, and later assistants. Eventually Donato left, and Helio
replaced George. Helio Gracie stated that he and his family never heard the word
"jiu-jitsu" until Carlos invited them to his exhibition with Geo Omori
in April 1929 (or January 1930 (he didn't specify which date), and that no one
in the family knew that Carlos was a jiu-jitsu fighter until then. (See Choque
1, Choque 2, and Choque 3 for details.)
Myth 3: "Based on the traditional Japanese jiu-jitsu, Helio
developed new techniques and created an undefeated system--Gracie
Reality: Helio has testified that he didn't create anything. He
only added leverage to the power-based techniques that he saw Carlos doing (see here
and here). The Gracie system was not undefeated. The
Gracies (Carlos, George, Oswaldo, and Helio) lost numerous fights, documented in
detail in Choque 1-3.) Moreover, Helio's special teaching
methodology was the same as the one used by George, Oswaldo, Gastão Jr.,
and Takeo Yano, which was simply the Japanese approach of introducing material
in a sequence of simple steps and keeping it as simple as possible but no
simpler than necessary (which is the way the Japanese teach everything and the
reason they were able to modernize so rapidly).
Myth 4: "The year,
1950...Kato, the number two
jiu-jitsu man in the world"
Fact: The year was 1951. There were two Kato vs. Helio Gracie
fights. The first was September 6, 1951. The second was September 29, 1951. The
first ended in a no-decision. Kato threw Helio at will. Helio couldn't keep Kato
on the ground and Kato didn't want to be on the ground any more than Helio
Gracie wanted to stand up. As Kodokan representatives told the Brazilian press
in 1939, fights start standing because standing is "the natural posture of
men." If you want to finish with ground fighting, you
first have to get the fight to the ground and keep it there. Ground fighting
not enough. (They might have added, Gracie jiu-jitsu is as much incomplete
jiu-jitsu as Kodokan judo is (or rather, became).
Myth 5: "Kato was almost 40
pounds heavier than Helio and
considered by many people to be technically superior to the heavyweight
Fact: The Brazilian press reported Kato's weight when he stepped
off the plane as 75 kg but that was simply what the promoters said. There was no
weigh-in. Kato's judo competition weight was 70 kg. People close to Helio
estimated his weight during the period of the Kato and Kimura matches at about
70 kg. The truth is we don't know how much any of them weighed at the time of
the matches. We can be pretty sure that Kimura was heavier and shorter than
Helio Gracie, and that Kato was shorter and about the same weight. That's it.
And no one considered Kato superior to Kimura in any way, shape, or form. Kato
was an inexperienced, naive, young kid (see Choque 2 chp. 2
Myth 6: "Back in the 30's Brazil did not have any
outstanding sports figure....Helio Gracie became the first sports idol in that
Fact: Brazil had numerous outstanding sports figures in the
30's. Soccer players were Gods. Any athlete who performed well internationally
was idolized. In fact, Maeda's top student Jacyntho Ferro was idolized for his
bicycling accomplishments. There were many, many other cases of sports heroes and
idols in Brazil, too many to list here. Helio Gracie was a minor name among professional grapplers
during the 1930's. (Jiu-jitsu fighters were considered luta livre fighters who
specialized in jiu-jitsu and jiu-jitsu was regarded as a form of luta livre). Helio
Gracie had 10 confirmed public professional matches between 1932
and 1937 (and possibly one more, namely, the Erwin Klausner 1937 match in Belo
Horizonte) . Helio Gracie was inactive after 1937 until 1950, after which he had
five more official public contests. (He also had a few "unofficial"
matches; details are in Choque.)
Myth 7: "Since the early age of 18, he
[Helio Gracie] was the Brazilian
champion. For more than 20 years, to maintain his championship title, he
challenged and fought opponents of all styles and sizes, under the most adverse
conditions. Such as unlimited number of rounds, sometimes even half-hour, each
round. With or without a kimono. It made no difference. On of his free-for-all
fights lasted for as long as 3 hours and 45 minutes, non-stop. It was the fight
of the century....with an opponent who happens to be 50 pounds heavier. It was
the longest uninterrupted fight in the history of mankind.
Reality: There was no such thing as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu
champion. Helio never defeated any jiu-jitsu or judo fighter in a jiu-jitsu
match, with one questionable exception. He drew with Takeshi Namiki, Takeo Yano, and Yassuiti Ono (2 x).
Helio Gracie defeated a young man named Miyaki who appeared out of nowhere in
April of 1934, matched against the pro-wrestler Roberto Ruhmann in a no-gi
jiu-jitsu match. Miyaki lost by "headlock." Miyaki's promoters
claimed he had a Kodokan certificate and a black belt. No one checked and it
wasn't unknown for promoters to make stuff up. In any case, this was Helio Gracie's only victory over anyone even claiming to be a jiu-jitsu
fighter, and it was not in dispute of a national title, which didn't exist in
Helio Gracie also defeated an alleged former-sumo wrestler named Massagoichi,
Roberto Ruhmann's manager, Kid Pratt. The rules were jiu-jitsu rules but it also was not a
title fight because, for one reason, there was no title. Massagoichi didn't
demonstrate any knowledge of jiu-jitsu, according to observers.
Helio Gracie fought
only two no-time limit fights. The first was against Fred Ebert in 1932. The
fight was stopped by the police, not because it was too violent (it was a
grappling match), but because neither fighter was making progress toward a
victory, it was late, and they
wanted the crowd to disperse. The second was against Waldemar Santana in 1955.
That fight ended because Santana knocked Helio Gracie out with a kick to the
head. Helio's other 13 (or 14 matches) had time-limits and rounds.
Myth 8: "We have countless times matched up against much heavier
opponents. My father, Helio, even fought opponents double his weight. My uncle
Oswaldo, also with only a 140 lbs. fought João Baldi, at 360 lbs. My uncle
choked him out in 2 minutes."
Reality: All Japanese jiu-jitsu/judo fighters fought heavier opponents.
Geo Omori, Yassuiti and Naoiti Ono, Takeo Yano, all of them. They had to,
because they tended to be small. Naoiti Ono weighed 55 kg. The Gracies
were smaller on average than most native Brazilian fighters but they were no
different from the Japanese fighters. Helio Gracie never fought an opponent who was double his weight.
Helio Gracie's heaviest
opponent was Wladek Zbyszko, who weighed 106 kg. to Helio's 65.3. João Baldi did
not weigh 360 kg. His weight was variously estimated at the time as 120, 125, and
138 kg (264, 275, and 303.6 lb, respectively). In addition, he was an obese old
man. Baldi was a former weight-lifter and Greco-Roman wrestler, with some
claim to legitimacy. He complained that the Gracies forced him to wear an
over-sized kimono, which hampered him. The press agreed and called for a rematch
under more equal conditions, each man fighting in his own style. The Gracies
never accepted but instead ambushed him on a busy street outside a restaurant.
In addition, it was far
from countless. George's record will probably never be known in detail and
Oswaldo had many circus matches when he worked for the Queirolo Brother's Circus
[Circo Queirolo] (see Choque 1, chp. 14). But Carlos and Helio's records are
known (apart from a degree of doubt about the Erwin Klausner fight).
Myth 9. "When the Reader's
Digest, in April of 1943, published an article
with the title, 'Boxing versus Jiu-Jitsu in a Fight to the Death," in
which a boxer had knocked out a jiu-jitsu fighter, Helio Gracie contacted
O Globo, the biggest newspaper in Brazil, making himself available to
prove the superiority of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu by fighting five boxers on the same
night. He never received a reply....During his fighting years, he also challenged the famous Primo
Carnera, Ezzard Charles, and the legendary Joe Louis. They all declined to fight
boxing against Gracie Jiu-Jitsu" (see
Choque 1, chp. 24, and Choque 2, chp 1).
Digest did publish such an article and Helio did offer to fight five boxers. He
also stated confidently that a boxer could never beat a jiu-jitsu fighter. Oddly,
boxers and strikers had already and famously knocked out jiu-jitsu fighters.
cases of Sam McVea versus Tano Matsuda in 1908, and Cyriaco
versus Sada Miyako in 1909 were common knowledge to Brazilian fight fans.
It is true that Primo
Carnera and Ezzard Charles did not reply to Helio's "challenge" (just
as Rickson did not reply to Bas Rutten's and Mark Kerr's and Sakuraba's
challenges). However, Joe Louis did not ignore Helio Gracie. When he went to Rio
in 1950 to box exhibitions and give private lessons, he (his manager rather)
challenged Helio Gracie to a boxing match. Helio Gracie declined the challenge.
"I'm a boxer. If you want to fight me, put on the gloves," Joe
suggested. Helio Gracie declined the offer. Instead, Helio showed up at Joe's
exhibition against Arturo Godoy and presented him with a plaque that read
"O jiu-jitsu sul-americano ao Box mundial."
Also, Helio did not
make these so-called challenges during his "fighting years" as Rorion
says, seemingly hoping to imply that Helio was ready to really get into the
ring. Helio's fighting years were 1932-1936 (or possibly 1937) and 1950-1951 and
1955. Helio challenged
famous boxers when he was trying to get back into the news, as sports writers
Incidentally, George Gracie also
challenged these boxers, and others (such as Anibal Prior and Isidor Pinto de Sá,
both legitimate boxers and both smaller than George). In return, boxers
challenged him. Heavyweight boxer Jose Santa challenged George. George accepted
but then dropped the subject. Helio and George were not alone in challenging
well-known boxers. Geo Omori, Takao Yano, and Yassuiti Ono also challenged
boxers, and Omori and Ono actually fought and beat boxers. Capoeiristas,
pro-wrestlers, and other Brazilians hoping to get their names in the news also
challenged Joe Louis during his 1950 visit (see Choque 2, chp. 1 for
details). No one took any of them seriously.
Myth 10. "Kimura, the heavyweight champion of the world...At this point Kimura challenged Helio to fight for the world
championship. It would be the first time ever that a jiu-jitsu championship of
the world would be fought outside of Japan."
Reality: There was no
such thing and Kimura didn't challenge Helio to fight for it because it didn't
exist and because he Kimura was a judoka and he believed that Helio Gracie was
also judoka. Kimura's judo teacher, Ushijima Tatsukuma, was also well versed in
jujutsu and Kimura knew the difference between judo and jujutsu/jiu-jitsu. Kimura went to Brazil to do
pro-wrestling but was open to other opportunities. Kimura challenged Helio
Gracie in order to "rehabilitate the prestige of Japanese judo." At
least that's what his translator said he said, and it was probably close to the
truth and what the Japanese fans wanted to hear. Kimura later said that he
viewed the match with Helio
as a pro-wrestling match with special rules (see Choque 2, chp 2,
and Choque 3, app. 5)
Myth 11. "This is Kimura, the best jiu-jitsu fighter Japan has ever
produced. 16 years in a row as the national Japanese champion and 5 years as the world champion.
Kimura was 80 pounds heavier and 9 years younger than Helio."
Reality: Kimura was born 1917, Helio
1913, a difference of 4, not 9 years. Helio was 4
than Takeo Yano when they competed (Yano was born 1909) and 3 years
younger than Yassuiti Ono (Ono was born in 1910). Kimura was never world
champion because there was no such thing at the time.
Myth 12: "Kimura
said in the newspapers that if Helio could resist
him for 3 minutes, he should be considered the winner."
Reality: Kimura said
many things in the newspapers (or rather his management team and translators
did). But he didn't say this. But even if he said something that might have been
misinterpreted as this, what did Kimura mean by "resist"? To not be thrown? Certainly not to
avoid being submitted. Between the first and second round, Kimura told his
second Hikaru Kurachi (Oswaldo Alves' judo teacher) that he used the first round
to punish Helio and to see what Helio offered on the ground, and that he would
at that point finish Helio off in the second round. Which he proceeded to do (Choque
2, chp. 2). Kimura told Jaime Ferreira, a former Gracie associate, that he
prolonged the match to give the public a show. He had planned to use jiu-jitsu
in case Helio attacked. But Helio never attacked (Choque 2, p. 63-64.) Why would Kimura wait until the 2nd round to take Helio to
the ground and keep him there if he intended to submit him within 3 minutes?
Myth 13: The fight lasted 13 minutes.
Reality: It lasted
almost 13 minutes, not including the break between rounds. The first round was a show
of judo throwing for the benefit of the Japanese fans who were unhappy about
Kato's loss and who simply wanted to see the great Kimura in action (long past
his prime though he was). The second round was when Kimura started trying to submit
Helio Gracie. (Details in Choque 2, chp. 2).
Myth 14: Helio didn't expect to win. He wanted to see if the world
champion could surprise him technically. The conclusion Helio came to was that
if they were the same weight class, he would have won the match.
The first part is true. His goal was to "win morally" since that was
the only way he could win. Moral victory is a euphemism for defeat (a way to win
while losing, so to speak). It was also a very commonly used expression, not only for losers, but
also in the case of draws. In the 1932 Helio Gracie versus Fred Ebert match,
which ended as a draw, both Ebert and Helio claimed moral victories, Ebert
because Helio promised to submit him, but didn't, Helio because he was lighter.
Exactly the same occurred after the 1934 Wladek Zbyszko versus Helio Gracie
match. Zbyszko thought he won because Helio hadn't fulfilled his promise to
submit him. Helio believed he won because he was smaller. In that sense,
everyone won. In another sense, they lost because the public sharply
lost interest in seeing defensive jiu-jitsu matches (especially with a kimono,
which could and often was used to stall the fight, or to put it in other terms,
to avoid taking risks to try to win the fight.) Jiu-jitsu fights didn't
absolutely have to be excessively defensive. George Gracie fought Zbyszko a
short time later. He went aggressively for the win. As a result he got tapped out. (George didn't care that much. He
just wanted to fight, to win if possible, but mostly, to get paid. He didn't
mind fighting fake fights and engaged in many, as did Takeo Yano, often
together). Kimura resented Helio for being so defensive. He had never met an
opponent who ran away so much, he said. He (Kimura) didn't get a chance to show
off his technique enough because the Brazilian kept running away (Choque 2,
p. 63). That bothered Kimura because he was a professional and wanted to put on
a good show for the fans.
Helio may have believed that he would have
defeated Kimura at the same weight. But he couldn't defeat Yassuiti Ono, who
Helio outweighed 68.3 to 64.6 kg, even when he (Helio) was 14-15 years younger,
and Ono was far from Kimura's level on the ground. Helio had two chances to try
(and declined when Ono challenged him later). Helio also failed to beat Namiki
and Yano. He did beat Kato once out of two fights. Kato had an excuse, but being
Japanese, he didn't spend the next 50 years talking about it (however, he was
extremely ashamed, see Choque 2, chp 2).
In his later years,
under Rorion's coaching, Helio came up with the story that he didn't really
lose. It was Rorion, not Helio, who said that he (Helio) believed that he could
have beaten Kimura. But that's not what Helio said in 1951 (Choque 2, p.
65). What he said was that he thought he could have held out to a draw (Choque
2, p. 65). Since that's exactly what he did with Namaki, Yano, and Ono (x2),
it's possible but less than probable--Kimura was a better ground fighter than
Namiki, Ono, and Yano.
Myth 15: "The
Japanese always want to hide the ancient techniques of jiu-jitsu. That's what originated
the idea of judo. It's just the sportive aspect of the traditional, effective
jiu-jitsu.....Helio Gracie developed the techniques so much and left Kimura so
impressed with the techniques that he presented, that after this fight, Kimura
went to the Gracie academy to invite Helio Gracie to teach in the Imperial
Academy of Japan."
Reality: Kano did not
create Kodokan judo in order to hide jiu-jitsu from foreigners. He created it as
an educational system that included some jujutsu techniques as part of the
physical education component. The history of judo's creation has been thoroughly
documented (summarized in Choque 3, app 5.) Rorion was
simply recycling marketing points from the first jiu-jitsu boom in North America
during the time of the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). Kimura was unimpressed
with Helio's overall level of judo (or whatever you call it), but he did say
Helio had a good defense (Choque 2, p. 61), by which he meant Helio held out longer than he
expected. He also admired Helio's fighting spirit, or as the Japanese understand
it, his willingness to suffer even when the cause is hopeless (it
demonstrates sincerity and purity of spirit, which Japanese admire.) Kimura did
not invite Helio to the Imperial Academy. There was no such thing as an Imperial
Academy. Kimura was a pro-wrestler and had no
influence with the Kodokan, let alone the Japanese government, which was at that
time still under American Military Occupation (1945-1952).
However, Kimura did suggest/invite/challenge
(depending on how we interpret it) Helio to go to Japan to fight him. Helio
Gracie never accepted Kimura's challenge (offer, invitation). This is probably
where the myth originated. (See Choque 3, pp. 88-89, for details.). Kimura was not
impressed with Helio's techniques because he viewed them as inappropriately
defensive. He despised excessive defensiveness. If Helio had managed to sweep
Kimura, threaten with a submission, escape from a position, or even improve his
position (rather than postpone the moment when he and Carlos had pre-arranged
for the towel to be thrown in), then Kimura might have had a different
opinion. But that didn't happen.
Kimura had a different
version of the match. According to Kimura, Helio did not survive 13 minutes because of his advanced techniques.
He survived because Kimura wanted to put on a show, wanted to punish Helio,
wanted to see what Helio had on the ground, and because Helio ran away.
Readers may wonder if
there isn't a contradiction in Kimura's assessment of Helio's ring performance.
How could Kimura disdain Helio for running away and at the same time admire his
fighting spirit? The reason may be that Kimura expressed his negative
opinion immediately after the match, but his positive opinion in his 1985 memoir
My Judo [わが柔道].
And there may have been several reasons for that. By depicting Helio as more
formidable than Kimura thought he was in 1951 (Kimura also exaggerated Helio's
weight and judo rank), Kimura would make his victory look better and would
excuse to some degree that fact (despite his 1951 explanation) that it took him
almost 13 minutes to achieve it. Also, Japanese readers would not appreciate
Kimura bad-mouthing an opponent. Japanese are modest and (according to many
psychological studies) tend to dislike people who boast or try to make
themselves look better by knocking someone else down. An alternative
interpretation is that Kimura disdained Helio for running away, but admired his
spirit when Helio couldn't run anymore.
Myth 16: Helio Gracie is still teaching in Brazil today
 and is
recognized throughout the country as a living legend.
Reality: Helio Gracie
was available for private lessons, at 200 reais (at that time, about $100)
per half-hour lesson, as late as 1997 (see Jiu-Jitsu in the South Zone,
1997-2008, chp. 3). In that sense, he was still teaching. Pelé was a
living legend and national hero. Henry Kissinger wrote an article about him. Helio Gracie was
not a living legend. He was not a national hero other than in the sense that at
various brief points he had a limited fan following. Prior to 1993-94
some Brazilians, a dwindling group, admired him, while others viewed him as a
self-seeking clown with criminal propensities. Most people never heard of him and didn't care.
Obviously, that changed after the second UFCs and especially when the Japanese
started writing checks.
Myth 17: Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
fought a group of Karate representatives, who "preferred to fight on tile because
they were sure they wouldn't go to the ground. Mats were placed around the area to prevent them from running
Fact: The fights took place on Thursday, May 29,
1975, at Clube
Olimpico. It went down pretty much as Rorion described. There were ten matches,
each scheduled for 10 minutes. "All the fights put
together did not last more than 10 minutes." But they didn't try to run
away. They tried to fight.
The karate men were
genuinely surprised at how easily they were defeated and attributed their losses
to inadequate preparation. They challenged the Gracie Team to a rematch (see Choque 3, chp. 15 for
People with karate experience may puzzle over the karate representatives' inept
stance, hand position, lack of focus, posture in general, and trajectory of
punches (loose, looping swings), all of which suggest minimal or no guidance
from a legitimate instructor. However, Helio did challenge a legitimate
karate teacher, Yasutaka Tanaka, on May 10, 1966. As he always did, Helio barged
into a class, bringing along a crowd of "supporters" and a
photographer. In fact, Tanaka was not the target of Helio's challenge. Helio
wanted to challenge Lirton Monassa, who was getting too much attention from the
press, Helio believed. But when Helio arrived, Monassa wasn't there. So he
challenged Monassa's assistant, Yasutaka Tanaka instead. Tanaka seemed to have no
idea what Helio was talking about, but he accepted the challenge anyway. But
Helio didn't want to fight Tanaka himself. He wanted Tanaka to fight Carlson, who was a professional fighter.
Perhaps to Helio's surprise, Tanaka agreed (Choque 3, chp. 6 for
Rorion emphasized that
one Gracie representative was 13 years old (he kicked ass despite being 13 and
having long hair). Press accounts did not mention that fact. Possibly because
the event was prohibited by law (article 36 of law 3.199 of the statutes of the
Conselho Nacional de Desportes--this was the period of
military rule (1964-1985) in Brazil, when it was very risky to defy the
authorities. The Gracies didn't care, they had friends in high places). Involving children in the illegal show might have
attracted unwanted official scrutiny. But who knows?
Myth 18 is not
precisely a myth but rather a string of somewhat misleading characterizations
and interpretations. What follows the 1975 karate massacre (on the video) is a series of dojo
matches and ring fights in Los Angeles and Brazil. Rickson fighting wrestlers, Rorion
spanking Ralph Alegria in Los Angeles and then two major events in Rio.
Rorion presents them in reverse chronological order. The first one on GIA
happened second, and vice-versa. The first (on GIA) was Ignacio Aragão
vs. Bruce Lucio, Pinduka vs. Marco Ruas,
Marcelo Behring vs.
Flavio Molina, and Sergio Baterelli vs. Zulu. Rorion didn't show or mention the
first match in the event, which was Renan Pitanguy, who lost to Eugenio Tadeu.
Renan wore a kimono. Igancio was up next and took off his kimono. He won in
classic Gracie style. Next Pinduka
drew with Marco Ruas. Marco was a very tough guy in those days and as Rorion
said, he did know ground grappling (Helio later gave him a black belt!). Marcello Behring defeated Flavio
Molina. These fights took place on November 30, 1984. The main event was
kickboxer Sergio Baterelli versus Zulu. The purpose of the fight was to
determine if Baterelli was qualified to fight Rickson Gracie, who had
already declined Zulu's challenge for a third fight. The other matches were
prelims. It's unclear why Rorion
included a brawler with rudimentary striking and grappling skills (namely Zulu.)
Maybe to suggest that Baterelli would have done better if he had taken some
Brazilian jiu-jitsu lessons (which he later did, though it didn't help because
he stuck to kickboxing and never got a shot at Rickson). (For more about
Ignacio Aragão, who was still training as of 2008, heavier than he was in
1984 but still in good shape, see Jiu-Jitsu in the South Zone, 1997-2008, chp.
Rorion then shows the second Rickson vs. Zulu fight. Actually,
this one happened before Zulu vs. Baterelli, on November 12, 1983 (see
Choque 3, chp. 23 for correct details of the fight). Rorion says Zulu weighed
220, Rickson weighed 180. In fact, there was an official weigh-in on Wednesday
November 9. Rickson weighed 79 or 80 kg (173.8 or 176 lbs.) depending on the
report. Zulu weighed 91.8 kg (201.96 lbs.) Rorion had the weight difference
about right. Apart from that, most of the fight is shown and it happened more or
less as it seems. Zulu complained that Gracie supporters interfered and that the
referee, Gracie associate Francisco Mansur, was biased, which contributed to his
loss. Zulu was also 12 years
older than Rickson, or to put it in comparative terms, 8 years older than Kimura
was younger than Helio in 1951.
in Action are still well-worth watching as long as we remember
that they are marketing infomercials, not historical dissertations.
For more Myths and Misconceptions, see:
& Answers about BJJ History
Misconceptions in Gracies in Action 1
Myths and Misconceptions about Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in Pat Jordan's 1989 Playboy
Myths and Misconceptions in Gracies in Action 2
Myths and Misconceptions about Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in Japan
Myths about Mitsuyo Maeda (Conda Koma)
Myths and Misconceptions about Jiu-Jitsu and BJJ
Don't miss the
first article in this series, Top
30 Myths and Misconceptions about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu,
posted March 16, 2016, updated May 9, 2016,
Pedreira Quebra Siléncio (reveals the origins of the Myths and
Myths and Misconceptions about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Pat Jordan's 1989 Playboy
(c) 2016, Roberto Pedreira.
All rights reserved.
references to Choque 1 are specifically to the 2nd edition (2nd
impression), issued August 3, 2015.
2. See Top
30 Myths for more about the Erwin Klausner match.
Reader points out (May 16, 2016) that Matsuda was not a legitimate jiu-jitsu
man, which is true, and that Cyriaco was a capoeira (aka capoeirista), not a
boxer, which is true. But it is also true that many of the people who faced
jiu-jitsu men were not legitimate practitioners of the art that they supposedly
represented. A Reader sends the link below. It is accurate on all but one point.
Payton (Matsuda) was not a student of Mitsuyo Maeda. Payton was already claiming
to be the world's greatest judoka in London before Maeda arrived and exposed him
as a fake, according to Japanese sources which Roberto will describe in more
detail in a forthcoming Myths and Misconceptions installment. Below is the link
to the well-written, competently researched (with most sources cited) McVey vs.
May 11, 2016.
Updated May 16, 2016