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Global Training Report

From Brasil, Thailand, Japan, and Korea

Est. 2000


Book Review


Carlos Gracie: O Criador de uma Dinastia

Rio de Janeiro: Record, 2008

By Reila Gracie

Reviewed by Roberto Pedreira  

Posted  May 24, 2013


Chapter 13



In 1934 Oscar Santa Maria established a business called Companhia do Lar Ltda., and invited Carlos in as a minority partner. Oscar contributed the money, business knowledge,  and insider connections (very essential to doing business in Brazil). Carlos contributed the direct link to the higher spiritual entity Egidio Lasjovino (see chapter 9). They started out by buying land. 

Carlos had already decided to retire from his career as a fighter, after achieving a record of one fight and no wins (or two fights, if George was correct, but again with no wins), and numerous exhibitions and "academic combates." That left him with more time for his intellectual and spiritual work, and for his nutritional research and to pursue his jiu-jitsu projects, including consolidating the academy and promoting Helio's career. For a while Gastão Jr.  helped by teaching classes. Gastão had a paying job as chief of security at the Hotel Copacabana Palace. Oswaldo also had a job, but while he was in Rio, never failed to help teach classes.  But Gastão's time in Rio was brief. His father invited him to work with him in his new "house of entertainment" in São Paulo. After that, he opened a school of jiu-jitsu, also in São Paulo. One day a student told Gastão Jr. "your aura is low today."  The next day the student took a picture of Gastão's aura. Gastão treasured the picture until the end of his days. It showed him in a quimono, surrounded by a strange luminosity. Gastão was sure from that day that he was developing paranormal powers, like Carlos possessed. He began to notice people's auras and to sense strange things. He learned hypnotism and with his new skills was able to stop hemorrhages and resolve other medical problems. He could also alleviate pain by passing his hand over the painful body part.  During this period he provided Carlos with information about the fighters and wrestlers in São Paulo who went to Rio in search of paydays in the "mercado de lutas" [fight market] in Rio that sometimes involved George or Helio. 

A young girl named Irene had come to Rio to make a course at the Escola de Enfermagem Ana Nery [Ana Nery Nursing School]. Oswaldo flipped head over heels for her and decided to move permanently with her to Belo Horizonte in 1934. He rented an apartment, where he also taught "jiu-jitsu."  One day driving through town with Irene on the back of his motorcycle, Oswaldo hit a hole in the road. Irene fell off without Oswaldo noticing until a kilometer later. He went back and found her sitting by the sidewalk, scratched up a bit, but alive. Oswaldo liked to dance. He didn't care what people thought. He kept in touch with his brothers, and eventually tied Belo Horizonte into the circuit of lutas. He participated in some challenges and much later he landed a position as instructor to the civil police, which he kept until 1943.

Among the five brothers, George was the only one who continued fighting regularly.  George like to spend money, and fighting was basically the only way he had to get it, because he either lacked paranormal powers or the imagination or whatever it required to bamboozle gullible people like Oscar Santa Maria. When Carlos needed money for a project he would tell Oscar that Egidio Lasjovino needed him to write a check. George on the other hand simply arranged for a fight. He didn't have a problem with pro-wrestling and didn't mind manipulating the fight in some fashion or another [his statements about how far he was willing to go varied over time]. Reila mentions a number of wrestlers and fighters from the period, such as Dudu, Shigeo, Miyaki, Robert Ruhmann, and of course the great Géo Omori. Helio was out of action for a large part of the year, recovering from an accident. He drove his motorcycle into a bus late in the early a.m. in July 1933 and broke his left leg. George liked the night-life, the girls and the other things that can take a fighter's mind off fighting. Unlike Carlos, with his projects and spiritual researches, George was more of a " live for today" type. For the time being, his youth, has physical attributes, and his technique compensated for insufficient training. In the future, it would cost him dearly.

Foreign wrestlers would come to Rio to challenge the Gracies. Reila leaves the impression that The Gracies were at the center of the professional fighting scene. That is not quite accurate. They were visible, to be sure. Carlos made sure of that. But they occupied a small niche. The foreign fighters who came to Rio challenged anyone who was in the newspapers, which included Carlos, George, and Helio, and even at times, Oswaldo. They also challenged other foreign fighters. The Gracies challenged them, in turn. The Zbyszko brothers were among the foreigners. Sometimes matches were made and fights held. Sometimes it all just served to kept their names in the public's mind.  As Carlos really had no more expertise in promoting fights than he had in anything else, which is to say not much if any, the task of making fights fell to professionals. They offered George a contract. Helio also went on board but didn't stay long. 

Reila suggests that the money was too little for Helio. Carlos had bigger plans. He wanted big paydays for Gracies, which he would manage, of course. He thought Helio was worth more in star power than the promoters did.  Rather than work for less, as George was willing to, Helio stopped fighting in 1937. Eventually, much much later, he made a well-publicized and in some ways genuinely historic comeback.1]




Chapter 14. O Indulto.



(c) 2013, Roberto Pedreira. All rights reserved.

Revised April 12, 2015



Note 1: Thanks to his son Rorion using it as the centerpiece of his "Gracie Jiu-Jitsu" marketing strategy. For more, see:

Jiu-Jitsu in the South Zone-1997-2008, chapters 1 and 14)

and Choque: The Untold Story of Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil, Volume 2, 1950-1960.




















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