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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 Friday May 31, 2013


Chapter 14. O Indulto



Carlos, Helio, and George were sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for their ambush attack on Manoel Rufino dos Santos. There was never any question that they did the crime, but they didn't want to do the time. They hired a good lawyer. But the case was open and shut. There were witnesses. The brothers fled the scene, along with their supporters (and Oswaldo, who had been waiting in the car), indicating that they knew what they had done was wrong.

They also ran away when the police went to their academy to arrest them.

 Fortunately, the president, Getulio Vargas, granted them a pardon. But the brothers' lawyer told them that the president had said that in order for him to pardon them, they had to first be arrested. Knowing that they wouldn't have to do hard time, they turned themselves in.

Vargas was responding to a petition set in motion by an influential person, who happened to be a Gracie student. It is unknown whether Carlos dropped a hint or two, but it is not out of the question.

Rufino said publicly and often that their jiu-jitsu versus capoeriagem challenge was bogus. He had every right to voice his opinion. That wasn't illegal. It was, to some degree, not even false [the capoeira "representatives" had been taught by someone with no capoeiragem background and who was a friend and business associate of the Gracies, namely, Jayme Ferreira]. But even if saying that the alleged challenge match was "a bluff" (as he expressed it)  there were legal ways to deal with it. For some reason (which Reila confesses she can't explain), Carlos decided to gather his brothers (Helio and George and Oswaldo) and in case four on one wasn't advantageous enough, some miscellaneous supporters. And to ambush him at night in front of the Tijuca Tenis Clube. Helio later conceded that the attack was not the smartest thing he ever did. (see the famous Playboy interview.) 

Reila reproduces  the petition to Vargas requesting the pardon, which offers several reasons why the brothers should walk (they were already in the House of Detention). They included: (2) the brothers are of good moral quality and come from a good family composed of an elderly mother, three unmarried sisters, and in Carlos' case a wife and son, Eduardinho; (3) their wrestling career makes them legitimate national glories, and George and Helio, in addition, are just boys; (4) they are teachers of the secrets of jiu-jitsu, to the public and to the Policia Especial;1 (5) Rufino's injuries are not as serious as the doctors testified. And (6) 21 months in prison would disrupt their lives and training routines. 

It worked. They got off, basically scot-free. They did have to spend a week in the House of Detention. That had an unexpected side effect. His experience with the other prisoners made Carlos curious about their motivations. He wanted to decipher the reasons behind criminal behavior. This impulse to investigate human behavior led him, in the 1950's, to visit asylums to try to understand the causes of mental illness.


Chapter 15. Livres para Lutar.



1. They were quickly terminated from that job however. Interestingly, as Reila will describe later, the episode may have had the unfortunate consequence of convincing Carlos and Helio that they could basically talk their way out of all and any criminal or other highly dubious conduct.



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














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