GTR Archives 2000-2020











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 August 2, 2013


Chapter 23 

A Difusão do Jiu-Jitsu no Ceará


 Since arriving in Fortaleza Carlos had been teaching private lessons and also instructing the Special Police. His first son with Geni was born August 17, 1943. He was Reyslon.  Two months later the directors of the Leme Beach Club asked him to give a demonstration of "jiu-jitsu." It was a success, which opened up a new perspective on the diffusion of "jiu-jitsu" in the city.  As part of his demonstration he  offered free lessons to people who passed his test of flexibility and agility. 

One of the young guys who expressed interest was Pedro Hemetério. Pedro had never heard of "jiu-jitsu" much less the "Gracie family"  when he read about the free lessons.  He was curious. He was 20 years old, weighed 65 kilos, and stood 168 cm tall. In addition to Pedro, 76 other guys showed up to listen to Carlos talk about jiu-jitsu. Carlos then performed ten exercises of flexibility and agility, which he asked the guys to also do. Only six of the 77 guys could do them, Carlos selected them for the free lessons. Pedro was one of them. Carlos took Pedro and Luciano Ponto to Guaramiranga for training. The other four guys couldn't or didn't want to go.

In Pacoti Carlos submitted his pupils to rigorous training. Pedro never forgot what Carlos said during his third lesson: "Hemetério, if you don't lose interest in training, you will be the jiu-jitsu champion of Brazil in a few years." [The fact that there was no such thing as a jiu-jitsu champion of Brazil didn't faze Carlos. Maybe by the time Pedro was ready, there would be?]

After 45 days, Luciano went to Fortaleza for Carnaval. Luciano never came back. Pedro remained and he and Carlos became life-long friends. 

After the rigorous training, the two friends returned to Fortaleza and gave a demonstration at  Sede Azulina of the Beach of Iracema. First, Pedro demonstrated his flexibility. [Although jiu-jitsu was marketed as being for anyone regardless of flexibility, Carlos also emphasized that one of the benefits of jiu-jitsu is that it increases flexibility. And as experienced martial arts marketers know, naive wannabe potential students are usually impressed by irrelevant feats of physical prowess and gimmicks of other sorts.] They then demonstrated self-defense techniques against stick, dagger, punches and other aggressions. This was the first time that the people of Ceará had seen such a thing and they were suitably impressed with the resources that jiu-jitsu offered. 

Having access to such a malleable and physically impressive assistant, Carlos suggested that he continue training with him in Pacoti. This time Carlos would pay the expenses. Pedro agreed. At the end of the training period, Pedro's father, for financial reasons, arranged a job for him. Carlos disapproved because he didn't want Pedro to be distracted from his training. As a solution he offered Pedro half of his salary as instructor of the Special Police. Pedro would help with the teaching.

In Rio de Janeiro the press forgot about the Gracies but in Fortaleza the names of Carlos and Hemetério  were always in the news. After the exhibition at the Beach Club, Carlos organized a night of fights between his Special Police students. Pedro fought Manuel Mendes and defeated him with ease. The referee was Fernando Gentil, now a doctor. He was one of the sons of Carlos' friend João Gentil. Fernando and his brother Luiz had taken private lessons from Helio in Margarida's apartment in Flamengo [one room in which was the  "Gracie Academy"]. Luiz had suffered from polio as a child and had a withered leg. But he trained normally and was considered an excellent fighter. He wanted to train in Fortaleza too and Carlos accepted him as a student, adopting the posture of a pioneer in the universe of fights and sports, proving that jiu-jitsu could be practiced even by physically challenged people.

Jiu-jitsu gradually became fashionable in Fortaleza. The Ceará Sports Club opened a center of jiu-jitsu and invited Carlos to be the director. Carlos brought along Pedro as an assistant instructor. In this new academy, they taught everyone of any age, fathers and sons together, among whom were the president of the club and his 9 year old son.



Chapter 23. Geni


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


















GTR Archives 2000-2020