Friday, February 17, 2012

The Death of Helio Gracie


I am going to be reprinting some old classic entries from my previous blog called The Angry Grappler. It will chronicle the evolution in my understanding of martial arts.
29 January 2009 @ 04:02 pm 
The father of MMA and BJJ is dead today at 95. Not to be sad though for he lived a full life. I have been thinking about Helio a lot lately. All the interviews of him I have read. Previously, years ago I just saw him as a crazy old man who thought he was invincible and that MMA was around before him and that Carlos Gracie invented BJJ yada yada.

But lately I have been thinking about the black belt and what it means and I kept thinking about Helio. Carlos learned Ju Jitsu first but Helio was the one who brought the guard. Without the guard Jiu Jitsu would be Ju Jitsu. Meaning all the stand up and wrist locks and throws. He was the original smaller man. Like me who got bullied around on the mat and had to get good at the guard to have a chance. When I think of what a black belt is, the guy who takes the guy down mounts and finishes or the guy when taken down only uses closed guard and finishes. That's Helio.

He always complained nowadays that people have lost touch with the closed guard and mount and I thought he was behind the times but he was right. He used to say in interviews before rolling with people, that he doesn't think this person can beat him. Even if its Rickson or whomever. I thought that was just old man arrogance. But he never said he would beat them, he just said they wouldn't beat him. That's the foundation of Jiu Jitsu. When you are out of position all you should think about is not making any mistakes and not getting submitted. On the bottom of a dominated position, make no mistakes. On the top of a dominant position, make them make mistakes.

He was the true grandmaster. He to prove his concept created modern MMA. I don't care what you say or who did what first or pancrase or what not, but MMA as we know it today was because of the work of Helio and the creation of Vale Tudo and now modern MMA.
About the Author:

Sam Y. is a Master Personal Trainer, Certified Nutritionist, Coach, Performance Enhancement Specialist, Corrective Enhancement Specialist, Yoga and Pilates instructor, and holds multiple certifications. He is also an avid Martial Artist, training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, Boxing, and MMA. He is also the author of the popular fitness blog All Out Effort as well as the popular martial arts blog Inner BJJ. You can find him in the Los Angeles area personal training his clients, or at home annoying his wife, or on Facebook at his personal fitness page.

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