The Gracie family (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈɡɾejsi]) is a prominent sporting family from Brazil known for their founding of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). They have been successful in combat sport competitions includingmixed martial arts, vale tudo and submission wrestling events. As a family, they uphold the Gracie challenge, which promotes their style of BJJ. The Gracie family line in Brazil descended from George Gracie, aScotsman from Dumfriesshire who immigrated in 1826 when he was 25 years old
Businessman and politician Gastão Gracie, the grandson of George Gracie through his son Pedro, befriended Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese Judoka and prize fighter, as Gracie assisted Japanese immigrants in their move to found colonies in Pará. Maeda offered to teach Gracie’s son Carlos the Japanese martial art Judo, a derivative of Japanese Jujutsu. By 1917, Carlos became one of the first Brazilians to learn Kodokan Judo.
In 1921, Gastão Gracie and his family moved to Rio de Janeiro. Carlos, then 17 years old, passed Maeda’s teachings on to his brothers Oswaldo, Gastão Jr., and George. Hélio was too young and sick at that time to learn the art, and due to medical imposition was prohibited to take part in the training sessions. Despite that, Hélio learned from watching his brothers. He eventually overcame his health problems and is now considered by many as the founder of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (though others, such as Carlson Gracie, have pointed to Carlos as the founder of the art).
Rolls Gracie is sometimes considered in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community and within the Gracie family as the true creator of the modern form of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He did so by training and competing in Judo, Sambo, and Wrestling. He was the lead instructor of the most promising Gracies in the famliy, namely, Rickson Gracie, Royler Gracie, Rillion Gracie, and Carlos Gracie Jr.
The most recent family champion is Roger Gracie, who holds the Confederação Brasileira de Jiu-Jitsu World Super Heavyweight and Pan-American Open Weight titles and the ADCC heavyweight and openweight championships. The most famous member of the Gracie family may be Royce Gracie, winner of three UFC tournaments.