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Top 18 Myths and Misconceptions about 

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu 

from Gracies in Action 1 


 By Roberto Pedreira

Special to GTR

April 19, 2016

Updated November 8, 2021



 "Truth is the quality that moves us forward, expands our horizons, and ultimately sets us free. We should never fear it. Those who do, do so perhaps, because they have something to hide. Perhaps they worry that the relentless light of truth may expose the inadequacies or worse, the deliberate deceptions, in their own words."--Rorion Gracie (Gracies in Action 2, 1992)


By 1992, Rorion had decided that the truth was important. At least that's what he said (above). In 1988, he felt free to make stuff up (actually, he did it in 1992 too, and didn't stop then). Making stuff up is what entertainment and marketing are all about. Rorion Gracie with his legal education and Hollywood career understood this very well. It made him rich. 

Most of what the world believes about BJJ came from Gracies in Action 1 (1988) and 2 (1992), and the 1989 Playboy article by Pat Jordan. They were built on by bloggers, forum posters, and academy owners, who with rare exceptions, simply recycled the same myths and misconceptions or expanded them, made up new myths of their own, or posted guesses which then spread to the point of becoming accepted as true because they were so often repeated. This article address Gracies in Action 1. As always, readers are welcome to believe whatever they want. GTR and Roberto Pedreira have no agenda.

All sources are in Choque and other works as indicated.[1]


Myth 1: Maeda was "former world champion of jiu-jitsu."

Reality: Many people claimed to be jiu-jitsu champion of one place or another, including the world. They were all without any foundation in fact or reality. There was no such thing a world jiu-jitsu champion. In addition, Maeda rarely, if ever, participated in non-faked jiu-jitsu matches. He followed the money, and the money was in catch wrestling, at which he was reasonably successful (Maeda's catch wrestling career is described in detail in Roberto's forthcoming book Craze: The Life and Times of Jiu-Jitsu, Volume 2, 1905-1914. In the Meantime, check out Volume 1 here).

Myth 2. "In 1925 Carlos and his four brothers opened the first jiu-jitsu academy in Brazil...."

Reality: Mario Aleixo had a jiu-jitsu academy in Rio, in 1913, before Maeda came to Brazil. He was teaching out of a sports club, but so were almost all academies (and still are). According to Reila Gracie, the 1925 "academy" was an extra room in the family's rented house. Geo Omori had an academy of jiu-jitsu in São Paulo in 1928 (Choque 1, chp. 8). The first real academy in Rio was established in 1930 by Donato Pires dos Reis. Carlos and George Gracie were monitors, and later assistants. Eventually Donato left, and Helio replaced George. Helio Gracie stated that he and his family never heard the word "jiu-jitsu" until Carlos invited them to his exhibition with Geo Omori in April 1929 (or January 1930, he didn't specify which date), and that no one in the family knew that Carlos was a jiu-jitsu fighter until then. (See Choque 1, Choque 2, and Choque 3 for details.)

Myth 3: "Based on the traditional Japanese jiu-jitsu, Helio developed new techniques and created an undefeated system--Gracie jiu-jitsu."

Reality: Helio has testified that he didn't create anything. He only added leverage to the power-based techniques that he saw Carlos doing (see here and here). The Gracie system was not undefeated. The Gracies (Carlos, George, Oswaldo, and Helio) lost numerous fights, documented in detail in Choque 1-3.) Moreover, Helio's special teaching methodology was the same as the one used by George, Oswaldo, Gastão Jr., and Takeo Yano, which was simply the Japanese approach of introducing material in a sequence of simple steps and keeping it as simple as possible but no simpler than necessary (which is the way the Japanese teach everything and the reason they were able to modernize so rapidly).

Myth 4: "The year, 1950...Kato, the number two jiu-jitsu man in the world"

Fact: The year was 1951. There were two Kato vs. Helio Gracie fights. The first was September 6, 1951. The second was September 29, 1951. The first ended in a no-decision. Kato threw Helio at will. Helio couldn't keep Kato on the ground and Kato didn't want to be on the ground any more than Helio Gracie wanted to stand up. As Kodokan representatives told the Brazilian press in 1939, fights start standing because standing is "the natural posture of men." If you want to finish with ground fighting, you first have to get the fight to the ground and keep it there. Ground fighting alone is not enough. (They might have added, Gracie jiu-jitsu is as much incomplete jiu-jitsu as Kodokan judo is (or rather, became).

Myth 5: "Kato was almost 40 pounds heavier than Helio and considered by many people to be technically superior to the heavyweight champion, Kimura."

Fact: The Brazilian press reported Kato's weight when he stepped off the plane as 75 kg but that was simply what the promoters said. There was no weigh-in. Kato's judo competition weight was 70 kg. People close to Helio estimated his weight during the period of the Kato and Kimura matches at about 70 kg. The truth is we don't know how much any of them weighed at the time of the matches. However, in the spring of 1952 Kimura's weight was consistently stated as 195 to 200 pounds (see Craze 4, forthcoming 2022, for details). We can be pretty sure that Kimura was heavier and shorter than Helio Gracie, and that Kato was shorter and about the same weight. That's it. And no one considered Kato superior to Kimura in any way, shape, or form. Kato was an inexperienced, naive, young kid (see Choque 2 chp. 2 for details). 

Myth 6: "Back in the 30's Brazil did not have any outstanding sports figure....Helio Gracie became the first sports idol in that country."

Fact: Brazil had numerous outstanding sports figures in the 30's. Soccer players were Gods. Any athlete who performed well internationally was idolized. In fact, Maeda's top student Jacyntho Ferro was idolized for his bicycling accomplishments. There were many, many other cases of sports heroes and idols in Brazil, too many to list here. Helio Gracie was a minor name among professional grapplers during the 1930's. (Jiu-jitsu fighters were considered luta livre fighters who specialized in jiu-jitsu and jiu-jitsu was regarded as a form of luta livre). Helio Gracie had 10 confirmed public professional matches between 1932 and 1937 (and possibly one more, namely, the Erwin Klausner 1937 match in Belo Horizonte) [2]. Helio Gracie was inactive after 1937 until 1950, after which he had five more official public contests. (He also had a few "unofficial" matches; details are in Choque.)

Myth 7: "Since the early age of 18, he [Helio Gracie] was the Brazilian champion. For more than 20 years, to maintain his championship title, he challenged and fought opponents of all styles and sizes, under the most adverse conditions. Such as unlimited number of rounds, sometimes even half-hour, each round. With or without a kimono. It made no difference. On of his free-for-all fights lasted for as long as 3 hours and 45 minutes, non-stop. It was the fight of the century....with an opponent who happens to be 50 pounds heavier. It was the longest uninterrupted fight in the history of mankind.

Reality: There was no such thing as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion. Helio never defeated any jiu-jitsu or judo fighter in a jiu-jitsu match, with one questionable exception. He drew with Takeshi Namiki, Takeo Yano, and Yassuiti Ono (2 x). Helio Gracie defeated a young man named Miyaki who appeared out of nowhere in April of 1934, matched against the pro-wrestler Roberto Ruhmann in a no-gi jiu-jitsu match. Miyaki lost by "headlock."  Miyaki's promoters claimed he had a Kodokan certificate and a black belt. No one checked and it wasn't unknown for promoters to make stuff up. In any case, this was Helio Gracie's only victory over anyone even claiming to be a jiu-jitsu fighter, and it was not in dispute of a national title, which didn't exist in any case. Helio Gracie also defeated an alleged former-sumo wrestler named Massagoichi, recruited by Roberto Ruhmann's manager, Kid Pratt. The rules were jiu-jitsu rules but it also was not a title fight because, for one reason, there was no title. Massagoichi didn't demonstrate any knowledge of jiu-jitsu, according to observers.

Helio Gracie fought only two no-time limit fights. The first was against Fred Ebert in 1932. The fight was stopped by the police, not because it was too violent (it was a grappling match), but because neither fighter was making progress toward a victory, it was late, and they wanted the crowd to disperse. The second was against Waldemar Santana in 1955. That fight ended because Santana knocked Helio Gracie out with a kick to the head. Helio's other 13 (or 14 matches) had time-limits and rounds.

Myth 8: "We have countless times matched up against much heavier opponents. My father, Helio, even fought opponents double his weight. My uncle Oswaldo, also with only a 140 lbs. fought João Baldi, at 360 lbs. My uncle choked him out in 2 minutes." 

Reality: All Japanese jiu-jitsu/judo fighters fought heavier opponents. Geo Omori, Yassuiti and Naoiti Ono, Takeo Yano, all of them. They had to, because they tended to be small. Naoiti Ono weighed 55 kg.  The Gracies were smaller on average than most native Brazilian fighters but they were no different from the Japanese fighters. Helio Gracie never fought an opponent who was double his weight. Helio Gracie's heaviest opponent was Wladek Zbyszko, who weighed 106 kg. to Helio's 65.3. João Baldi did not weigh 360 kg. His weight was variously estimated at the time as 120, 125, and 138 kg (264, 275, and 303.6 lb, respectively). In addition, he was an obese old man. Baldi was a former weight-lifter and Greco-Roman wrestler, with some claim to legitimacy. He complained that the Gracies forced him to wear an over-sized kimono, which hampered him. The press agreed and called for a rematch under more equal conditions, each man fighting in his own style. The Gracies never accepted but instead ambushed him on a busy street outside a restaurant.

In addition, it was far from countless. George's record will probably never be known in detail and Oswaldo had many circus matches when he worked for the Queirolo Brother's Circus [Circo Queirolo] (see Choque 1, chp. 14). But Carlos and Helio's records are known (apart from a degree of doubt about the Erwin Klausner fight).

Myth 9. "When the Reader's Digest, in April of 1943, published an article with the title, 'Boxing versus Jiu-Jitsu in a Fight to the Death," in which a boxer had knocked out a jiu-jitsu fighter,  Helio Gracie contacted O Globo, the biggest newspaper in Brazil,  making himself available to prove the superiority of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu by fighting five boxers on the same night. He never received a reply....During his fighting years, he also challenged the famous Primo Carnera, Ezzard Charles, and the legendary Joe Louis. They all declined to fight boxing against Gracie Jiu-Jitsu"  (see Choque 1, chp. 24, and Choque 2, chp 1). 

Reality: Reader's Digest did publish such an article and Helio did offer to fight five boxers. He also stated confidently that a boxer could never beat a jiu-jitsu fighter. Oddly, boxers and strikers had already and famously knocked out jiu-jitsu fighters. The cases of Sam McVea versus Tano Matsuda in 1908, and Cyriaco versus Sada Miyako in 1909 were common knowledge to Brazilian fight fans.[3]

It is true that Primo Carnera and Ezzard Charles did not reply to Helio's "challenge" (just as Rickson did not reply to Bas Rutten's and Mark Kerr's and Sakuraba's challenges). However, Joe Louis did not ignore Helio Gracie. When he went to Rio in 1950 to box exhibitions and give private lessons, he (his manager rather) challenged Helio Gracie to a boxing match. Helio Gracie declined the challenge. "I'm a boxer. If you want to fight me, put on the gloves," Joe suggested. Helio Gracie declined the offer. Instead, Helio showed up at Joe's exhibition against Arturo Godoy and presented him with a plaque that read "O jiu-jitsu sul-americano ao Box mundial."

Also, Helio did not make these so-called challenges during his "fighting years" as Rorion says, seemingly hoping to imply that Helio was ready to really get into the ring. Helio's fighting years were 1932-1936 (or possibly 1937) and 1950-1951 and 1955. Helio challenged famous boxers when he was trying to get back into the news, as sports writers correctly assessed. 

Incidentally, George Gracie also challenged these boxers, and others (such as Anibal Prior and Isidor Pinto de Sá, both legitimate boxers and both smaller than George). In return, boxers challenged him. Heavyweight boxer Jose Santa challenged George. George accepted but then dropped the subject. Helio and George were not alone in challenging well-known boxers. Geo Omori, Takao Yano, and Yassuiti Ono also challenged boxers, and Omori and Ono actually fought and beat boxers. Capoeiristas, pro-wrestlers, and other Brazilians hoping to get their names in the news also challenged Joe Louis during his 1950 visit (see Choque 2, chp. 1 for details). No one took any of them seriously.

Myth 10. "Kimura, the heavyweight champion of the world...At this point Kimura challenged Helio to fight for the world championship. It would be the first time ever that a jiu-jitsu championship of the world would be fought outside of Japan."

Reality: There was no such thing and Kimura didn't challenge Helio to fight for it because it didn't exist and because he Kimura was a judoka and he believed that Helio Gracie was also judoka. Kimura's judo teacher, Ushijima Tatsukuma, was also well versed in jujutsu and Kimura knew the difference between judo and jujutsu/jiu-jitsu. Kimura went to Brazil to do pro-wrestling but was open to other opportunities. Kimura challenged Helio Gracie in order to "rehabilitate the prestige of Japanese judo." At least that's what his translator said he said, and it was probably close to the truth and what the Japanese fans wanted to hear. Kimura later said that he viewed the match with Helio as a pro-wrestling match with special rules (see Choque 2, chp 2, and Choque 3, app. 5)

Myth 11. "This is Kimura, the best jiu-jitsu fighter Japan has ever produced. 16 years in a row as the national Japanese champion and 5 years as the world champion. Kimura was 80 pounds heavier and 9 years younger than Helio." 

Reality: Kimura was born 1917, Helio 1913, a difference of 4, not 9 years. Helio was 4 years younger than Takeo Yano when they competed (Yano was born 1909) and 3 years younger than Yassuiti Ono (Ono was born in 1910). Kimura was never world champion because there was no such thing at the time.

Myth 12: "Kimura said in the newspapers that if Helio could resist him for 3 minutes, he should be considered the winner."

Reality: Kimura said many things in the newspapers (or rather his management team and translators did). But he didn't say this. But even if he said something that might have been misinterpreted as this, what did Kimura mean by "resist"? To not be thrown? Certainly not to avoid being submitted.  Between the first and second round, Kimura told his second Hikaru Kurachi (Oswaldo Alves' judo teacher) that he used the first round to punish Helio and to see what Helio offered on the ground, and that he would at that point finish Helio off in the second round. Which he proceeded to do (Choque 2, chp. 2). Kimura told Jaime Ferreira, a former Gracie associate, that he prolonged the match to give the public a show. He had planned to use jiu-jitsu in case Helio attacked. But Helio never attacked (Choque 2, p. 63-64.) Why would Kimura wait until the 2nd round to take Helio to the ground and keep him there if he intended to submit him within 3 minutes?

Myth 13: The fight lasted 13 minutes.

Reality: It lasted almost 13 minutes, not including the break between rounds. The first round was a show of judo throwing for the benefit of the Japanese fans who were unhappy about Kato's loss and who simply wanted to see the great Kimura in action (long past his prime though he was). The second round was when Kimura started trying to submit Helio Gracie. (Details in Choque 2, chp. 2).

Myth 14: Helio didn't expect to win. He wanted to see if the world champion could surprise him technically. The conclusion Helio came to was that if they were the same weight class, he would have won the match.

Reality: The first part is true. His goal was to "win morally" since that was the only way he could win. Moral victory is a euphemism for defeat (a way to win while losing, so to speak). It was also a very commonly used expression, not only for losers, but also in the case of draws. In the 1932 Helio Gracie versus Fred Ebert match, which ended as a draw, both Ebert and Helio claimed moral victories, Ebert because Helio promised to submit him, but didn't, Helio because he was lighter. Exactly the same occurred after the 1934 Wladek Zbyszko versus Helio Gracie match. Zbyszko thought he won because Helio hadn't fulfilled his promise to submit him. Helio believed he won because he was smaller. In that sense, everyone won. In another sense, they lost because the public sharply lost interest in seeing defensive jiu-jitsu matches (especially with a kimono, which could and often was used to stall the fight, or to put it in other terms, to avoid taking risks to try to win the fight.) Jiu-jitsu fights didn't absolutely have to be excessively defensive. George Gracie fought Zbyszko a short time later. He went aggressively for the win. As a result he got tapped out. (George didn't care that much. He just wanted to fight, to win if possible, but mostly, to get paid. He didn't mind fighting fake fights and engaged in many, as did Takeo Yano, often together). Kimura resented Helio for being so defensive. He had never met an opponent who ran away so much, he said. He (Kimura) didn't get a chance to show off his technique enough because the Brazilian kept running away (Choque 2, p. 63). That bothered Kimura because he was a professional and wanted to put on a good show for the fans.

Helio may have believed that he would have defeated Kimura at the same weight. But he couldn't defeat Yassuiti Ono, who Helio outweighed 68.3 to 64.6 kg, even when he (Helio) was 14-15 years younger, and Ono was far from Kimura's level on the ground. Helio had two chances to try (and declined when Ono challenged him later). Helio also failed to beat Namiki and Yano. He did beat Kato once out of two fights. Kato had an excuse, but being Japanese, he didn't spend the next 50 years talking about it (however, he was extremely ashamed, see Choque 2, chp 2).

In his later years, under Rorion's coaching, Helio came up with the story that he didn't really lose. It was Rorion, not Helio, who said that he (Helio) believed that he could have beaten Kimura. But that's not what Helio said in 1951 (Choque 2, p. 65). What he said was that he thought he could have held out to a draw (Choque 2, p. 65). Since that's exactly what he did with Namaki, Yano, and Ono (x2), it's possible but less than probable--Kimura was a better ground fighter than Namiki, Ono, and Yano.

Myth 15: "The Japanese always want to hide the ancient techniques of jiu-jitsu. That's what originated the idea of judo. It's just the sportive aspect of the traditional, effective jiu-jitsu.....Helio Gracie developed the techniques so much and left Kimura so impressed with the techniques that he presented, that after this fight, Kimura went to the Gracie academy to invite Helio Gracie to teach in the Imperial Academy of Japan."

Reality: Kano did not create Kodokan judo in order to hide jiu-jitsu from foreigners. He created it as an educational system that included some jujutsu techniques as part of the physical education component. The history of judo's creation has been thoroughly documented (summarized in Choque 3, app 5.) Rorion was simply recycling marketing points from the first jiu-jitsu boom in North America during the time of the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). Kimura was unimpressed with Helio's overall level of judo (or whatever you call it), but he did say Helio had a good defense (Choque 2, p. 61), by which he meant Helio held out longer than he expected. He also admired Helio's fighting spirit, or as the Japanese understand it, his willingness to suffer even when the cause is hopeless (it demonstrates sincerity and purity of spirit, which Japanese admire.) Kimura did not invite Helio to the Imperial Academy. There was no such thing as an Imperial Academy. Kimura was a pro-wrestler and had no influence with the Kodokan, let alone the Japanese government, which was at that time still under American Military Occupation (1945-1952). 

However, Kimura did suggest/invite/challenge (depending on how we interpret it) Helio to go to Japan to fight him. Helio Gracie never accepted Kimura's challenge (offer, invitation). This is probably where the myth originated. (See Choque 3, pp. 88-89, for details.). Kimura was not impressed with Helio's techniques because he viewed them as inappropriately defensive. He despised excessive defensiveness. If Helio had managed to sweep Kimura, threaten with a submission, escape from a position, or even improve his position (rather than postpone the moment when he and Carlos had pre-arranged for the towel to be thrown in), then Kimura might have had a different opinion. But that didn't happen.

Kimura had a different version of the match. According to Kimura, Helio did not survive 13 minutes because of his advanced techniques. He survived because Kimura wanted to put on a show, wanted to punish Helio, wanted to see what Helio had on the ground, and because Helio ran away. 

Readers may wonder if there isn't a contradiction in Kimura's assessment of Helio's ring performance. How could Kimura disdain Helio for running away and at the same time admire his fighting spirit?  The reason may be that Kimura expressed his negative opinion immediately after the match, but his positive opinion in his 1985 memoir My Judo [わが柔道]. And there may have been several reasons for that. By depicting Helio as more formidable than Kimura thought he was in 1951 (Kimura also exaggerated Helio's weight and judo rank), Kimura would make his victory look better and would excuse to some degree that fact (despite his 1951 explanation) that it took him almost 13 minutes to achieve it. Also, Japanese readers would not appreciate Kimura bad-mouthing an opponent. Japanese are modest and (according to many psychological studies) tend to dislike people who boast or try to make themselves look better by knocking someone else down. An alternative interpretation is that Kimura disdained Helio for running away, but admired his spirit when Helio couldn't run anymore. 

Myth 16: Helio Gracie is still teaching in Brazil today [1988] and is recognized throughout the country as a living legend. 

Reality: Helio Gracie was available for private lessons, at 200 reais (at that time, about $100) per half-hour lesson, as late as 1997 (see Jiu-Jitsu in the South Zone, 1997-2008, chp. 3). In that sense, he was still teaching. Pelé was a living legend and national hero. Henry Kissinger wrote an article about him. Helio Gracie was not a living legend. He was not a national hero other than in the sense that at various brief points he had a limited fan following. Prior to 1993-94 some Brazilians, a dwindling group, admired him, while others viewed him as a self-seeking clown with criminal propensities. Most people never heard of him and didn't care. Obviously, that changed after the second UFCs and especially when the Japanese started writing checks.

Myth 17: Gracie Jiu-Jitsu fought a group of Karate representatives, who "preferred to fight on tile because they were sure they wouldn't go to the ground. Mats were placed around the area to prevent them from running away." 

Fact: The fights took place on Thursday, May 29, 1975,  at Clube Olimpico. It went down pretty much as Rorion described. There were ten matches, each scheduled for 10 minutes. "All the fights put together did not last more than 10 minutes." But they didn't try to run away. They tried to fight.

The karate men  were genuinely surprised at how easily they were defeated and attributed their losses to inadequate preparation. They challenged the Gracie Team to a rematch  (see Choque 3, chp. 15 for details).  People with karate experience may puzzle over the karate representatives' inept stance, hand position, lack of focus, posture in general, and trajectory of punches (loose, looping swings), all of which suggest minimal or no guidance from a legitimate instructor.  However, Helio did challenge a legitimate karate teacher, Yasutaka Tanaka, on May 10, 1966. As he always did, Helio barged into a class, bringing along a crowd of "supporters" and a photographer. In fact, Tanaka was not the target of Helio's challenge. Helio wanted to challenge Lirton Monassa, who was getting too much attention from the press, Helio believed. But when Helio arrived, Monassa wasn't there. So he challenged Monassa's assistant, Yasutaka Tanaka instead. Tanaka seemed to have no idea what Helio was talking about, but he accepted the challenge anyway. But Helio didn't want to fight Tanaka himself. He wanted Tanaka to fight Carlson, who was a professional fighter. Perhaps to Helio's surprise, Tanaka agreed (Choque 3, chp.  6 for details.)

Rorion emphasized that one Gracie representative was 13 years old (he kicked ass despite being 13 and having long hair). Press accounts did not mention that fact. Possibly because the event was prohibited by law (article 36 of law 3.199 of the statutes of the Conselho Nacional de Desportes--this was the period of military rule (1964-1985) in Brazil, when it was very risky to defy the authorities. The Gracies didn't care, they had friends in high places). Involving children in the illegal show might have attracted unwanted official scrutiny. But who knows?

Myth 18 is not precisely a myth but rather a string of somewhat misleading characterizations and interpretations. What follows the 1975 karate massacre (on the video) is a series of dojo matches and ring fights in Los Angeles and Brazil. Rickson fighting wrestlers, Rorion spanking  Ralph Alegria in Los Angeles and then two major events in Rio. Rorion presents them in reverse chronological order. The first one on GIA happened second, and vice-versa. The first (on GIA) was Ignacio Aragão vs. Bruce Lucio, Pinduka vs. Marco Ruas, Marcelo Behring vs. Flavio Molina, and Sergio Baterelli vs. Zulu. Rorion didn't show or mention the first match in the event, which was Renan Pitanguy, who lost to Eugenio Tadeu. Renan wore a kimono. Igancio was up next and took off his kimono. He won in classic Gracie style. Next Pinduka drew with Marco Ruas. Marco was a very tough guy in those days and as Rorion said, he did know ground grappling (Helio later gave him a black belt!).  Marcello Behring defeated Flavio Molina. These fights took place on November 30, 1984. The main event was kickboxer Sergio Baterelli versus Zulu. The purpose of the fight was to determine if Baterelli was qualified to fight Rickson Gracie, who had already declined Zulu's challenge for a third fight. The other matches were prelims. It's unclear why Rorion included a brawler with rudimentary striking and grappling skills (namely Zulu.) Maybe to suggest that Baterelli would have done better if he had taken some Brazilian jiu-jitsu lessons (which he later did, though it didn't help because he stuck to kickboxing and never got a shot at Rickson).  (For more about Ignacio Aragão, who was still training as of 2008, heavier than he was in 1984 but still in good shape, see Jiu-Jitsu in the South Zone, 1997-2008, chp. 21).

Rorion then shows the second Rickson vs. Zulu fight. Actually, this one happened before Zulu vs. Baterelli, on November 12, 1983 (see Choque 3, chp. 23 for correct details of the fight). Rorion says Zulu weighed 220, Rickson weighed 180. In fact, there was an official weigh-in on Wednesday November 9. Rickson weighed 79 or 80 kg (173.8 or 176 lbs.) depending on the report. Zulu weighed 91.8 kg (201.96 lbs.) Rorion had the weight difference about right. Apart from that, most of the fight is shown and it happened more or less as it seems. Zulu complained that Gracie supporters interfered and that the referee, Gracie associate Francisco Mansur, was biased, which contributed to his loss. Zulu was also 12 years older than Rickson, or to put it in comparative terms, 8 years older than Kimura was younger than Helio in 1951. 


Gracies in Action are still well-worth watching as long as we remember that they are marketing infomercials, not historical dissertations. 





For more Myths and Misconceptions, see:

Four Questions & Answers about BJJ History

The Backstory

Myths and Misconceptions in Gracies in Action 1

Myths and Misconceptions about Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in Pat Jordan's 1989 Playboy Article

Myths and Misconceptions in Gracies in Action 2

Myths and Misconceptions about Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in Japan

Myths about Mitsuyo Maeda (Conda Koma)

Myths and Misconceptions about Jiu-Jitsu and BJJ 



Don't miss the first article in this series, Top 30 Myths and Misconceptions about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, posted March 16, 2016, updated May 9, 2016,


Roberto Pedreira Quebra Siléncio (reveals the origins of the Myths and Misconceptions series)


Top 24 Myths and Misconceptions about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Pat Jordan's 1989 Playboy Article



(c) 2016, Roberto Pedreira. All rights reserved.











1.Page references to Choque 1 are specifically to the 2nd edition (2nd impression), issued August 3, 2015.

2. See Top 30 Myths for more about the Erwin Klausner match.

3. A Reader points out (May 16, 2016) that Matsuda was not a legitimate jiu-jitsu man, which is true, and that Cyriaco was a capoeira (aka capoeirista), not a boxer, which is true. But it is also true that many of the people who faced jiu-jitsu men were not legitimate practitioners of the art that they supposedly represented. A Reader sends the link below. It is accurate on all but one point. Payton (Matsuda) was not a student of Mitsuyo Maeda. Payton was already claiming to be the world's greatest judoka in London before Maeda arrived and exposed him as a fake, according to Japanese sources described in Craze 2. Below is the link to the well-written, competently researched (with most sources cited) McVey vs. Matsuda article.



Updated May 11, 2016.

Updated May 16, 2016

Updated November 8, 2021
















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