Rickson (Brazilian portuguese; pronounced "H"ickson), son of Helio Gracie, was born into Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. At six years old he began competing; at fifteen he started to teach the art; and at eighteen he received his Black Belt. At twenty Rickson won his first awe-inspiring victory against the famous 230-pound Brazilian brawler Zulu who until that time had enjoyed a 140-match, undefeated record. With this victory, Rickson gained immediate national acclaim as the top free-style fighter, leaving his mark on the history of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and the Gracie challenge. Five years later Zulu requested a rematch and lost to Rickson again, in Maracanazinho before an audience of 20,000 spectators.
Rickson is a 7th Degree Black Belt Open Class Champion of the Gracie Family, whose technique is considered to be the finest expression of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in the world. His innate talent and early mastery of the sport have resulted in an impeccable undefeated record in more than 400 fights, including Jiu-Jitsu tournaments, free-style wrestling, Sambo, open weight free-style competitions, and no holds barred challenge matches. Rickson is a two time Brazilian Champion in free-style wrestling, a Gold Medal Winner of Sambo, and for almost two decades he has been the middle-heavyweight and no weight division World Jiu-Jitsu Champion. Most recently, he conquered Japan's elite fighting in a tournament, the Japan Open Vale Tudo, winning both in 1994 and 1995. At this time, Rickson was acknowledged by the Japanese for possessing the Samurai Spirit.
In the 1997 Pride 1 Vale Tudo match in Japan's Tokyo Dome (before 47,860 spectators), he defeated Japan's top ranked fighter, Nobuhiko Takada, in 4:47 of the first round. A year later, to the day, in the 1998 Pride 4 Vale Tudo match, Rickson defended his title. In the most awaited rematch in martial arts history, drawing an overwhelming 50,000 spectators to Japan's Tokyo Dome, Rickson defeated Takata once again. At Colosseum 2000, held at the Tokyo Dome, broadcast to 30 million TV Tokyo viewers (the highest viewed television program for its time slot), Rickson fought Japan's number one fighter, Masakatsu Funaki. He defeated his opponent with a rear naked choke in 11:46 of the first round.
Rickson has proven himself as accomplished a teacher as he is a competitor. He has been teaching his martial arts style for over 20 years and his array of students have included FBI Agents, SWAT Teams, Navy Seals, military personnel, martial artists of various styles, athletes and actors. His highly practical self-defense style is widely recognized as the superior martial art, for real-life situations.
Rickson Gracie founded theRickson Gracie International Jiu-Jitsu Association in 1996 in order to provide a thorough and complete system in which Jiu-Jitsu students, for the first time, are presented with clearly defined standards of progression relating to proper Belt Ranking and Testing. Through the Association, the traditional, technical and philosophical aspects of Jiu-Jitsu can be shared with students around the world.
Rickson presently competes in invitational tournaments and teaches on Special Tours and seminars as well as at the Rickson Gracie International Jiu-Jitsu Center in West Los Angeles. Rickson's students credit his teachings with the achievement of great self confidence, heightened awareness, stress reduction, youthful vitality, increased physical energy, balance improvement and inner peace.
A modern day legend, Rickson Gracie has gained international acclaim for his leadership in disseminating the art and philosophy of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. He espouses strong family values and a healthy life-style. He is the epitome of discipline, determination and sportsmanship.
REVIEWS AND TESTMONIALS
"Without question the best Jiu Jitsu fighter to ever live. The amount of dedication this man has shown for the art of Jiu Jitsu is astonishing. Knowing his greatness I was guaranteed an incredible experience at his academy. Training with Rickson is like trying to move a house. What he lacks in size he overwhelmingly compensates in technique and pressure. From the moment I engaged my guard, till the moment I was tapping, I felt as if there was nothing I could have done to better my situation. His basic techniques nullified my game almost immediately... So to all the non-believers, I can only try to persuade you to eliminate all doubt and open your mind to Rickson Gracie. - David Camarillo. BJJ Black Belt and creator of the Guerrilla Jiu Jitsu System.
"Rickson Gracie has fought masters of countless martial art styles, and beaten them all. He may be the best ever… Gracie is a master of techniques known as Jiu-Jitsu, or grappling. He uses human mechanics to devastating effect. Gracie exploits anatomical weaknesses to bring opponents to their knees… its pure physics." – National Geographic Fight Science Documentary.
"Rickson Gracie and me had a match in the BYU wrestling room in 1992. He made me tap out twice and told me I was the toughest guy he'd gone against. Rickson was the best fighter I'd ever seen. He still may be." - Mark Schultz. Wrestling gold medalist at the 1984 Olympics, 3x NCAA, 2x world champion, BJJ Black Belt & UFC Veteran.
"'I've never seen a Jiu-Jitsu like that in my life! I have trained with the toughest guys formed by Carlson Gracie. They were all great and I for sure don't want to diminish anybody, but I have to say that no one ever did to me what Rickson Gracie has done during training these last days." "I have no doubt that Rickson Gracie is the best ground fighter of all time. I bet on him against any athlete of today." - Paulo Filho, MMA Champion and member of the famous Brazilian Top Team.
"All the champions from Brazil, World champions and more - you can list the top ones up until today - and all get smoked and dominated with his [Rickson's] technique." - Rodrigo Vaghi (An official Rickson Gracie Black Belt).
"Rickson is the Champion of the Gracie Family. He is the strongest, has the best technique, and the sharpest mind." - Helio Gracie (Rickson's father). The Late Grand Master of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
"Rickson is 10 times better than me. He's the only one who can beat everybody." - Royce Gracie (Rickson's brother). 3x Winner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. 2x Winner K1 MMA. 1x Winner Pride 2000 MMA. The only no holds barred fighter in history to consecutively beat 4 fighters in one night.
"He [Rickson] may be number 1 in BJJ [Brazilian Jiu Jitsu], but in surfing I rule." - Royler Gracie (Rickson's brother) . 6th Degree BJJ Black Belt. Four Time World BJJ Champion. Three Time World Abu Dahbi Combat Champion.
"Once, to show me how you didn't need to use your hands to defend a neck choke, Rickson put one hand inside his belt and fought against Royce [Gracie] an Royler [Gracie] at the same time with only one arm! In 10 minutes of hard fighting they were unable to even come close to making him tap." - Todd Hester. Publisher and editor-in-chief of Gladiator Magazine
"When I was really small, I remember having asked Renzo [Gracie]: ‘Uncle, is Rickson everything they say he is?' And the answer has stuck in my head since: ‘No. He's much more.'" - Kyra Gracie (Rickson's niece) - 3x World BJJ Champion (2004,2006,2008), 5x Pan American BJJ Games Champion (2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007), 5x Brazilian BJJ Champion (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004), 5x New York State BJJ Champion (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002), 2x ADCC Submission Wrestling World Champion (2005, 2007), 1x Asiatic BJJ Champion (2006)
"For those of you who have been living in a cave and don't know who Rickson Gracie is, here's a little background on the man. He's a son of Helio Gracie and the brother of Royce, Rorion, Relson, Rolker and Royler. He's a seventh-degree black belt, and his technique is considered to be the finest expression of Brazilian - jujutsu in the world. Most people consider him the best fighter of the Gracie clan. His innate talent and early mastery of the sport have resulted in an undefeated record after more than 450 fights, including jujutsu tournaments, freestyle wrestling matches, sambo competitions, no-holds-barred events and street fights. (This is merely an overview of his career. If I listed all his wins, we would have to rename the magazine Rickson Gracie Illustrated.)" - Karate & Kung Fu Illustrated
"People try to compare Rickson with somebody but no one can compare Rickson in the jiu-jitsu because he's maybe 20 years forward from everybody. I am the 2 time World Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Champion and when I'm training with him I'm always tapping. He has a lot of skills and I think in jiu-jitsu nobody can beat him. I studied with him [Rickson] also in Brazil and have been coming to Los Angeles, off and on, for nearly eight years to take lessons. Rickson is more than just one man—he feels like 5 when you're fighting him. You have to sacrifice, sometimes, to study with the best, and Rickson is the best. There is only one Rickson Gracie and he is on a different level from everyone else." - Fabio Gurgel. 5th Degree Black Belt of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. 8x World Champion of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. ADCC World Champion. 4x Brazilian National Champion. 2x European Champion. Co-founder of the Alliance Jiu Jitsu Team.
"Rickson Gracie is a martial artist who truly needs no introduction. Everyone knows his name and his reputation as perhaps the toughest man in the world. The stoic Brazilian knows what people are saying about him, yet he keeps a relatively low profile. You won't see him lecturing about armbars on any instructional videotapes, you won't see his mug on a magazine cover every other month (at least not in the United States), and you won't see him fight in a no-holds-barred tournament any more than once every year or two. About the only contact the average martial artist will ever have with the grappling phenom is at one of his standing-room-only seminars or at the annual tournament he holds for members of his pack, the Rickson Gracie International Jiu-Jitsu Association." - Black Belt Magazine
Who is the best fighter in the Gracie family, in your opinion? " Each of us expresses our family's style through our personalities. That is why you see some of us more aggressive then others. Rickson is the best though." - Ralph Gracie (Rickson's cousin). Three Time Undefeated Extreme Fighting Champion. USWF Super Shoot Fight IV Champion. Fighting Record of 71-0-0. 3rd Degree Black Belt Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
"Rickson (pronounced 'Hickson') Gracie is undoubtedly one of the greatest fighters in the world today. In a martial arts world full of self proclaimed 'masters', he stands out as the real thing. I first met Rickson seven years ago and was impressed by his talent, honesty and integrity." - Combat Magazine
"When I was growing up all I heard was that Rickson would always submit his opponents. He wasn't interested in scoring points, he would just try to submit, and that really inspired me. That was the way I wanted to be. In my mind I don't worry about points, I just think about submission, the points are a consequence of that. I think Rickson's Jiu Jitsu is certainly the most efficient today." - Antonio "Nino" Schembri. Two time Brazilian Champion and Two time Pan American Champion. Pride 14 MMA Champion. Rickson Gracie International Jiu Jitsu Championships Black Belt Champion.
"I'm a fan too and I'm going crazy waiting to see him [Rickson] fight soon." - Renzo Gracie (Rickson's cousin). 5th Degree BJJ Black Belt. 2x Brazilian National Champion. 2x Abu Dhabi World Champion. World Combat Champion. Reality Superfight Champion.
"Rickson has an amazing undefeated record after a lifetime career of more than 400 fights: jiu-jitsu tournaments, free-style wrestling, sambo, open weight free-style competitions, no holds barred challenge matches, and street fights. He is regarded by many as the best no-holds-barred fighter in the world." - BJJ.org
"Rickson Gracie is the best. If you doubt him, go ahead and give him a call and he'll show you. I like Rickson a lot. He is well respected in Brazil and he has done so much for the art. He's accomplished more in his career than anyone else will ever do in their life in Jiu-Jitsu. All the people should have a lot of respect for him and for what he's done." - Pedro Carvalho. 3rd Degree Black Belt of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
"Rickson Gracie has been said to have the most perfect technique of any member of the legendary Gracie family, creators of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Rickson has dedicated his life to martial arts and is considered by many to be the best fighter on the planet. He is a man of honor, tradition, honesty, and kindness. He is proud to be both a family man and a modern day warrior. He is undefeated in vale tudo [MMA], ending all fights via submission or choke." - The book: Grappling Masters by Jose Fraguas.
"Rickson is an icon of our sport and it will always be a pleasure to see him in action." - Wanderlei Silva. Chute Boxe and MMA Fighter
"He is a martial arts myth and has nothing left to prove... Rickson will always do well. He will follow his same old style, do the same thing as always and the opponents will be submitted the same way. Adversaries will tap out even if they know his game. He is one of rare fighters I've seen in action who do not give up ground positions. Many regarded as aces in JJ fail in submitting their adversaries because they can't hold on to the ground positions. I doubt that's going to happen to Rickson... I bet on him against anyone." - Fabricio Werdum. BJJ black-belt and MMA fighter
"Mr. Rickson Gracie, Master of the masters...He is the best ever...Water is always fresh and pure at the source...We are officially a Rickson Gracie School, so we have a more reliable [or higher] standard of Jiu-Jitsu" - Luis Heredia. Three Time Consecutive Winner, Pan-American Black Belt Jiu Jitsu Championships (An official Rickson Gracie Black Belt).
"Rickson is way beyond everyone. He can touch your head, your emotions and your mind...Without a doubt, Rickson Gracie is the best fighter ever." - Carlos "Cao" Valente - Head of the Valente Academy with more than 40 BJJ schools worldwide. Black Belt Student of Rickson Gracie (Former Student of Rolls Gracie).
"His Jiu-Jitsu style is the most perfect I've ever seen... Until today I hear stories of how he is able to dominate several top fighters that train with him." - Allan Gumby. Onthemat.com columnist
"If you have ever seen a boa constrictor eat a live animal, then you know what a Rickson Gracie fight looks like... Gracie so outclassed and dominated his opponents that his efforts seemed strangely non-violent, almost nonchalant." - Fight Magazine