For a long time we Brazilian jiu-jitsu fanatics have relied on Kid Peligro’s wonderful book, The Gracie Way to read about the history of our favorite sport and martial art.
This year Carlos Gracie: The Creator of a Dynasty was published in Brazil. The book is a biography of Helio Gracie’s brother Carlos and was written by Reila Gracie, who is the mother of Roger Gracie.
Some quick stats:
- contains almost 100 photos of the Gracie family history and jiu-jitsu history
- 561 pages
- written in Portuguese
- contains a giant, sprawling Gracie Family tree to help readers remember who is who among the prolific family (Carlos Gracie had 21 children, and Helio had nine!)
I have not had time to read the book as I just received it on Monday night. But I thought you might like a quick look at the book as it is currently only available in Brazil.
Some people continue to debate whether it was Carlos Gracie or Helio Gracie who contributed more to the development of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. In the excerpt below that I have translated from pages 547 and 548, Reila explains:
After the expansion of jiu-jitsu in the United States, mostly as a result of Rorion Gracie’s efforts, there was an attempt to minimize, and in some cases, an attempt to omit the important role of Carlos Gracie in the history of jiu-jitsu in Brazil and in the construction of the family dynasty. The marketing strategy used by Rorion consisted in highlighting the role of his father, my uncle Helio, in a way that augmented, by extension, his own importance and that of his brothers… This book has the aim of telling how things really happened.
As I said, this is still a point of contention for some people in the Gracie family. But I can say for my part, and probably that of most BJJ practitioners out there today, it is irrelevant. We are simply thankful that we have jiu-jitsu in our lives.
The book Carlos Gracie: The Creator of a Dynasty looks like a great read and I look forward to digging into it. Many thanks to my instructor Fabio Santos for loaning me his copy!