Renzo Gracie Awards Carlos Gracie Jr. His Red and Black Belt

An emotional Renzo Gracie presents his uncle Carlos Gracie Jr. with his red and black belt, an elite rank in Brazilian jiu-jitsu held by very few practitioners. Carlos Gracie Jr. is the head of the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation and the leader of Gracie Barra.

(If you’d like to see the original, clearer version of this video, it’s found in m4v format on our BJJ Video page!)


TRANSCRIPTION OF RENZO GRACIE’S SPEECH

Renzo Gracie: You guys expect me to be funny, huh?

[audience laughter]

Honestly, a few years back I was sitting at the table in the kitchen with my grandfather. And when my grandfather ate, he never talked much. As he was eating, suddenly Carlinhos started training with his brother inside the kitchen. They start – BOOM! BOOM! going at each other, they fell into his plate. He pulled the plate back, laid back, they fell, they went back, he put the plate back down and kept eating. On that day I knew I didn’t belong to an ordinary family.

[audience laughter]

And in the end he just asked, “Who won?”

[audience laughter]

And they looked at each other and said, “It was a draw!”

[audience laughter]

I still remember when I belonged to Gracie Barra when Carlinhos moved to Gracie Barra and I remember the time that we had only six students. Me, Sergio Ignacio, my brother Ralph [Gracie], so the relatives and like three or four more students. And I remember [Carlos Gracie Jr] teaching patiently. And the ring was like this size.

[motions to a small area where he is standing]

That’s how it actually started. So to look around and today we see this, it’s really unbelievable, you know? And I honestly the most important thing I think that was inside that mat…

I happen to be his relative. I tried to run away from him but I couldn’t. He is brothers of my father and cousin of my mother. It looks like one of those episodes of Beverly Hillbillies!

[audience laughter]

But I remember after a training session… He looks at me and he goes, “WHAT do I do with you? What can I do with you?” Like I was the worst by far. My whole life I was 145 pounds. Everybody else was stronger, everybody else was squashing me. And when they wanted to warm up they would call me over.

[audience laughter]

But the secret of the sport is that while you are the nail hanging in there, let them hit you.

[makes the motion of swinging a hammer]

Until the day that you become the hammer, and then you smash them back.

[audience laughter]

I think that’s the reason they invited me here to give him the belt.

[audience laughter]

But the reality is, the most enriching thing I ever had was on mats like this.

[gestures to the jiu-jitsu mats on the floor]

It was experience to interact with people like you, to exchange knowledge, and to have a bad day and have someone else come and hug you on the shoulder and asks how you are doing, asks if you need anything, and maybe tries to teach you a move, tries to ask you about a move… So this is actually what this is all about. Being a champion, everything else: time has a habit of deleting, but I think the love that I had the chance to have my whole life, in his academy, was the most important thing.

[begins tearing up]

You guys are not laughing!!

[audience laughter]

You guys look at the difference!

[motions to his black belt]

This is the black belt he gave me ten years ago. And the problem is, I’m gonna die with this. I’m gonna wear this till I die and take it to the grave.

[audience laughter]

The belt’s brand happens to be Wacko. That’s the brand of the belt. This is the cheapest belt you could ever have.

[audience laughter]

I was expecting a brand new Mizuno, with gold letters on my name written on it, and he came with this! And I cannot get rid of it now, I’m gonna wear it till I die. And I look at this…

[gestures to the red and black belt for Carlos Gracie Jr.]

… and it’s a very nice belt, so be proud!

[hands red and black belt to Carlos Gracie Jr.]

[applause]

7 thoughts on “Renzo Gracie Awards Carlos Gracie Jr. His Red and Black Belt”

  1. That’s awesome. Renzo remains to be one of my all time favorite Gracies. I’m glad it was him giving Carlinhos his belt. Love him or hate him you can’t deny the impact that Carlos Jr. has had on the BJJ world. I hope to shake his hand on Sunday.

  2. This is why i love jiujitsu…seeing how it changed the lives of so many.

    Renzo is great, and is one of my favorite gracies as well.

  3. How is Renzo giving Carlos Jr. the belt? as Renzo is only a 5 th degree black belt and Carlos being a 7th? just curious.

  4. @eastvan mmm: Renzo gave Carlos Junior the red and black belt on behalf of all Gracie Barra. At the time there was no one in the Gracie Barra organization who was a red and black belt that they could ask to present one to Carlos Junior.

  5. Even though I’m not Gracie Barra, I think it’s great that Carlos Gracie, Jr. received his 7th degree red and black belt after so many decades of dedication. However, I was just curious are the Gracie’s allowed to promote themselves to higher ranks? I know that Carlos, Jr. is the head of the Gracie Barra organization, but he does have several older brothers who are already 7th, 8th, and 9th degrees, who could have awarded him his belt. One of those 9th degree red belts is Renzo’s father Carlos Robson Gracie. Also at the time Helio Gracie was still alive and he could have presented him with his belt. Does Carlos Gracie, Jr. not want or have issues accepting rank from his relatives?

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