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On Carlos Gracie Jr’s birthday, celebrate his mission of changing people’s lives with BJJ

Carlos Gracie Jr. Photo Gustavo Aragão
Carlos Gracie Jr. Photo Gustavo Aragão

Master Carlos Gracie Jr was awarded his red and white belt on April 25, 2015. It means he is now an 8th degree black belt. This is the last step before the red belt, the highest rank you can achieve in Jiu-Jitsu. GRACIEMAG took the opportunity to talk to Master Carlos and got him to reflect on the meaning of the new belt color and also look back on a life dedicated to the gentle art and the improving of so many people’s lives.

This interview was published on GRACIEMA 219, on June 2015.

GRACIEMAG: What does the red and white belt mean to you?

Carlos Gracie Jr: It meant the recognition of years of dedication to Jiu-Jitsu. It’s like in the military when we get to the next ranking. If I was a general, I would have gotten my fourth star. If I someday get the red belt, that will be the fifth star. The highest anyone can get in Jiu-Jitsu.

If you had to define what Jiu-Jitsu is to you in a few words, what would you say?

Jiu-Jitsu is a mission. It’s a mission that was passed on to me because I was born in the Gracie family and because my father was the precursor of the gentle art. If wasn’t for him, Jiu-Jitsu would not have continued on. So, everyone that came after him worked to make Jiu-Jitsu a tool to bring people together and to better people’s lives. The way I see, Jiu-Jitsu is a powerful tool to make people healthier both physically and mentally. It causes people to meet other people and create a brotherhood of good no matter the origin, social status, ethnicity and gender of each person.

Photo: Gustavo Aragão
Photo: Gustavo Aragão

Would you be able to point out the greatest benefit Jiu-Jitsu brought to your life?

Jiu-Jitsu made me who I am. It shaped my personality, brought all my friends and all the lessons I learned in life came through Jiu-Jitsu. Jiu-Jitsu is the engine that propelled my life. That’s why I dedicate so much of my daily life to spreading Jiu-Jitsu to as much people as I can. I want people to receive the same benefit from Jiu-Jitsu that I got. I couldn’t imagine how I would be without it.

What would you say to a white belt on his first Jiu-Jitsu class if he had asked you an advice to become a black belt?

Jiu-Jitsu is a guide for one’s life. It’s going to teach you to be humble when you get smashed on the mat. It will teach you to be wise enough to live life to the fullest and enjoy all its stages. It will also teach you that your importance to the world is equal to the benefit you make to the world and to other people. After you die, what will remain is what you left to others. That’s your legacy. So, what I try to pass to the newcomer is that Jiu-Jitsu is much more than a way of fighting, but a philosophy and a great tool to better his life. It’s going to be his greatest master.

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