The final session at the historic Carlson Gracie Academy in Rio

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Final group photo at the Carlson Gracie Academy, in Rio

Final group photo at the Carlson Gracie Academy, in Rio. Photo by Luca Atalla

summer promoPeople started showing up little by little. The clock showed 5PM on a rainy evening of Tuesday when the first ones climbed the stairs for the final session at the historic Carlson Gracie Academy, at 414 Figueiredo de Magalhães St., in Copacabana.The host of the event was Carlson’s son, Carlson Gracie Jr. After 40 years of great service for Jiu-Jitsu, the school which symbol is a fierce but captivating bulldog is set to close its doors.

Alessandro “Fandango” was one of the first black belts to enter the famous dojo with blue mats. Disabled since he was victim of a terrible car accident, Fandango would not be stopped by the lack of elevators and made it to the third floor. He asked for the help of others and when one of those carrying him up started to breathe heavily, he said: “Come on, pace your breathing. That’s Jiu-Jitsu’s first lesson.”

It wasn’t just a farewell for former Carlson Gracie students. People from many other schools were present, like Alliance, Gracie Barra, Nova Geração, BTT, Gracie Humaitá. There were people from Chile, Japan, America and Canada, like Renzo Gracie Ottawa’s Pat Cooligan. The media was also there, and not only the Jiu-Jitsu media, but regular newspapers and TV stations from all over Brazil. Carlson Gracie Jr. explained many times why the school is closing: “It is by request of my mother, who cannot run the school anymore due to health reasons and the fact that I live in the USA.”

Part of the incredible roster of talents bred at the Carlson Gracie school was also there, like Carlão Barreto, Ricardo Libório, Ricardo de la Riva, Amaury Bitetti, Paulão Filho.

Reyson Gracie, Antonio Santos “Apaga Vela”, Master Orlando Saraiva and others were also present. The t-shirt handed out at the event read: “Legends never die.” Mauricio Carneiro, one of Carlson black belts said: “This Mecca of Jiu-Jitsu, which saw the birth of the strongest army of black belts and its founder will never die. Wherever there’s a Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, there will always be a Carlson Gracie seed.”

A moment of silence was observed in honor of Carlson and his son made the closing speech.

“Next year, 2016, marks ten years of my father’s passing. He had problems with some of his students but that is now part of the past. So I urge you to once again fight under the Carlson Gracie flag at the 2016 IBJJF Worlds Masters. Let’s go there and win another championship in his honor to prove the Carlson Gracie team is still the best.”

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