Robson Gracie Sr Passes Away Aged 88

The son of BJJ trailblazer Carlos Gracie Snr, the father of jiu jitsu greats, Renzo, Ralph and Ryan, the eldest living Gracie and an integral part of the origins of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), Grandmaster Robson Gracie has died aged 88.

Robson also fathered over 11 children in his lifetime. On April 29, 2023, Robson’s granddaughter Kyra Gracie announced on Instagram the passing of her beloved grandfather:

She captioned the post, “Hoje o Jiu-Jitsu se despede do Grande Mestre Robson Gracie, patriarca da Família Gracie e faixa vermelha. Eu me despeço do meu eterno avô amado que é uma das pessoas mais importantes da minha vida. 🙏💔”, which translates to, “Today Jiu-Jitsu says goodbye to Grand Master Robson Gracie, patriarch of the Gracie Family and red belt.I say goodbye to my eternal beloved grandfather who is one of the most important people in my life. 🙏💔”

Robson was one of the very few people to reach the level of red belt (9th Degree) in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – a rank reserved for over 48 years of commitment to BJJ. To become a BJJ red belt, you would need to have trained your entire life, you would also be over 60 years of age.

He earned his black belt in the 1950s and taught the sport as well as competed. Robson earnt his black belt from his father and the lineage before his father goes back to 5″4 martial arts legend Mitsuyo Maeda who was the Japanese Judoka who pioneered judo in Brazil, which eventually lead to the invention and creation of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Robson Gracie fought in the old school MMA style, Vale Tudo for over two decades before becoming a political prisoner in the 1960s. Fortunately after sixty days of incarceration, Robson would get his release. An absolute legend of the game.

Similar to his relatives and those who came before him, Robson wasn’t that big of a guy; earning him the nickname of ‘Nanico’ which translates to ‘small/short person’ which was an indicator of his small frame.

There is still no information about the cause of death, which occurred on April 28, but hopefully it was a peaceful one.

Lucy Wynne

BJJ Purple Belt living in, London, England. I began training BJJ back in 2017, when I was at university, and have trained ever since. #OSS Instagram: @journowynne

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