It was a Saturday marked by tributes and re-encounters between the Gracie family and some of their most illustrious students in Brazil. Along with Abrafe (the Brazilian association of sporting federations), the family was at Rio de Janeiro’s yacht club on the 3rd to meet up with black belts Luiz Fux (STF), José de Moraes Correia (vice-president of the Rio treasury) Sergio Zveiter (secretary of employment), José Mariano Beltrame (Rio safety secretary), police officer Redley Vigio and brain surgeon Paulo Niemeyer Filho.
The personalities to attend recounted old stories, remembered moments from their youth and how sport, especially Jiu-Jitsu, helped build the people they are today. The party also recapped the first four years of Kapacidade, an outreach program where Kyra Gracie teaches Jiu-Jitsu to 150 children who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to benefit from the art.
From masters Robson to Rickson Gracie, the family members stressed the importance of sport as a means for social inclusion, education, skill building, providing discipline, raising self-esteem, and changing the destinies of weakly youths of all origins, so that one day they may become successful professionals.
Renowned brain surgeon Paulo Niemeyer was a presented with an honorary black belt for his meaningful and life-changing work. Sergio Zveiter was promoted to six-degree black belt by his teacher, Rickson Gracie. José de Moraes had an eighth stripe added to his black belt by UFC star Vitor Belfort.
Kyra Gracie, the only female black belt in the family, received her second stripe from nine-year-old Rayron Gracie. Redley Vigio Gomes, a policeman and red-and-black belt who still teaches despite being paralytic, was paid tribute by his father, Helio Vigio Gomes, a police chief. Now supreme court justice Luiz Fux was honored with the seventh stripe on his black belt, which was rewarded by family patriarch Robson Gracie.
And lastly, Rickson Gracie was given a tribute of his own. The undefeated champion of the family was presented with his eighth stripe by Zé Moraes.