It was on January 29, 2009, exactly a year ago, that Grandmaster Helio Gracie left us. But while there are still Jiu-Jitsu academies, the weak, women and children getting stronger through the art, his legacy shall only become more and more pervasive.
It needn’t be a special occasion for you to remember the teacher, and no matter what the tribute, it will never be enough to fully honor him. Even so, we set aside this video in which Helio does what he likes doing best.
This match, where he from the bottom choked unconscious an opponent 15 kg his heavier and even advised the distracted referee what he had done, was a milestone in the grandmaster’s career. “It was the biggest thrill of my life,” he was quoted as saying in the newspapers of the time. And he confirmed it to GRACIEMAG 50 years thereafter: “It is true, because I found out my Jiu-Jitsu was superior to his.”
Check out the video and then read the technical breakdown of the hold, below:
Helio narrated the outcome of the fight: “He didn’t realize my other hand had gone in directly into the flap of the gi. We were trying for the choke, both of us with the hold in place, but it happened that Kato couldn’t get past the barrier of my legs, making my hold more effective and bringing us to the decisive phase of the fight.
“I noticed he gave up the hold to defend his neck, consummating my positional supremacy. I tightened the hold and Kato began to falter, his grip on my wrists weakening. So I held the choke in place and brought the referee’s attention to what was going on: ‘He’s going to pass out.’ The ref didn’t hear me or didn’t understand, but, in the end, I let him drop to the side, Kato landing with a thud,” recounted the professor, on “O Globo” TV.
He will be forever missed.