Master Carlos Gracie Jr.
Carlos Gracie Jr. was born in January 17, 1956 and grew up heavily influenced by his family of fighters. In close sync with the life philosophy and teachings of his father Carlos Gracie Sr., Carlinhos as he’s known to friends and family, grew up observing and learning from some of the most influential figures his family has ever produced: Carlos, Helio and Rolls.
The most significant years of his childhood and early teenage years were spent in the mountains of Rio de Janeiro at the legendary Teresópolis House a sprawling ranch with numerous rooms where most of Carlos and Helio’s sons lived and trained together for many years. There, Carlos Gracie Jr. learned to live in a community in which all members need to get along, share, and learn from one another; a dynamic that seems to have become an ideal for him. In many ways, Master Carlos seems to be replicating that communal setting in a larger scale today the same environment that nurtured his personal development at the old Teresópolis House. There are those who even attribute the tremendous success he has had in an array of different fields to being the outcome of that philosophy.
From One School to Over 900 Schools
In 1986, Carlos Gracie Jr. founded the first Gracie Barra school, in the city of Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro. From that one location he created the most expansive BJJ organization there is, with offices in the USA, Brazil, Australia and Europe and around 600 hundred schools spanning the world.
He created a structure that could protect the Gracie Barra banner while still offering support to instructors and school owners, to create career opportunities via certification programs and professional training. The aim of the schools is to help their communities by offering Jiu-Jitsu for everyone.
Gracie Barra’s reputation drew international attention, and Master Carlos created opportunities for hundreds of people to travel abroad and begin international careers. In 2005, Carlos founded his own school outside Brazil, the Gracie Barra US headquarters, located in the city of Irvine, California.
His goal now is to bring Jiu-Jitsu to everyone, and he will accomplish that by establishing a school in every city in the world.
Gracie Barra's Philosophy - A Testimonial of a Disciple
Master Carlos Gracie Jr. believes that proper teaching does not make winning the ultimate goal. The greatest victories at Gracie Barra are always a consequence of the process and of embracing training as the best method through which one can test their personal limits.
Losing helps us to evolve into better athletes and competitors and should not be perceived as failure. Instead, Master Gracie believes these lessons should leave our self-respect intact as different facets of competition are wholly out of our control: the talent and experience of the other athletes, errors by referees, injuries and bad luck.
Because of this, he accepts physical errors but not mental ones. Our preparation, planning, attention to detail and the development of discipline and willpower are always seen as the top priority in the training process.
Inside the school, Master Carlos Gracie Jr. doesn’t limit his teaching to techniques, but also forming character. From the beginning he instills us with the understanding that the fundamentals for good Jiu-Jitsu are also fundamentals of good character. Without honesty, integrity, discipline and unselfish acts, one cannot become the great athlete he or she strives to be. As Master Carlos teaches us, if you want to truly know someone, pay attention to them as they fight. When one is engaged in struggle or combat, they cannot hide their true personality.
Gracie Barra’s success throughout the years means other teams typically see us as a major rival. While getting to the top is difficult, staying there or near there over time is an even bigger challenge. It takes a special group of people to handle that pressure. Still, our team is always ready to deal with the expectations because of the manner in which Master Gracie conducts training. His teaching philosophy is also notable. He focuses on building not only our techniques but, more importantly, our self-confidence, giving us a mental edge. He achieves this by using positive reinforcement as a tool to influence behavior rather than pressure. The result? Win or lose, he creates a group of athletes who feel a deep sense of loyalty and commitment to him and the Gracie Barra family.
Master Carlos Gracie Jr. isn’t the type of instructor that would pressure you at every tournament, screaming from the sidelines.
Instead, his lessons are felt each day, slowly growing on you, where you feel it constantly, in every aspect of your being. The true guidance he provides is in realizing that success in Jiu-Jitsu must be an extension of one’s life, and that building confidence and a commitment to excellence must be cultivated over time.
His method of building champions is not through last minute speeches providing superficial motivation. The athletes and instructors at our school learn that becoming a champion on and off the mat takes time, hard work and dedication built over the years.
Competition is always a very serious subject, but Master Carlos Gracie Jr. describes it as a test of our mindset and maturity. Conversations about matches never revolve around opponents but are seen as a fight against ourselves in our quest for self-mastery.
Going into a tournament, our thoughts are always the same: to trust in our abilities and our techniques. He inspires us to believe in ourselves and our skills and to impose our will upon our opponents, not reacting to them.
Because Master Carlos Gracie Jr. believes in us, he is always able to make us feel we are unstoppable. Even in defeat, he looks upon us not with scorn, but always shows how proud he is of our efforts “on the battlefield.” He makes you understand how much respect he has for the way you fight.
This is why when you see an athlete bearing the Gracie Barra shield on his uniform you see a competitor who is filled with an overwhelming sense of pride for the legacy and heritage we share.
Today, I am very grateful to Master Carlos, not only for being a GB instructor, but also for having been a great Master, father figure and best friend. It is not medals or trophies which inspire me – it is the lessons I have learned from him which give me strength and courage. I will never let him down.