Gracie family announces death of Robson Gracie, father of Renzo and Ralph Gracie

Carlos Robson Gracie Sr. commonly known as Robson Gracie was born in 1935 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as the second son of Carlos Gracie, the founder of Gracie Jiu Jitsu.

Like all the male children in the Gracie family, Robson started training in Jiu Jitsu at a very young age. His passion for the sport led him to become an instructor at the Gracie Academy in the 1950s.

During this time, he lived at the gym with other legendary coaches, including Carlson Gracie, Joao Alberto Barreto, and Helio Vígio.

Robson Gracie made his debut in Vale Tudo in April 1957 against Artur Emídio. Robson’s tenacity and wildness, which characterized him throughout his life, were on full display as he submitted his opponent but refused to release the submission until the referee pulled him away.

The incident caused a stir in the media, and Carlos Gracie had to publicly apologize for his son’s behavior.

Another interesting event in Robson’s career was his bout against Waldo Santana, the brother of Waldemar Santana. Despite not being known for his strict training regime, Robson took the challenge on with only 15 days’ notice and had not trained for months.

His lack of preparation was evident on the day of the event, but Robson showed courage in defeat. When he was hit by a hard punch from Waldo, Robson felt a loose tooth in his mouth. Rather than give the satisfaction to his opponent of watching him spit it out, Robson chose to swallow his tooth.

Although he was small in size, Robson’s last name carried weight in any circuit within Rio de Janeiro in the 1960s. Due to his connections, he was invited to be a bodyguard for Leonel Brizola, who was the brother-in-law of João Goulart, the president of Brazil at the time.

However, on April 1, 1964, a military coup d’état ousted Goulart from his presidency. Due to his previous connections, Robson’s actions became closely followed by the military regime.

Despite not following any particular political view, Robson helped the Brazilian guerilla movement and his actions led the DOI-CODI (Brazilian secret services) to arrest him. On the day of his arrest, Rolls Gracie was visiting his brother, and Robson’s wife, Vera Lucia, was also indoors when the police arrived.

The three were arrested, but Rolls was soon released as the police realized he had no contact with the opposing parties. However, Robson and Vera were violently tortured and kept in custody.

In 1983, Robson Gracie was appointed as the President of the Superintendence of Sport in Rio de Janeiro (SUDERJ). In this role, he was responsible for promoting sports and physical activity in the city. Robson was able to use this position to elevate the profile of Jiu-Jitsu in Rio de Janeiro and beyond.

Under Robson’s leadership, the Jiu-Jitsu Federation of Rio de Janeiro (FJJERJ) was founded, and he served as its president for many years. During this time, he worked tirelessly to promote Jiu-Jitsu and expand its reach, organizing tournaments and events, and training the next generation of Jiu-Jitsu practitioners.

His passing was confirmed by immediate family.

Robson Gracie was the eldest living member of the legendary Gracie family at 88. He passed away on Friday at the age of 88 in Rio de Janeiro from cardiac arrest.

Kyra Gracie announces passing of Robson Gracie

Kyra Gracie recently did a podcast interview with the red belt and shared the news on her social media saying:

“Last week I recorded my podcast with my grandfather, not knowing that this would be his last message!

Lucky for me, I enjoyed life with him a lot and I am grateful to have him as one of the main pillars of my education.

The good memories of the championships remain, teachings about food, life stories…. He called me kykyra – Champion!

12 children, many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and a lifetime dedicated to Jiu-Jitsu.

I want to thank you for the thousands of messages of affection we are receiving.

Even knowing that this is the natural path of life, this passage is very difficult for those who stay.

Tomorrow he will have a beautiful tribute, as he deserves, for everything he planted.

Thank you, go in peace, my dear and beloved little voice. You can let the legacy continue here”