Gracie family PURPOSELY withheld details from non-family, BJJ veteran confirms

In a recent interview, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and MMA veteran Fabiano Iha confirmed long-standing rumors that the Gracie family would selectively teach techniques and even provide misinformation to some students.

Iha, who earned a black belt under Crolin Gracie, said that as students progressed up the belt rankings in the Gracie system, they would sometimes be taught techniques meant to “beat the system” rather than be fully effective. The implication was that the Gracies wanted to maintain a competitive advantage over non-family members.

“All I can say is that he was not lying about that.,” Iha said on Lytes out podcast, referencing comments made previously by Chris Brennan, American jiu-jitsu pioneer.

Once the secret got out that the Gracies were holding back information from students, there was no containing it, according to Iha.

“And then and then my opinion between Brazilian, Jiujitsu, guy and against American jujitsu guy. Is that the Brazilian, they born with a gift.”

“So they don’t need like, a gift of learning and do things very, like, like, fluid. Without a lot of training. On the on American side, what I see is that American guy when he’s good is he put a lot of timing, a lot of training into it, he is not as gifted as the Brazilians”

While the Gracie family is widely credited with introducing Brazilian jiu-jitsu to the world, their habit of selectively teaching techniques has been something of an open secret. Iha is one of the few to speak about it openly and directly confirm that the Gracies intentionally held back information from students they did not see as part of the family.

Iha fought for the UFC, Pride, and many other top organizations during the 1990s and 2000s. The revelation provides an insider perspective on the early days of MMA and the Gracie’s approach to spreading jiu-jitsu internationally while maintaining family dominance in the art.