Rorion Gracie began his odyssey into the world of martial arts as an infant. Literally before he could walk, he was receiving his first lessons in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu from his father, Grand Master Helio Gracie. "In my family," laughs Rorion, "learning Jiu-Jitsu was not only encouraged, but it was also necessary." In South America, the Gracies were clearly masters of their domain. Rorion, however, was not content to simply rule in the kingdom conquered by his father. Anxious to make his own mark, he began to look northward. During an exploratory visit to the U.S in the late 1960's at the age of 17, which included some great experiences like making good friends, watching Jimmy Hendrix and Sly and the Family Stone, and others not so great, like panhandling and sleeping on newspapers on the sidewalk, Rorion became convinced that America was a great platform for him to showcase his family's style of jiu-jitsu. After graduating with a law degree from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in 1978, he returned to the United States with the objective spreading the "Gracie Cause".
In a country as diverse and distracted as America, Rorion knew he would have to do something startling to convince martial artists as to the effectiveness of his family's art. In a 1989 issue of "Playboy Magazine", in an article titled "BAD" by Pat Jordan, he issued what became known as "The Gracie Challenge." Simply put: Rorion Gracie was willing to fight anyone, regardless of style, weight, or reputation, in a bare-knuckle, no-holds-barred match and he was willing to put up $100,000 to back his claim.
The word of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu's startling techniques spread like wildfire. Suddenly, Rorion who worked for a while as extra in Hollywood, eventually began training the likes of Mel Gibson and Rene Russo for the "Lethal Weapon" series.
In the summer of 1989, after teaching for ten years in his garage, he opened the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Torrance, Ca. Since then, major names in the entertainment industry, including John Milius, Ed O'Neill, Nicolas Cage, Guy Ritchie, Jim Carrey, Vince Vaughn, Keanu Reeves, David Mamet, Chuck Norris, Scarlett Johansson, Demi Lovato, Naomi Watts, Milla Jovovich, among others, have embraced the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu fever.
In 1993, Rorion started a worldwide frenzy when he created "The Ultimate Fighting Championship", a bare-knuckle, no-holds-barred tournament featuring martial artists from around the world.
Way ahead of its time, in 1995, he developed the first ever martial arts instructional CD-ROM, "Gracie Total Defense."
In another bold and creative endeavor, Rorion launched the first of several "Gracie Cruises," a unique combination of fun, sun, and jiu-jitsu on the high seas. His documentary DVDs, "Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in Action" and "In Action 2," along with his instructional DVDs series, "Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Basics," "Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Intermediate," "Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Advanced," "Gracie Street Self-Defense," became the fastest selling martial arts series in the world.
Immediately after the first UFC, a high ranked military group from the US Army requested that he developed a new hand-to-hand combatives program for the soldiers. The result was Gracie Resisting Attack Procedures for Law Enforcement G.R.A.P.L.E. (now G.S.T.), which has since been officially adopted by every branch of the military as well as every major federal law enforcement agency including the FBI, DEA, DOD, Border Patrol, ATF, and countless police departments across the country.
In 2002, to celebrate his father's 90th birthday, Rorion founded the "Gracie Museum" where fans from all over the world can marvel at an amazing display of memorabilia from the Gracie Family Heritage, dating back to the early 1900's, which can be seen virtually here ( please insert hyperlink to www.graciemuseum.com
When he decided to publish an instructional book to perpetuate his father's original self-defense program, Rorion founded "Gracie Publications." to released Gracie Jiu-jitsu -- The Master Text. This hardcover masterpiece with over 1100 pictures by renowned sports photographer, Thomas de Soto, is the only instructional book by Grand Master Helio Gracie.
In 2005, Rorion was promoted by his father to 9th degree Red Belt, placing him among the highest ranked Gracie Jiu-jitsu experts in the world.
His book The Gracie Diet based on food combination concepts developed by his uncle Carlos Gracie after 65 years of research, was released in the US and in Brazil, and quickly became a best seller in both countries.
The overwhelmingly positive feedback from those who experiment this nonrestrictive food combination program, pushed Rorion to do motivational and wellness seminars worldwide.
Rorion, who lives in Southern California with his wife, Silvia, is assuring the world that the legacy does not stop with him. On any given day, some of his ten children can be found teaching, training, and learning what it takes to carry on the Gracie tradition.