A tribute to Helio Gracie in his passing...
Helio Gracie passed away on Thursday at the age of 95. I had the honor and pleasure of meeting him in Japan and being approved by him as the referee for the famous mma rematch to the controversial grappling bout between his son Royce Gracie and Japanese judo legend, Hidehiko Yoshida. I was fortunate to have been able to express my gratitude to him for his unparrallelled contribution to the martial arts world that has brought us where we are today and will continue as long as MMA and grappling arts exist.
Although I have never trained in jiu jitsu and hold no belt, his revolutionary methods, that have been built upon by his family, have been a tremendous influence to me. There are no mma or grappling practitioners today who have not been influenced by what he created. Whether they realize it and credit him or not.
In modern time, there have been many influences in the martial arts world, such as, Bruce Lee, Steven Segal and Jean-Claude Van Damme. Helio Gracie had the courage to make real what the others only fantasized about and performed in the movies. Not only did Helio have the courage to try, he also succeeded, backed up his claims, revolutionized martial arts, and passed it on to his family and the world for eternity.
For that, Helio Gracie will always be a hero and legend that is due our utmost respect and gratitude.
May he rest in peace and honor.