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Jim Hughes & Gracie Brazilian Jiu JItsu...

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Royce Gracie's Father, Grandmaster Helio Gracie Passes Away January 19,2009

The beloved professor and innovator of Gracie Jiu Jitsu, Legendary Grandmaster Helio Gracie, passed away in Brazil. Jim Hughes, Royce Gracie Black Belt and head of a network of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Self Defense and MMA Schools throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts says "Helio Gracie is the tiny seed that became the mighty Oak that protects and shades many."

West Hartford, CT, February 09, 2009 --( Mr. Hughes continues, "Our deepest sympathy to Royce and the entire Gracie Family. While we are sad and feel an immense loss, we will honor and celebrate his life by living the examples he gave of positive attitude and the joy of life long learning. His Art, Gracie Jiu Jitsu, gives those of us who are small, weak, and vulnerable, hope, as well as a fighting chance, in the face of overwhelming obstacles. Helio Gracie is a true living master. What he sparked in his students lives forever.” Mr. Gracie was born October 1, 1913 he learned jiu jitsu from his older brothers who studied with a Japanese student of Kano named Maeda. Helio went on to adapt his practice to fit his small stature and made many innovations. The Gracie Family art evolved into what is now called Gracie Jiu Jitsu, or the more generic, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Mr. Gracie made an appearance at the first UFC to corner his son, now legendary Royce Gracie.

Royce Gracie said this about his father: "I am honored to be the son of such a great man! He was an inspiration to me throughout my life. As a Grandmaster of Jiu-Jitsu and the father of "Vale Tudo" he brought Gracie Jiu-Jitsu to the forefront of martial arts. He was a man of small stature but his heart was that of a giant. He proved with Gracie Jiu-Jitsu that even a small man could overcome a bigger stronger opponent by using leverage and technique. He was truly an innovator. Just look around and you can see how his success gave birth to the sport of mixed martial arts that we all enjoy today.

Many of you may think that the greatest thing my father ever gave me was Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. But I want all of you to know that I will remember him most for what he taught me off the matt. He taught me how to be a man, a husband and a father. He showed me how to be honorable, respectful and diligent. He taught me how to be a whole person.

I ask that together we celebrate the remarkable life of my father, Helio Gracie. The greatest tribute you can to pay to my father is to continue to train and share Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, remembering to never lose sight of the fact that what you do off the matt counts more than what you do on the matt. Face life's challenges with confidence, dare to pursue your dreams and live to the fullest just as my father did."

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Judy Mulkern

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