Tuesday, September 04, 2007


"The old man loved it," Royler guarantees

Helio and clippings from reports about him / Photo: Gustavo Aragao;o
By Julia Lindenberg

94-year-old Master tickled with joy

This week's issue of Veja Rio managed to do what we could say is the privilege of GRACIE Magazine. It stamped on its cover the greatest living Jiu-Jitsu icon: Helio Gracie. Helio, who doesn’t usually agree to do interviews, made an exception and was paid homage along with other ninety-some year old Brazilians like the honorary president of Fifa, João Havelange, and the architect Oscar Niemeyer.

If we were to look at Helio Gracie’s ID card we would conclude that he has enjoyed 93 years of life. But, born on the 1st of October in 1913, the Jiu-Jitsu grandmaster does not consider this to be his real age. According to Royler Gracie, Helio's fifth son, he considers himself on the verge of turning 95. "That's because he counts the year he was in the belly."

It was not easy to obtain photos and declarations from Helio Gracie. “Jealous,” GRACIEMAG investigated and discovered that the magazine's reporter and photographer were fortunate to be friends with an old student of his. And they could not have gone to meet the Grandmaster anywhere else but the ranch where Helio lives, in Itaipava, in Rio’s mountainous region. Due to his great familiarity with the location, the interview yielded the cover photo; a surprise for Helio, who was also very happy to open the double-page article.

“The old man liked it a lot,” said son Royler, co-star of the issue’s main photo. “We didn’t know he was going to be on the cover. The photographer called me mid-week and told me the photo had come out great, and so my dad would be on the cover," the leader of Gracie Humaita completed.