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The real story of the fight of the Century is revealed for the first time after 62 years

11/01/2013

By Carlos Lemos Jr:

helio-gracie
If alive today Grand Master Helio Gracie would be celebrating his hundredth birthday. So I decided to write an article based on my own research to put an end to a dilemma that permeated the martial arts community for the last 62 years since Grand Master Helio fought the best fighter in the World on his days perhaps one of the best of all times and most likely the greatest champion that Japan ever produced Masahiko Kimura. Did Judo defeated Jiu Jitsu?

The story goes with the Japanese newly founded Kodokan Judo (a couple of decades before) getting news of a family in South America claiming to be Jiu Jitsu masters,this family was gaining notoriety in the fighting world with the so called ” Vale Tudo Challenges” or ” No Rules Barred Challenges” defeating one by one of any martial artist challenger looking to try their fighting skills,against the Gracie’s mysterious art.  The Gracies became an international sensation.
How could it be? how could this family of ” Gaijins” or “foreigners” could possibly mastered the extinct art of the Japanese Warrior class the samurai?
So the Japanese decided to “verify” the authenticity of the claims sending their own delegations to “test” the matter.
Each one of the delegations of fighters sent to Brazil to demystify the “Gracies” fail! The Gracies sent the Japanese emissaries back home,with nothing but defeats and in the best case scenario some “draws”,finally after the youngest of the brothers ” Helio” defeated the number two in world “Yukio Kato” with a devastating cross choke ” Helio’s favorite submission, the Japanese decided that this was enough Gracie Barra Downers Grove,Carlos Lemos Jr, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu,self defense,Kids Martial Arts, Downers Grove,Naperville, Hinsdale,Oakbrook,La Grange, Judo,Gracie Jiujitsu,it was time to “restore” their hegemony and tradition on the mats, it was time for their greatest fighter ,it was time for ” Masahiko Kimura”. (On the right Helio Gracie Squares against Yukio Kato)

Once Kimura “revived” his compatriot Yukio Kato who refused to surrender to Helio’s choke and passed out unconscious, he publicly challenged the Gracie for a match under the same rules, ” No striking and no points just grappling until someone submits or the corner throws the towel.”

Kimura recognizing his age and weight advantage approximately 80 pounds heavier than Helio,  declared : “if Helio survives against me for more than three minutes he should be declared the winner.”

Gracie Barra Downers Grove,Carlos Lemos Jr, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu,self defense,Kids Martial Arts, Downers Grove,Naperville, Hinsdale,Oakbrook,La Grange, Judo,UFC, Martial Arts The fight happened on the 23rd of October of 1951, in the sold out stadium of “Maracana” in Rio De Janeiro,Brazil,some of the most important members of the Brazilian society were present ,including the President of Brazil, along with the local and Japanese media.

After 13 minutes exhausting minutes of fight “Kimura” finally reaches “Helio’s” arm but this time ,for the third time Helio hasn’t “much left on his tank” to defend and the relentless Kimura applied a shoulder lock his favorite submission, “Carlos Gracie Sr” who was Helio’s teacher and corner threw the towel knowing that  “Helio” would not give up, and the match was over.An impressed “Masahiko” declared “Helio the Champion” but “Helio” refused the title. “Kimura” was so amused by the skills of the “Gracie” that he invited “Helio” to teach in the most prestigious Martial Arts University in Japan but again for  Kimura’s surprise ” Helio” refused the invitation.

For this reason today the shoulder lock used in that fight  is known in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as “Kimura” in homage after “Masahiko”

Kimura on his prime:

Gracie Barra Downers Grove,Carlos Lemos Jr, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu,self defense,Kids Martial Arts, Downers Grove,Naperville, Hinsdale,Oakbrook,La Grange, Judo,Kimura

For us the Brazilians due his tenacity,bravery and skill “Helio Gracie” was without any shadow of doubt the MORAL WINNER, I strongly believe for Kimura too. However due the controversy created by the fight many outside Brazil have speculated that ” Helio Gracie didn’t lost to Kimura” only; His Jiu Jitsu lost to Judo! This question has survived for the last 62 years!

Well today is Grand Master Helio’s Birthday and I decided to unveil the truth! with my own research and settle this matter once for all!
“Jiu Jitsu never lost to Judo, Helio lost to Kimura,Yes, but this everyone knows, what people don’t know is that “Masahiko Kimura wasn’t a student of Jigoro Kano the founder of Judo who’s by the way was a Jiu Jitsu master himself,or under any of his Judo representatives; indeed he was a student of a rival(on the mats) of the Kodokan Judo methods(School founded by Kano) a man who fought several times against  Kano’s best students to prove efficacy of the old school samurai art the Jiu Jitsu, a man name Tatsukuma Ushijima.

” Tatsukuma Ushijima”
Tatsukuma_Ushijima

Ushijima like Kimura was born in Kumamoto,Western part of Japan. He was an all Japan’s Judo Champion on the years of 1931 and 1932, which was by the way the only form of grappling contest in Japan back in his days.In fact judo contests much like our Brazilian Jiu Jitsu matches today where held under matches of 10 minutes where most of our known locks and chokes were allowed different than the sport of Judo today where ground work is limited  and most of the Jiu Jitsu locks and chokes forbidden .Some of these contests would have old Jiu Jitsu rules: ” No Points, no time limit and submission only”

Ushijima on the picture bellow (Second from the right to the left) wearing his traditional Japanese Samurai kimono

Gracie Barra Downers Grove,Carlos Lemos Jr, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu,self defense,Kids Martial Arts, Downers Grove,Naperville, Hinsdale,Oakbrook,La Grange, JudoUshijima was well known by his supernatural training methods which included 1000 pushups and nine hours of training daily, many times like Kimura ,Ushijima would seclude himself during his training camps adopting an ascetic life in the wilderness,to only come back to civilization to test his skills against other schools!

Like Kimura his phenomenal ground skills were his trademark  which corroborates his “Jiu Jitsu” background, contrary to Jigoro Kano who advocated for a system(Judo) based in 70% stand-up “tachi-waza” and 30% ground “newaza” only.

Ushijima’s training regime was so fierce that once He almost died during one of his training sessions and eventually this event lead to his premature fighting carrier retirement.

Bellow Ushijima and his pupil the young Kimura.

Gracie Barra Downers Grove,Carlos Lemos Jr, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu,self defense,Kids Martial Arts, Downers Grove,Naperville, Hinsdale,Oakbrook,La Grange, Judo,UFC, Chicago

 

 

 

 

 

 

So this article is my homage to the genius of the late Grand Master Helio Gracie who passed away in 2009.Grand Master Helio wasn’t only the greatest fighter of Brazil during his days but maybe one of the greatest of all times, he was also the responsible along with his older Brother and mentor Grand Master Carlos Gracie Sr for the proliferation of the modernized if not improved version of the rudimentary form of fighting used by the samurais called ” Jiu Jitsu” and today after nearly 100 years of refinement in Brazilian soil We can call it ” Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Gracie Jiu Jitsu”

Grand Master Helio thank you for the gift you gave to all of us, for the sacrifices you made in order to give us this gift!

Bellow: a young Helio at his physical prime years before his match against Kimura

Gracie Barra Downers Grove,Carlos Lemos Jr, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu,self defense,Kids Martial Arts, Downers Grove,Naperville, Hinsdale,Oakbrook,La Grange, Judo,Helio Gracie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You never lost to Judo Grand Master, your match against Kimura wasn’t a match of  a Judo fighter against a Jiu Jitsu fighter , Although Kimura fought for the JUDO flag your match was a match of two ” Jiu Jitsu exponents” the best in your own worlds, one Grand Master really light and the other really heavy, but I’m sure by now you know all of that! and like you said I don’t care if I loose or even if I DIE! I just want to see how far my Jiu Jitsu can take me against the best in the World,The rest is history, Farewell Grand Master Helio, once again THANK YOU VERY MUCH and Happy Birthday!
Carlos Lemos Jr
Gracie Barra Downers Grove,Carlos Lemos Jr, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu,self defense,Kids Martial Arts, Downers Grove,Naperville, Hinsdale,Oakbrook,La Grange, Judo, Wrestling, Helio vs Kimura

Above: Grand Master Helio shakes Kimura’s hand a gesture of sportsmanship and  camaraderie a mark of the two champions.

2 responses to “The real story of the fight of the Century is revealed for the first time after 62 years”

  1. Johnny l. Tuggle says:

    Hey! Professor Carlos, Thanks for the good read on Grand Master Helio it was really informative. This Is Johnny from Gracie Barra Chicago Now at Brazil 021…. Keepo Up tHE EXCELLENT TEACHING…. Johnny

  2. John Connor says:

    Nice article. That Kimura looks like he was a beast. Wouldn’t it be great to see Kimura and Helio fighting in the cage today (not against each other of course but in their respective weight classes)!

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