Carlson Gracie

Carlson Gracie was one of the most important figures in jiu jitsu, and still is considered today to be one of the best representatives of the sport both as a competitor and as coach through his Carlson Gracie Academy. His legacy will live for many years to come, as many of the world’s premiere BJJ teams came generated from his lineage, teams such as Nova Uniao, American Top Team (ATT), Brazilian Top Team (BTT), Nova Geração and many others.

Carlson Gracie Jiu Jitsu

Full Name: Carlson Gracie

Nickname: Was sometimes called Carlsao.

Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Carlson Gracie

Fight Record (MMA/Vale Tudo):

  • 18 fights, one loss (to Euclides Pereira by decision)

Favourite Technique: N/A

Weight Division: 67 to 72kg

Team/Association: Gracie Jiu Jitsu/Carlson Gracie

Carlson Gracie Biography

Carlson Gracie was born on the 13th of August, 1932 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was the son of Gracie Jiu Jitsu Founder Carlos Gracie and he became a top competitor in No Holds Barred matches during the 50’s and 60’s era. He was also one of the finest Jiu Jitsu coaches to have ever lived. His life was filled of turmoil with family feuds as well as scuffles with his own students, though he will always be remembered as a warm hearted person who made history in the sport and as one of the greatest BJJ masters to have ever lived.

Born in 1932, he started competing at the tender age of 5 at the “Campeonato Aberto de Jiu Jitsu e Luta Livre” and open championship between BJJ (plain Jiu Jitsu in those days) and wrestling. At the age of 17 he won the “Campeonato Carioca de Jiu Jitsu” Rio de Janeiro’s first State Jiu Jitsu Championship. He was never a avid student, though most of his academic failure came due to the long trips he and his uncles would make to different parts of the country looking for ways to display their family’s legacy (Gracie Jiu Jitsu). At the age of 15 he left school to dedicate himself fully to fighting.

His first professional fight came when he was 18 against the Judo wiz Sakai who weighed 92kg against Carlson’s 67kg. That fight was in grappling rules where no strikes were allowed and it ended in a draw as none of the two managed to submit each other during the arranged period. After this fight, Carlson Gracie released a press note challenging anyone in the country to come and fight him. This fight’s revenue would go to a charity fund towards the victims of the drought that was devastating the country’s Northwest region (in which his family had strong ties). Cirandinha, a 100kg Capoeira fighter took the challenge and Carlson defeated him after a verbal tapout due to strikes from the mount.

Carlson continued to compete always trying to improve his skillset, at the age of 23 he faced one of Brazil’s most renowned fighters, Waldemar Santana was his name, and he had already on his resume a Knockout win over one of Carlson Gracie’s mentors, his uncle Helio Gracie. Carlson’s father Carlos Gracie went on record stating that he would give 300,000 real (a fortune in those days) if Waldemar managed to survive his son’s superior technique. Unfortunately for Carlos, Waldemar (according to the records) played a defensive fight and managed to keep at bay of Carlson’s attacks, the fight was labelled a draw and the money given to the happy Santana. Another fight was arranged soon after, and this time Carlson managed to get the fight win he so anxiously looked for in order to save his family’s honour. The fight was won at a sold out 40,000 seats at Maracanãzinho in Rio de Janeiro due to strikes from the mount. Both fighters met again a couple of years later, although hype and expectation of the 1st two fights had passed away and the 3rd fight was a lacklustre draw once again.

Carlson was always a creative fighter and teacher, he used to go to the beach in Rio and ask for people to fight him, the challengers could use any methods at their disposal (punches, kicks, head butts, the works) while Carlson would only use his grappling although never submitting. He would wear them out until they gave up.

Carlson reigned supreme during almost 30 years. He broke up with Gracie Academy and Helio Gracie mainly due to the fact that he believed Helio and his teachers were only teaching basic techniques to the outsiders, keeping the fundamentals to themselves. Carlson believed the only way to move forward is to test yourself, and to do so you needed open your knowledge to the public. He opened the famous “Carlson Gracie Arrebentação team” and went on to teach and in the process he assembled one of the greates teams that ever competed, with fighters like André Pederneiras “Dedé” founder of Nova Uniao, Murilo Bustamante a BJJ World Champion and UFC middleweight champion as well as founder of BTT (Brazilian Top Team), Former UFC Lightweight Champion Vitor Belfort “the Phenom”, Walid Ismail (another BJJ legend) amongst many, many others. This team would break up in the early 2000′s mainly because Carlson was spending most of his time in the United States leaving the Rio de Janeiro team relegated to a secondary stage. Most of the students from Brazil decided to open their own academy though some remained faithful to their master.

Always opinionated and charismatic, his loss on the 1st of February 2006 in Chicago, came as a shock to the Jiu Jitsu community. His achievements will be remembered forever.

Official List of Carlson Gracie’s Black Belts

Note to all readers:
This list was written by Master Carlson Gracie himself before he passed as a way to prevent charlatans or confused people from using his name to promote themselves or any interested party. The list was released in several BJJ newspapers and other media streams at the time. It is not a list made by BJJ Heroes or any other entity and is pretty conclusive. If you have “fantasies” about someone that you think got the black belt from Master Carlson and he is not on the list, he was not a Carlson black belt, get over it!

  • Aaron Laponte
  • Alberto dos Santos
  • Alexandre Nascimento de Oliveira
  • Alexandre Macedo
  • Alexandre Derizans
  • Allan Goes
  • Amaury Bitetti
  • André Mendes
  • André Pederneiras
  • Anselmo Montenegro
  • Antônio Cláudio Correia Leite Buchaul
  • Antônio Gadelha “Tony Malone”
  • Antônio Ricardo Bittencourt Cavalcanti
  • Antonio Ricardo Jardim Liborio
  • Antônio ‘Tuninho” Rodrigues
  • Armando “Maninho” Alves Gonçalves Filho
  • André Mendes
  • Arthur Vírgilio Neto
  • Ary Galo
  • Bráulio Carsalade
  • Cassio Cardoso
  • Carley Gracie (Brother)
  • Carlos “Penão” Alexandre Conceição
  • Carlos Antônio Rosado
  • Carlos “Bagana”
  • Carlos Henrique “Caíque” Vieira Cavalcanti Gomes de Oliveira
  • Carlos Rollyson
  • Carlson Gracie Júnior
  • Carlson Guimaraes
  • Cássio Cardoso
  • Christian Kennedy Grandi
  • Clayton de Souza
  • Clóvis de Souza
  • Crézio de Souza
  • Daniel Cristoph
  • Djalma José de Santana Filho
  • Edyr Moreira da Silva “Monge”
  • Edson Carvalho “Baiano”
  • Elair Gilberto da Silva Reis
  • Élcio Figueiredo
  • Fábio Macieira
  • Felipe Fígalo Barbosa
  • Fernando Carlos “Nutri-Baby” Carvalho da Silva
  • Fernando “Pinduka” Melo Guimarães
  • Fernando Rosenthal
  • Francisco “Grego” Trivelas
  • Francisco “Toco” Albuquerque Neto
  • Gustavo Gussem
  • Gutenberg Mello
  • Henrique Chvaicer
  • Isaias De Souza
  • Francisco “Grego” Trivelas
  • Jerônimo Dix-Huit Rosado Ventura
  • João Antônio Fernandes Filho
  • José de Oliveira
  • José Eduardo Vieira Cavalcanti Gomes de Oliveira
  • José Mário Sperry
  • Júlio César “Foca” Nunes
  • Léo D’Ilha
  • Luis Fernando “Nando” Da Costa
  • Luís Carlos “Manimal” Mateus
  • Luiz “Bebeo” Duarte
  • Luís Carlos Vallois
  • Luís Cláudio Isaías de Souza
  • Luís Fernando “Nando” Costa
  • Manoel Maria “Maneco” Cardoso Neto
  • Marcel Laguna Duque Estrada
  • Marcelo Allonso Duque Novais
  • Marcelo Alonso
  • Marcelo Pache
  • Marcelo Procópio
  • Marcelo “Bocão”
  • Marcelo Saporito
  • Marcelo Tadeu Domigues de Oliveira
  • Marco Aurélio Kühner de Oliveira
  • Marco Aurélio Lisboa Valladares
  • Marcos “Parrumpinha” Da Matta
  • Marcus Vinícius de Macedo Soares
  • Marcus “Conan” Vinícius Figueiredo da Silveira Júnior
  • Mário Cupertino
  • Marvin Swhab
  • Mauricio “Saddam”
  • Miguel Kelner
  • Miguel Monteiro de Carvalho
  • Murilo Bustamante
  • Orlando Saraiva
  • Oswaldo “Paquetá” Gomes da Rosa
  • Oswaldo Viana
  • Otávio Augusto “Peixotinho” de Oliveira
  • Paulo “Mamão” de Albuquerque Martins Pereira Filho
  • Paulo Leite Filho “Paulão”
  • Pedro Paulo de Secco Freire
  • Renato Tavares
  • Ricardo de La Riva Goded
  • Ricardo Jucá Santos
  • Ricardo Luis Moraes “Rey” Diogo
  • Ricardo Luiz Perrone
  • Ricardo “Kiko” Velloso
    Rinaldo Santos
  • Rocyan Gracie (brother)
  • Rodrigo Medeiros
  • Sérgio Abimerhy
  • Sérgio “Bolão” de Souza
  • Sérgio Íris de Almeida
  • Wallid Farid Ismail
  • Walter “Soldado” da Silva
  • Walter Guimarães
  • Wander de Souza
  • Vauvernargues Xavier Vicentini
  • Vitor Belfort


This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)

Comments (13)

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  1. Kale Thompson says:

    Isnt Ricardo Liborio a Carlson Black belt? (Also adds ATT to Carlsons lineage!)

  2. admin says:

    Hi Kale,

    Yes he is, and he is there on the list also. His name is Antonio Ricardo Jardim Liborio…

  3. William says:

    You forgot Rinaldo Santos 3rd degree black belt

  4. ken says:

    Don't forget the late Franco DeCamargo.

  5. Hi admin,

    I'm a student and close friend of Master Ricardo and we believe your website is on of the most reliable and complete source of BJJ information on the web. We would like to know what do we need to do to include Master Ricardo on your list.

    He is a 5th degree black belt and the late Master Carslon Gracie, a member of the original Arrebentacao Carslon Gracie Team and teammate of many legends from that era. He also has a wealth of information about the beginning of the Jiu-Jiutsu / MMA explosion in Brazil.

    Thank you in advance,

  6. Sean says:

    Cavalcanti is on that list. Antônio Ricardo Bittencourt Cavalcanti?

  7. Sean says:

    And Pablo Popovitch’s website lists his dad as getting his blackbelt from Crolin Gracie.

  8. walter says:

    you guys forget Francisco Mario Sukata Neto…

  9. Jobson says:

    O Mario Sukata Neto é faixa preta do mestre Gutenberg Melo que faixa preta do Carlson

  10. CLAUDIO says:


  11. JewJitsu says:

    Marcos "Flexa" Neves Mello is also not on the list! ( 4th degree under master Carlson )

  12. J.S. says:

    Fabio Araujo is also missing. He is a 3rd degree black belt from Carlson.

    Also like to note that Ruy Menezes is a 3rd degree black belt from Carlson sr. Carlson Jr could back his claim. Ruy was BJJ/MMA head for China Top Team since 2006 or 7 (English isn’t his first language, so what he wrote could be through a rough translator).

    For further confirmation, please consort Carlson Jr, he will back these two that i have mentioned.

  13. Keith Farrell says:

    Does no one read the article? It says they never made this list, so stop saying they forgot peopl!

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