Oswaldo Gracie is one of the most important figures in modern day jiu jitsu, being one of the founding members of the first Gracie Jiu Jitsu academy in 1925. Oswaldo Gracie was taught the martial art style by his older brother Carlos Gracie, and together with his younger brothers Gastão, George and Helio, he fought and defended the name and of jiu jitsu in the 1920’s and 1930’s in several no-holds-barred (vale tudo) type events. Oswaldo Gracie was also the developer of the family’s trade in the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil, and may have helped the development of luta livre esportiva, another form of Brazilian grappling based on concepts of jiu jitsu and catch wrestling.
Oswaldo Gracie Jiu Jitsu
Full Name: Oswaldo Gracie
Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Oswaldo Gracie
- Jiu Jitsu vs Capoeira Superfight Champion (1931)
- Gracie vs Baldi Champion (1931)
Weight Division: Only fought at open weight, but it is said Oswaldo weighed around 62kg/136lbs.
Association/Team: Academia Gracie Jiu Jitsu
Oswaldo Gracie Biography
Oswaldo Gracie was born on 1904, making him the second son of Gastão Gracie. His older brother Carlos Gracie started being taught jiu jitsu by Jigoro Kano’s student Misuyio Esai Maeda, in 1917. As Mr Maeda had to interrupt the training program to travel, Carlos decided to continue practicing with another Maeda student who was neighbour to the Gracies, Jacinto Ferro. Carlos also added his brothers Oswaldo and Gastão Gracie Junior to the class as sparring partners. As the Gracie’s went through a financial crisis in 1921, Oswaldo and Gastão Jr went to work with their father and left jiu jitsu on the side line. In 1925, when Carlos called upon his brothers to help open the first Gracie Academy, Oswaldo Gracie restarted training.
In the 1920’s, Gracie Jiu Jitsu was at a starting point and maintaining an academy open full time proved to be a hard task. On many occasions, according to Reila Gracie’s book “Carlos Gracie – The Creator of a Fighting Dynasty” Carlos and Oswaldo had fights with the local fishermen at the Rio de Janeiro peer to get money off the betting. Also according to the same book, Oswaldo participated in Pro-Wrestling matches (with mask and all, so he would not be recognized) as well as taking several part time jobs during those hard times in an attempt to bring some income to the academy.
Oswaldo Gracie’s official debut in a vale tudo event with a live audience was in 1931 at the “Jiu Jitsu vs Capoeira” event in Rio de Janeiro. Oswaldo fought a capoeirista by the name of Manuel Tito Ferreira, submitting him with a triangle choke. Oswaldo’s second official fight was against Joao Baldi, a wrestler who weighed 135kg/297lbs. This event brought a lot of attention to Oswaldo and even the famed newspaper O Globo displayed a picture of Joao Baldi standing next to Oswaldo (the Gracie standing on a stool) to display the size difference, with the title: “Will the Gracie’s 136lbs defeat the 297lbs of Baldi?”. The event venue was packed at fight night, but the fight was a lot shorter then expected, 58 seconds was all it took for Oswaldo to choke Baldi. The crowd believed the fight to be a fix, as they could not understand how such a small person could defeat such a large adversary, and it didn’t help that Baldi tried to save face and said after the fight he was paid to tap. When Oswaldo’s brother, George Gracie, heard of the big man’s words he sought him out in the street and put a beating on Baldi, ending up in jail for it.
Oswaldo was one of the main instructors at the Gracie Academy until 1934, on that year he met a nurse by the name of Ana Nery, and the two left Rio de Janeiro to establish themselves as a family in Belo Horizonte, state of Minas Gerais. Oswaldo stayed in Belo Horizonte until the end of his days, he established the first Gracie Jiu Jitsu academy in the state, and turned it into a hive of young fighters, second only to Rio de Janeiro at the time.
Oswaldo Gracie’s last no holds barred fight was against Simon Munich in 1936, a fight that ended in a draw. He also became a close combat instructor for the Police Department, a job he kept until the end of his days.