It isn’t everyday that you turn 95, it is also not everyday that you can catch Grandmaster Helio Gracie by surprise, but it all happened yesterday as Royler and Rolker Gracie and the gang at Gracie Humaita threw a surprise birthday party for the Grandmaster. Present at the event were a host of Humaita’s top people. Of special note were Rickson Gracie who along with friend Breno Sivac presented the Grandmaster with a brand new Red Belt with Gold stripes. Also noteworthy were the presence of Robson Gracie, Pedro Valente Sr and Kyra & Robsinho Gracie.
Grandmaster was super happy: "It was a very special event for everyone I never expected this, this was a great surprise to me. Jiu-Jitsu helped become a better person an it is an honor for me to see so many honorable people following Jiu-Jitsu.. "
Royler was moved: "It was a very emotional moment for me. There were over 100 people there. It is a tree that has given many fruits and now we are all collecting the fruits of the family’s effort. My dad is a monumental figure in the art and beyond the art and a lot of people, fighters, instructors, reporters and others are enjoying a career because of his, his brother’s and the family’s efforts."
Pedro Valente Sr eloquently put it: "At the time we were all studying to become doctors and attorney’s and I was also learning to become a Jiu-Jitsu master. Now people still study to become doctor’s and attorney’s but my sons optioned to become Jiu-Jitsu instructors and follow the lessons and the path of the Grandmaster"
On a personal note, this humble reporter concurs with much of what was said. Jiu-Jitsu has enriched and changed my life tremendously both on a personal and professional level. I’ve met so many great people throughout the years and have seen the change in their lives as well and for that I am forever thankfull. I’ve had the chance to take several private lessons with the Grandmaster and to partake of his hospitality, his vision and wisdom on many occasions. I can say htat when you are around the Grandmaster, he always has a great story to tell, along with words of inspiration and advice. He’s always made me feel like I was the most important person in the world and that he is sooo happy to be sharing time with me. I can honestly say that I treasure and will treasure every one of those moments in my heart forever.
Happy 95th Birthday Grandmaster Helio!