Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu . History of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu The Gracie name is synonymous with honor, tradition, and dedication - the values that the team at continues to uphold. The history of the Gracie name is very important to our coaches. Carlos Gracie was a third-generation descendant of a Scottish immigrant. Carlos learned his initial teachings from Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese judōka and prizefighter in no holds barred competitions. In 1925, Carlos opened the first Gracie jiu-jitsu (as it became commonly spelled) academy in Rio de Janeiro Brazil. He later taught his brothers and children the new technique he developed. After Carlos retired, his younger brother, Hélio, took it upon himself to defend the Gracie name, further crafting the technique to fit his small stature. Hélio reigned supreme, reportedly only losing two fights in his career, including one to Valdemar Santana which lasted three hours and 45 minutes. Enter Carlson Gracie, the eldest son of Carlos Gracie. Carlson Gracie continued his father's teachings, and even got revenge by defeating Santana in vale-tudo (no rules) combat. Eventually he decided to split from his uncle Hélio's group, and in 1925 he opened his own academy. Carlson fought nineteen fights with only one loss during his career. He reigned as world champion for over 20 years. His 9th degree red and black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) earned him the title of Grandmaster.

After his illustrious career, he became the most sought after Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach. Carlson trained champion UFC, Pride, WEC, and Chicago Challenge fighters. He died in 2006 at the age of 72. He is widely considered the "Godfather of Mixed Martial Arts." The only son of Carlson Gracie Sr., Carlson Gracie Jr. continues his father's legacy and is a champion in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Greco Roman Wrestling. He established an academy in Chicago and has trained fighters of all backgrounds, including police departments and military personnel.


In 1993, Rorion Gracie, the oldest son of Hélio Gracie, helped launch the UFC. Driven by the success of the UFC, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu has experienced great growth in the last ten years. At Carlson Gracie Team MMA, we continue the winning tradition. Top student Jeff Neal has trained under the tutelage of Carlson Gracie Sr. and Carlson Gracie Jr. He holds an undefeated no holds barred record in fight competition, has over 700 coaching victories in MMA, sport jiu-jitsu and boxing, and has taught self-defense to law enforcement, the military, and many large international businesses.