Royce Gracie was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and is one of nine children, seven of whom are boys. His training in Jiu-Jitsu began at a very early age as a game with his father Helio. He never pushed any of the children to take formal classes until they wanted to do so. However, they often went to the Academy in Rio after school and on weekends.
Royce began competing in tournaments at age eight. He received his blue belt at age 16 and was promoted to black belt in less than two years. Royce moved to the United States at age 18 to live with his brother, Rorion. They began teaching private classes out of their garage, sometimes for more than ten hours a day. Together they opened the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy 30 years ago in Torrance, California. Although Royce no longer teaches there because of his rigorous travel schedule, it remains one of the largest martial arts schools in the country.
Royce’s reputable career as a fighter began in 1993 after defeating three opponents in the first Ultimate Fighting Championship in Denver, Colorado. His brother Rorion came up with this innovative challenge as a way to show Gracie Jiu-Jitsu to the world. Discipline after discipline was defeated by the slight 6’1”, 180 pound Royce Gracie. The viewers were in awe.
His opponents consistently outweighed him by more than 50 pounds. He went on to win 3 UFC titles and today is the only man in the history of no holds barred matches to successfully defeat four opponents in one night. After leaving the UFC Royce went on to compete in MMA events in Japan and is a huge icon in this country.
Royce holds the record for the longest MMA match in history: 90 minutes against Japanese superstar Kazushi Sakuraba in PRIDE Grand PRIX 2000. He also showed total domination of the Olympic Judo Gold Medalist Hidehiko Yoshida. His largest opponent was Sumo Grand Champion Akebono, 6′ 8″ 486lbs. Royce vs. Akebono was the main event of K-1 Premium Dynamite New Years Eve show on New Year’s Eve in 2004. Royce defeated the giant in just 2min and 13sec with a shoulder lock. Royce’s continued success has opened the eyes of many disbelievers to the importance of leverage and technique in grappling.
In November of 2003, Royce Gracie was the first fighter to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame along with fellow UFC veteran Ken Shamrock. Since then Royce’s face has has been seen on countless martial arts magazines such as Black Belt, Inside MMA and Tapout. He has also been featured in Men’s Health and Fitness and GQ and continues to give magazine and radio interviews. His recognition spans the globe to include fans on most every continent. In 2014 Royce was named one of the 50 Greatest Athletes in the World by Sports Illustrated.
Today Royce is privileged to spread the techniques perfected by his father all over the world. Throughout his busy fighting career Royce has maintained a rigorous travel schedule of seminars and classes. He currently oversees more than 55 US and international Royce Gracie Jiu-jitsu Networks. The techniques of Gracie Jiiu-jitsu have become mainstream in most martial arts dojos. Fighters everywhere are racing to learn and implement this jiu-jitsu in their training regimen.
His list of students is enormous. Royce has taught many of the big screen greats like Chuck Norris, Ed O’Neal, Guy Ritchie, Jim Carrey, Josh Duhamel and Nicholas Cage. He has also been very active with the CIA, FBI, DEA, Secret Service, Army Rangers, Army Special Forces, Navy Seals and many sheriff and police departments. His G.R.A.C.I.E. course for law enforcement has gained international recognition. Aside from teaching at his Networks across the United States, he regularly visits Canada, England, Scotland, Portugal, Spain, Israel, Australia, UAE and South America.
Royce makes his home in Southern California with his wife, Marianne, three sons, Khonry, Khor and Kheydon and daughter, Kharianna. He maintains an impressive training regimen, which includes running, weight training, cross training, meditation and countless hours of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. He is a full time professional athlete who eagerly awaits his next challenge. Recently he completed a 40 mile run with his long time trainer, James Strom. In Royce’s own words, “Go ahead, tell me what I can’t do!”
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