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Thread: Helio Gracie reveals the true story behind his epic battle with Kimura Masahiko

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    Helio Gracie reveals the true story behind his epic battle with Kimura Masahiko

    Helio Gracie reveals the true story behind his epic battle with Kimura Masahiko

    Note: This interview was conducted in 1994 just after the UFC 3, but was published for the first time on May 1, 2002 in Japan, and is presented here for the first time in English.

    You can also read this interview on because they ripped it off from GTR.

    Nishi Yoshinori came across the "Warrior" Helio Gracie!

    Nishi Yoshinori participated in a seminar held one day before the Ultimate in Charlotte. What drew an attention there was Helio Gracie who was teaching Nishi with care. On September, 15, four days later since then, Nishi visited Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy owned by Rorion in Los Angeles. Helio, who postponed his return to Brazil in expectation of his visit, was waiting for him there. Nishi took a private lesson on the advice of Rorion. When the one-hour training was finished, Helio came to Nishi saying "there is something I want to show you." What was put in front of Nishi were rare pictures of his legendary fight with Kimura Masahiko, the master.


    Nishi: What valuable pictures they are! I don't think even the wife of Kimura has pictures like these. Well, what kind of rule was this fight done under? Was it the vale tudo rule?

    Helio: No, it was the jiu-jitsu rule.

    Nishi: Then, you didn't exchange blows with Kimura, did you?

    Helio: That's right. We could do anything except kicks and punches. There were no points and no time limits. But when I challenged Kimura and we met together for the first time, he seemed to be very surprised when he saw how small I was (laugh). So I was told to fight with a man named Kato at first.

    Nishi: Then, did you fight with a Japanese Judo-ka before the fight with Kimura?

    Helio: Yes, I did. He had 20 kg. [44 lbs.] heavier than me and was strongly built. But I was able to win by good luck [in the original Portuguese Helio probably said "gra軋s a Deus" which in no way implies that only luck was involved].

    Rorion: My father finished Kato with a choke less than six minutes. So Kimura accepted my father's challenge. But the people around strongly objected to it. It seemed that especially uncle Carlos didn't want him to do it.

    Nishi: Did the people around think that Kimura was more than a match for you from the beginning?

    Helio: Not only the people around, but also I myself thought that nobody in the world could defeat Kimura. (laugh) Especially my brother Carlos was worried that I would never give up under any condition. He thought I would get seriously injured. So he gave me permission to fight with Kimura on the condition that I would "give-up" without fail. Regret? I didn't regret it at all either before or after the fight. For me who aimed at jiu-jitsu at that time, fear was surpassed by desire to know what on earth such a strong man like Kimura would do in the fight--he might open the door to an unknown world for me. I heard that you are the same type of person too.

    Nishi: Yes, I am. (bitter smile)

    Helio seemed to know that Nishi had fought with Rickson [Mr. Nishi, representing Jacket Jiu-Jitsu, faced Rickson in Vale Tudo Japan Open 95 and was defeated by mata leao rear naked hadaka jime choke in 2:58 seconds of the first round], and he has been fighting in kickboxing and karate events as well. It could be felt here and there in Helio's words that Helio was sympathizing with Nishi's action.

    What is jiu-jitsu introduced by Maeda Kousei?

    Nishi: I would like to ask you something technical before the story about Kimura. What kind of style of jiu-jitsu was it you learned?

    Helio: I remember vaguely that my brother Carlos was learning it from Konde Koma (Maeda Kousei) around 1914. Anyway I was just four years old at that time. To tell the truth, I don't remember well the technique directly taught by Koma. Carlos opened the dojo in Rio when he was 25 years old, and I was watching the techniques that he had learned from Konde Koma. But I kept thinking about what a small and weak man like me should do to win, and developing the theory to control an opponent by technique.

    Rorion: It seems my father didn't teach it anybody in the beginning. But one day he had to teach the training in place of uncle Carlos who was late for the class. My father was only 16 years old yet, but the improvements my father made in the techniques to control an opponent with a minimum power was persuasive enough to satisfy the students. Since it doesn't require power, it makes it possible for you to fight for 20 or 30 minutes. After that, it seems that uncle Carlos left the teaching to my father.

    Nishi: That has become the base of Gracie jiu-jitsu of the day, hasn't it? Was a style Mr. Carlos learned from Maeda Kousei centering on "kata"?

    Helio: There weren't so many techniques. Most techniques were something mainly based on power. But Konde Koma was always fighting in real fights, so a lot of tricks to win in a real fight were incorporated in his teaching.

    Nishi: Striking was also included, wasn't it?

    Helio: No, it wasn't included.


    Maeda Kousei known by the name of Konde Koma was a judo-ka who got out of Japan to spread Kodokan Judo to the world in Meiji period, and performed an open fight with a different style in each country. (However, Kodokan removed his name from the register in the later years.) But why did he call it jiu-jitsu, not judo in Brazil? Nishi has secretly thought that jiu-jitsu introduced to Brazil might be something like a variant form of judo.


    Nishi: Did Mr. Maeda call it jiu-jitsu, not judo from the beginning?

    Helio: I heard that Konde Koma called it jiu-jitsu. We didn't even know the word of judo itself until it came into Brazil. At that time (the time when jiu-jitsu was brought by Konde Koma), there were many Japanese immigrants and local people had a friendly relationship with them. I heard that they often helped Japanese people in many ways. So I think he taught us their traditional jiu-jitsu in return for it.

    Nishi: When judo came into Brazil, didn't you think it was similar to jiu-jitsu?

    Rorion: I have a strong impression about judo that judo is a sport where the objective is to throw the opponent to the ground using power. But I think maybe the original art is jiu-jitsu. When Japan lost in the World War II and America was occupying Japan, they taught the Americans judo, but not jiu-jitsu. In that sense, we were lucky to have been able to come in contact directly with jiu-jitsu first, rather than judo.

    Helio: (nodding to what Rorion said) They didn't teach the Americans the mind of the samurai.

    Nishi: (being confused with a small voice) It doesn't seem that judo itself was completely introduced to you........... I wonder if Maeda Kousei introduced something he made up and called jiu-jitsu, or if it had originality as a result of the improvements made by Mr. Helio. It draws my interest very much.


    Helio performed his first open fight against a different style at the early age of 16

    Nishi: Then, when is the start of vale tudo?

    Helio: It was not something like vale tudo, but the first fight between different styles was in 1932 when I fought with an American wrestling fighter named Fred Ebert when I had 17 years old.. He described himself as a world-class strong fighter.

    It seems that Fred Ebert was a fighter who took second place in the 95kg class in the world wrestling championship held in New York in l928. This coincides with the story of Helio who described him as a giant with 98kg, but it turns out to have been nearly 40kg difference in weight between them. Helio's weight was about 60kg.

    Nishi: How about the result?

    Helio: (with a frown) The fight started at 12:00 at midnight, and fought until 2:00 in the morning. But we were told to stop the fight by the police.

    Rorion: The fight lasted 2 hours and 10 minutes. To tell the truth, he was stopped to fight by the doctor then due to the high fever caused by a swelling. Anyway he had to undergo an urgent operation next day of the fight.

    Nishi: It sounds...... (breaking off in his speech) .....reckless.......

    Helio: I didn't want to be said that I avoided the fight under the pretext of the doctor-stop. That's all. However, I regret that we couldn't get the result.

    Nishi: What if Mr. Ebert is in good health and challenged you to do the sequel to the fight now?

    Helio: I will do it, of course! (laugh) But he might need some handicap because he was pretty older than me.


    For Helio, who has such a "never say die" attitude toward a fight as mentioned above, I wonder what came to his mind when he threw in the towel in the fight of Royce [vs. Sakuraba in Pride Grand Prix 2000], his son, with his own hand. I wanted to ask him about it. But maybe there was something wrong in the way I started to question saying "I am sorry for the result of Royce, but....", they stuck to the answer made by Rorion, who was voluntarily working as an interpreter, that "No matter how nice a car you drive, it sometimes happens to you to get out of the course due to a puncture. Neither Shamrock nor Royce lost to anybody this time." (Helio speaks only Portuguese, so the interview was done in such a way that at first Nishi's words were conveyed to Rorion in English, and then Rorion conveyed it to Helio in Portuguese) However, I felt like that I saw Helio's deep attachment to fights in difference in words between Helio, who used simple and clear words, and Rorion, who used a metaphor.


    Vale Tudo was a title of a popular TV program

    Nishi: Mr. Helio, did you have a favorite technique other than jiu-jitsu?

    Helio: Does it mean a technique in striking? I was good at side kicks. I did it in my own way, but kick the body of the opponent using the heel. Don't ask me to demonstrate it here now! (laugh)

    Nishi: No! (laugh) You said it was your own way, but did you study it watching the move of karate?

    Helio: Karate? No. Judo came to Brazil around 1950〜1960 and Karate was later than that, maybe around 1970. So I had no chance to study it. Besides when I saw karate for the first time, I didn't think it was effective for self-defense or kakuto art.

    Nishi: Well then, do you think kakutogi based on striking are not effective for all?

    Helio: Generally they are not, are they? I think you know about it much better than I do.

    Rorion: In a fight like the Ultimate, all you have to do about striking is to kill the distance. If you do it, then you can control the fight.

    Nishi: They are at a disadvantage under the rule of the Ultimate for sure, but I can't agree with you who say positively that they are not effective from the view point of self-defense and kakuto arts either. (bitter smile) Then, when did you start fighting with striking?

    Helio: I don't remember clearly, but jiu-jitsu was considered something oriental in Brazil and there was some guy saying that he could defeat me in a street fight. So I accepted the fight with him including punches and kicks.

    Nishi: Unbelievable! (laugh) He must have sorely regretted his words after the contest.! [kuchiwa wazawai no moto] Was that the beginning of vale tudo?

    Helio: Maybe so. I'm the one who started vale tudo. But we didn't call it "vale tudo". It was a TV producer who decided to call it that.

    Nishi: A TV producer?

    Helio: That's right. I held style vs. style tournaments to spread jiu-jitsu. Of course, I won all of them. The producer found them interesting and decided to telecast them. The title of that program was "Vale Tudo". Later the form was changed to one-match fight between a winner of the jiu-jitsu tournament (it was held under the original jiu-jitsu rule and striking was prohibited) and a challenger invited from a different style. This program started around 1960 and became very popular. It used to be aired every week at one time.

    Nishi: It is a model of the Ultimate........ Anyway, I'm surprised to see that it was the title of the TV program, and vale tudo was performed every week! What an amazing country Brazil is!

    Helio: Many people were scared of punches. But since they watched the fights on TV, they started to understand that punches were good, but they could be nullified by using different techniques, and a small man like me could fight.

    Nishi: I was doing judo and was afraid of getting punched. That's why I started learning striking and still now I am studying. Mr. Helio, did you have any fear of getting punched?

    Helio: If I get punched, I feel happy and more guts. But I feel pain too. (laugh) So I developed the way of fighting to avoid to get punched.

    Nishi: And at first you keep the position not to get punched, then give the opponent punches whenever you want to.

    Helio: That's right (laugh).

    Nishi: How about a throw? Throwing is not effective either?

    Helio: No, it can be very effective at times. Anyway, a fearful throw by Kimura remains vividly in mind. It was very impressive to see that Kimura made the opponent KOed with one throw. When it was decided that I would fight with Kimura, I was careful about his throw.

    Nishi: Could you tell me more details about the fight with the master Kimura?

    Helio: Sure! (happily)

     Humiliation at Maracana .......

    Secret story about the hard fight with Kimura Masahiko

    Helio: In the beginning I carefully tried to find a breakthrough, but I was in his control as soon as we stood close to each other. I had no time to even hold or grapple him. What I barely could do was to avoid his perfect throw in such a way that I relaxed the strength of all my body and moved my position a little bit at the moment when Kimura tried to throw me and as a result Kimura lost his balance. I was taken into the ground, and I got choked at first. It was difficult to breathe.. I felt it working enough so I was wondering if I should tap as I promised Carlos......

    Nishi: ?

    Helio: Well, this is what I've never told anybody before......... It seems I went unconscious while I was thinking about what to do [give up or not].

    Naturally all the staff let alone Nishi were surprised to hear that at this moment, but what was more impressive than that was the shocked expression [odoroita hyoujou] on Rorion's face.

    Helio: If Kimura had continued to choke me, I would have died for sure. But since I didn't give up, Kimura let go of the choke and went into the next technique. Being released from the choke and the pain from the next technique revived me and I continued to fight. Kimura went to his grave without ever knowing the fact that I was finished. If possible, I wish I could have talked about the fight with him and let him know about it.

    Nishi: I will tell his wife without fail.

    Helio: Thank you. But then, Kimura was strong....... strong and a gentleman. He spoke in my ear in Japanese "いい!いい!" [good, good] while catching me with arm-lock. I don't understand Japanese at all, but strangely I was encouraged by his voice. It gave me power. (laugh) I was anxious about it, so I asked him later. He said, "I was admiring your heart."

    Nishi: Kimura also talked about the fight with Mr. Helio in his book, and says that you had a strong heart.

    Helio: Same to him. I think I got the authentic samurai spirit from him. I might have been Japanese in a previous life.

    Nishi: By the way, what shall I do with my plan? I was prepared to do a challenge match here aiming at defeating a Gracie, but I touched the heart of the master Kimura in the talk with Mr. Helio. Now I've had one more teacher, Mr. Helio. Indeed, I must have been Brazilian in a previous life.

    Helio: (being very happy to hear what Nishi said) Thank you. If you continue to train, you will be the champion in a jiu-jitsu tournament in Brazil for sure. Age? No problem. I am 82 years old now, but martial arts are what you search for at the risk of your whole life.

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    thought some of you might liek to read dis

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    How Rorion Gracie Revolutionized the Way Some People Think about Martial Arts Training in America and Reinvented Himself as the Bill Gates of the Grappling World in the Process

    Legend has it that a traveling Japanese expert, Mitsuo Maeda, taught the rudiments of the Japanese version of jiu-jitsu to a Brazilian youngster of Scottish descent named Carlos Gracie, who taught it to his younger brother Helio. Together, they taught it to their legions of sons, grandsons, and nephews, and later to other Brazilians curious enough to want to learn and courageous enough to try.

    Gracie jiu-jitsu remained a Brazilian secret until the early 90s, not by design, but because no one outside of Brazil cared. One member of the extended family, Carley Gracie, the son of Carlos Gracie and Helio's nephew, had been teaching jiu-jitsu on a small scale in the United States since 1972, entirely without fanfare. Not a single article on "Gracie Jiu-Jitsu" (as it became known) appeared in any of the martial arts magazines during the 70s or 80s—none until the "boom" began in 1993. The first article on the subject appeared not in a martial arts magazine, but in Playboy, in 1989, devoted to Carley's cousin and Helio's eldest son Rorion who, like Carley, had been teaching jiu-jitsu to a few private students in the United States (in Rorion's case, since 1979). But unlike Carley and everyone else in the family, Rorion had a university degree (a law degree at that), and was ambitious. He wanted to parlay his family's jiu-jitsu into a worldwide martial arts empire. America was obviously the place to begin.

    The problem was that the ingenuous American public had a certain conception of what a martial art was, and Gracie jiu-jitsu wasn't it. Due in large part to the phenomenal popularity of Bruce Lee's 1973 opus Enter the Dragon and the plethora of puerile chop-socky imitations it spawned, the gullible gringos had come to associate martial arts less with self-defense and personal combat than acrobatics and gymnastics. (Movies made before the Bruce Lee era actually had more realistic fight scenes—watch Shane or From Russia with Love. Then watch any martial arts movie, and decide which fights more resemble the fights you’ve seen—or been in).

    The Brazilians also didn't do what people in the North thought martial artists were supposed to do. They didn’t shriek, growl, howl, sneer, or grimace. They didn't fly through the air to smash roofing tiles with their feet, or slice the tops off whiskey bottles with the sides of their hands. They didn't break bricks or blocks of ice with their heads. They didn't chop the horns off of bulls, knock horses out with reverse punches, extinguish candles with their ki power, walk across floors covered with rice paper without tearing it, or snatch pebbles from a blind monk's fingers. What the Brazilians did do was to easily subdue the martial artists who performed all these impressive but ultimately meaningless feats.

    Ignored amid the hoopla was the fundamental truth, succinctly expressed by Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon, that "boards don't hit back". In other words, everything depends on the context: where, when, why, how, (including rules, if any), and above all, who—the capabilities and intentions of the "opponent". But the Brazilians didn't ignore it. On the contrary, it was the cornerstone of their philosophy.

    Rorion had a problem. Jiu-jitsu can’t be sold using carefully choreographed demonstrations—the usual promotional method in the martial arts industry. Either the techniques don’t look impressive, or people don’t know what it is that they are seeing, if they can see anything at all. Techniques that look impressive in demonstrations are seldom the techniques that are effective in fights. Nave potential students don’t know that, of course—to the contrary.

    Rorion, as always, had a plan.

    He put the word out that he and his younger brothers Rickson, Royce, and Royler were prepared to accept challenges from other styles. The challenge match would constitute a test, and the result would prove the superiority of one or the other. Reckless challengers came forward. Jason Delucia was so confident that he’d have Royce for lunch that he wagered $500 on the outcome (Jason says he respects Rorion for not letting him actually go through with the bet). Others took a wait and see approach (Erik Paulson says that while the Gracies are the nicest guys you’d ever want to meet, when they first came on the scene with their open challenge, he found them “a little intimidating”).

    Rorion brought his video camera. The Gracie brothers prevailed. Rorion put together a set of instructional tapes, and promoted them with clips of challenge matches in Brazil and the above-mentioned in Los Angeles (Gracie in Action 1 and Gracie in Action 2). " Ninety five percent of real fights end up in a clinch and go to the ground", Rorion intoned in his voice-over, as Gracie "representatives" beat up "street lethal" Kung fu "experts" and Hapkido "instructors" and whoever else was foolish enough to show up and sign the waiver.

    The message was clear, and Rorion wasn't subtle about it: Buy the tapes, sign up for lessons, give us your money. Business was brisk, but Rorion had bigger plans. The stumbling block, ironically, was the fact that you have to experience jiu-jitsu to appreciate it. You just can't reach enough people if you have to invite them one by one into your school and actually beat them up. Even worse, instead of signing up for Gracie Jiu-Jitsu lessons, some might draw a different conclusion—avoid guys like this—and stay away. That, as Rorion said, would be the real tragedy.

    How to expose Gracie jiu-jitsu to thousands at a time, and to leave them with the intended impression was the problem. Rorion wracked his brain.

    The solution had been there all the time. "Vale tudos", or "anything goes" mixed styles matches had been popular in Brazil since the 50's and earlier. Rorion's uncle Carlson had been one of the top champions of the vale tudo ringue. Rorion himself and most of his brothers and cousins had also participated in vale tudos. Rorion simply promoted one in the United States. He called it The Ultimate Fighting Championship (known acronymically to fans as the UFC). The first in what has become a long-running series took place in 1993. Rorion's younger brother Royce (by no means the best fighter in the family!) represented Gracie jiu-jitsu against challengers from myriad other martial arts, including karate, kung-fu, judo, boxing, savate, wrestling, and one called "Joe Son Do" (a "style" invented by a Korean-American named Joe Son, who, taking a page from Rorion's demonstrably successful book, named it after himself. But unlike the Gracies, who ostensibly never lost, Joe Son never won.)

    The style-versus-style, elimination tournament format lent a carnival feel to the proceedings and was a large part of what made it a hit. (It might well have been inspired by the success of Jean Claude Van Damme's first movie Bloodsport, in 1987, a farfetched but supposedly true story of a mixed-martial arts tournament held in Hong Kong.) In addition to the inherent appeal of the format, it gave the fans more entertainment bang for their bucks. Each match was a contest between the individual athletes, and at the same time, another between the "styles" they represented.

    If Royce won, the merchandising possibilities would be limitless. (Rorion made sure to register the name "Gracie Jiu-Jitsu" and the Gracie logo, to be used exclusively by himself or under license.) Gracie Jiu-Jitsu would have what no other martial art had: evidence not merely that it is effective but that it is more effective than other styles. (Rorion wisely let viewers come to this obviously fallacious conclusion on their own. What he actually claimed was merely that martial artists needed to know Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in addition to their own style).

    Brazilians know that anything can happen in a fight and that the only way to never lose is to quit fighting before you do, or never start in the first place. Rorion knew that members of his family and other jiu-jitsu practitioners, being human, had lost fights before. But he also understood the psychology of the typical American martial arts fan, who yearns to walk down the mean streets of Any Town USA, kicking ass and fearing no man. After all, what good is a martial art if it doesn’t make you invulnerable? Rorion boldly proclaimed that “the Gracie clan can document an astonishing 70 years of unbroken victories”. He also included footage of his father Helio being defeated by Masahiko Kimura on Gracie in Action. No one noticed the contradiction.

    Thus did Rorion Gracie change the face of martial arts in the United States. Consequently, a lot of Brazilians who were probably wondering what they were going to do for money are now earning it hand over fist in their own academies in the Estados Unidos. Even if, as one of them said, Rorion “doesn’t want none of us here.”

    A very wise man in many ways, Gene LeBell, said, “it doesn’t matter what you call it, as long as you can do it”. Rorion disagreed. It matters tremendously what you call it, particularly if you want to make money from it. There’s all the difference in the world between jiu-jitsu and Gracie Jiu-Jitsuョ.

    Postscript, June 5, 2000

    Subsequent to the writing of the essay above, an erstwhile pro wrestler belonging to the Nobuhiko Takada Gym, Kazushi Sakuraba, defeated two of Rorion’s younger brothers Royler (in Pride 8) and Royce (in Pride GP 2000). There was some controversy about how the first fight ended but no question that Royler lost the fight that actually happened (rather than the fight that might have happened if the referee hadn’t stopped it). Despite personally throwing in the towel, Rorion may be able to conjure up an interpretation under which Royce did not lose the fight to Sakuraba. It will probably require more ingenuity than even Rorion has to convince anyone that Royce won. 

    Later that evening in Pride GP 2000, Mark Kerr unexpectedly lost to a pro wrestler named Fujita (also from the Takada stable), clearing the way for Mark Coleman (who had lost to Takada in Pride 5) to take home all the marbles.

    Two points need to be made. First, Sakuraba defeated one of the best jiu-jitsu fighters in Brazil (albeit not in a jiu-jitsu contest) and his less talented younger brother, because he had assimilated basic jiu-jitsu concepts into his game. (He was taught by one of the greatest jiu-jitsu fighters of all time, the one who almost beat Rickson, Sergio Penha). He did exactly as Rorion recommended, backing up his style with “the best grappling system on earth—Gracie Jiu-Jitsu”.

    The second point is that even after the IRS takes its cut, the marbles Coleman took home are worth a lot of cabbage. Kerr too must have been well compensated for his performance. Rorion made it happen.

    Unfortunately, for Rorion, the chickens have now come home to roost—unless he has another plan up his sleeve that we mere mortals can’t begin to fathom.

    Don't count him out yet.

    Post-postscript, December 24, 2000

    Sakuraba (who is called the "Gracie Hunter" by the Japanese sports press) has since defeated Renzo and Ryan Gracie. He is the first and so far the only man to have beaten four Gracies. Negotiations are currently underway for a fight of the Millennium between Sakuraba and Rickson Gracie.

    A Arte Suave index

    GTR index


    Sobre a Derrota de Helio Gracie para Kimura Masahiko

    In 1951 Helio Gracie faced Kimura Masahiko in what would now be called a submission fight, at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Kimura was the greatest of Japanese judo champions and at that time, at 33, was not much past his prime. Losing to Kimura was not exactly a disgrace and none of the Gracies took it as one. As Carlos reportedly said after the fight (according to Historia do Jiu-Jitsu atraves dos Tempos, citing Rorion), "Helio nunca esperava derrotar Kimura. A raz縊 para esta luta era ver como Kimura poderia supera-lo tecnicamente" [Helio never expected to win. The reason for the fight was to see how Kimura would be able to overcome him technically]. Helio recently described his performance in the fight as “like a kid, helpless against Kimura” (on the Japanese documentary History of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu). Despite losing technically, Helio was reported by the sports press to have won moralmente [spiritually] and became a “heroi nacional devido a sua coragem e valentia" [a national hero due to his courage and bravery].

    Maybe this is what Rorion had in mind by “70 years of unbroken victories”. Helio lost technically but won morally. That’s not quite the same as being undefeated, but never mind. It’s a small detail. Another possibility is that Rorion does not understand the meaning of the word “victory” in English. His uncle Carlson has a similar problem with the concept of defeat (“The referee gave him the victory; I don’t think I lost, so it wasn’t a loss for me”, Carlson says, describing his non-victory against Euclides Pereira). You can win in various ways (morally and technically, to name at least two) but the only ways you can lose are by being unable or unwilling to continue. As long as you are willing and able to fight, you haven’t lost. In fact, merely being willing is enough to avoid “defeat”, in this sense. Helio didn’t submit; his brother Carlos “jogou a toalha, desistindo do combate. Helio ainda queria lutar, quando o juiz mandou ambos ficarem de pe, pois n縊 havia percebido a manobra de Carlos” [Carlos threw in the towel to stop the fight. Helio still wanted to fight when the referee made the two fighters stand up, not having seen what Carlos did].

    This raises additional interesting questions. If Helio never expected to win, was Carlos instructed, or did he simply decide, to throw in the towel when defeat was imminent but before Helio actually had to tap, in order to create ambiguity about the outcome, to demonstrate Helio’s ballsiness by wanting to continue, but being forced to quit by the judges? In Brazil, meanings are negotiable and everything is open to interpretation

    Notwithstanding Carlos’ alleged post-fight comment, that Helio never expected to win, I think we can assume that he somehow hoped it might happen anyhow. In that sense, the fight was win-win for Helio, or at least win-no lose, which testifies to his business shrewdness, obviously inherited by Rorion. If George Mehdi is right about the fight being partially “arranged”, then that proves Helio’s (or his family’s) brilliance to an even greater degree.

    Maybe also Kimura learned that fighting pays better with a certain degree of staging. He returned to Japan and became a pro wrestler, pretending to be knocked out by karate chops administered by obese former sumo wrestlers, and teaming up with Rikidozan to punish American wrestlers for humiliating Japan in the War (at least, that’s how the Japanese fans felt about it.)

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    that too

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    Old. Seen this before but that only proves Kimura is one of the greatest judoka that ever lived. In his prime, he does 1000 pushups a day

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    Please listen to my radio shows
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    Thank you Aussie! Repp'd


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