Childhood & Early Life
Royler Gracie was born on December 6, 1965, in Rio De Janerio, Brazil.
His father, the late grandmaster Helio Gracie, was a martial artist who had co-invented the unique martial art “Gracie jiu-jitsu,” also called the “Brazilian jiu-jitsu,” along with Royler's uncle, Carlos Gracie. His mother, Vera, was Helio's second wife.
He is the fifth son of his father and the second of his mother.
His ancestors moved to Brazil from Scotland at the beginning of the 19th century.
He has three half-brothers, Rorion, Relson, and Rickson; three biological brothers, Rolker, Royce, and Robin; and two sisters, Rerika and Ricci .
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He began his jiu-jitsu training at the tender age of 3. When he was around 7 years old, he started learning the art under his cousin, Rolls Gracie. During this period, along with his brothers, he traveled from his neighborhood, Botofago, to Copacabana, on a bus. Rolls had a training academy there. He had a major influence on Royler and his technique of jiu-jitsu.
Though Royler’s classes ended by 5 pm, he would stay back until 9 pm and watch and learn from the adult training sessions. He was a curious child and discussed about the techniques with experts.
However, Rolls had an untimely death. Nevetheless, this tragedy did not deter Royler's determination to learn the art. He took lessons from his father and half-brother Rickson at the ‘Gracie Humaitá,’ or the 'Academia Gracie de Jiu-Jitsu.' This helped him sharpen his skills.
After graduating high school, he chose to pursue a career in Brazillian jiu-jitsu and martial arts in general.
His Combat Career
Gracie won against Ivan Lee at the 'Universal Vale Tudo Fighting 2' held in Brazil on June 24, 1996. Within a fortnight, on July 7, 1996, he beat Noboru Asahi, a Japanese mixed martial artist, at the 'Vale Tudo Japan' held in Urayasu, Japan. The same year, he became the inaugural 'World Jiu-Jitsu Champion' in the 70 kg category, held at 'Tijuca Tenis Clube Gymnasium' in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In 1997, he again became the 'World Jiu-Jitsu Champion' in the same category and picked the bronze in the absolute division.
He became the 'World Jiu-Jitsu Champion' for the third time in 1997. The same year, he won the 'Pan American Championships' for the first time.
In 1998, he became the world champion in the 70 kg category for the third time. The same year, at the 'Pride Fighting Championship,' conducted in Yokohama, Japan, he defeated Japanese mixed martial artist Yuhi Sano.
In 1999, he took home three golds, which included his fourth at the 'World Jiu-Jitsu Championship,' his first at the 'ADCC Submission World Wrestling Championship,' (in the 65 kg category, held in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E), and his second at the 'Pan American Championships' (in the featherweight category).
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However, he also faced one of his most significant losses in 1999, against Kazushi Sakuraba at the 'Pride Fighting Championships' organized inTokyo, Japan.
As he stepped into the new millennium, he became the 'ADCC Submission World Wrestling Champion' for the second time in the same category (again in Abu Dhabi). The same year, he became the first Gracie to lose to Japanese mixed martial artist Kazushi Sakuraba.
On January 8, 2001, he drew against Takehiro Murahama at the Japanese mixed martial tournament named 'Deep,' conducted in Nagoya, Japan. Later that year, he became the first competitor to win the 'ADCC Submission World Wrestling Championship' for the third time in a row (the highest number of times until then). The tournament was held in Abu Dhabi for the fourth time.
In 2004, his results were mixed. On May 22, 2004, he lost to Genki Sudo in the tournament organized in Saitama, Japan, by ‘K-1,’ a kickboxing association based in Hong Kong. On November 20, 2004, he won against Japanese mixed martial artist Kazuyuki Miyata at the 'Rumble on the Rock' held in Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.A.
On July 6, 2005, he won against Koji Yoshida in the event titled 'Hero's 2,' held in Tokyo. A couple of months later, on September 7, 2005, he lost to Norifumi Yamamoto, a Japanese kickboxer, at the event 'Hero's 3', also held in Tokyo.
On New Year's Eve 2006, at the 'K-1 Premium 2006 Dynamite!!,' held in Osaka, Japan, he lost to Hideo Tokoro, a Japanese mixed martial artist.
His last competitive fight was on September 14, 2011, which he lost to Japanese mixed martial artist Masakatsu Ueda, at the 'Amazon Forest Combat 1' conducted in Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil. After this fight, he retired and dedicated his life to training.
His Training Career
Under his father's guidance, he was the chief trainer at the 'Gracie Humaitá.'
Later, he became the trainer at the 'Gracie Competition Team Academy,' which opened on November 17, 2009, in San Diego, California, U.S.
He has co-written three instructional books on Brazilian jiu-jitsu: 'Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Practice,' 'Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Submission Grappling Techniques,' and 'Gracie Submission Essentials: Grandmaster and Master Secrets of Finishing a Fight.'