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Renowned martial artist Renzo Gracie is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion, 6th-degree black belt, and founder of the Renzo Gracie Academy.
In a career that began in 1992 as he fought in his homeland of Brazil on the Vale Tudo circuit, he rose to the very pinnacle of the sport and became one of the most recognisable fighters on the planet.
Not surprising given his family’s rich legacy in the world of mixed martial arts. The grandson of revered Gracie Jiu-Jitsu founder Carlos Gracie, Renzo has continued forging the family name in fighting folklore, with the same never say die attitude and relentless determination to challenge and be the best.
As a young man, Renzo was never far from trouble, honing his fighting skills on the beaches of Rio, taking on rival surfers, in a battle for territory, as he indulged his other great passion in life. He has been shot at, stabbed, and shot some more, but never allowing such adversities to dull his natural charisma and passion for life.
It was on moving to New York City in the mid-90s that Renzo’s great calling in life transpired. By establishing the Renzo Gracie Academy in Manhattan, he followed in the footsteps of those before him and began spreading the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu message to all who crossed his path.
Inside the ring fame and fortune beckoned, a string of impressive victories against the likes of Frank Shamrock, Carlos Newton, Maurice Smith, and Oleg Taktarov catapulted Renzo into the spotlight, and the newfound attention suited this brash and bullish Brazilian just fine.
He continues to train and compete to this day, taking on opponents younger, bigger and stronger with unwavering belief and a single-eyed determination to prove that his style and technical prowess is peerless and unmatched. His academy is more than just a gym, it’s a place of refuge, of learning, of camaraderie, to help build the “confidence not only to defend yourself” but “the confidence required to face life”.
Champions past and present flock to Renzo Gracie, some of the greatest names in the sport, seeking his expertise and know-how. From Georges St Pierre and John Danaher to Matt Serra and Rafael Correa all looking for an edge, to hone their craft in the way that only Gracie guidance can.
From the early days of the sport, when rules were a mere footnote and the no holds barred brutality left many a fighter forlorn, Renzo Gracie has continued to evolve and adapt. Like the many Gracie’s before him, Renzo sees no boundaries or limitations, no challenge too great, no man that can’t be beaten.
And, as he seeks out his next challenge, or should that be challenger, it’s an absolute pleasure to have this time in his company. Renzo Gracie is a bundle of energy, a vivacious human being with an enthusiasm suited to a man half his age. He’s knowledgeable, but above all else, he’s a fighter. He’s unique. Unless perhaps you’re a Gracie that is.