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61 Years of Helio Gracie's the Survival Mindset

October 26, 2012

October 23, 1951 Helio Gracie faced Masahiko Kimura

Exactly 61 years ago this Tuesday, Grandmaster Helio Gracie participated in the historic match against the legendary Japanese champion, Masahiko Kimura. Because Kimura was so much heavier and stronger than Helio, many people discouraged Helio from fighting the Japanese champ. But, even though Helio knew he would not be able to defeat Kimura, he was determined to see how the Japanese fighter would defeat him. Kimura was so confident of victory, he declared publicly that, if Helio could last for more than three minutes, he should be declared the winner. To everyone's surprise, Helio survived an astounding 13 minutes before finally getting caught in the "reverse ude-garami," the shoulder lock which now bears Kimura's name. Ironically, Helio always considered his defeat by Kimura as one of his greatest victories because the match validated his modifications to the original Japanese jiu-jitsu techniques. More importantly, it reaffirmed his belief that the "survival mindset" is the only reliable approach when facing a larger, more athletic opponent. He was convinced that had he entered the match with the "attack mindset," aimed solely at submitting Kimura, he would have exposed himself and been submitted much sooner in the match.

Thank you Helio for teaching us how to defend against giants, and how to stay calm in worst-case scenarios.

New Video: Helio vs Kimura