Roots of Fight: Helio Gracie vs. Masahiko Kimura

JP SmithCorrespondent IIMarch 6, 2012

In the fast-paced world of Mixed Martial Arts where anything can and does happen, new champions are born and bred at an almost daily pace.

Often, one man’s folly is another man’s fortune as the championship belt can be stripped away as quickly as it was awarded.

With this undeniable fact in mind, we see yesterday’s underdog quickly become today’s world title holder. This alone keeps fighters moving at a time-lapsed speed as they sharpen and develop their skills to stay competitive and keep their ranks among some of the world’s finest athletes.

This way of thinking, training and living is a necessary means of survival in MMA. Becoming the next greatest fighter requires constantly moving forward in a world that does not wait for you—a world where one can just as quickly be forgotten as they were celebrated.

It is for this same reason that it is just as important to remember where you came from as it is to have a clear understanding of where you are going—never forget your roots.

Our roots are what help us to grow and to flourish. The deeper our roots, the stronger we are and the longer we will thrive.

It is for that very important reason that MMA clothing company Roots of Fight has developed a historical and commemorative new line of apparel celebrating the sport’s most famous throw-downs between the world’s most revered grandmasters and champions.

So fans and fighters will never forget those who have made the fastest growing sport in the world what it has become today, Roots of Fight has produced a series of new mini-documentaries which simultaneously inform us and pay tribute to the great legends of MMA.

To kick things off, Roots of Fight takes us on an incredible journey back in time to October 23, 1951, when Brazilian Jiu Jitsu founder Helio Gracie challenged the No. 1 Judoka, the legendary Masahiko Kimura, to a grappling match for world bragging rights and to prove that his new Brazilian art was superior to the Japanese art of Judo, from which BJJ was spawned.

The story of this famously historical event is told by Gracie family representative and BJJ black belt, Rener Gracie as he recounts his grandfather’s battle with Kimura—the same man from which the devastating submission hold the “Kimura” got its name.

With almost 200,000 spectators in attendance for the fight in Brazil, including the president of the country, it was the first time such a fight took place outside of Japan.

Giving up 80 lbs to Kimura, Gracie knew that he had his work cut out for him. He was even told by Kimura that if he could survive for three minutes without giving up, that he should be declared the winner.

The fight was set for two, 10-minute rounds. It was nearly four minutes into the second round before Gracie was forced to quit, not by his own will, but by his corner who threw in the towel to prevent any further injury that was being dished out by the much larger and stronger Kimura.

“He knew he was going to lose in front of his whole country, but he still engaged,” said Rener Gracie. “And that's the definition of a warrior. That’s the definition of a fighter. That’s the definition of a modern-day samurai.”


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