THE GRACIE CHALLENGE COMES TO AMERICA
The Gracie Challenge's success in Brazil inspired Helio Gracie's eldest son - Rorion Gracie - to move to Southern California and start teaching Gracie Jiu Jitsu out of his
garage. Rorion's ambition was to spread Gracie Jiu Jitsu to the rest of the world.
Rorion presumed that the use of the Gracie Challenge in America would produce the same widespread success that Helio and Carlos experienced in Brazil. Furthermore, Rorion
believed that if Gracie Jiu Jitsu succeeded in America, it's success would spread throughout the world.
At the time, America's mainstream perception of martial arts - as displayed on television and in the movies - was the typical eastern style of punching and kicking such as Kung Fu,
Karate, Hapkido, Taekwondo, and Kickboxing; grappling was primarily disregarded.
Upon Rorion's acquisition of his first students, Rorion quickly learned of the criticism and disdain that local martial artists had conveyed to his students. In response, Rorion
openly challenged martial artists in the local community in no-holds-barred competition to prove Gracie Jiu Jitsu's superiority. Rorion's only requirement was that each fight be
video-taped and that the winner of the fight was awarded the rights to the video. As his father and uncle before him, Rorion easily defeated opponent after opponent and his school
expanded exponentially and to the point that his brothers moved to America to help him run the academy.