BJJ legend Rickson Gracie releases “Breathe: A Life in Flow”

August 22, 2021
Rickson Gracie

‘Breathe’ is a close view of the enduring legacy of BJJ legend Rickson Gracie and his way of facing life with grace.

Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1958, Rickson Gracie is considered the most athletic and talented direct son of Helio Gracie, the father of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, a ground fighting technique that became one of the world’s most prominent martial arts. In his autobiography, Breathe: A Life in Flow, released in August, Rickson tells what it was like growing up Gracie and how he and his many brothers and cousins have grown the family tradition into a global phenomenon embraced by everyone from MMA fighters to Hollywood actors to suburban kids across America. 

Undefeated from the late 1970s through his final fight in the Tokyo Dome in 2000, Rickson was widely known as the best fighter of the Gracie clan and one of the toughest individuals in the world. He’s been training since he was six, received his black belt by 18, and amassed hundreds of victories over the years which put him in the pantheon that includes Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, and Jackie Chan as one of the most famous martial artists of the twentieth century. 

Rickson Gracie
Breathe – A Life in Flow is available on

In Breathe, Rickson shares his full story, from fighting on the beaches of Rio and in the rings worldwide, to the principles and philosophy that helped him to overcome a great tragedy in his life, and the aftermath of that trauma. 

Rickson hasn’t fought for two decades now. He was set to go against top Japanese MMA fighter Kazushi Sakuraba in a highly anticipated fight, when his oldest son, Rockson, died of a drug overdose soon after moving to New York to pursue a modeling career. The Sakuraba bout fell through, and Gracie never fought professionally again.

“My big mission now is to not just prepare a small group of people to kick ass in tournaments. There are a lot of beneficial aspects of jiu-jitsu regardless of kicking butt in a fight. My biggest goal now is to win without a fight.” he said in an interview to GQ.

With never-before-seen photos and profound insights into the sport and lifestyle, Breathe is part of a campaign to cement Rickson Gracie legacy as the greatest of all time, which includes the 1999’s documentary Choke and the upcoming Netflix documentary called Dead or Alive, directed by José Padilha (Elite Squad, Narcos), with no release date yet.

Watch below Rickson Gracie’s interview for Impact Theory:

Photo: Daniel Carettoni / Courtesy of Rickson Academy

FAQ about Rickson Gracie

Who is Rickson Gracie?

Rickson Gracie is a renowned Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter. He is a member of the famous Gracie family, which is widely credited with popularizing BJJ around the world.

What is Rickson Gracie’s significance in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Rickson Gracie is considered a legend in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He is known for his impeccable technique and is regarded as one of the most skilled BJJ practitioners of all time. His influence has helped elevate the sport to new heights of global recognition.

How many professional fights did Rickson Gracie compete in?

Rickson Gracie had an impressive record in his MMA career, with 11 wins and no losses. However, he is more famous for his numerous victories in Jiu-Jitsu competitions and vale-tudo challenges.

Is Rickson Gracie still competing?

Rickson Gracie is currently retired from competition. He now focuses on teaching and promoting Jiu-Jitsu through seminars, academies, and special events.

What is Rickson Gracie’s legacy?

Rickson Gracie’s legacy goes beyond his victories on the mat. He is revered as one of the greatest Jiu-Jitsu masters, and his philosophical and technical approach to the sport continues to inspire and influence practitioners of all ages.

Does Rickson Gracie have any academies?

Yes, Rickson Gracie has academies and also conducts seminars around the world. He continues to teach and share his knowledge with the next generation of Jiu-Jitsu practitioners.

Are there any books or films about Rickson Gracie? 

Yes, the documentary “Choke” (1999) is one of the most well-known films about Rickson Gracie, documenting his preparation and participation in a vale-tudo tournament in Japan. Additionally, Rickson has released his book “Breathe: A Life in Flow,” where he shares his experiences and life philosophy.

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Tatiana Cesso

As a journalist, I've made it my mission to explore and share stories that inspire, inform, and entertain. You may have stumbled upon my work in esteemed publications such as InStyle, Marie Claire, Bazaar, L’Officiel, and Vogue, among others. Having called the U.S. home since 2010, I've lived in Chicago, LA, and currently, Miami. But my heart always beats to the rhythm of Brazil. It's where I was born and raised, and my love for its culture, people, and energy knows no bounds. To share this passion, I've founded Brazilcore, a platform aimed at bridging the gap between Brazil and English speakers worldwide.

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