Carlos Gracie Jr.
Carlos Gracie Jr. was born in January 17, 1956 and grew up heavily influenced by his family of fighters. In close synch with the life philosophy and teachings of his father Carlos Gracie Sr., Carlinhos ? as he’s known to friends and family ? grew up observing and learning from some of the most influential figures his family has ever produced: Carlos, Helio and Rolls.
The most significant years of his childhood and early teenage years were spent in the mountains of Rio de Janeiro at the legendary Teresópolis House ? a sprawling ranch with numerous rooms where most of Carlos and Helio’s sons lived and trained together for many years. There, Carlos Gracie Jr. learned to live in a community in which all members need to get along, share, and learn from one another; a dynamic that seems to have become an ideal for him. In many ways, Master Carlos seems to be replicating that communal setting in a larger scale today ? the same environment that nurtured his personal development at the old Teresópolis House. There are those who even attribute the tremendous success he has had in an array of different fields to being the outcome of that philosophy.
From one school to 300 schools
In 1986, Carlos Gracie Jr. founded the first Gracie Barra school, in the city of Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro. From that one location he created the most expansive BJJ organization there is, with offices in the USA, Brazil, Australia and Europe and around 300 hundred schools spanning the world.
He created a structure that could protect the Gracie Barra banner while still offering support to instructors and school owners, to create career opportunities via certification programs and professional training. The aim of the schools is to help their communities by offering Jiu-Jitsu for everyone.
Gracie Barra’s reputation drew international attention, and Master Carlos created opportunities for hundreds of people to travel abroad and begin international careers. In 2005, Carlos founded his own school outside Brazil, the Gracie Barra US headquarters, located in the city of Irvine, California.
His goal now is to bring Jiu-Jitsu to everyone, and he will accomplish that by establishing a school in every city in the world.
With GB’s worldwide expansion the need for wearable uniformity of high quality and consistency between schools became imperative. Moreover, Master Carlos Jr.’s teaching methods and philosophy had to be replicated, with the same training experience provided at each school. Without the wearables division, that could not happen. The creation of a wearables division was a must in the grand scheme of Carlos’s plans, and in 2002 in Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, the seeds of GB Wear was planted.
“At Gracie Barra we believe that what we wear identifies us as a group and shows what we stand for”. Building on that assumption, Master Carlos Gracie Jr decided to recruit staff from within his school to take up so challenging a project, entrusting his students to lead and manage the project. With major ideals and a cutting edge concept, GB Wear started out producing just 50 T-shirts packaged in plastic bags.
Also confident that how and when we wear it provides others with shorthand to subtly read what we are about, albeit superficially, GB Wear became an important pillar in the GB Association’s Premium School project to accomplish Master Carlos Gracie Jr.’s vision of building one GB School in each city in the world. An important company milestone came when the innovative rash guard and the “uniform” concept was implemented in Gracie Barra in 2003, setting new standards for the entire Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community.
Today, GB Wear has five international teams working to supporting schools, professors, students, and GB entities throughout the process of producing and distributing high quality gear and instructional products.
GB Wear currently has regional divisions representing North America, Central America, South America, Oceania and Europe. Some of the students closest to Master Carlos live in these areas, managing the regional offices and working with local schools on a daily basis.
GB Wear is constantly promoting and supporting BJJ projects around the globe, by donating gis and uniforms to outreach projects in Bahia and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, school projects in California, and surf projects in Guatemala.