Sri K Pattabhi Jois

1915 - 2009

jois_bio1Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois was born on the full moon day of July, 1915, Guru Purnima day. His ancestral village, Kowshika, near Hassan in Karnataka State, is inhabited by maybe 500 people and has one main street. At one end of the street is a Vishnu temple, just next to Pattabhi Jois’ home. At the far end of the street, just 100 yards away, lies a small Ganapati temple, and just opposite, a Siva temple. Both are several hundreds years old, and are the focus of the village.

Pattabhi Jois’s father was an astrologer and a priest, who acted as the pujari for many of the families in the village. From an early age, as most brahmin boys, Pattabhi Jois was taught the Vedas and Hindu rituals.

When Guruji was 12 years old, he attended a yoga demonstration at his middle school in Hassan. The next day he went to meet the great yogi who had given the demonstration, a man by the name of Sri T. Krishnamacharya, who had learned yoga for nearly eight years from his Guru, Rama Mohan Brahmachari in a cave in Tibet. For the next two years, Guruji learned from his Guru every day. When Guruji turned 14, he had his brahmin thread ceremony. Krishnamacharya left Hassan to travel and teach, and Guruji left his village to go to Mysore.

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Masahiko Kimura

September 10, 1917 – April 18, 1993

Kimura was a Japanese judoka (Judo practitioner) who is widely considered one of the greatest judoka of all time. Kimura (5ft 7in 170cm; 85 kg, 187lb) was born on September 10, 1917 in Kumamoto, Japan.

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Helio Gracie

Untitled document

October 1, 1913 – January 29, 2009

helio_gracieHelio Gracie was regarded as the creator of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, also known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). Until his death, Gracie was the only living 10th degree master of the discipline and is widely considered as one of the first sports heroes in Brazilian history; he was named Black Belt Magazine’s Man of the Year in 1997. He was the father of the world-renowned fighters Rickson Gracie, Royler Gracie, Royce Gracie, Relson Gracie and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) founder Rorion Gracie. Gracie was also a 6th dan in judo.

When he was just 16 years old, he found the opportunity to teach a Judo class(at that time Judo was commonly referred to as Kano Jiu-Jitsu or simply Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil). This experience led him to develop Brazilian/Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. A director of the Bank of Brazil, Mario Brandt arrived for a private class at the original Gracie Academy in Rio de Janeiro as scheduled. The instructor, Carlos Gracie (Helio’s older brother), was running late and was not present. Helio offered to begin the class with the man. When the tardy Carlos arrived offering his apologies, the student assured him it was no problem, and actually requested that he be allowed to continue learning with Helio Gracie instead. Carlos agreed to this and Helio Gracie became an instructor. Helio realised that even though he knew the techniques, theoretically in fact, the moves were much harder to execute. Due to his smaller size, he realised many of the judo moves required brute strength which did not suit his small stature. Consequently, he began adapting Judo for his particular physical attributes, and through trial and error learned to maximise leverage, thus minimising the force that needed to be exerted to execute a move. From these experiments, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, formally Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, was created. Using these new techniques, smaller and weaker practitioners gained the capability to defend themselves and even defeat much larger opponents.

In 1932 when he was 19 Gracie was involved in an attack on Luta-Livre teacher Manoel Rufino dos Santos. In an interview for Playboy Magazine he regretted that act with this statement:
“It was 66 years ago that I was involved in my biggest trouble. A famous fighter in Brazil [a former luta livre champion] Manoel Rufino dos Santos, said that he was going to show the world that we Gracies were nothing. It was at the Tijuca Tennis Club of Rio that I gave my answer to him. I arrived and said “I came to answer the declaration that you made.” He throw a punch and I took him to the ground, with two fractures of his head, and a broken clavicle, and blood spurting out. But it was a foolish act that I did. Today I would never repeat such a thing.”

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Huo Yuanjia

1868 - 1910

huo_yuanjiaHuo Yuanjia was born 1868 in Xiaonan Village in Jinghai County in Tianjin, and his family's primary source of income was from farming. The Huo family had a long tradition of being practitioners of traditional Wushu. Huo Yuanjia, however, was born weak and susceptible to illness (at an early age he contracted jaundice that would recur periodically for the rest of his life) so his father discouraged him from learning traditional Wushu.

Because of his physical deficiencies, Huo En Di wanted his son to pursue scholarly interests instead of learning traditional Wushu. In his later life, Huo Yuanjia became renowned for his humility and educated judgment. However pursuing scholarly interests was a great blow to his ego which was fueled from the constant bullying by younger children during his youth. His father hired a tutor from Japan, Chen Seng Ho (Chiang Ho), who in exchange for being taught his family style of martial arts Mizongyi, taught Yuanjia the values of humility and perseverance. Refusing to accept the vocation his father had chosen for him, Huo Yuanjia hid in bushes and even dug out a small hole in the wall of the training area and secretly observed his father teaching his family's style of martial arts. Each day he quietly sat and watched, and each night he went to a tree grove and practiced secretly with his tutor. This continued for about ten years.

In 1890, a martial artist by the name of Duo came from Henan Province to visit the Huo family. His manner provoked a trial of strength with the boxers of the family. After seeing a demonstration by Yuanjia's elder brother, he was goaded into a fight. Huo Yuanjia’s brother was beaten, but to the family's surprise Yuanjia himself got up and defeated his brother's opponent. His father then officially accepted him and taught his younger son all that he knew. His name started to spread and he soon began defeating neighboring practitioners in local contests. These bouts made Huo Yuanjia famous in his village and the neighboring areas.

Huo Yuanjia began working with his father as a guardian. While escorting a group of monks, they were confronted by a leader of bandits named Zhao who gave them a letter threatening the monks with an attack from his army. Unperturbed, Yuanjia met Zhao's challenge and defeated him, injuring both of the bandit’s arms in the process; his many troops dispersed. Word of this feat spread fast further adding to his growing fame.

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Kenshiro Abbe

15/12/1915 – 1/12/1985

Kenshiro Abbe's introduction to the martial arts began with his father, Toshizo Abbe, a kendo teacher and school master. However, with the death of his father in a flood during a kendo weekend course on the 4th September 1918, he received little kendo training.

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