Rare Footage Of Helio Gracie Fighting Kato In 1950

 

Helio Gracie vs. Yukio Kato – In November of 1950, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu founder Helio Gracie was asked by a Japanese emissary if he would accept a fight with a Japanese champion. Gracie, of course, indicated that he would. This eventually led to three Japanese judokas visiting Brazil. The trio was led by the champion of all Japanese champions, Masahiko Kimura. The other two fighters were Yamaguchi (6th degree black belt) and Yukio Kato (5th degree black belt).

 

In sum, given that Kato and Gracie were more similar in size (Kato weighed about 154 pounds), instead of a match with Kimura, Gracie was given the option of Kato, at least initially. The Japanese were reportedly afraid that if Gracie lost to Kimura he would simply point to their weight differential as the reason why.

 

Regardless, on September 6, 1951, Kato and Gracie met at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for a three round draw. Kato reportedly dominated the early goings, with Gracie taking the later stages of the fight. Kato then challenged Gracie to a rematch, which took place on September 29, 1951 (only 23 days later) at Pacaembu Gymnasium.

 

Early on, as Kato had been able to do in their initial encounter, the Japanese fighter threw Gracie hard. He also tried a choke which Gracie had trouble with before escaping. Though Kato had passed Gracie’s guard in order to implement the choke, afterwards, Gracie gained his guard back, sunk in a front choke, and won the match when Kato went unconscious after about eight minutes had gone by in round one.

 

(SOURCE – Top Brazilian Jiu Jitsu vs. Judo Fights: Characteristics, Great Fights, Etc. By Robert Rousseau, About.com Guide page 2)

 

 

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