Helio Gracie (October 1, 1913 – January 29, 2009) was a Brazilian martial artist who, together with his brothers George & Carlos Gracie, founded the self-defense martial art system of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, also known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Considered as the godfather of BJJ, according to Rorion Gracie, his father Hélio is one of the first sports heroes in Brazilian history; he was named Man of the Year in 1997 by the American martial arts publication Black Belt magazine. A patriarch of the Gracie family, multiple members of his family have gone on to have successful careers in combat sports competition including mixed martial arts (MMA).
Helio Gracie was a somewhat sickly youth, less powerful and athletic than his brothers, who were taught Kodokan Judo by Mitsuyo Maeda. Because of his less than stellar athleticism, Gracie began to modify the art so that the moves were less strength-based. The result was the Brazilian jiu-jitsu.