This film pays tribute to the epic grappling match between Gracie family patriarch and father of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Helio Gracie and legendary Japanese judoka Masahiko Kimura on October 23rd 1951.
Prior to the match, Kimura, considered at the time to be the greatest judoka in the world, boasted that he would “finish the fight with the first grip.” Kimura used his significant weight advantage to repeatedly throw the smaller Gracie, but could not finish him. In the thirteenth minute of the match, Kimura secured an ude garami shoulder lock. Gracie refused to submit but his corner, realizing the only possible outcome, threw in the towel and forfeited the match. Today, in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu the ude garami is simply known as the Kimura.
“He knew he was going to lose in front of his whole country, but he still engaged,” says Rener Gracie. “And that’s the definition of a warrior. That’s the definition of a fighter. That’s the definition of a modern-day samurai.”
Roots of Fight commemorates Gracie vs. Kimura through the release of a short documentary with the story of the historic match recounted by Helio’s grandson, Rener Gracie and footage of the match itself.