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In 1925, after moving to Rio de Janeiro, Carlos and his brothers opened the first Academy of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, in the Flamengo area of the city. At the time, Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Brazil. The academy quickly became an enormous success and soon the brothers were teaching the top politicians and personalities of the country.
Highly influential in the development of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu was Helio Gracie, Carlos’s younger brother. All the Gracies were slight of frame, but Helio was particularly small and frail. He even suffered from spells of dizziness that prevented him from attending school. Young Helio would spend his days watching the others teach all day long. He observed more closely than anyone realized, because one day when Carlos was unable to make it to a private class, Helio offered to teach the student. Helio was sixteen years old and weighed 140 pounds, and the student was skeptical but agreed. At the end of the lesson the student was so impressed with Helio’s teaching style that he asked Carlos if Helio could be his teacher. From that day on Helio Gracie became a full instructor at the academy.