In 1980, Chuck Norris had a vacation in Rio de Janeiro. Everywhere he was, he heard about Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and our family's achievements. He contacted Helio Gracie, my father, and arranged for private lessons. After fighting me, Norris heard my father's request to mount him. When they were in position, Helio then said:
"OK, Chuck, now punch me."
The American hesitated. My father was in his 70s, but Helio insisted. Finally, Chuck put his arm back to punch, but before he could, the old man had him in a choke. He left Brazil impressed with our family and invited us to give seminars to his students in the United States.
So in 1988, I went to Las Vegas to lead a seminar with Chuck Norris, Rorion Gracie, and nine other brothers and cousins in the family. Norris rolled out the red carpet for us, with an extremely respectful reception. After Rorion read a letter from Helio congratulating Norris on his wisdom in inviting us, my brother and I demonstrated some self-defense moves. Then I had a friendly match with Chuck. I let him come over and try to kick me, but I trapped him in the clinch and knocked him down. In about a minute, I was choking him.
The seminar was a great success among the students under Norris, who never stopped practicing ground fighting.