Among the most valuable treasures left by the Gracie family, along with the technical arsenal of self-defense and the study of natural foods, is the oral communication, based on curious and brilliant quips, capable of surprising the interlocutor like a good lever used for sweeping.
Like old druids around the fire, the masters of the family soon understood that simple, wise and direct speech would be the most effective way to teach and excite the students. When fired up with good humor, then, the listener had no way of resisting—and so the message went on to be passed along for decades and decades.
The wisdom of the mat has as pillars a stripped-down language, a curious choice of words, and the metaphors with animals and nature, a great treasure that has been nurtured since the time of the brothers Carlos and Helio Gracie.
Perhaps the most famous example: "My friend, if size mattered, the elephant would be the king of the jungle!" Among so many others.
Any communication scholar knows that the speech is as important as the content. In this case, the Gracies' way of speaking influenced their followers to use (even if unconsciously) the same rhetoric, the same slang, the same language.
The lesson here, therefore, would be to invest in effective communication, to get away from banal talk, and to find your own voice, with talent and creativity.
Below, check out some classic mat lines that you have certainly heard or will hear, if you have a gi at home.
12. "If the ground for many is the end...for us it is only the beginning."
11. "Man is like a fish: he dies by his mouth." (Helio Gracie, on being careful with food)
10. "Jiujitsu: better to know it and not need it, than to need it and not know it."
9. "Give me a lever and a fulcrum and I will finish the world." (After Archimedes)
8. "David only used a rock against Goliath because he didn't know jiujitsu."
7. "Jiujitsu is a mousetrap. The mousetrap does not chase the mouse. But when the mouse tries to put its claw into the cheese, the trap goes off..." (Helio Gracie)
6. "Jiujitsu is the noblest of the arts, because it gives your opponent the chance to quit without suffering a scratch."
5. "Everyone is afraid. The difference is that the coward does not control his fear, and the brave man overcomes it." (Master Rickson Gracie)
4. "The belt is good for nothing but tying your pants." (Master Helio Gracie)
3. "The more I train, the luckier I get."
2. "With jiujitsu I learned above all the great lesson, which was to know myself deeply." (Master Carlos Gracie)
1. "Fighting is not something physical; it is a spiritual art." (Master Rickson Gracie)