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Fighting blind: Rickson Gracie on his final bout (part 3)

 
Rickson's 2000 fight against Masakatsu Funaki was a triumphant finish to a triumphant career. He had come a long way, from basically being forced by his dad to win his first fight twenty years prior, to guiding himself now through a bout without relying on his eyes. 

Below, you'll find his final thoughts on the ordeal. (And here's part 2, in case you missed some of the story.) 

"But it was a confirmation for me, in my mind, that I was all ready to do it without having my mindset as my enemy, without having my fear controlling the situation. So, based on that experience, I was able to confirm my mindset process of believing, of surrendering, of acceptance, of fate, was dealing to the max.

"And I was very happy with the outcome of this fight, not only because I won, but because I could control my personal panic, my discomfort in my situation—kept managing everything through breathing, through calmness, through good visualization. And everything went well, and it was a good confirmation in my mind. Even before that, I was already preparing and ready to understand and to live that kind of emotions without falling apart." 

Our interviewer had a follow-up question here: "And you didn't need, at this point, your father or your older brother. You were on your own, and it all went well, right?"

Rickson answered: "I feel like, after my self-consciousness about my lack of, you know... what was missing in that first Zulu fight, it was not something that had to be remembered again. It was in my mind, in my daily visualizations: 'I cannot let this repeat.' So, they're there to support me, to put me in the right track; but once I get on the track, I was not dependable of them for that matter again; I was just free of that situation, because it's up to me now to know how to recognize my enemy, to accept my defeat, how to be ready to die under pressure."