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Helio Gracie's best bit of advice for beginners

One time, during an energizing conversation with the VIP members of Rickson Academy, one BJJ fan asked Rickson: what was the most memorable piece of advice you ever heard from Master Helio Gracie when you were still taking your first steps in the gentle art?

Rickson then remembered a great lesson that changed the course of his journey. "Master Helio once told me: if you want to be a special fighter, different from the others, you need to be confident to do what needs to be done, but you must keep yourself in permanent doubt to learn what can be learned."

The piece of wisdom proved valuable like few others: no matter how much Rickson learned, or how many opponents he beat, he should remember to have a curious, inquisitive mind, open to new things — and willing to test everything out. The curious mind is the only type that never stops learning, and that in BJJ is the winning path. 

"Master Helio then added: use your heart, but use your head even more," Rickson recalled. "You won't want to win your battles just because you're stronger and more tenacious than your opponents, because eventually that energy runs out. To go far in jiu-jitsu, you must be attentive to the details, to the apparently invisible minutiae, but which make an outsize difference in a fight. Despite your being stronger than your opponent, always try to see the fight through the eyes of a weak man. And so I opened my eyes and mind to the deficiencies that nobody saw, to apparently invisible resources of our martial art."

How about you: do you look at BJJ from the point of view of a weak student? Just something to keep in mind, coming from the eternal master Helio Gracie.


Martin Rampersad Avatar
Martin Rampersad commented:

From the eyes of children

October 23, 2021 09:30 PM
rickmountain000 Avatar
rickmountain000 commented:

I don't have to pretend to be a weak student. If something works for me odds are I am doing something right. I was wondering if Rickson planned specific days for recovery as opposed to training.

October 23, 2021 05:15 PM
trilogydac Avatar
trilogydac commented:

What a Great man, this teaching is the essence of humble service to a cause greater than the surface appearance of wanting to beat everyone for personal ego. Instead it was to promote Jiu-jitsu as the best tool to transform yourself into a better human being than you ever thought possible. “ Through the eyes of a weak man” what a powerful quote!

October 23, 2021 05:13 PM