Our December 2021 group interview with Rickson included questions asked directly by Carlos Gama, co-founder of Rickson Academy. At one point he asked the master, "What do you think you can learn in jiu-jitsu that helps a person deal with a huge loss?" The answer went like this:
"I feel like I can pinpoint or can touch every aspect of your life, no matter if it's your fear, no matter if it's your insecure state of mind, no matter if it's your aggressiveness, no matter if it's your anxiety. So, regardless of what this situation can bring to the practitioner, he will feel somewhat damaged by that impression—either somebody died, or he lost a job, or he gets sick... So that's very impactant, that's very strong, and that's not easy to deal with—with or without jiu-jitsu. It's not like having money in your bank account will save you from being afraid or being sick.
"So jiu-jitsu is a valuable art to give you perspective of yourself; so, everytime you go on the mat to be exposed to things, you start dealing with angles, with leverage, with physicality, with patience, with hope, with faith, with positiveness, with beliefs. So you have to embrace jiu-jitsu as a box of tools which can bring to the table a lot of different options, and those tools can be serving you in any aspect of life, because being a jiu-jitsu practitioner is just a way for you to be sophisticated and connected with your own inside.
"So, once you become more internalized, when you know your panic is coming from a mindset you can change; your tiredness is coming from a lack of hyperventilation, and you can breathe; your emotional aspect, your fear, anxiety, can be coming from an emotionally unstable mind, so you can immediately try to meditate or think, or visualizations and positiveness in your life and start to add...
"So, the problems will be there, but with jiu-jitsu you have better tools to deal with the problems, no matter if it's fear, anticipation, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts. Jiu-jitsu will give you a deeper perspective of how you can handle them, because jiu-jitsu is half for the outside (how you demonstrate things), but half is from inside, how you feel. Jiu-jitsu's supposed to be teaching you how to feel things. And if you feel uncomfortable, let me adjust here to feel comfortable; if I feel anxious, I have to breathe out to become more patient.
"So you start dealing with the gauges of your temper, your tiredness, your physicality, your mental assets; and, based on the exposure jiu-jitsu gives you for different circumstances, you start dealing with the situations. And, more than anybody, you, being very much an expression of [?] solutions. Because I know, as a good friend, a brother that you are to me, Carlos, you've been exposed to many different problems; and jiu-jitsu makes you resolve those with a lot more accuracy and emotional control. So, jiu-jitsu is a grateful art, and you can use it not only in the physicality, but in the mind and also the spiritual levels—to heal, to fix and to suppress the problem."