One of Master Rickson Gracie's main goals today is to see jiujitsu reaching all levels of the population, without restrictions of age, physical size, or vocation for the sport.
This is because jiujitsu, in our time, when an image can be worth a thousand lessons, has become automatically associated with muscular fighters, young and beautiful athletes, and tattooed, big-eared competitors who collect necks and arms with the voracity of bears.
But you have to look outside the ring to see the truth. Jiujitsu is not, nor ever was, synonymous with the UFC or MMA—the versatile and effective Gracie art was simply one of the main ingredients.
Grandmaster Carlos Gracie, back in the 1940s, extolled jiujitsu as the most gentle and effective therapy for stuttering, shyness, and violence in schools.
Today, Rickson is a leading proponent of the art as an ally for a healthy adult life. But why does jiujitsu help so many successful professionals around the globe, from technology billionaires to prosecutors?
Firstly, because of its remarkable relaxing role, capable of being a formidable escape valve from the problems of everyday life.
Secondly, for its knack for offering constant challenges, puzzles that need to be broken down and solved weekly by the practitioner.
As Rickson has already taught us:
"The winner is always concerned with conquering, be it a territory, a medal, or any challenge. He excels at trying to defeat any adversary. And this is only developed by always facing more challenges.
"After facing the challenge, the person has two options and several ways to deal with it. Once you achieve victory, it should become meaningless. If the victory is not achieved, it is you who must restructure yourself so that it is achieved the next time. This constant fight, without stopping at the victories, this spirit of war becomes part of any aspect of your life, not only on the mat. It is the desire you have to be at a higher place than you were yesterday."
The more you practice jiujitsu, therefore, the more confident you become to take the next step, whether it's in your career or toward an unknown challenge.
"The problem in the world today is that the pressure of having to win is suffocating. And it can actually implode anyone," he says. "What can be done, therefore, with the dedication of much of the mind and spirit, is to surrender to a higher force: simply do as much as you can, but know that the end result does not depend on you alone. This is what I have always taken the pressure out of my daily life as a champion with. The mental tactic is: I will simply do what is possible, and what is not possible is already taken care of. That way, whatever the result is, I will go home satisfied with myself."