The young Helio Gracie was one of the least likely candidates to legendary athlete one could find in his time, what with his physical weakness and crippling vertigo. Which is why he was such an amazing poster boy for Brazilian jiu-jitsu, an art that worked not because of his physical attributes, but in spite of them.
But times change, and BJJ is evolving. Pondering over this evolution, a student asked Rickson, "What's your conception about strength? It seems that, today, strength is becoming very important in jiu-jitsu." Rickson replied:
"Yes. If you're thinking about the competition rules, the setup of engaging yourself for five, six, or eight minutes with somebody in the weight division, that becomes athletic, that becomes strong. You're gonna face somebody with bulging ears, who's a tough guy—so that becomes physical. And that is competition jiu-jitsu.
"I feel like jiu-jitsu has to be brought to your life in terms of not being a competition, but being an enlightenment where you're gonna start to realize positions in which you're supposed to be comfortable, find yourself flowing, and adjust yourself to possibilities, with patience, with no commitments to points.
"So jiu-jitsu has to be very complete, and very acceptable, and very fun to practice when you take your mindset off competition."