Experience is a wonderful thing. The process that makes you good at a sport you love playing also makes you good at life in general as time goes on, and most of us realize that being an extremist is no way to live in a society.
Well, three- or four-year-old Rickson Gracie wasn't having any of that. He had his tribe and defended its principles ferociously. The world champion's passion was already present, with none of the experience—as evidenced in the episode he recalled in a recent interview.
"When we're born in the family, you already start to believe whatever your parents say, because you become somehow in the way to become a Gracie champion, a Gracie representative... So you do all the protocols. So, for example, drinking sodas—Coca-Cola or whatever... If you tell me to drink a soda... If I'm five, six years old and you offer me a Coke, I will tell you to just go to hell, because I would feel like you are my enemy at the time, because in my family we know sodas are bad for you and you never should drink sodas.
"So, as a kid, I hate not only the soda, but I hate also everybody who drinks soda, because I could not understand how people can be stupid enough to drink that. So, in my mind, cigarettes, sodas, those sweets, those candies and stuff, are poison for me, because I've been educated: 'this is poison for you.' So, when I was with my father at maybe three or four years old, and the lady came smoking cigarettes and tried to kiss me, and I said, 'No, I don't kiss women who smoke,' it was just a reflection of my funnel vision at the time, which translates as 'I wanna be a great Gracie, so I hate everything that relates to cigarette, even if you are pretty or something...'
"So, I was proving to myself I was trying to follow the steps which lead me to not smoking, not eating junk; and we don't eat sweets up to, you know, all the birthday cakes and stuff, all made under the protocols of the good combined foods; so we all eat some kind of diet. So for me it was natural to be this kind of rebellion against alcohol or cigarettes, but it was not exactly something coming from my conscience. It was just my autopilot to repeat whatever I hear in the family and keep close to me and my building up character."