In his memoir, Breathe, Rickson Gracie says that following his 1980 vale-tudo debut against King Zulu, he knew that if he was to become the greatest Gracie, he couldn't rely on others to save him as Rolls and Helio did between rounds.
His search for growth eventually led him to Orlando Cani, who was developing a system of movement later named bioginástica. In a recent interview, we got Rickson talking about the influence Cani had on his life. Here's part 1 of what he had to say:
“Orlando Cani's been my mentor for a long time. I feel like after Helio Gracie, Orlando's the guy who plays the most important role as a guide in myself towards life, because he gave me the treasure of teaching me how to breathe and the huge beneficial aspects of breathing properly.
“It's a very interesting aspect about the lungs, which the heart and the brain are the only organs that can give and receive information; the other organs don't function that way. So you can have a heart feeling, you can have a brain confusion, anticipation, so... And immediately, if it's something in your brain or in your heart, your body responds to that by feeling anxious, by feeling nervous, by feeling depressed, by feeling sad, by feeling agony, fear...
“So, the mental process, when it's negative, is there to hurt you. When the heart-[?] process is negative, it's there to hurt you. The lungs have the ability to transform that perspective, because you can, through the lungs, control the vibes you send to your brain, and also can control the heartbeats and the hyperventilation you send to your heart. So if you have any situation which pushes you to physicality, by breathing, you can calm yourself, you can sharpen your focus, you can be much more accurate to deal with the situation.”