The following question came in as part of Rickson Gracie's live webinar from a couple of years ago: "Among your brothers, family, students, what was your toughest training partner ever?"
The master's answer went much deeper than you might expect, touching on how both his warrior spirit and teaching style were built. Check it out below.
"I'm born and raised in a champions' family. And, from one point, my vision was towards two guys who would kind of guide me through my learning process in jiu-jitsu: my two older brothers Rorion and Rolls. Rorion was a great technician; he gives great private lessons; he knows how to speak and give the sense of building a student; so I learned a lot from the teaching aspect from Rorion.
"Rolls was a great champion, was a guy who's just focused on being a guy who does his best in everything he does; he has no quitting in his mind; he is a warrior, he's a champion; he was a guy who was super enlightened in terms of sharing and supporting competitiveness and toughness. So he was my champion; he was my idol in terms of 'what I'm gonna be when I grow up.' So, in that process, I built myself, learning a lot, training hard; and definitely, up to forever, I have Rolls as my idol, as the guy I wanna get there, someday, on his level.
"So he was the tough opponent; he was the toughest guy I ever met on the mat, because he would not only whip my ass, but also show me the tricks and the... So, until the point I couldn't handle his training, I couldn't be like him, he was the toughest guy.
"Once I passed through Rolls and I felt like he'd taught me everything I needed, and I felt like I had no more secrets towards him, and I really felt comfortable against Rolls—after that, man, everything else was just... I don't say 'walking in a park,' but it was just, you know, a routine. The guy can tap in thirty seconds, it can be in five minutes, can be in eight minutes... but he always will tap. So I felt like, from the point Rolls graduated me as a champion, I've been feeling like nobody else gives me a hard time; and I'm undefeated for all my career, from eighteen years old to 2000; and I was always submitting my opponents; I never win by points. So I felt pretty comfortable with everybody I put my hands on, up to the retirement.