Joe Rogan once asked Rickson Gracie about a supposed frustration the master felt upon first starting to teach BJJ to Americans, who weren't as committed to the art as himself.
As it turns out, Rickson feels exactly the opposite. Our recent interview allowed him to shed more light on his philosophy. Check out below the second half of his answer. If you missed part 1, catch it here.
"As I get older, as my chronic pains and soreness, and lack of movement, start to take me away from my competitive level and my training hard, I start to become more passionate about bringing not only the top of the pyramid going up in effectiveness, but working on the base of the pyramid, accepting and bringing more ideas to promote jiu-jitsu among the people who need it the most: the weak ones, the shy ones, the ones who are very much feeling just awkward in terms of confronting, in terms of looking you in the eye and shaking your hand and hugging you. So, with that evolutionary process, I felt that more and more relevant for me is to lead my work and my motivation towards incorporating easy ways to make the practitioners who are kind of below the level of championships and tournaments feel motivated and feel the use of jiu-jitsu more relevant to their lives.
"So I'm very much motivated today in teaching somebody who feels like he has no chance, and putting him in a sense where he's very powerful and he can have anything in life he's visualizing. So, for me to transform people at that level, I have to reduce my energy level, I have to reduce my capacity to compete and to be a champion, and put myself as an average Joe, trying to share knowledge and trying to share confidence, and trying to share empowerment with people who really need it, and where it really makes a difference in their lives. So I feel like my direction now copes with my state, my mental state, my physical state. Because even if I wanted today, I cannot keep up with a group of guys who are champions, to keep them training hard for championships; because the way I see jiu-jitsu today doesn't have the same sharp feeling which I had twenty years ago. Jiu-jitsu always involves hard training. I see champions today doing things that are very much admirable, and they're coming from a process of keeping training for the last twenty years; so I don't feel like I'm able to come and make a difference in the life of a great jiu-jitsu champion; maybe I can help him with some ideas, but he's already a champion. But I feel like I can really make a very important change in the life of people who'd like to get an option to become empowered in order to seek for happiness."
thank you for sharing your evolutionary teaching path Grand Master. It's a beautiful journey.
Wisdom of aging