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How to learn BJJ by watching ‘Romeo and Juliet’

Many practice jiu-jitsu; few truly live jiu-jitsu. 

But if you're reading this, you are likely on the second team. You are one of us, one of those people who enjoy the knowledge of the gentle art from the time they wake up until bedtime. Which includes, of course, your leisure — when you choose a book, a TV show or a movie to pass the time. 

Wanna test this theory? Simple. First, take a movie like "Lethal Weapon," "Red Belt" or some other popular flick and try to find out which jiu-jitsu concepts are in it. Okay; now let's move up one step. Let us study jiu-jitsu with help from humanity's most famous love story, in the form of the movie "Romeo and Juliet."

The plot is as well known as it gets, and jiu-jitsu shows up midway through Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 version. It's a curious scene, absent from Shakespeare's text — it's as if the Italian director had chatted with Helio Gracie before filming one of the crucial twists of the story. 

Romeo is furious, breathless, devoid of reason, and challenges Tybald, Juliet's cousin, to a duel. Both men are skilled with the sword, young and athletic, but can't escape gravity: they fall, roll far from their weapons, and the result is a bloody ground fight. As Grandmaster Helio taught for his whole life, "The key to the secret of jiu-jitsu is that over 90% of fights and aggressions end up with two guys rolling on the floor."

Enough spoilers, but it's a shame the Capulets and Montagues didn't have a jiu-jitsu gym in Verona. Maybe the play would have drawn smaller crowds, but Romeo and Juliet could have lived happily, with a bunch of kids running around the palace. 

But cut. Cut back to our common life in the 21st century. Whether you're a lover, a swordsman or a regular student, the base missing from the movie continues to be one of the fundamental pillars for surviving a fight — whether in competition or during an ambush. 

Right in one of the first videos posted to Rickson Academy, the master teaches: "The practitioner's base has nothing to do with physical strength. It's about positioning oneself the right way to be solid in the face of an aggressor. Even while moving, the student needs to maintain a solid base — there is no way to defend yourself efficiently without that."

Take a tour of the site and gain a deep understanding of this concept. First watch the video on the fundamentals of breathing, and then watch video 1 on Base. 

Next time you need this knowledge, you'll get a happy ending.

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BJJ on a mission to Antarctica

One time, the experienced teacher and microbiologist Luiz Rosa was on his way to Antarctica, for another mission, when he heard a piece of advice from a commander of the Brazilian Navy, which he never forgot: “Rosa, let’s get ready for the worst. Because if the worst comes, we’re ready. If it doesn’t, we’re doing great.”

Master Rickson Gracie, that we know of, has never been to Antarctica, but he is a true believer of this philosophy. He goes further: practicing jiu-jitsu is the most fun, healthiest way to drill this mantra into your mind, for your whole life. Whether on the polar ice, at the office or at the bus stop, a jiu-jitsu enthusiast will always be a specialist in “finding comfort in discomfort,” as Rickson says, and will always be experienced in “the art of being ready for the unpredictable,” another expression dear to Rickson. 

Check out, in this practical lesson, how precaution is always the first line of defense in BJJ. 
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How can a firm, solid base be dynamic?

Check out an appetizer by Rickson Gracie concerning the base, one of the most important fundamentals for any person — fighter or otherwise — and understand how BJJ is inserted into every aspect of your life. After all, as Rickson shows, if you move without the adequate base, without the appropriate balance, you are unprotected. 
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A look at Rickson's warmup

What is the goal of warming up before a jiu-jitsu training session? As Rickson Gracie usually says, it's not enough just to warm up your muscles to increase your heart rate; you must warm up your body in an objective way, connected to the study of the art. 
"Indeed, if the student runs 1km before training, they will have their body warm to exercise. But they won't have done an efficient warmup, that is, one related to the moves they will perform over the following hour of training."
That's why Rickson prefers a warmup involving base, posture and self-defense fundamentals that move the whole body and get the student's muscles and brain activated. 
Moreover, with the warmup, Rickson tries to show the student how to work correctly with their breathing. The start of the class, therefore, must compel the student not to repeat the instructor's movement, but rather to feel the moves and begin experimenting with how their execution feels.  
Watch Rickson leading his students' warmup, and enjoy your training. 


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Latest Comments

Joseph Ciccarone Avatar
Joseph Ciccarone commented:

Love how you describe "being in shape" is not just physical, but mental & spiritual. Gold.

September 24, 2022 05:45 AM

Joseph Ciccarone Avatar
Joseph Ciccarone commented:

Amazing details

September 24, 2022 05:42 AM




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