Rickson Gracie, his family's undefeated champion, built his professional journey with many challenges, confrontations, steps, obstacles. The first one of them, as remembered by the master himself, occurred when he was still a child who just wanted to have fun on the mats.
"I got my first gi before my first diaper," he joked in a recent appearance on Jocko Willink's podcast. "One day my dad, Master Helio Gracie, asked if I would like to compete against other kids. I said yes, and he made me the offer: if I won the tournament, he would give me one gift; if I lost, he would give me two."
Rickson then reminisced on his debut, which can be probably traced back to his time as a green-belt:
"Fight day came, and I really lost. I don't remember if I understood my dad's proposition correctly, but what I learned from those words was that Master Helio would not be mad at me if I lost. And that is one of the great gifts a father can give his son — this peace, this tranquility, which removes a big weight from us as a child."
"Today, I don't even remember if my dad really gave me those two gifts, but he certainly offered us something much more valuable," Rickson added . "I was able to realize then that practicing jiu-jitsu had nothing to do with the judgement of others. Without suffering any kind of paternal pressure, I competed again, I had success in my following fights, and I became a fighter."