Helio Gracie si Tudor Mihaita (instructor Absoluto/RGDA)

Aveti mai jos o imagine primita recent de la seminarul sustinut de Helio Gracie in Barcelona in 2007. Helio, creatorul Jiu Jitsului Brazilian, in imagine alaturi de fiul sau Robin (instructor Gracie Barcelona) explica o strangulare cu ajutorul lui Tudor (instructor Absoluto/RGDA):

Helio Gracie si Tudor Mihaita

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Semne de… rea-purtare!

Feri, colegul nostru care se pregateste pentru debutul in MMA, a suferit o mica accidentare, comuna luptatorilor din libere, greco sau rugbyistilor: o leziune la nivelul urechii (hematoma auris). In urma presiunii, sange (sau alte fluide) se aduna intre cartilagiu si piele. Daca fluidele nu sunt extrase, acestea se intaresc cu timpul ducand la un aspect ciudat care in engleza poarta numele: cauliflower ear (ureche de conopida).

Iata un exemplu:

Feri a resuit sa-si scoata singur fluidele cu ajutorul unei seringi, iar imaginile din timpul „barbariei” va sunt prezentate. Atentie, urmeaza imagini HORROR :)…


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Imagini cu cel care l-a provocat pe Rickson Gracie

Pe scurt, Yoji Anjoh, un luptator japonez, a sosit la Rio, in ’94, pentru a-l provoca pe Rickson la lupta. Era insotit de un grup de ziaristi si fotografi japonezi. A dat buzna in sala brazilianului si acesta a fost chemat de-acasa. Enervat la culme, Rickson a declarat: „Daca lupt pentru bani, ma opresc cand vrei tu, daca lupt pentru onoare, ma opresc cand vreau eu. De data asta e vorba doar de onoare”. A dat afara din sala ziaristii si fotografii si le-a spus ca le va permite sa faca fotografii, la finalul disputei. Lupta s-a desfasurat cu usile inchise, de fata fiind doar cativa apropiati ai lui Rickson (care au filmat meciul) si managerul japonezului. Mai jos, aveti imaginile realizate de fotografii japonezi, la finalul luptei. Rickson era nevatamat…

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Intamplari reale despre familia Gracie

Anumite intamplari legate de membri familiei Gracie au fost subiectul unei discutii pe forumul NHB Gear. Sunt relatarile o doua persoane care au fost in preajma familiei inca de la sosirea aceasteia in SUA. Daca lectura este prea lunga, puteti citi macar sublinierile (cu litere bolduite), care ne apartin.

Despre conflictul Rorion – Rickson, despre presupusa mama „neoficiala” a lui Rickson si despre calitatile de instructori ale lui Rorion, Rickson si Royler:

„When I started at Gracie Torrance in 1991 Rickson was still there teaching, so was Royler and Royce. Rorian was the one in charge and his brothers worked for him and he paid them what he decided would be their salary. Rorian is very domineering and likes to control everything. I think Rickson got tired of it and felt he could do better on his own. When he left Gracie Torrance to start his own school and took some of the Torrance students, myself included, that led to their falling out. I heard rumors that Rorian threatened Rickson with a law suit but I can’t confirm that. I do remember that we had to change the name of the school from Gracie Jiu-Jitsu to Rickson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Rickson rarely spoke of Rorian but when his name would come up there was no doubt there was tension between them. Rickson once implied to me that he felt Rorian was too interested in making money and was diluting and commercializing the art. When Rorian’s first instructional tapes came out I asked Rickson what he thought of them and could they prove useful to me. He said sarcastically, „Yeah, they’re great. It’s great to learn from tapes. Maybe he (Rorian) will start giving lessons over the phone.”

As far as their lineage, I, too, have heard the rumor of Rickson having a Black mother different from Rorian and Relson. I think that would be pretty tough to keep secret. Besides, I don’t think the Gracie men care one way or another. It was well know that they had mistresses on the side. There is no secret about Roll’s mother.  But before I knew anything about their heritage the only one who seemed not to  show any family similarities of the four I took privates with was Royce. The one’s who looked most like brothers to me was Rorian and Rickson. The thing that most struck me about them when I took privates with them was that despite both having a dark complexion they also have freckles. Anyway, I never really thought much about whether they all were full brothers or not just going by looks. I come from a family of seven kids and none of us look like each other. You’d never know we were related unless I told you. Sometimes siblings look alike and sometimes they don’t. Especially as they get older and life style habits takes it’s toll. I’m active and stay slim. My closest brother, who was born in the same year as I was, is getting quite portly. We looked like brothers as children but now you’d never guess we were related. The only ones that definitely looked like brothers to me were Rickson and Rorian.

Just as an aside: of the four, I thought Rorian was the best teacher as far as being the most technical. He never missed anything. I only took about five privates with him but wished I could have spent my first year just with him learning the basics. Rickson instilled in you more of the fighting spirit and really inspiring you to dig deep and develop mental toughness and discipline and always be in a state of readiness. Royler was the most fun to train with. You worked hard but it was almost like playing. You came out of there really feeling good and thinking you had a great time. I think he only did that with beginners though because he was a little tougher with the higher ranked fighters. I never got along with Royce and dreaded taking privates with him.”

In continuare despre conflictul Rorion – Rickson si despre ce datoreaza BJJ-ul lui Rorion:  

„I think the bad blood between Rorian and Rickson began when Rickson started to „work” for him. Rorian, not without good reason, feels that he has brought Gracie Jiu-Jitsu to the world. What Helio did for Jiu-Jitsu in Brasil Rorian did for the world. All that we see today: the UFC, Pride, the entire rethinking of what constitutes an effective and practical martial art, even the evolution in martial arts that is rapidly taking place in which pure BJJ is no longer the be all and end all — can be traced to Rorian. I think Rorian is very conscious of this and looks at everyone who has ever made a penny from BJJ or achieve success and/or fame in some way owes him. I’m not sure even he knows how this should manifest itself. Perhaps a BJJ shrine would suffice. Men who do great things have great egos. Everything in life comes with a price. It wasn’t Rickson that came to America and started from scratch. It was Rorian that laid the ground work. I think when Rickson felt he could get a better deal on his own Rorian felt betrayed. I could just imagine Rorian saying, „He owes me. If it wasn’t for me he’d still be a big fish in a small pond in Brasil. A nobody outside Rio.” I don’t blame Rickson though. He was already in his thirties and didn’t want to work for his brother his whole life. And I don’t think Rorian was the easiest person to work for. Even Royler, when he said he was going back to Brasil (which broke my heart and at the risk of sounding gay Royler was one of those people you really get attached to. At least it was for me.) because his wife was homesick intimated, in an ever so subtle way, that working for Rorian was less than gratifying.”

Despre calitatile de instructor ale lui Rorion, Rickson si Royler si o scurta caracterizare, elocventa, a lui Royler: 

„The best to train with? I think that it depends on your goals. No matter what your goals are I still think that Rorian would be the best to start out with because you will not develop any bad habits and have a good foundation. He’s very articulate, sharp as a tack, and misses nothing. You know when you got it right because he can make you feel it. For pure fun and recreation Royler was the best. I loved when he use to talk to himself and refer to himself in the third person when I’d take privates with him: „Watch this guy, Royler. He’s a very strong guy. What is this now?!! Who taught him the triangle? Royler, you’re in big trouble now! Aha! Escape! Good move, Royler. He almost got you.” He use to crack me up. I felt that this is what it must have been like growing up as a Gracie. Young lion cubs rolling around having fun. If you want to be a fighter, a warrior, it would be Rickson. I didn’t know any of these guys back then or who was what.”

Despre calitatile de luptator ale lui Rickson si o privire „filozofica” a acestui aspect: 

„A friend of mine who I use to smack around in boxing started kicking my behind big time. He told me he was learning Jiu-Jitsu and to come with him to the academy because they were having an in house fight. (It was Royce and that Ninjitsu guy dressed all in black). So even though I didn’t know anything about them or their reputation it was clear that Rickson was different. People tend to prop him up as some God but he’s human like the rest of us and will grow old, weak and die. But though he is no God I think he was touched by the hand of God. He was given a gift. I once took Royce to this wrestling gym in Long Beach where these guys, all 250+, did submission wrestling. I actually started with them first and thought they were super men. Seeing Royce, this scrawny guy, just tap them over and over with virtually no effort made Royce to me seem like a God. How could anyone defeat him? Then watching him train with Rickson it was like a lion with his cub. I couldn’t believe it! It almost looked fake. Like it was choreograph for a movie. And with Rickson Jiu-Jitsu was more than just a martial art. It was a way of life in the broadest sense. With Rickson, everything that you learn in Jiu-Jitsu applies to life. How do you overcome fear? Learn humility? (Rickson has never said, to my knowledge, that he was the best. I once asked him and he said it was not for him to say). Even how you fight is how you should live. You cannot force things in life to go your way. You cannot force people to do what you want them to do. You can encourage and coax them. You can take advantage of opportunities. Rickson never says I’m going to beat this guy with an armlock or this guy with a choke. He once told me his victories or defeats „will depend on  what he (his opponent) gives to me and will or can I take it. Maybe he gives me nothing. There are no guarantees in life (sound familiar?). Maybe I give him something and he takes it….and then I lose. But since I was 18 no one has taken what I give and I have never missed taking what someone has given.

Despre partea „filozofica” a BJJ-ului si o alta caracterizare a lui Royler:

„I have trained a long time in Jiu-Jitsu and it has always been a major source of disappointment that I never have distinguished myself in the sport. My body, due to injuries and surgeries, is definitely worse off than if I never stepped foot on the mat. Permanent damage has been done. But I believe I’ve become a better person because of Jiu-Jitsu. You learn not to judge a person by appearance or posturing. You learn what kind of heart they have when you roll. A lot of people look tough but when things are getting hard for them they crumble. Even though Royler’s skills were self-evident I think it was because he was so cool and friendly, almost like a puppy dog, that I never thought of him as a fighter — that was until I saw him fight. There was no doubt that this puppy dog had the heart of a lion. So though I won’t be in Abu Dhabi or winning the Mundials anytime soon I’m still glad I’m part of the sport.
„God will not look you over for medals, degrees or diplomas — but for scars!” Elbert Hubbard .”

Despre loialitate: 

„I remember John Lewis very well at Rickson’s. How could you not with all the tats. Very cool, modest and TOUGH. He was always one of the smallest in class but made up for it with heart.  I actually use to tap him! Really! But like so many others he soon passed me up. He is not well remembered by Rickson and his minions. The Gracie’s are very cliquish. You’re in for life or you’re a traitor. The only way you can escape is to move to another state. Go to any other school in a 100 mile radius and your name is mud. I remember when I moved to Redondo Beach and because Rickson stopped teaching privates I would take a private with John Machado one day of the week and take the group class at Rickson’s school in West LA. Big mistake. I was called on the carpet. I remember sitting in a chair with Limao and Mauricio standing on each side of me and Rickson sitting behind the desk not even bothering to look at me. He was gazing philosophically out into space, „My friend,” he began pensively, „in life we make choices. Those choices affect forever the direction of our lives….” I swear to God I thought I was in a scene from the God Father! I honestly thought Mauricio was going to hold me down while Limao strangled me with piano wire. Jiu-Jitsu is serious business with these guys.  
I think that Rickson kind of resented John’s success. Not so much that he was jealous of him but that he, Rickson, didn’t get any credit for it. John wasn’t representing Rickson. He wasn’t one of Rickson’s boys. John was his own man. I mean, to be honest, Rickson nor Rorion has produced any world class fighters. There may be top fighters that represent them but I can’t think of any that has come directly from their school that they are responsible for from the get go. John left Rickson’s when he was still a Blue-Belt. I see great things for Rener and Ryron but only time will tell. John Lewis has produced several champions. After the getting the „talk” from Rickson I explained that I had no idea I did anything wrong since the Machado’s are his cousins. I justified this by reminding him that when he left Gracie Torrance he knew I was training at both Torrance and his newly opened school in
West LA.
It’s only after Royler left that I trained with Rickson full time. I also told him that though I don’t fully understand or agree with him and surmise that it must be a cultural thing I repect his beliefs and since I consider him to be my main instructor and his school my home base I will quit going to the Machados. To this day I still don’t know how Rickson found out I was taking ONE private a week with John Machado since it became clear to me that they were very much a separate entity. It’s like there are spies everywhere keeping track of everybody! Then I was forced into the uneviable position having to tell John Machado that I was going to ditch him. While I’m explaining my situation to John I began to notice Rigan and Jean-Jacques starting to hover around to eavesdrop. It soon became clear to me that this was not the first time this has happened and it was an ongoing thing and a source of tension between the families and schools. I was only at the Machado’s for three months before being „outed” and only knew John and didn’t really associate much with the other brothers because I would just pop in once a week for a half hour private with John. I admit without shame that I was a little bit intimidated and squirmed a little as Rigan and Jean-Jacques started milling around. Jean-Jacques is an exceptionally decent guy and a man of honor but he often has a habit of walking around with a frown and a bit of a scowl. Like he’s a little bit pissed off. And Rigan, despite his exceptional abilities, is far from a bully and seems to tend on the gentle side, at least as gentle as a professional fighter is able to be. But at the time I didn’t know that and with his size and square head he always reminded me of Frankenstein’s monster. So here I have John looking at me with some disappointment, a scowlling Jean-Jacques, and Frankenstein’s monster hovering over me. Let’s just say I was somewhat less than comfortable. After going through this I slinked to the back of the school where they had this area that was little bigger than a closet but served as a changing area. Then Carlos Machado walks in. „Here we go,” I thought as I sat on the floor putting on my shoes. Carlos, eating an apple, props his right foot on a bucket and leans his right elbow on his knee still muching on the apple. He did it in the style of an old back fence reminiscer. In later years it wouldn’t be hard for me to picture him living in Texas. He explained to me that if it were up to him he would let anybody train anywhere they want. „A student should do what he felt was best and often it’s better that they learn different approaches and perspectives in training.” He then shrugged his shoulder as if to say „whatever”, took another bite of his apple, smiled, slapped me on the back and left. „Finally!” I thought, „there is some sanity after all!” Then Bob Bass walks in and I ask him to tell me the story of his epic closed-door match with Craig Kukuk. I wanted to break the serious mood. I love to hear stories about epic closed-door matches.  
Much to Rickson’s credit I was rewarded for my loyalty. I was a college student at the time and though the weekly one hour private (not half an hour but a full hour) I took with Rickson was a steal at $60.00 plus having to pay for group classes — it was quite a financial strain for me. Limao told me that I could come to as many group classes as I wanted to free of charge. I only had to pay for the one hour private with Rickson. I was not only grateful but quite moved.

At some point I suffered a serious injury and was out for almost two years. At this point, 1996, Rickson stopped giving privates and taught the group classes only intermittently. And this was during the glory days of the Machado’s! You had Rigan, Carlos, Jean-Jacque, John, Roger in addition to other top guys like Fernandinho Vasconsuleos (though just a teen he was a prodigy), Dave Meyers, Bob Bass, Renato Magno, Rick Williams, Chris Hauter…. the list went on. And their school was just a half a mile from where I lived. It was hard to justify the drive on the 405 traffic to West LA to train at Rickson’s school. Especially since Rickson was hardly there. The choice was clear. I still feel a little like a traitor though since Rickson and Limao went out of there way for me.”   

Despre Royler:

„I started out training with Royler in Torrance then switched to Rickson’s in Santa Monica after Royler left too.  I agree that Royler was the most fun to train with and I really enjoyed every class.  Same on the Rickson privates that it seemed like Rickson taught with a more aggressive style than the other Gracie’s.  Interesting that you said Rorion was the best teacher though.  I found myself really bored in every class I had with Rorion, he just seemed to move too slow and to be overly repetitve.  Perhaps you’re right though that if one had the patience, he’d be the guy to make sure you do everything right.  But frankly I was always bummed whenever I’d end up in a class with Rorion or Royce instead of Royler.  And then really bummed when they switched from privates to semi-privates.  Which made switching over to Rickson’s school just great.  I thoroughly enjoyed every group class and private.  I remember though at first thinking that Rickson wasn’t as good a teacher as Royler, like he didn’t pay as much attention to me, but over time I saw how he would bring up mistakes he saw me making in groups and address them in privates.  Royler’s humility really stood out though as just the coolest, it seemed like he would genuinely become friends with everyone he taught. It was a bummer to have to leave jiu-jitsu with Rickson for something as meaningless as college.  But you know, you do make decisions in life.”

Despre o lupta underground a lui Rickson cu un luptator japonez:

„If you were around during that time then we probably did roll. Rickson’s school was just starting out and was pretty close knit. Were you there when that Japanese guy came in with his crew to challenge Rickson? Limao had to call Rickson and get him out of bed and like a true warrior Rickson shows up practically in his pajamas looking very much like he just woke up because he just came back from competition in Japan. After beating that guy to a bloody pulp remember when Mauricio grabbed a piece of the Japanese guy’s bloody shirt as a souvenir? I didn’t think of it at the time but that was pretty smart of  Mauricio because if he still has it it could probably fetch a good price on E-Bay.”

Despre un conflict stradal al lui Rickson:

„I remember sitting by the desk one Monday morning when Rickson walked in. I asked him how his training was going as he had a match coming up in Japan. He said it was going really good. He grinned and said he got in some „street training” over the weekend. It went over my head until Limao explained it to me. He said that Rickson said he was pretty impressed with the guy because while Rickson was mounted on him and pounding the crap out of him the guy didn’t give up. He kept cursing, swearing and spitting at Rickson. Even when Rickson left him as nothing but a bloody mess in the Toys-R-Us parking lot the guy was still screaming at him that he was going to kill him. What a crack up! I don’t think Rickson felt bad about kicking that guy,s butt. I think he just felt bad that he had to hear his little girls crying and yelling from the car (according to Luis), „Daddy, stop! Don’t fight! Please! Stop Daddy!”
Luis did make a point that gave me pause. He said, „Imagine acting like a tough guy and picking a fight with someone in a parking lot and not knowing that of all the people in the world you just picked a fight with the badest dude on the planet.” It really made me think. I mean, what are the chances of that? I figure, the guy sounded like he could handle himself and probably is a punk and a hot head and beats people up all the time. Then to pick a fight with Rickson Gracie. Talk about bad luck. It never pays to act like a tough guy. It’ll catch up with you eventually. Just mind your own business.”

Despre caliatile si principiile lui Rickson:

„Were you there when Rickson was training Royce for the UFC?  Or the night at Torrance when he put one arm in his belt and told Craig Kukuk he was going to tap him with a foot lock on his left foot, did it, and then said now the right, and did it again?  

What Rickson admired was heart. He didn’t care if you were a white-belt or a black but did you have heart? Did you courage, guts, balls? Did you push yourself? Were you disciplined?”

Din nou despre lupte underground: 

„I don’t know how these in house challenges were arranged specifically. A friend of mine who use to train there, Casey Olson (now a black-belt with the Machado’s), who is a lawyer, said that Rorian would often ask him to look over the waiver forms they had to sign before fighting. Casey said that for all practical purposes these fights were illegal and if any of the challengers had gotten seriously hurt and wanted to sue these waiver forms would mean nothing. As far as attracting challengers, because of an interview in Play Boy, and it seemed to be promoted more at the time, it was fairly well known in the martial arts community that the Gracie’s had an open challenge to anyone for 10 grand. It was a way for Rorion to promote the art. I had misspoke earlier when I said the first one I saw was between Royce and Jason Delucia. That came later and I was already with Rickson full time. It was with this guy who was a Black-Belt in „Ninjitsu.” It’s featured in GIA2 and he’s the one all dressed in black with a sleeveless shirt. As you can see on the tape the match was like most of the fights in those days. It ends with a choke and so little damage was done to the Gracie opponent as the only strikes used to get the person to turn on his stomach and give his back would be done with an open hand, mere slaps as it were, that they found it hard to believe they had actually lost. They would invariably ask for a rematch in which the Gracie fighter would be far less gentle in defeating his opponent.

Since this was my first introduction to Jiu-Jitsu I remember the episode clearly. My friend brought me into the Torrance Academy. I was quickly hustled into the studio and when everyone that was suppose to be there were there the doors were closed and locked. As we were walking to the main room in the back we passed by the smaller side rooms that were used for privates. I saw two guys in gis whom I would later know as Royce and Royler. They were playing that child’s game where one person holds his hands in front of him palms up and the other holds his hand on top of his opponent’s palms down. Then the guy with the palms up would try to slap the top of the hands of his opponent before he could pull them away. They were both laughing it up as they were playing this game. My friend told me that the taller one was the one that would be fighting. Since all this was so new and foreign to me it was almost surreal and this unusual pre-fight warm-up only added to the almost weird dream-like state I was in.  
As you can see on the tape the fight followed what would soon become a familiar pattern: the guy gets choked out but emerges unscathed and asks for a rematch convinced that the Gracie just got lucky. After the first bout where Royce chokes out the Ninja (that’s what I called him at the time) you had the invariable discussion, some confusion and the negotiations for a rematch to save face in front of your students (there was a contingent of about 10 or so aspiring Ninjas). During the discussion between the Ninja and some of his reps with the Gracie’s, one of the brothers leaves the group and just sort of walks to one side of the room by the west side wall and just stands there looking at everyone.  Without so much as a „May I have your attention, please” the room just goes silent on it’s own and we all sort of back away and instinctively form a semi-circle around this one Gracie brother just looking at him. My friend whispers in my ear, „That’s Rickson. Rickson Gracie. He’s the one we all aspire to be.”

So there we are, all gathered around Rickson, just looking at him waiting for some clue as to what we were suppose to do, if anything. Then he says (and I remember this word for word because I was in such a hypnotic dream-like state because this all seemed so weird to me. I’m as straight laced as you can be and now here I am involved in an illegal underground fight):

„Jiu-Jitsu is very complex. There are a variety of ways in which we can defeat our opponent. My brother, Royce, in this match was as very gentle as one can be in a fight. In this next fight. This rematch. We will see.”
Then Rickson walks over to Royce who was with Rorion and Royler. They were only about ten feet away from me. Rickson leans over to Royce and says something in Portuguese. One of the Gracie students who was near them smiles broadly and I catch his eye. „What did he say?” I asked him. The guy, still smiling, tells me in a Brasilian accent, „No submissions. Hit him.”

As you can see on the tape Royce did exactly that. I don’t think the tape shows it but after Royce gets up the guy is still on his knees, face on the mat and seems to be just thinking. It must be a pretty humiliating thing to get your butt royally kicked in front of your students. Then, while still on his knees, the Ninja does that fist in the palm sign and looks up into the sky. I’m not sure what that was suppose to mean and it was largely ignored by the Gracie’s. I thought maybe this had some sort of deep meaning to it. I mean, what are you suppose to do after getting your butt whipped and you’re suppose to be this deadly fighter? Then I figured if you had to do something doing the ole fist in palm sign was as good as anything. Nobody seem to care though and I doubt anybody gave it a second thought. The Gracie’s didn’t seem much into the mystical side of martial arts that was still lingering from that old Kung Fu show and all that Iron Fist and Count Dante Dim Mak touch of death stuff. They were too busy actually fighting. For some reason I thought back to my days as a boy and what now seemed like wasted hours running my fingers in hot gravel because that’s what they did in the movie „Five Fingers of Death” to develop the Iron Fist.

„What did you think?” my friend asked me as we were in the parking lot walking back to his car.
„This is the real thing, isn’t it?” I asked, as if still not sure.

The second one I went to was Royler to fight this funny looking little guy with a moustache who said he was a writer for black belt magazine and had come to take the Gracie Challenge.  I can’t remember what his style was, I think just kenpo karate.  It really didn’t make a difference though  I was impressed at how much more ready Royler was for the fight than Royce.   He was just as determined as could be already sweating a bit, hopping up and down and ready to roll.  The guy had no defence, Royler just went at him took him down and started pounding on him.  He didn’t do any open hand slapping like Royce.  He was just hitting this guy until I think he ended up sinking in a choke and the guy tapped.  And he looked done.  But then, just like the guy that fought Royce, he wanted more.   I remember Royler telling me „I don’t know what’s with this guy, he wants to fight again, I’m going to f* him up this time for sure.”  But this time the prick just got in ever pot shot jabbing kick he could on Royler,at one point  they got in kind of an awkward position on the ground and the guy hit Royler a couple times with his heel, and then as soon as Royler had gotten around to his back the dude quits!  I remember Royler was so, rightfully, pissed.  It was as if the only reason the guy rematched was to see if he could at least hurt Royler a little before he got destroyed.  I was thinking they should have let Royler beat the crap out of him, but they didn’t and Royler even shook hands with the guy as pissed as he was.
„How do I join?” .” 

Despre micile „naravuri” ale lui Rickson:

„Rickson is often deified and held to unrealistic standards of behavior. Something he never asked for or, as far I know, strived for. I’ve seen him be quite petty over seemingly trivial matters. I recall him bitching and seemed genuinely angry when he loss his baseball cap. He was utterly convinced that someone stole it. This was before he had achieved world-wide fame and idolized by many in the martial arts community so it’s not like his hat was worth anything as far as a collector’s item went. Still, he paced up and down the small office grumbling, „Where’s my cap? What happened to my cap? Did you see my cap? Son of a b*tch! Who took my cap?!” Everybody around just sat there quiet, shifting about nervously, looking at each other perhaps in hopes of discerning a guilty look and being able to claim credit for outing the thief and getting in deeper into the Master’s good graces. I just remember thinking, „It’s freakin’ cap, for chrissakes! Who gives a rip!” But it wasn’t my cap. It was Rickson’s cap and to him, evidently, he gave a big rip. Moments of self-absorbed narcissism can strike even the best of us.
He could tell lame and crude jokes — some actually funny — more because of the way he told it than the joke itself. „What did the blind man say as he walked passed the fish tank in a Chinese restaurant?” Rickson asked, hobbling with his eyes squinting half-opened, chin up,  guiding himself with an imaginary walking stick. „Good eeeevening, ladies,” as  he bowed slightly toward the imaginary fish tank with all the grace and chivalry of a good Southern gentleman. For some reason that cracked me up. I think it was more the sight of Rickson walking with his toes pointed out and squatting down partially as if to take an impromptu dump; which, presumably, in his eyes is the way all blind men walk, that did it for me. 

Rickson is just as much subject to the temptations of self-interest and ego that the rest of us are. Maybe even more so. I winced to myself when I heard about the water-bottle throwing incident. If true, it was a very unbecoming display of sportsmanship. But, nonetheless, one of things that most struck me about him as a man is his strong sense of pride, personal honor and human dignity. It’s nothing that I looked for and didn’t feel it with the rest of his brothers, not to say that it wasn’t there with the others, but it had an overwhelming presence in his personal makeup. His aura, if you will.

When he first receive an invitation to fight in Japan he was overjoyed. He was almost wistful as he lay on his left side on the mat as he told Limao, Mark Eccard and myself seating around him early in the afternoon after the morning class had long been over how he felt that this was the opportunity he was waiting for. He was going to introduce Gracie Jiu-Jitsu to the rest of the world and how Japan was the perfect venue because of their long tradition and appreciation, far more so than in the U.S., of martial arts. They were a far more educated audience and will better appreciate the subtleties of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
His trip didn’t last long. When I asked how it went he just sort of shrugged it off like it was nothing. He said they wanted him to fight in a fixed match. It wasn’t really a real fight but just sort of like the Hulk Hogan wrestling showboat stuff. It was just a show. They weren’t interested in real fights or real fighters. It was all for show. He said he cancelled his contract and came home. Though he acted like it was not that big of a deal you could tell it cut him deep. Almost humiliating. It was like he was nothing more than a monkey in a circus. Just there to do tricks and perform for the amusement of others. 

This was at a time when he wasn’t rolling in dough. I know because when I asked if I could pay for my  privates one class at a time instead of by the month (because I reasoned that if I missed a class I wouldn’t have to pay whereas if I paid by the month I would lose out) he said that it’s „probably” better if I pay by the month. Then he went on to explain that all his bills came at the beginning of the month and it just made it easier to manage his affairs. „But,” he added, „you do whatever you think is best or easiest for you.” It really struck me that it almost seemed like he was counting on my $60.00 per week, $240.00 per month, to help get him through his monthly expenses. It made sense. His school was still new, there wasn’t a lot of students and he was in the beginning stages of building his business. I felt like a penny-pinching jerk and told him I’ll pay by the month. So I’m sure he could have use the money Japan was paying him and just go through the motions for a paycheck. Everyone knows these types of fights aren’t real. Who would care? What did it matter?
But he cared. To him it mattered.”

Despre statura legendara a lui Rickson si, din nou, despre partea „filozofica” din BJJ:

„And it showed by the way it translated into how he taught Jiu-Jitsu. At least it did for me. He knew that not everyone can and will be champions. It’s just impossible if only on mathematical grounds. I think he might have wondered, „Why me?
Why did I turn out to be the family champion?” Is it because he trained harder than anybody else? Probably not. There is only so hard a human body can work and there’s enough hungry competitors out there that it would be presumptuous to think you just train so much harder than everybody else. It’s talent. It’s a gift. It’s the hand of God that makes guys like B.J. Penn win the Mundials as a Black-Belt with barely five years of training or Kobe Bryant play at a professional level while still a teenager.

It seemed to me that though Rickson valued a person’s skill in Jiu-Jitsu and enjoyed and received satisfaction watching his students progress, what he seem to most value was a person’s heart. His spirit. His guts. His ability to push himself to new levels and how that translated into his development as a person as a whole. Not just as a Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. Like your physical muscles need regular training to stay in shape, Rickson seemed to convey the notion that the „muscles” of your character and moral fiber could be conditioned and developed through Jiu-Jitsu. Every aspect of your Jiu-Jitsu training seem to be a microcosm of life and have a direct correlation to life’s many obstacles. When it came to Jiu-Jitsu Rickson seemed to think of it as more than just a martial art. He seem to approach it with an almost Zen-like quality. It was a way of life.
I always think that when I lay at death’s door what will really matter to me. How much money I made? How cool my car was? That I was a Black-Belt in Jiu-Jitsu and had a room stuffed with trophies and belts? Or maybe what kind of person I was? How will I be remembered by family and friends? The people that really matter. What will the state of my soul be like? Did I sell out? Was I, despite my flawed character, a good man? 

We’re all flawed. Even Rickson. But it’s important to have an ideal to strive for even if we will at times stray from the path of virtue. Life is often a constant battle and though there is no guarantee of victory — failure is a certainty if you do not fight. From Rickson I learned that through Jiu-Jitsu, whether you are a champion Black-belt or a lowly White-belt,  you can keep that fighting spirit alive and strong and do the best you can with what you have. We can’t all be champions but we can all be people of honor, dignity and goodness. Because in the end I think that’s what you will ultimately be judged by. ”

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Cele mai impresionante imagini din MMA in 2007

Iata o selectie cu cele mai impresionante imagini din MMA, pe anul trecut:

Imanari intr-un „flying armbar” in Cage Rage:

Bucuria lui Dan Henderson dupa victoria asupra lui Wanderlei Silva:

Nick Diaz il invinge pe Takanori Gomi prin gogoplata:

Chrstiano Kaminishi incearca o tehnica in stilul „Matrix”: 

„Sport sangeros”, cu Renato Sobral Babalu in rolul principal, finalizand prin anaconda:

Joe Stevenson executa un suplex:

Delson Heleno in actiune:

Zuluzinho „calare” pe Minowa:

Sakuraba, ca in perioada de glorie:


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