Today in the our Rickson Interview Series: What do the belts mean in BJJ? What do you expect from a blue belt, purple belt, brown belt and most of all a black belt?
BJJ Legends: Speaking to that preservation, it's important to manage people's expectations across the board, so that people know what they're getting into. It seems as though you're making a good effort to do that. The belt system is something that I think we use to broadcast to others and within, what you can expect from that individual.
In past interviews, I've talked to other black belts, and I've asked the same question. We can talk about your ranking system within, that you propose within the JJGF, but what I'd like to talk about more is what those belts mean, both to the layperson and to an individual.
I know Royce said... Royce told me once that Helio said, "The belt only covers two inches of your waist. You have to protect the rest." What do we expect from... What do you expect from... What does the Federation expect from a blue belt? A purple belt? A brown belt? And most of all, a black belt? Because you make some distinguish... You distinguish on your website between black belt instructors, of course, and referees, in terms of the expectations you have of them, as opposed to, say, just a normal participant.
Rickson Gracie: Yeah. First of all, and most important, we are not here to divide. So everyone who has a belt in his waist, if he's legit, if he's promoted by somebody, if he has a record, we will validate. So we're not here to say he don't deserve the belt he has on. That's not the case.
We firmly suggest to him to understand the level he's supposed to be, as he has his belt in his waist. So it's more like a reference, a guidance of what you expect from a student in that level, what he's supposed to know. That is the suggestion.
We give them a reference to know because, for me, the black belt... When he comes in, just from a tournament perspective, he can be a very tough guy, but he's just an amateur black belt. If he becomes professional black belt, that means a teacher, he's supposed to have the whole full program of self defense.
If he don't have, I'm not saying he don't deserve the black belt. I will suggest him to open his eyes and see what he needs to fulfill that gap, because his school will be better, and everyone else will be pleased with his work. So if I don't have self defense in my program to teach, I will be no more than 25% than I am, by teaching only competition Jiu-Jitsu.
Tomorrow: Rickson tells us how he choose his executive team, Carlos Gama and Tony Pacenski.
Today in the our Rickson Interview Series: What's in the JJGFs Code of Ethics
BJJ Legends: The Jiu-Jitsu Global Federation has a code of ethics... coming off of these things that you were talking about. Can you explain to us what the code of ethics is for? And what gives the Jiu-Jitsu Global Federation the authority, morally, to impose a code of ethics on those that participate within the federation?
Rickson Gracie: I think in order for us to have confidence to portray a good federation, a good institution for the benefit, we had to be involved in the educational aspect. We cannot just expect people to do it. We have to guide them how to do it, because that's the way, how you go in a university and start to lecture. You have to learn first.
So we have to expose for many of those instructors and school owners what Jiu-Jitsuu is about, from the roots, from our beginning, and allow them to learn that concept. I think this is crucial for us. With that education, also coming what we believe is a code of ethics for any professional, in Army, in Jiu-Jitsu, in politics, or any other institution, we should have a code of ethics which, as the guy at least reads that, as the guy agree with that, he put himself in a position where he represents that kind of entity. He represents that kind of force, positive force.
If the guy has no ethics, how I can validate him as a person if one day or another, he starts to be a pervert or be a... So he can be for anything he promised. Okay. I have my integrity. I have my values. I agree with everything has been said here. I don't impose to nobody because that's not something I impose, but I like to make sure he's reflecting about it, and he's agreed.
We're in a positive environment. We are in a positive idea to enhance the community. Anyone who disagrees with that, from the beginning, should not participate at all because from the perspective of a school owner, a teacher, a competitor, a practitioner, or even independent promoter, I think any of them are supposed to have a code of ethics, because that's just crucial in any situation to preserve the integrity and the positive vibe.
Tomorrow: Rickson talks about the belt system in BJJ.
Today in the our Rickson Interview Series: What does BJJ offer to someone who has never had BJJ?
BJJ Legends: I think I heard you say or somebody said, "Courage is essential for the warrior." What do you think BJJ offers to someone who's never had BJJ in their life before?
Rickson Gracie: I think it's experience, experience with confrontation, experience the idea of . . . In a very recreational and a very friendly environment, he starts to experience his animal within. He has to develop. In a same group class, I can see a guy who's lazy, and I'm going to say, "Hey, man. Don't allow this. Go, go, go, go." The other guys are so tense and so stressed. I say, "Hey, man. Just breathe and relax and try to find your pace."
So regardless the elements in the class, the opinions, the advice is different from student to student because as I analyze the whole group, I can see this guy is too tense. This guy is too lazy. This guy is just not sharp enough. This guy is kind of insecure about himself. So I have to view the possibility and show him where he's strong and he don't know. Show the invisible power. So all those components are there to enhance their possibilities and be positive influence in their lives.
Tomorrow: Rickson talks about the JJGF Code of Ethics
Today in the our Rickson Interview Series: Jiu-Jitsu for everyone; Jiu-Jitsu is like a church
BJJ Legends: So for you, Jiu-Jitsu then is for everybody, men, women, children.
Rickson Gracie: Yes, I feel Jiu-Jitsu more like, instead of sport, more like a religion because you can really interact in a sense where you develop in yourself as a God. You're improving your patience. You improve your strategy. You improve your emotional control. You improve your capacity to handle pressure. So all those improvements make you feel enlightened and more capable to resolve the matters in your life. So I feel it's a very positive thing. When you go to academy, for me, it's similar to coming to a church because you just go for the self-improvement and become a better person.
Tomorrow: Rickson answers, What does BJJ offer to someone who has never had BJJ in their life before?
Today in the our Rickson Interview Series: We ask Rickson Gracie If he struggled with the path that was chosen for him?
BJJ Legends: I started Jiu-Jitsu a little bit late, my late 20s. I've been doing it ever since, past 14 years. It hasn't always been easy. It took some time for me to understand some things about myself along the way. You were born into the family. Everyone around you did Jiu-Jitsu. For me, it was a brand-new discovery, but what I found was, as I progressed through the belts, I also progressed as a person, in terms of how I understood myself and what I saw as elements of myself that either needed modification or didn't.
Sometimes I was resistant to the changes that Jiu-Jitsu was affording me. Did you find that for yourself, as a child growing up, even though you had excellent examples all around you? Did you ever have an internal struggle as to the path that had either been chosen for you or that you saw laid out in front of you?
Rickson Gracie: No, I never felt uncomfortable in any situation. Well, something I have to learn is how to manage my extreme confidence in myself, how not to be aggressive or impose my desires or my position to others. So in one point, I felt like I have to just express how good I am, how tough I am, and the way I want.
Then I realized all this power becomes even stronger when I start to respect people and become more concerned about how they think and how I should approach people. So as I'm getting bigger in my confidence and my self-esteem, I start to feel like how important for me is to level up myself and make everybody feel confident to approach me, to talk to me.
Even sometimes I have to apologize in another matter. It's not about me. I'm tough guy in the streets. So whatever I say is right. It's not like that. I feel like it's given me the sense of apologizing if I'm wrong, respect people in the line, and so on. So that's a great learning process.
Tomorrow: Rickson tells us that Jiu-Jitsu for everyone; Jiu-Jitsu is like a church..
Today in the our Rickson Interview Series: Rickson Gracie shares his profound and humble personal story of change through Jiu-Jitsu.
BJJ Legends: It's different for everybody. Can you share with us how that transformation came over you? What was your personal experience?
Rickson Gracie: My transformation is -- I mean, before I was born I was already in the DNA of Jiu-Jitsu. So for me, I was born and raised in the family. When I was kid, "Oh, you wanna be like your dad. Oh, you wanna be a fighter too." So I was born in the family. I was born fighting, competing since six years old. But actually, the transformation became, first, I was trying to be a good fighter. And then I become a good fighter. And then I fulfilled my ego. Okay, I'm good. And then what can I do with that? And that becomes the biggest part. because I started to be a reference for people. I started to teach people to try to become like me. And this process of learning makes them feel like they're improving. And I felt like it's a huge positive component and feed people with what they need. And that's my transformation maybe is from egocentric levels of trying to make it to be important in the community and then to pass that knowledge and to fulfill people and motivate people to excel. So the transformation is from an athlete to a teacher.
Tomorrow: Rickson tells us if he has struggled because he was born into a fighting Jiu-Jitsu family.
Today in the our Rickson Interview Series: Rickson Gracie will discuss why so many people's lives are changed by Jiu-Jitsu.
BJJ Legends: This is very consistent with other things I've heard you say, other members of your family. Robson Gracie was attributed with the statement that Jiu-Jitsu... he believes Jiu-Jitsu is fantastic and that its a form of education.
Rickson Gracie: Yes.
BJJL: He felt it was transformative. Do you feel that same way?
Rickson Gracie: I'm sorry.
BJJL: He felt it was transformative. It changed people, that Jiu-Jitsu had the ability to change people and that was one of the things that made it fantastic and the fact it had an educational component to it. Do you feel the same way, that it's very transformative for these reasons?
Rickson Gracie: I'm positive, but not because Jiu-Jitsu transforms you. Jiu-Jitsu gives you the opportunity for you to know what you are made of and how you adjust yourself to get better. You don't have to be panicked in those situations. Jiu-Jitsu proves that. You can be more relaxed here. You can have your leverage to instead power. By understand about your leverage, your weight distribution, your techniques, your elements of emotional control, you definitely become a different animal. You become a much more complete animal in terms of strategy, in terms of courage, in terms of capacity to handle emotions. So that transformation, coming from within, based on the exposure of Jiu-Jitsu.
Tomorrow: Rickson tells us how Jiu-Jitsu changed him personally.
Today in the our Rickson Interview Series: Rickson Gracie describes how the JJGF will be of service to the Jiu-Jitsu community and the community at large.
BJJ Legends: You were talking about the three pillars.
Rickson Gracie: Yes.
BJJL: You talked about communications, competitions.
Rickson Gracie: Competitions.
BJJL: We talked about the rules a little bit. And the third?
Rickson Gracie: The third one will be, maybe, the most important in service, of all. Which is, feed those. For example, I just talked about the teacher, who coming from a competitive school, training, system. It becomes a black belt with good recognition. Then we opened the school and it has no teaching programs from our traditional aspect. The education aspect is exactly created to provide knowledge. To provide programs for those teachers become more effective in the way they teach. By having those programs...becoming a certified instructor, training, he becomes much more knowledgeable with the elements he can use to fulfill the needs of the community. That will be very, very important for him to have more students. It will favor the instructor. It will favor the school honor. It will favor the students because more people can learn. More people can enjoy the math. The teacher will be happy to favor more people. The school honor will be happy because it can retain more students. Education is a very important tool for the federation to spread the concepts, to spread the knowledge, to make our culture have a reference for the future. Without that, any school can teach anything without having the idea of what is our backbone.
Tomorrow: Rickson will discuss how it is that Jiu-Jitsu has changed so many lives.
Today in the our Rickson Interview Series: Rickson Gracie: Stalling is an Efficient way to win a fight but it is not very Effective in a real fight.
BJJ Legends: Let's talk about that for a moment. This isn't the first interview that you have done and I managed to see one or two of them, and you talked about the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.
Rickson Gracie: Yes.
BJJ Legends: I think you've been circling around it here a little bit in terms of the things you and I have been talking about right now. Let's stop for a moment and talk about how the Jiu Jitsu Global Federation, the JJGF, is going to promote efficiency.
Rickson Gracie: No.
BJJ Legends: Effectiveness.
Rickson Gracie: Effectiveness.
BJJ Legends: Excuse me, effectiveness over efficiency.
Rickson Gracie: Yes, because efficiency is how many packages you do a minute. Effectiveness is what's the purpose of this. So efficiency to get medals, I mean, I can see the guys consistently win medals by doing very boring game, like very bored. It's just the way they fight. It's very efficient to get the medal. But the effectiveness of this in real life, is almost close to none. So I don't believe in that kind of efficiency. I really pray for people understand. Jiu Jitsu is something we have to have for effectiveness. To result, to be able to survive, to be able to protect, to be able to create elements for you to feel good about yourself. Not only when you compete, but when you walk on the street.
Tomorrow: Rickson will talk about JJGF's service goals.
Today in the our Rickson Interview Series: Rickson Gracie believes you have a responsibility to your community to teach the minute you put a black belt on your waist.
BJJ Legends: I noticed that you said you wouldn't be a Jiu-Jitsu fighter without self-defensive aspect, will not be a complete fighter or inability to teach. What responsibility do Jiu-Jitsu artists have to share the art, to share the sport, supportive aspects of the art and the self-defensive aspects of the art with others?
Rickson Gracie: I think, I mean, you can compete, you can have no responsibility of anything. But at the moment, you become famous, you put a black belt in your chest, I mean in your waist, and you open a school. You should have the compromise to serve the community in a complete way. I think if you just gotten, I mean, I heard another day, a student coming to his teacher, his Jiu-Jitsu teacher and asked for self-defense. And he said, No, if you want a self-defense, you learn Krav Maga. We hear training Jiu-Jitsu competition, and I feel like this is just like killing the sport, that's killing our traditional culture. Because the first generation, the second generation of the Jiu-Jitsu family, when they go on the street, they feel comfortable while they're competing. And why this doesn't translate anymore? Is just because the competition becomes so specific, so much detailed in grips and stalling, which doesn't translate in effectiveness anymore.
And on the schools, the programs of self-defense have been forgotten, just because 'let's train, let's roll, let's have fun.' But the community service, the need for the community is much more than just having fun, or get sweat or get busted ears. You have to know how to protect yourself from a slap, or a knife or a gun or something. You have to have chances, nobody is going to be unbeatable, nobody is superman. But more elements you have to fulfill the need, the more you going to feel better, walk around, talk better, everything will be better for you. And the Jiu Jitsu I learned all my life, the Jiu Jitsu I teach all my life, has none of those strategic elements to the medal.
It's all bout effectiveness, it's all about what works for you on the mat, on the street or in the cage. And that's I feel like, that's crucial for us to preserve our culture and leave Jiu-Jitsu to the future with some kind of reference. Because now, or a few, the Jiu-Jitsu is going in that direction. And the roots and the effectiveness and what we believe is being forgotten. And Jiu-Jitsu maybe ten years from now, will be like Judo, with great athletes, tough guys, but doesn't translate to reality anymore. It's like Taekwondo, which same thing, great athletes, super moves, but completely unrealistic if you put the guy on the cage or in a self situation, on a self-defense.
Tomorrow: Rickson gives us one of several gems not to be missed: Effectiveness (being able to protect yourself) vs Efficiency (winning tournaments)