UFC Retrospective Series: Rorion Gracie Interview Part 2 (Uncut)

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011 by Tony Reid

Rorion Gracie– Do you know why I insisted on no gloves originally? Because in a real fight if you are going to punch someone with your bare hand you are going to break your hand on his head! Make a fist and punch the wall. It’s the same as punching someone in the head. Mike Tyson, years ago while doing a pre fight interview, argued with Mitch Green, punched him in the head and broke his hand. That’s Mike Tyson, a professional puncher! What do you think the average guy is going to do in a street fight? He’s going to lose the fight immediately. That was the reason for no gloves, my friend. My madness has a method. All of that is part of a bigger plan. If you put a piece of tape and glove on your hand you can punch through drywall and not feel a thing! But if you take the gloves off it changes everything. That was the sense of reality that I needed, that I insisted on back in those days. In a street fight there is no time limit, there is no weight classes because you never know who will come up to you. It’s real. Back then the description at the time was its “Mortal Kombat for real.”

My new goal is to make sure that the audience watching mixed martial arts around the world today does not limit their vision and think that they can never be proficient enough to defend themselves against anyone that’s in the cage. I don’t care how mean or scary or ugly or tough or how bulked up they can be. If you are at home watching TV, you should know that you, if you learn the techniques the way we teach them at the Gracie Academy, you can defend yourself effectively against someone like that. Now that is the magic of Jiu Jitsu! For that you can go to www.GracieUniversity.com . You can go online, register for free, watch the first two lessons for free and if you like it you go ahead and download the program. I want the little guys to know that there is a program out there where they can learn and become very proficient. Our website is unlike any other out there. If you want to learn to golf, you go out and buy a Tiger Woods instructional DVD set. You take it home and hope to apply what you learned on the green. Tiger Woods has no idea if you are doing it right or not, you have no idea if you are doing it right or not. You hope you are doing it right but you don’t know for sure. The program we developed you practice the techniques following the guidelines we teach you on the website, on video and then we show you how to film yourself and upload the video of you practicing the techniques from New Zealand or wherever you might be and then we have a team of people here that watch your video and give you feedback all the way back to New Zealand. We might say “Mr. Smith you did the techniques but at 3:48 you should have held the wrist this way” I will give you comments on a time code basis. So the guy back in New Zealand is connecting with me. If he does the test and scores 80% or better, which takes about 6 to 8 months, he passes the best, receives a blue belt through the mail, along with a certificate to be a virtual student of the Gracie Academy. Now he’s an official Gracie Student in New Zealand. Never met the guy but I can see he is doing the techniques properly. I give feedback to each individual student and I know where they stand. If the student passes the test with a 90% or higher they can apply online, to have access to the instructor materials online, so they can teach the basic techniques they learned. They will not be a black belt but they will be able to teach the 36 basic techniques. They will become a certified instructor in the combatives program. If they pass all the requirements, if they have the right charisma, personality and knowledge after a number of years they are invited to come to the Gracie Academy in Torrance for a meet and greet. They come here spend a weekend with us so we can meet them, they teach a class live to our students and then if they pass the program they have a one year probation, to develop a student under them, upload videos to the internet and then that person has to pass the same initial class with an 80% or better and the cycle continues. It is a controlled mechanism. The beauty of it, for the first time ever in the history of Jiu Jitsu, he have  a curriculum, a class schedule and we have about 100 of these schools around the world.  We not only help someone become an instructor but we help them grow their business the way we would here in Torrance. Every single one of these 100 different schools teach classes the exact same way as the others. Back to square one, that is the only way I will be able to fulfill the old man’s dream. To make Jiu Jitsu accessible to the small guy, the guy who is out of shape, the guy who doesn’t have the confidence, for the guy who is getting intimidated in a parking lot. The only way to do this is through a grass roots movement, to reach people around the world and have them on the same page. It’s like walking into a McDonald’s restaurant. In every one of them the burgers are the same the fries are the same, it’s the same idea. A lot of school and gyms have “Gracie” on their doors but the only ones that count are the ones that have “Gracie Jiu Jitsu Certified Training Centers” there are a whole bunch of others that don’t count.

Rorion Gracie– I would like to add something else, if possible.

Tony Reid – Absolutely. By all means.

Rorion Gracie-There are a number of huge, talented people in martial arts, kickboxing, tae kwon do, champions of the world, I don’t have to get into all of that but the bottom line is this…all of those guys eventually bit the dust. Because Jiu Jitsu is better than what they were doing. It’s not my fault. Somebody had to be number one and we happened to be it. It’s not my fault someone had to do it. With all that said and done, I had an epiphany the other day. That epiphany was that everything I have done this far, for the last 35 years in the United States which I have loved every minute of it, not for one second did I wonder if it would work. I knew it would be successful because it was too good not to succeed. All that said, I realized recently that everything I have done so far is to build up a platform of recognition and credibility for the Gracie name so that I can stand on that platform and do the real job that I was meant to do which is the next frontier, which is to teach people to eat right and stop the unfortunate and sad degeneration of eating habits here. People are killing themselves with what they eat. My next revolution is to educate the masses of the proper food combining concepts developed by my Uncle Carlos with 65 years of research and documentation which we call the Gracie Diet, available on paperback and on www.graciediet.com. That is the ultimate secret of the success of the Gracie family, not only from the discipline point of view but from the health aspect of it. The last time I say my father he was 95 years old. I went to visit the ranch in Brazil. The old man comes up, greets me and wants me to get on the mat with him. He wanted to show me a new choke he was working on. As a result of what? The Gracie Diet. I realized this information was too important, so I decided to write the book. I got all the information from the old man, from Uncle Carlos, who was a black belt but also a black belt in nutrition. What a blessing to have these men in my life. To be born in the family with two icons, each of them decades ahead of their time. I was born eating this type of diet. I have never had a cavity in my life, I rarely get sick, never for more than a day. Basically you eat everything you want as long as you combine it properly within the same meal. If I had to choose between the Jiu Jitsu I know and the Gracie Diet, I would choose the Gracie Diet. That is the biggest endorsement I can give to anything. Jiu Jitsu is my life; I don’t have to tell you that. The name recognition, the prestige, the friends, the trips, everything I have is from Jiu Jitsu. But my health is more important. Your health has to be your priority. The book is not only about food combining, it’s also about the secrets of the Gracie Family. It shows how we motivate our children so the next generation sticks with it and does the right thing. You have to use the time with your kids to teach them the right way. In a few years they will be gone and you hope you taught them right. The best thing you can do for your children is show them you will eat right yourself. The required changes to your diet are so subtle and the payoff is so huge you have to give it a shot. The diet set up the foundation for me to do what I did in Jiu Jitsu.