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The Black Belt Magazine Podcast - Rickson Gracie

Born in 1958, into a family of martial arts royalty, with deep Scottish roots, Rickson Gracie, third son of the renowned patriarch of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Hélio Gracie, since retiring from fighting, at center stage he is now focused on developing newfound ideals of wisdom regarding the neo-direction of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

That probably arose with age and from a deeper understanding of his martial art. Yet first, he directly jumped into a discussion of metaphysical tenets that go beyond his career of 200+ undefeated fights to joyfully expressing an ongoing important message he wants to globally share with all the reality, sports, and traditional based martial artists. The most essential skill a martial artist must learn…is to how to breathe.

He explained what a martial artist is, the warrior aspect, the conquering an opponent and indexed the emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual elements of a person. He emphasized that breathing is the essence of how energy flows in the body, which makes you understand a dimension of yourself that you can’t grasp or integrate into your life if you don’t breathe properly.

He pointed out how breathing works, the physiology and physicality behind it and noted how his breathing mentor, Orlando Cani, was like a second father, as Cani taught him breathing in 1986 and detailed how Cani two years later knew that it was time for Rickson to move on.

Learning Jiu Jitsu from Hélio at 20, when Cani discovered Shaolin (Kenpo) at 29, then Taiji (Tai Chi) and Kalaripayattu, and focused on the animal instincts behind the movements, intertwined them with dance and yoga-influenced breathing, by 1968, Bio Gymnastics was born. Rickson recalled how he would follow Cani around the gym moving like a crocodile, monkey, and eagle.

After covering topics on visualization, what he learned from his 1980 fight debut against Rei Zulu and how to use situations to expand one’s personal, mental, spiritual, and emotional growth, he detailed the significances of how at age 12, he had two cathartic moments: one about what makes him happy; and secondly, from a rugged uncomfortable snug as a bug in a rug endeavor.

During the last section of the Podcast, Hickson described two brilliant new directions that the family’s Jiu Jitsu Global Federation was focusing upon. First off, an alternative approach to teaching, which he simply called Jiu Jitsu Invisible and summarized it by saying, “It’s about a feeling.” He next introduced an innovatively progressive way of teaching Jiu Jitsu. Labelled as the Empowering Methods, it ascertained that after one year of training, each student could select one of two options as to determine the next stage of training they would like to pursue. Choose wisely my fellow martial artists.

Listen to the episode here

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