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Empowerment 18th class: Standing up in base

Master Rickson Gracie and his wife Cassia demonstrate physical exercises to strengthen your base, coming from the ground and up, as you would have to do to open a guard, for example.
Empowerment 18th class: Standing up in base

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Don't play dice with your BJJ students

What would the perfect BJJ gym look like today — at once connected to modern times and to the traditions of the martial art?

To Rickson Gracie, one of the main aspects would be the quality of the dojo in relation to the teaching both of self-defense and competition techniques, without the practice of one being neglected in favor of the other. 

"The perfect jiu-jitsu gym needs these two environments that many judge to be contradictory to connect," he says. "That is, the teacher must teach both audiences, from the older lady who just wants some exercise to the young man anxious to become world champion."

More than exemplary didactics, this is to Rickson the only way to stop most students from giving up in the first month:

"When you introduce jiu-jitsu to the newcomer through fighting, with more-demanding maneuvers and techniques seen in competition, you are playing dice with your white-belts," Rickson teaches. "If the student is tough and has a warrior's heart, and is lucky not to get injured against a more experienced partner, the teacher has gotten lucky, and maybe they'll stay. Most of the time, however, that doesn't happen — and there are studies that guarantee that more than 80% of practitioners give up on the gi in those first few weeks. When the students don't see themselves as prepared (yet) to deal with confrontation, they jump ship at the drop of a hat. And they never give jiu-jitsu another chance."

That's why, to Rickson, any new student's starting point must be in the gentle environment of self-defense, of the simple defensive moves that enhance any person's mental and physical power. "Starting with self-defense, when the student starts becoming comfortable in jiu-jitsu, then indeed do they feel the confidence to test themselves against other students' technique, in that popular game of chess that are competitions. If the newcomer possesses that competitive spirit, they can get started at the gym in that game of 'my jiu-jitsu against yours': 'Will he pass my guard?' 'Can I finish him?' And so on. It depends on each person's taste, but the role of a good gym is clear: we need to offer self-defense as introduction and sport techniques only to the most advanced. Competition is not for everybody, but jiu-jitsu is. Self-defense is accessible to each and every student profile."

So pay attention: playing jiu-jitsu against someone who knows jiu-jitsu is lots of fun and reinvigorating. But you must leave your gym ready to face an attacker who knows zero jiu-jitsu, but whose only resource, although not very versatile, may be truly dangerous: they just have to know one punch, one headlock, or have one heavy stick, to ruin your day. But only those who don't learn complete jiu-jitsu need worry about that. 

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How Rickson deals with time

How do you handle the time factor? Do you race against it? Do you cling to the past? Or do you live life without even thinking about it?

Once, during an interview, Rickson Gracie was asked about the matter. It was for an article about his ideas and experiences, published as the cover story for the prestigious magazine Trip, issue No. 163.

“How old are you?” asked the journalist Bruno Torturra Nogueira. The answer came with a high dose of wisdom.

“Sheesh. I forgot a long time ago,” Rickson laughed. “It’s part of my way of thinking not to say my age.”

“I believe in mental strength, and educating your mind to repeat your age is a great flaw,” he appended. “You fit yourself into an age that takes you out of a timeless perspective. I have no problem with having been born in 1959, but I don’t know how old I am. If you say you’re 30, 50, you put yourself in an unconscious situation that you can no longer do what you used to do at 15. I prefer to answer that I’m ready to perform any activity for people aged 18 — or a hundred. What matters most is to be ready! Ready to be a child, reckless, responsible, and for whatever life demands. Otherwise, you start limiting yourself. I don’t have a problem with growing old. I’m ready.”

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Guard pass: chapter one

Master Rickson Gracie starts a series about one of the hardest problems in Jiu-Jitsu, passing the guard. This chapter addresses the proper posture and weight distribution to be in a good position to feel comfortable inside a closed guard.
Guard pass: chapter one

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The incentive Rickson gave his kids in BJJ

At certain stages of childhood, kids like to play ball, practice sports in groups or participate in activities with their little friends. But how do we motivate them to pick up the gi and go train or compete?

To Rickson Gracie, the most effective way to motivate your kids is, first, by respecting their wishes, preventing the incentive from turning into imposition. 

To Rickson — himself a son and father to strong athletes — the biggest error consists of forcing the child. "They, above all, need to be having fun”, he once said. “Any type of pressure from the parents turns an activity into a nightmare for everybody."

Rickson then remembered an episode that happened at home. When Kron was 12, he turned around one day and admitted: "Dad, I don't want to go train anymore."

Rickson reacted with serenity: "Wonderful!"

And added the incentive, "What do you want to do, then?"

Kron explained that he wanted to skateboard, and Dad approved. They went to the store and came back with a brand-new board and safety equipment, to the delight of the young Gracie — who dove deep in the future Olympic sport, even competing. 

One day, however, Kron hurt his foot and was forced to take a break. Then he started practicing again, and again hurt his foot. "Naturally, thus, he again found appeal in jiu-jitsu, and picked up the gi to train with his friends."

To Rickson, the most important thing is to be positive when motivating your kids. If the passion for jiu-jitsu is something that eludes the control of the parents, the best way is to make everything pleasurable, fun and demand-free:

"The advice I give parents is that they make sure that BJJ is always surrounded by a climate that's friendly, positive and pleasant. If the kids are getting tired, give them a week off — invite them to go surfing. The worst that can happen is for the kid to think, 'Oh, no! This is like the army; I need to go to school and to jiu-jitsu even when I don't want to!' In truth, all we need is for them to make it through this phase, until the time in which BJJ will help them even more, starting in their teens."

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Klimenko Vladimir comentou:

Wise statement

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100%

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