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Does your BJJ work as an invisible force field?

One of the most important Gracie family mantras, repeated by legends from Master Helio down to Rickson, is that it’s not enough to be a tough world champion if your jiu-jitsu isn’t complete and ready against some unexpected aggression, such as a punch or slap to the face. 

The popularity and global success of jiu-jitsu are owed to its effectiveness against humiliation — a true invisible force field that enables any person, weak or strong, young or old, to be prepared against any sort of cowardly attack. 

In today's video excerpt, Rickson demonstrates how this hidden force field, this shield that is there but is not seen by the attacker, starts with the position of the hands and ends, of course, with a perplexed, immobilized villain. 

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The self-defense maneuver that saved Rickson’s skin

Has BJJ ever saved your skin? That was the question that Master Rickson heard the other day from a VIP member of the site. Rickson then recalled a terrifying episode, when he saw himself endangered by a huge log that was falling toward him on a carnival night in Southern Brazil. He narrated:

“I was on a trip with friends and saw myself in the middle of a hellish melee. In the middle of a fight, someone threw a giant log. I saw that thing falling above me, and there was only enough time to raise one arm, a simple self-defense move I repeated many times in my jiu-jitsu training, in the classes about defending against blunt-weapon beating. The steel piece went whizzing past me, and I remember having felt as relieved as I was thankful. Without the technique, I believe it would have been quite a bit of damage.”

Now rewatch Rickson’s lesson on defending against big, heavy objects.

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BJJ on a mission to Antarctica

One time, the experienced teacher and microbiologist Luiz Rosa was on his way to Antarctica, for another mission, when he heard a piece of advice from a commander of the Brazilian Navy, which he never forgot: “Rosa, let’s get ready for the worst. Because if the worst comes, we’re ready. If it doesn’t, we’re doing great.”

Master Rickson Gracie, that we know of, has never been to Antarctica, but he is a true believer of this philosophy. He goes further: practicing jiu-jitsu is the most fun, healthiest way to drill this mantra into your mind, for your whole life. Whether on the polar ice, at the office or at the bus stop, a jiu-jitsu enthusiast will always be a specialist in “finding comfort in discomfort,” as Rickson says, and will always be experienced in “the art of being ready for the unpredictable,” another expression dear to Rickson. 

Check out, in this practical lesson, how precaution is always the first line of defense in BJJ. 

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Did Abel die due to not knowing self-defense?

In old times where Brazilian jiu-jitsu was still vying for its space -- 1965, more specifically -- the Brazilian journalist José Inácio Werneck published an article with this curious, attention-grabbing title: “Abel died due to not knowing self-defense.”

Hard to tell whether Cain would have managed to hit Abel with that rock if his brother were a black-belt, but it’s safe to say the victim of the first big crime in the Bible would have been better prepared to survive the attack. 

Between the times of Cain and Abel and now, much has changed in this little paradise of ours, and the reader probably doesn’t count among their biggest fears that of being ambushed in a forest. But then, why does self-defense practice remain so useful, even for students not employed in security or similar jobs?

Again, Master Rickson teaches us that the study of jiu-jitsu in the face of aggression, or even weapons, is much more beneficial to the mind than to saving one’s skin. 

“A situation of confrontation against an aggressor, or an armed person, is the worst of scenarios in anyone’s life, and it’s not something you should expect to occur one day,” he says. “Even so, there are priceless benefits to adopting this constant training. After all, learning to control an armed person, or acquiring the skill to disarm someone, will amplify your knowledge about grips, reaction time, precision and adjustments of the moves. The person who practices self-defense becomes a martial artist with a much broader vision and much more complete technical baggage. And, in case of a terrible eventuality, you will have more experience to come out unscathed.”

Safety, experience, instinct, by the looks of it, are much more connected than we think. So taught another master, the author Agatha Christie. There is one case handled by her detective, Hercule Poirot, in which no crime has happened (yet), and all there is is a vague letter, unsigned, that nobody from the police takes seriously. Asked by his loyal companion whether his suspicion came just from his own instinct, the Belgian detective answers:

"Not instinct, Hastings. Instinct is a bad word. It is my knowledge—my experience—that tells me that something about that letter is wrong—"

Train your instincts, accumulate experience, and live safer. 

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How BJJ strategy can influence your professional life

One of the most valuable lessons life teaches us is that you rarely get it right in the first attempt. It's necessary to repeat, try again, persevere. And, of course, have a plan B up your sleeve for when the first attempt fails — something as common as a sunrise. 

That's what Rickson recently taught us in a basic self-defense lesson against attacks that look similar, but with small differences in the aggressor's posture. 

As Rickson demonstrates, the right way to react will depend on how your enemy moves — that is, on how the problem presents itself to you. Taking on any issue with a strategic plan, therefore, will always be the best way to solve it with efficiency, without wasting force and energy, or getting hurt in the end. 

Watch the short clip, think strategically, and enjoy your jiu-jitsu studies with Master Rickson.

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Latest Comments

brittobjj Avatar
brittobjj commented:

Que musica o mestre tava cantando ?

September 16, 2021 03:30 PM

JJ Avatar
JJ commented:

So much great technique... Two thumbs up.

September 16, 2021 09:52 AM


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