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How to learn BJJ by watching ‘Romeo and Juliet’

Many practice jiu-jitsu; few truly live jiu-jitsu. 

But if you're reading this, you are likely on the second team. You are one of us, one of those people who enjoy the knowledge of the gentle art from the time they wake up until bedtime. Which includes, of course, your leisure — when you choose a book, a TV show or a movie to pass the time. 

Wanna test this theory? Simple. First, take a movie like "Lethal Weapon," "Red Belt" or some other popular flick and try to find out which jiu-jitsu concepts are in it. Okay; now let's move up one step. Let us study jiu-jitsu with help from humanity's most famous love story, in the form of the movie "Romeo and Juliet."

The plot is as well known as it gets, and jiu-jitsu shows up midway through Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 version. It's a curious scene, absent from Shakespeare's text — it's as if the Italian director had chatted with Helio Gracie before filming one of the crucial twists of the story. 

Romeo is furious, breathless, devoid of reason, and challenges Tybald, Juliet's cousin, to a duel. Both men are skilled with the sword, young and athletic, but can't escape gravity: they fall, roll far from their weapons, and the result is a bloody ground fight. As Grandmaster Helio taught for his whole life, "The key to the secret of jiu-jitsu is that over 90% of fights and aggressions end up with two guys rolling on the floor."

Enough spoilers, but it's a shame the Capulets and Montagues didn't have a jiu-jitsu gym in Verona. Maybe the play would have drawn smaller crowds, but Romeo and Juliet could have lived happily, with a bunch of kids running around the palace. 

But cut. Cut back to our common life in the 21st century. Whether you're a lover, a swordsman or a regular student, the base missing from the movie continues to be one of the fundamental pillars for surviving a fight — whether in competition or during an ambush. 

Right in one of the first videos posted to Rickson Academy, the master teaches: "The practitioner's base has nothing to do with physical strength. It's about positioning oneself the right way to be solid in the face of an aggressor. Even while moving, the student needs to maintain a solid base — there is no way to defend yourself efficiently without that."

Take a tour of the site and gain a deep understanding of this concept. First watch the video on the fundamentals of breathing, and then watch video 1 on Base. 

Next time you need this knowledge, you'll get a happy ending.

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