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Rickson and the mental pressure on super-athletes

After Rickson Gracie decided to hang up his gloves, for a long time he lived with that classic kind of speculation that surrounds the great sports idols, particularly fighters. 

“Why doesn’t he return to beat the current champion?” “Since he’s in shape, why not come back to give fans this one last gift?” Rickson always dealt with all of that with the serene mind of the samurai. In an interview with Graciemag in 2005, he explained how he handled this pressure coming from all sides. And how his mind stayed serene, away from depression or the inquietude that punishes many retired champions. 

“I always try, more than anything else, to thank God for having put me in this position of prominence as a martial artist,” he said. “And I strive, within this gratitude, to do my best to give back — to society, to my family, to fans, to friends and students.”

He added: “I seek, therefore, to live every day of my life without having the expectation that I have to prove something, to beat someone, to do something more. I try to live my daily life with the utmost respect for my neighbor, and a big desire to help others. When I spend a day where I feel I did good to people and myself, that’s a day where I can feel no other way but happy. And I await the next one, with the same levity.”