Rickson and the path to a “peaceful jiu-jitsu”
In an interview with the French fighting channel Public Domain, Rickson Gracie made it clear that his mission in BJJ is not even close to finished — it's just getting renewed.
To the French journalists, he talked about his current goals in relation to the martial arts, and about the future of jiu-jitsu on the planet. As Rickson noted, the times of war in jiu-jitsu have come to an end. And it's necessary to be ready for the times of peace.
"The world today asks for a more peaceful jiu-jitsu than 30 years ago, in the time of the first UFCs," he reflected. "My true goal today is to help jiu-jitsu enlarge the base of its pyramid. That is, I want to see our art spread and fascinate people who never considered practicing a martial art. Today, out of every ten students that enter a jiu-jitsu academy, eight will abandon the mats in less than six months, before they start enjoying it. That happens because of a very arduous beginning, one that is inhospitable to novices."
As Rickson well knows, BJJ is the most perfect human creation for strengthening people's emotional side, which has been so fragile of late.
"The biggest benefit of jiu-jitsu, its reason for existing, is to make the practitioner ready to deal with the unpredictable, with surprises, dangers," he noted. "Training these days needs to teach not how to beat an aggressor through jiu-jitsu, but how to beat life's challenges through jiu-jitsu. And that can only be taught with the essential concepts of jiu-jitsu, such as self-defense, strategy, breathing and minimal use of force. Starting with this very human physical contact, the mind and human emotions become stronger, because we start trusting our potential more. If the guy is a highly prepared athlete, but not a martial artist, he's going to miss those tools, and succumb in the face of depression, anxiety and other maladies."
Then, Rickson taught how this peaceful jiu-jitsu can be synonymous with happiness:
"The spiritual warrior needs to learn to win their fights without having to fight. That is the greatest of victories: to win without violence, anticipating the conflict thanks to a mind that is clear, sharp and peaceful. Happiness is a force in motion, which always needs to be renewed, while the challenges and pineapples that life throws at us never stop appearing in front of us. And they appear from everywhere, including by phone, email or texts. The secret is to know your jiu-jitsu deeply, and thus deeply know yourself — to the point of feeling comfortable in the worst of hells."