Rickson Gracie: Philosophy & Importance for the 40 Plus Athlete

rickson gracie

This video was recently making the rounds again. Even if
you’ve seen it before, I encourage you to watch it again for

Rickson Gracie on Modern Jiu-Jitsu >> CLICK HERE

One thing I do want to point out is this. I continue to
be a huge fan of Rickson’s because of his philosophy,
not because he’s Rickson Gracie.

Frankly I get irritated when a notable figure or high
achiever of some sort – not just in BJJ but in any walk
of life – can say just about anything and have it taken
as gospel… not because of the real content of the
thought, but because of what they’ve accomplished in a
certain arena.

(I remember an article from many years ago when Bono of
U2 lamented about this very thing… one the one hand
the band’s stature allowed him the platform to address
social issues he believed in, but on the other hand – I
paraphrase – he could “just whip out his d@*k onstage
and everyone would immediately see it as having some
higher meaning”.)

So back to the Rickson video. It’s absolute GOLD for its
perspective on the art – and one that is perfectly
suited to BJJ students in general, but older Jiu Jitsu
practitioners in particular.

In addition to making some great points about drawbacks
of modern sport BJJ, pay particular attention to what
he says about how his approach has changed with age.

As well as this great line that will echo a lot of what
I’ve been talking about in the 40 Plus BJJ series:

“That’s why I like to work on fundamentals because
those will never let you down,” as opposed to the
highly specialized game where “it becomes too personal
and only the guys with that kind of special ability can
execute… so it’s personal, it’s not exactly the
Jiu-Jitsu which feed everyone.”

Notice he said fundamentals, not “basics.” If you did
in a little bit on Rickson, he get the shorthand of his
lingo. When he talks about “technique” he rarely refers
to moves, he’s talking about one’s GAME; and when he
talks about fundamentals, he rarely means beginner
moves, he means posture, weight, base, timing, etc…
the wellspring from which all technical moves flow.

All too often these terms are mistaken. People hear fundamentals and think, “Yeah, I get it…
work the basics” and start thinking about shrimp
escapes and scissor sweeps. Instead, I urge students
to focus on technical strategies based in universal
principles of movement and control.

Make no mistake… to some extent your game will be
“personal” insofar as Jiu-Jitsu will adapt to your
body and way of thinking. BUT… one of the qualities
that makes Rickson so great is that his approach does
not rely on individual physical attributes, which are
always temporary.

With great fundamentals, you can not only play your
game and keep up into your later years… you can
continue to improve your BJJ game even as your
body takes longer to recover and speed, strength,
agility and flexibility decline.

It truly is the beautiful science.

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