Royce Gracie Interview:
Recently, I attended a seminar with the legend Royce Gracie (see my seminar review here). After the seminar, I managed to corner the busiest man in Jiu Jitsu for a quick interview. I had my questions ready so we could start immediately after the post-seminar photographs.
My jiujitsu interview questions always have a Part Time Grappler twist to them, as that is my main interest. I'm not interested in how to best optimise a full time grappling or MMA training schedule. I'm interested in how to achieve maximum results in minimum amount of time on the mat. To be honest with you, if I have an hour free, I'd rather spend it with loved ones than go training. I hope that shines across in this short interview with Royce Gracie:
PTG: Royce, thank you very much for a fantastic seminar and for taking the time to talk to me and the readers. I'm a maths teacher by profession and not a fighter. I only train part time so my questions will centre around that if that's Ok.
Royce: Yes of course. Let's go.
PTG: Excellent. My first question is around the topic of recovery. As a 36 year old part time grappler, recovery is big concern for me. If a pro needs to recover, they take a nap (or chemical enhancement). What advice can you give someone like me who has just had a very tough training session but needs to wake up fresh in the morning to go to work?
Royce: My number one recommendations for part time grapplers is: no alcohol - no smoking - Follow the Gracie diet. The reason I say that is because smoking and alcohol put a lot of effort on your body. Your lungs. Your liver. Your stomach. These things will make you suffer, man.
The Gracie Diet will keep all your meals easily digested, so no energy is wasted on digestion so all energy spent on recovery. If you have a heavy meal that your body struggles to digest and the food stays in your stomach for a long time, that energy and that blood is not helping your recovery.
Quality sleep is good too. It's key. 8 hrs is ideal and I wish I could have 8 hours every night, but nowadays it's more normal for me to only sleep 6 hours a night. The body learns, though. Humans are creatures of habit. Even though I only sleep 6 hours, I wake up before the alarm every morning. I still set it, but I wake up before it goes. Every morning.
PTG: Great advice. How about when you are travelling? I know you have an incredible seminar schedule. What do you do for food on the go? Imagine you are in a new city and don't know where to get good food. What do you eat?
Royce: Then I don't eat! Discipline is very important. Discipline and preparation, because you will never catch me without some packed food. I always have some bananas, some nuts, some good food that I prepare and pack. If no good food around, I don't eat. It's simple.
PTG: Cool. Let's move to the topic of jiujitsu training for the part time grappler. Some of us have really busy life schedules (work, family, commitments...etc.) so we can only train 2 hours a week. What do you think we should focus that limited time on to achieve any kind of results?
Royce: If only 2hrs jiu jitsu a week then your focus should definitely be technique, not sparring! Drill, drill, drill and technique. A quick warm up but not too long then you take a partner and your practice the technique as many times as possible. Super slow. No resist. Make sure you are doing it perfect. You want perfect repetitions. Then, you can do some position drills. A little resistance at a time so you learn how the technique works. Full sparring only 10-15 minutes at the end. That's the best breakdown if you have limited time for training jiu jitsu.
PTG: A lot of jiu jitsu academies now have classes for children. What do you think the focus should be for children's jiujitsu training?
Royce: Easy: discipline. Children need to enjoy training and have fun, but they must be taught with discipline because they will grow one day and that discipline is what will make them good in jiujitsu.
PTG: Very interesting. Children are so spoiled nowadays.
Royce: Not with me!
At this point, Royce gave me the look of the pure dark side. It was the same stare that made him famous all these years ago at UFC I.
Royce: You should have been here earlier today. I taught a children's class and the parents were so shocked. The children were so quiet. I even left the room to go bring the parents to show them. The children were quiet and practicing jiujitsu.
PTG: Wow. As a school teacher, I'm very impressed!
Ok Royce, my last question is about supplementary training: if some of us have access to one hour a week of extra training (not jiujitsu) what would you recommend (yoga, gym, swim, running / endurance training)?
Royce: Honestly? Everything. Vary it up, man. Life is short. I swim, lift, run, bike, paddle board. I change all the time. You must change it all the time and keep your heart happy.
Very wise advice. What an opportunity! Royce Gracie, ladies and gents.
ZHOO ZHITSU IS FOR EVERYONE!