Interview with Rickson Gracie: jiujitsu master and founder of theJiu-Jitsu Global Federation Part II

Interview with Jiu-Jitsu Global Federation founder Master Rickson Gracie. Part II

A concise version of this interview was recently published by Blitz Martial Arts, Australasia's leading martial arts magazine. Click here for Part I

29th July 2014. 10am Los Angeles Time

LW: That's great. I know you have mentioned in the past that you want the federation to become a meeting point for the jiujitsu community, very much like Facebook.
RG: That's right, because you know by using those tools I think because the federation is based around service, like I told you, and we focus on three different pillars of work. The first one is the "communication" aspect which I feel like there is a need in the entire community to have access to general information where everything is in the same basket. That means the biggest associations today have their own circuits and their own champions and they don't mix with each other. There is no one federation that represents even 50% of the community. The IBBJF has a good slice of the cake, NAGA has another, Grapplers Quest, DreamJiujitsu, SEVEN, Copa Pacifica, US Open. So many different associations and federation doing tournaments those days and they have no relation with each other. This is creating a divide in the competitor community.  and doesn't give them access to eventually look towards the olympics, or even before that look towards a premium world wide circuit, which would translate into a possibility to appear on TV or put major sponsors into the game. 

I believe the sport needs this kind of unified thinking in order for us to get to the next level. I'm not creating this federation to compete with other associations or federations that have been in this game for so long.  I try to validate everybody and put everybody under the same umbrella, looking to fix our biggest problem which is restore effectiveness. I think the whole mission statement which is "Service" is to fill the need of the jiujitsu community itself which is, we are losing effectiveness. Based on that need, we need to come up with a lot of service in the communication aspect, by creating a "Masters Council" to get their active voice in the community, by creating a "Development Council" with the best teacher who are still hands-on to give their opinion on how to restore effectiveness. Also, creating a Facebook-like social media for the community so every fighter, every athlete can have their own profile and download their own fights and ask for their own sponsorships. This will also provide forums so the community can ask and get answers from the masters. It's a very interesting way for the community to start to find itself included within a body which will replace how we resolve our problems. 

Jiujitsu is an evolving art and the way I feel about the evolutionary process of jiujitsu now is taking us to a very sportive-like direction in competitions and losing effectiveness in real life so in order for us to restore effectiveness, we have to work in the communication, such as sharing all the news and reporting all the tournaments within the sport. Some magazines nowadays are very partial. They talk about one show but don't talk about other shows or other champions. I think a real federation has to have eyes on every event me athlete, bringing everything to the same basket so they can expose themselves to the community. 

Talking about the competition aspect,  I feel like if we don't do anything radically efficient we're going to lose our effectiveness. I love competition. I love watching the athletes fight but in the last few years, I feel like 8 out of 10 fights are very boring and very ineffective. They fight for positioning and to stall the game. They developed ways to make it easy to reach the medal, but they lose effectiveness in real life, in self defence and in the cage. My purpose I'm suggesting a change of rules is to create more dynamic action, prevent the stalling and making the fighters fight more dynamically as they fight on the street, in the cage and preserve our effectiveness. I want to make them rethink the way they fight. With the new rules, 90% of the current champions won't be happy because they're used to fight in a way I call anti- jiujitsu. They create technical ways to diminish the motions and control the action and gain an advantage. Once they get the advantage they sit back again and stall the fight in order to win the medal. While this is an easy way to the medal it jeopardises our effectiveness as a whole. This is why we have to work in the communication and in the competition aspects and most of all we have to work in the "educational" aspect. We need to preserve the art and philosophy. The federation will legitimise every black belt out there but it is a bit problem today in our culture because people are coming up through the belts based on tournament achievements. Eventually they become black belts and achieve fame by winning tournaments. One day they decide to open a school, which is beautiful, but when they go and start to teach the only thing they have to offer is the way they compete. They don't have children-, women- or law enforcement programmes. They have a very small ability to fulfil the complete needs of the community as a whole. The can only fulfil the needs of somebody that want a to compete. 

Of course, I'm not going to de-validate anybody, but I will suggest to every instructor out there to be certified by the federation to increase their ability to serve and fulfil the needs of their community. They will then be able to retain more students too. Instead of having a hundred guys training with them they can have 500 people training with them: 200 kids, 100 women and executives and professionals.  Everybody cam take advantage of jiujitsu. 

With this view in mind, we have to work within the federation to enhance service to help the instructors, the school owners, event promoters and so on. 

This is the end of part II. Master Rickson Gracie was very generous with his time and energy so there is much, much more to come. Stay tuned. 

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