Interview with Jiujitsu Global Federation founder Master Rickson Gracie. Part IV
A concise version of this interview was recently published by Blitz Martial Arts, Australasia's leading martial arts magazine. Click here for Part I, II & III
29th July 2014. 10am Los Angeles Time
LW: Many in the community feel that existing or past "federations" carried the name federation but were actually run as corporations. It's embarrassingly visible out there and when there are suggestions for PED TESTING, rule changes or democratic votes, a blind eye is turned to that. What is going to be the organisational structure within the JJGF? Will it have regional / national divisions? Will there be a JJGF-Europe? Etc?
RG: 100%. I agree about the current situation. Our idea now is to create our new circuit and, instead of dividing everybody, to welcome everybody to be completely supported by us. This year, I'm not going to say "if you don't use our rules we don't respect or support you" instead, we want to welcome everybody to the federation. I will promote every tournament on the planet. I will accept and distinguish every champion, no matter the rules. I will try to bring attention to and suggest our new rules in order to create a strong body in the JJGF. the aim is to unify the community and bring major sponsors to the game and TV contracts.
All this is in my vision for the growth of our beloved art. Depending on the reaction and retaliation from the community, we might end up drawing ourselves back and preserve our own vision and culture for those who share and accept it. But I don't want to try to create that kind of division to begin with.
I need to talk to the promoters around the globe and get them on board. They need to see that they can't necessarily just double and triple the size of their events so if they can't expand horizontally, through the work of the federation, they can expand vertically through the involvement of sponsor and TV exposure. We'd be creating a very unique and sound business model and a very interesting development for the sport.
I come with a very open mind to work with everybody because my position means I'm not trying to compete with any promoter, association or federation. It's just that somebody had to come and say "hey man,we need to create a big umbrella over the whole thing and let's make the sport grow and make the community get better results overall. Let's make the teachers more capable and more professional and the school owners and promoters more successful."
My vision starts with bringing effectiveness back to the sport. It's a beautiful thing, man. I wake up everyday very motivated and driven because I feel I'm till in the fight, but without my bones. (Laughs)
LW: absolutely. This is exactly what sport needs. When you used the term "umbrella" I was thinking "that is exactly what a federation should mean".
So to deliver your services and the pillars we takes about, do you have a structure of employees under you? I understand the JJGF was started by three people and that there's the masters and the development council, but is there going to be a structure of people within the JJGF governance?
RG: yes. The initial ideas are a follows:
1st: a clinic for the referees. We're going to certify the referees who already understand our rules, for them to spread all over so any tournament that want to run our rules can have official referees too to support there cause and event.
2nd: the first certified full instructors programme. I will invite the instructors who I know already know the programme of self defence, they will be certified as "Full Instructors" and then they will return to their regions and clubs whether in Europe, Brazil, Japan, Australia or the US. As they become full instructors, certified in that region, they will be the contact point for whoever is interested in our certification path, which is step 3.
3rd: instructors expressing interest in our certification pathway will contact the above full instructors and receive a digital training programme to study. Once they become comfortable studying this material, the applications and techniques of the self defence programme they will attend a test with those full instructors. If they pass the test, they will start a one year probationary certification period. During this year they will continue teaching and once every quarter or so they will show a class of whatever we ask them to show for us to see how they portray the correct ideas, concepts and teaching methodology. After the end of that year of being evaluated, they'll become full instructors like the first wave. That way, I can create scale because if everything depends on my availability and resources, I'm not going to have the time. I'm trying to create a multiplicative scale to replace me. The goal is for it to be the norm for a jiujitsu school to have a certified instructor within it.
This is what will give the school the potential to help all elements of society, from the police officers to fragile children to women's self defence and so on. That's exactly the position a jiujitsu school should have towards its community. It's a complete centre of martial arts where you can learn the techniques and concept you need to enhance your life.
This is the end of part IV. Master Rickson Gracie was very generous with his time and energy so there is much, much more to come. Stay tuned.