Surf Legend Kelly Slater: ‘Kids Should Do Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Before Any Other Sport’

Surf Legend Kelly Slater: ‘Kids Should Do Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Before Any Other Sport’

Surf and Jiu-Jitsu have a lot in common as both are a lifestyle. Many surfers train Jiu-Jitsu. Among the most famous ones are Joel Tudor (BJJ black belt) and the Michael Jordan of Surfing: Kelly Slater who is a purple belt in BJJ.

Slater has been training for many years and is so in love with the sport that he has stated (via GracieMag):


“I advise all parents to put their kids in Jiu-Jitsu classes before any other sport.”


In this video interview with Globo TV (translated from Portuguese) Slater talks about his passion for the gentle art:

“When I was 8 or 9 years old, there was guy who lived near my home in California, called Don Dragon Wilson, who was world champion in kickboxing. My brother and I went to the gym and did karate for a while. After we stopped because of surf, but when you are child, you want to learn martial arts. So I always liked it, but just found out about Jiu-Jitsu when I came to Brazil for the first time in 1992, ”

“Then I met and became friends with many members of the Gracie family. Rickson was surfing in California and I had a deal with him: We exchanged  surfboards and he taught me Jiu-Jitsu. I wish that I had grown up training Jiu-Jitsu, but the surf is also spiritual, it’s more than a sport, it is my martial art, “

Kelly Slater with the Mendes brothers

Kelly Slater with the Mendes brothers

On common points between martial arts and surfing:

“They both come in stages, how you learn, start with the basics and then everything gets more dynamic. Also the techniques, the way you use your body to be as efficient as possible … I read many things about Bruce Lee throughout my life. And much of his philosophy speaks of the physical, mental and emotional work together. You do not have to do much but what you do need to do has to be done very well. “


Asked if he wanted to be a black belt, he said that he did not care about the color of the belt:

“I want to have that technical level (black belt), but I do not care about the belts. It’s more a matter of discipline, to learn. “

Kelly Slater spoke with Flavio also about MMA. He praised Ricardo Arona, Lyoto Machida and Jon Jones especially:

“I would love to be the Jon Jones surf (laughs). I think he will not lose to anyone for a long time. I love and am a fan of MMA.”

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