Stephanie Joplin recently had a long 2 part interview with Renzo Gracie, where he discussed his childhood, and all other MMA and Jiu-Jitsu related topics:
“Stephanie: Did you have any hesitation continuing family tradition in the martial arts? Did it come naturally to you and do you think natural ability is carried in the bloodline?
Renzo: To be honest, I was always very weak physically [growing up]. I loved and admired so much the people thatwere involved with jiu-jitsu that I just stuck with. I believed that passion for the sport comes before natural ability. The moment that you love something so much, you just don’t let go; you insist on it and you stick with it. I think the biggest gift that my family could give me was actually not just the bloodline, but the passion to make me understand how great the sport was and how important it was in changing people’s lives. That was very easy to follow, but [It takes] hard work. I would rather have a student who actually works hard than any guy that has a natural ability who is lazy.
Stephanie: Did you ever have a moment when you questioned your career path?
Renzo: I’m very good at interacting with people; I have a natural ability. I could change jobs today and I would be fine, but I knew I would succeed [with jiu-jitsu]. I never thought I could make money doing jiu-jitsu. I really thought about maybe joining the financial market. I had offers to work with them. I have a very close friend of mine, he’s the owner of the Bank of America in Brazil and many times he invite me to work with him, to work at his bank. He goes ‘Renzo, you will be able to make a fortune; I know you!’ But, I could never, because of the beauty that we had, our mission in life – every Gracie had it – was much more valuable than anything else. I believe I make a bigger difference with what I do than actually sitting behind a desk and getting my bank account fat. I have a very good life, financial-wise; I always thought I was going to have to have two jobs: jiu-jitsu and then something else. Fluently, I can speak just jiu-jitsu, you know?
Stephanie: What qualities do a good teacher or instructor possess?
Renzo: I think passion. Passion for what he’s doing. I remember even when I was back in high school, the teachers that had the passion when they were teaching, they were the best teachers. That is what pushed me to be a great teacher because I could feel the passion that they taught, the passion that they explain to you and how grateful they were when you learn. I think that’s the best quality a teacher can have, is to have passion when he teach.”