The legend Rickson Gracie, in this in depth interview with Mike Velez of Jiu-Jitsu Magazine, talks about his serious injuries (he has 6 herniated discs), teaching at his son Kron’s school, his diet and about the ‘Sportification’ of Jiu-Jitsu:
“JJM: What made you start teaching class recently at Kron’s school?
Rickson: Kron is intensifying his MMA training for his debut and that, along with the time it takes for teaching, I feel was putting more stress on him. So I volunteered to step in to help out with the classes. It works great all around because he can focus on training, I’m happy to teach again, the students seem to enjoy my presence, it’s good for my health, so it’s all positive.
JJM: You’ve mentioned your health diminishing a couple times now. Is everything okay?
Rickson: I have nothing to complain about because I’ve done so many things in my life; however, my middle name right now is “Motivation.” I have to do everything because I have so many injuries on my back and my hips from the trauma I placed on myself. Now I’m minimizing my efforts in certain things because I have to better take care of my body. I’m still very happy how I function; that I can move as I do and still be able to surf waves.
JJM: What’s a typical day like for you and what do you normally eat?
Rickson: Wake up 7:00am to 7:30am, eat well and start with stretching. Sleep-wise I try to get 6 to 8 hours a day; it just depends on my schedule and I’ll take an hour nap sometimes. I try to eat 6 meals a day, love superfoods, love organic foods and stay away from processed foods. In the morning I’ll eat whole wheat bread, cheese and have a cup of coffee. Three hours later I’ll have a shake with almond milk, bananas, blueberries and protein powder. For lunch maybe chicken or fish, organic salad and quinoa. Later for a snack I’ll eat apples or dates. My next meal could be like a smoked tuna sandwich and bananas. For dinner I enjoy making a homemade pizza or organic whole wheat pasta.
JJM: Your black belts teach specifically what you teach, but what about a guy who wants to learn your style of jiu-jitsu yet trains at a school who teaches totally different?
Rickson: That’s a hard situation because it depends on the head instructor. That’s why the JJGF is such a great thing and can provide that knowledge. I’ve heard a jiu-jitsu instructor tell a student to learn Krav Maga because jiu-jitsu isn’t for self-defense, just sport. This is jeopardizing our culture and lineage. By providing guidance and certification for instructors the students will feel better for applying. That way 50 years from now we’ll still have good directions by implementing these concepts. If everyone does whatever they want 50 years from now jiu-jitsu will be completely diluted.”