A New Passion : Gracie JiuJitsu

Fellow writer and martial artist Brad Vaughn and I recently returned from Norfolk, Virginia – where we were able to meet and train with Jiu-Jitsu extraordinaire and master-teacher, Ryron Gracie.

Needless-to-say, we learned a lot – but what I didn’t really count on was just how attached I would grow to this art – specifically, the way that Ryron presented it.

Being a “Taiji man” myself, I’m always eager to find strength through any means other than pure, physical force.  It became clear, after watching Ryron roll with several of the students that Gracie Jiu-jitsu is very much, a form of “Taijiquan for the ground.”

Many times throughout the lecture, Ryron would mention the word “Flow.”  Gracie Jujitsu is about efficiency and being able to both read your opponent and adapt to the changes, in a natural way.

In college, I was able to learn from a guy who knew Sambo, and after wrestling with him for several semesters, I felt very strong on the ground.  Little did I know that when I would start to grapple with someone with more “technical” skills (namely, someone well-versed in the basics of the Gracie system), I would find holes in my game.

With Ryron, there was a deep sense of “playful practice” – that your opponent is there – not to be necessarily, an “obstacle to overcome” (and possibly become discouraged by), but a partner eager to make you a better practitioner.  [Isn’t that what it’s all about?]

Many schools are filled with students (and I’ve scrapped with a few in my young life) who are bent on “besting” you in each and every encounter.

Ryron’s suggestion to us-

“Get tapped out 10 times every day.”  

It’s not just about staying humble, it’s about becoming sensitive to every situation and bringing something into your practice that causes you to learn – to better yourself.

Brandon Vaughn (his profile) is currently a blue belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and is helping to me (my profile) to reach a blue belt of my very own through the Gracie’s, Gracie University.  I only wish there was more time in a day!  Because I would fill it with many hours of exultant practice.

Michael Joyce & Brandon Vaughn

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