Sunday, October 13, 2013

Vunak's Top 50 Combat Secrets Ch. 36

Chapter 36 – Rickson’s Jiu-Jitsu

Back in the early 80’s when Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu first came to America, I was fortunate enough to train with Rorion Gracie. At that time he was their representative. After a couple of years with Rorion, he and I became close friends and I decided to institute Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in my seminar circuit world wide. This enabled me to meet the rest of their family, and get a feel for some of the other fighters. My next teacher was Royce. Royce amazed me in a similar way that Rorion amazed me. These guys would get on top of you and overwhelm you with footlocks, leglocks, armlocks, etc… And just when I thought every single orifice in my body had been raped, Royler came along. Now whatever, Rorion and Royce did, Royler did it even faster. In Brazil they call Royler the Snake. Royler can pass your guard and armlock you before you tighten your Gi Belt. Although I was enamored with the skill sets of all of the brothers, the one sibling that I had not met, that everyone mentioned over and over again, was Rickson. Rickson was the consummate street fighter in the family, and took on all challenges in Brazil. One day when I was helping train Royler with some stand up, and after about 6 hours of training, he must have taken me to the ground a thousand times(And obviously tied me up in knots once I was there). At the end of one long day, he looked at me and said, “ah yes, but my brother Rickson, is 20 times better than me…”

Then it happened, and I finally got to meet Rickson. I can say one thing, Brazilians do not exaggerate. Rickson was everything they said he was and more. The genius behind Rickson Gracie was that he was able to take the sport of Jiu-Jitsu and apply it on the cement streets of Brazil. I quickly became one of Rickson’s most dedicated students, we hung out 8 hours a day. And in the 5 or 6 years, that I had the honor of spending with the man, and the 1000’s of hours I have had the honor of rolling with him, what I would like to do in this Sunday Night’s column is sum up Rickson’s style and what actually made him so different and perhaps the greatest street fighter in Brazil.

#1 – Move Slowly
Rickson, never got out of second gear. Every opponent he rolled with, he made sure, he never put in more than 50% energy. While other jiu-jitsu practitioners are jumping around from lock to lock, Rickson would move like a slow sloth. And once one gets used to rolling slowly, the tangential benefits are immense. I remember a particular seminar I took him to in Boston. There were 300 people there, Rickson started at 9 am in the morning and rolled with every single person till 6 in the afternoon.

#2 – Emphasis on Passing the Guard
“What separates the men from the boys in my father’s art, is one’s ability to pass the guard” – Rickson Gracie.

Many folks in the MMA world choose to stay in the guard and punch it out. This would be akin to breaking the door down, rather than turning the door knob. Once one has the skill set to pass the guard, then when they decide to punch, those punches are exponentially more powerful.

#3 – Base
Just like with Inosanto, all I heard was forward pressure, forward pressure.
With Rickson all I heard was Base, Base.
According to Rickson, Base was the most important attribute in Jiu-Jitsu. When you see sports Jiu-Jitsu tournaments nowadays, they appear to be getting more and more flamboyant. The greatest athletes are surfacing to the top, the best steroids are being taken, and sometimes tournaments are won through knowing the latest and greatest cutting edge trick.

However this paradigm can be countered with old school jiu-jitsu.
According to Rickson, once you pass some bodies guard and now you go either cross side or mount, to hold them down long enough to get them panicky they will always give you an arm, they will always give you their back. And for the street fight this philosophy is exponentially greater.

#4 - And finally the 4’th thing that differentiates Rickson from everyone, no Human on this planet can hold Rickson down. By hold down, I mean take the cross side position and stop him from pulling guard, or stop him from getting to his feet. The ability to pull guard from the bottom, and hold guard is as equally important as the ability to have base from the top. And when you add passing the guard, and conserving energy, what you come up with, well I will just quote the founder of the art, Helio Gracie. “My son Rickson is the greatest living proponent of my Art”.

Please check the Table of Contents for links to other chapters of this Online Book.



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Stickgrappler's Sojourn of Septillion Steps