Global Training Report



Interview with 

Renzo Gracie 1




From SRSDX, no.27, August 10, 2000

Translated by Kondo Yoko


Q. At Pride 9 in Nagoya, you challenged Sakuraba, or picked up the name of Ishizawa as your opponent

Renzo: Regarding my opponent, I leave everything to the promoter. If they ask me to fight with Sakuraba, I will, and if they ask me to fight with Ishizawa, I will. Thatfs all.

Q. After all it was pointed to Sakuraba.

Renzo: Yes! Concerning Ishizawa, I hear that he is one of the best fighters in Japan. I am very interested in his fight, because this will be his first vale tudo fight. Ryan, however, is a very strong fighter who has technique and a dangerous combination. Besides, he is very emotional. His passionate character and his strong mind and body will surprise many people.

Q. Wo.. it sounds fun. OK, let me change the subject. What kind of impression do you have about the fights between Sakuraba vs. Royler and Sakuraba vs. Royce?

Renzo: Sakuraba is an all-round fighter. He can fight well under any circumstances, and has a variety of weapons such as punch, kick, arm lock, choke, and leg lock. Without a doubt, he is one of the strongest fighters in the world. All his fights were very skillful. Sakuraba handled everything that came at him and waited for his chance. He was very clever.

Q. You fought with many Japanese fighters in Japan like Otsuka, Shoji, Kikuta, and Tamura, etc. How do you think about Sakuraba compared to them?

Renzo: They were all great fighters. But I donft want to compare one to another. I want to leave it to the fans. They should judge it with their own eyes. However, as I said before, there is no doubt that Sakuraba is the brightest hero in Japan now and a samurai as well.

Q. How do you think about the fact that Sakuraba seems to be defeating the members of the Gracie family one after another?

Renzo: Regarding the fights of Royler and Royce, Sakuraba was gaining in power. He was superior to Royler in weight. As for the fight with Royce, Sakuraba showed a strong spirit and stamina.

Q. Indeed, you are very honest. But donft you have feeling that you have to defeat Sakuraba here as a member of Gracie family?

Renzo: Of course, I am going to defeat him. But it is not limited to Sakuraba. I have the same feeling to all the fighters who come up to the ring to fight with me. That is what every fighter thinks. Otherwise I will be defeated. If I lose that feeling, I will never climb into the ring any more. Since the next opponent who stands in my way is Sakuraba, he is my target to defeat.

Q. Although you gave a high appreciation to Sakuraba a little before, do you have any strategy to defeat him?

Renzo: We Gracie family always have a small trick in the process of fighting. We call it gthe ace up the sleeveh. If you want to know what it is, just wait until the fight and find it yourself (laughing).

Q. Mmm.. trick! It sounds interesting. But Sakuraba never goes to the ground, especially when he fights Gracies. How are you going to fight with such a fighter?

Renzo: Ha ha hac I have no strategy against him now. It is up to my judgment in the ring. So I donft know what will be going on there until it actually starts. I will tell you how I fought with him after it finished.

Q. In the conversation with you, I feel a different mood from the Helio Gracie side of the. How do you think about them?

Renzo: Mmmc the Gracie family is very devoted to the art called jiu-jitsu which we are doing now. And there are very technical and strong fighters lining up.

Q. The members of Helio Gracie family are learning jiu-jitsu from Helio, so I think they have a lot of influence from him both technically and mentally. How about you? By whom are you influenced most?

Renzo: It is Rolls Gracie. I was learning from him until I was 14 years old. Rolls is my uncle. He was the most perfect jiu-jitsu fighter in Gracie family, just like Rickson. He gained a unique experience, winning in competition of Sambo and wrestling. To my regret, however, he died young in a hang glider accident. After his death, I started training with my uncle Carlos Gracie Jr. And I was training or teaching jiu-jitsu to the students at his gBarra Gracie Academyh in Rio until I moved to New York four years ago. But we are very proud of having Helio in the second generation of Gracie family. He is the first one who started fights with a different style and proved the power of the Gracie system. And who is a center of minds for Gracie family is our grandfather Carlos Gracie.

Q. Ifve heard about Rolls who was said to be stronger than Rickson. So you had a lot of influence from him.

Renzo: Yes! I feel a special pleasure when I think about Rolls.

Q. Well then, what is difference in a way of fighting between Helio family, Rickson and Royce, and you, although both are the same Gracie jiu-jitsu?

Renzo: We all have a fighting style according to our size and personality. We use the same technique in a different way. It is better for me to use a different arm lock from Rickson, and the same with Royce. But we all share the same goal of achieving victory by submission.

Q. Then donft you have a special feeling against a defeat of the Gracie?

Renzo: I donft think itfs special, because we are the same human being (laughing). We believe that jiu-jitsu is very special for the Gracie and it makes us stronger. Now, jiu-jitsu has spread to all over the world and all the strong fighters have been influenced by jiu-jitsu. So even if we were defeated, it means that jiu-jitsu was defeated by jiu-jitsu.

Q. If you lose this time, Rickson will be only one left in the Gracie family who can defeat Sakuraba, wonft he?

Renzo: Itfs not true. There are many members in Gracie family who are ready to fight with him. For example, my younger brother Ryan, and my cousins Rillion and Rolles  And Igor or Roger in the young generation are almost ready too. In fact, the Gracie is more like an army than a family, so strong fighters come out one after another.

Q. It is like a Shocker, isnft it? (laughing) Then, Sakuraba sometimes speaks ill of the Gracie family. How do you think about it?

Renzo: Hahahac. His performance is very fun, but it seems that he sometimes forgets a little bit that humility is the basis of virtue for the Japanese people. He is becoming arrogant. I will beat him into silence (laughing).

Q. You are sick of his performances like putting on the mask at his entrance, or trying to take off Roycefs gi (laughing).

Renzo: No, not at all. He is a very great artist who makes an event fun, and gets the spectators excited, and moreover is good at the microphone. I donft care, just let him do it (laughing).

Q. Are you thinking about claiming a change in the rule to no-time limit against Sakuraba as Royce did?

Renzo: Oh, my friend! I donft have such an idea. I am very satisfied with the rule of Pride. I will accept any kind of rule, as long as the promoter and other fighters consent to it.

Q. You are a nice man as I expected! Well, could you give a message to your opponent, Sakuraba?

Renzo: OK, tell him that I will defeat you. And some day when we get old with a gray hair, letfs talk about our fight drinking Japanese sake at some noodle house in Japan. I wish to do a good fight like that.

Q. Hac..sounds smart! (laughing)

**If you like Renzo (and who doesn't?) you might want to own some of his DVDs and books. You can order conveniently below.





(c) 2000, Yoko Kondo. All rights reserved.

Revised October 31, 2009.