Feb. 1, 2001
Interviewed by Takao Kondo
Translated by Roberto
(the 21st century theme....to
transmit the real jiu-jitsu)
TK: The 20th century will
soon come to a close. Could you summarize things up until the present?
Rorion: It's a long story but
I’ll try to be succinct. One of the greatest achievements of the 20th
century has been the demonstration of the effectiveness of Gracie
TK: That might be true. Well, what is
your prediction about how things will be in the kakutogi [vale tudo, NHB]
world in the 21st century?
Rorion: It is my hope that in this
century the effects of what has been done will be clearly revealed.
TK: What does that mean?
Rorion: In other words, a martial art
is not only punching and kicking. Ground grappling is the very
foundation of martial arts and martial arts can never become
separated from ground grappling. From now on into the future, it
can be expected that ground grappling will spread more widely and
more deeply. Various styles of martial arts [kakutogi] have
become mixed and this trend will continue. But as before, jiu-jitsu will
remain the center of the martial arts.
TK: Oh. What do you think will happen
in the jiu-jitsu world?
Rorion: Jiu-jitsu will continue to
spread. As far as kakutogi goes, the matter has already been settled.
Among all of the various styles of fighting, jiu-jitsu reigns supreme.
Everyone has come to that realization at last. Bruce Lee's JKD was
conveyed to the public in movies, but we Gracies conveyed our conception
of jiu-jitsu in a more convincing manner, by way of actual fights. We
thought that was more realistic. We expect jiu-jitsu to extend
everywhere. I am confident of that.
TK: Don’t you want your sons to
fight in vale tudos to continue to prove that jiu-jitsu reigns supreme?
Rorion: There’s nothing to prove
anymore. My sons are already fine representatives of jiu-jitsu. If they
want to participate in vale tudos to polish their jiu-jitsu and for
their personal growth, then that must be there own decision. I can only
offer my support. I have achieved my purpose of introducing jiu-jitsu to
the the world during the 20th century.
TK: Your job during the 20th
century was to spread jiu-jitsu far and wide. What is your theme for the
Rorion: I think my job must be to
educate people to appreciate the difference between genuine jiu-jitsu
and fake jiu-jitsu. A genuine martial art [like jiu-jitsu] incorporates
a certain kind of philosophy [translator's note: the interview
uses the expression 理念, which Japanese dictionaries render as
ideology in English, but Rorion probably had something like philosophy,
or spirituality, or morality, in mind, rather than ideology with its
political connotation]. Real jiu-jitsu teaches self-control. When
I teach private lessons, I try to teach philosophy at the same time.
I hope my students acquire a sense of self-confidence and self-efficacy
When you really understand jiu-jitsu,
there's no need to get into fights. That's what I think. A person with
self-confidence, a person with character, will try to challenge him or
herself on a different stage [rather than fighting] and will be a kind
and friendly person. Such people know the techniques of self-control.
For example, there are really bad places to be. When walking alone in
such a scary place, where one might need twenty police officers for
protection, you can walk alone in a carefree way [thanks to jiu-jitsu].
Jiu-jitsu gives you the power equal to twenty police officers. Jiu-jitsu
should not be used for violence. Jiu-jitsu is a thing that gives you the
ability to defend yourself, while at the same time leading the way to
peace. That's real jiu-jitsu.
TK: I understand what you mean by real
jiu-jitsu. For example, In Brazil, there is still a problem with
jiu-jitsu gangs, isn’t there?
Rorion: I understand that there
is a trend among certain crowds and cliques, to resort to violence. I
feel that this is [unjustifiably] smearing the name of jiu-jitsu.
The Gracie name has been well known in Brazil for a long time. Recently
various negative things have happened. Young kids destroy bars, for
example. In Brazil, incidents like this happen every day. If the kids
happen to be wearing Gracie T-shirts, the newspapers write about it as
though it were our fault. This is the kind of problem that has been
increasing. If some kids wearing Nike shirts commit a crime, no one
starts calling them the Nike Gang, do they?
TK: In the future, are you thinking
about going back to Brazil? Or, do you intend to continue living in
Rorion: At present I have various
plans and projects underway, and until they reach fruition, I'm not in a
position to make any major changes in my living arrangements. I travel
back and forth between Brazil and America all the time. Since my wife is
Brazilian, she doesn't think it would be a bad idea to move back to
Brazil some day. But I like the way things are done in America. If you
accomplish something in America, the world takes notice. For the
foreseeable future, I'll continue shuttling back and forth between
America and Brazil.
TK: I understand. Thanks for taking
time out of your busy schedule to talk to me.
Rorion: There's one last thing I'd
like to say. I'm looking forward to seeing a movie about me
made by some Japanese investors (laughs).
Translator's note: This is a
translation into English of an interview in Japanese that was originally
translated from English. The Japanese language tends to be somewhat
vague. It is not totally impossible that some of the nuances have gotten
altered in the tortuous process. Apologies to Rorion if his views
have been misrepresented in any way as a result.
(c) 2001, Global Training Report,
all rights reserved.
Revised November 8, 2009.
Rorion is recognized widely as one
of the best teachers of the fundamentals of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. His
original tapes are still worth seeing--or reviewing. His sons have
learned from their dad the vital art of teaching. This (the teaching
method) in fact is what Rorion says makes GJJ different from the
ju-jutsu it came from. And in case you were wondering whether GJJ works,
the GIAs never get old. You can order