From SRSDX no.
27 August 10, 2000.
Translated by Kondo
Q. First of all, could
you tell me about your jiu-jutsu career?
Ryan: I trained
jiu-jutsu at Academy “Barra Gracie” since I was five years old. When
I was 16 years old, I got the blue belt and won in a competition called
Copa Company Nova Ipanema. I defeated a champion
of Pan American in the Brazilian championship after I was promoted to
the black belt. In 1995 I opened an academy in São Paulo with my older
brother Ralph, and I am still teaching there although Ralph now lives in
Mountain View, USA. We have 800 students at the academy in São Paulo. Of
those, ten are brown belts and two are black belts.
Q. Speaking of Ryan,
we, Japanese kakutogi fans, hear about your fight at the night club in
Rio de Janeiro where you were stabbed with a knife and arrested by the
police. Could you tell me more about it?
Ryan: OK! I happened to
be there that night, and saw 15 men start beating on a 17-year-old boy
all of a sudden. I’ve never seen such a scene before. I don’t like
cowards. So I got in among them to stop it, and was involved into the
fight. The night club was turned into chaos. A man with a nickname
“Chuck Norris” punched my friend, and then came after me. I caught
him with a clinch and flung him away. I got a small cut with a knife he
had then. It was far from stabbing actually. Then I got out of the night
club holding the wound. The police came after that. I was questioned by
the police later. Of course, I was not guilty.
Q. Hm…. We have had
an image of you as “the most crazy street fighter in the Gracie
family” since the episode came to our ears.
Ryan: To be sure, I did
a fight at least once a day when I was younger. My record is three
fights in one day [laughing]. But my fights was limited to the time when
my friends were bullied or I myself was teased by somebody. I used to be
teased very often when I was younger, because I was so small.
Q. What is the most
memorable fight for you?
Ryan: When I was 17
years old, I had a fight with a man from Manaus at my friend’s house.
It started when he said, “you are not a real Gracie.” It made me
upset and I fought with him for 43 minutes. He said “give up” less
than 10 minutes from the start, and said it again in another 15 minutes.
But his insult stuck to my mind so hard that I didn’t stop it. Another
30 minutes passing, when I caught him with a take-down, a big flower
vase fell down on me and broke my two ribs. I could barely breathe, but
I kept on fighting, getting take-down or taking his side. Then Carlos
Gracie Jr., who noticed my ribs broken, stopped the fight. After all it
ended with like this.
Q. If he had not
stopped it there, you would not have listened to his “give up”
Ryan: One month later,
my brother Renzo tried to arrange another fight with him. He said,
“Ryan is a boy but very strong. I will fight with him with a gun next
time, if any.” At that time, he was 26 years old and a big guy of 95
kg. On the other hand, I was only 16 years old, 68 kg, and the blue belt
in jiu-jutsu. To my surprise, however, he offered one more fight
with me. I took the mount position four times and his back two times. He
was desperate. When I took the mount position, he tried to stop my
movement by holding my finger. My father saw it and tried to warn him
that holding fingers or pulling hair is not what man is supposed to do.
But Wallid Ismail, who was on his side, said, “this is vale tudo, so
everything is acceptable. Biting, pulling hair, anything is OK.” Then
Renzo said, “OK, if you say so, bite him Ryan.” So I was waiting for
him to hold my finger. When he took an action, I bit his ear and tore it
Ryan: Later I advised
him to go to the hospital and undergo medical treatment [laughing]. Any
way, it was a pleasure for my brothers to boast of my street-fight
Q. I wonder if you are
violent or gentle… But why is it that someone like you has never shown
up to the vale tudo so far?
Ryan: It’s because I
had a big damage on my back in a car accident when I was 18 years old. I
couldn’t do anything for seven months at that time. A few years later,
I got another big damage on my knee when I was training with my teammate
Marcio Feitosa. Basically
I hate hospitals. So I decided to let them heal naturally. That is why I
didn’t participate in an championship in vale tudo.
Q. I see. How about
those injuries now?
Ryan: No problem at
all, 100% recovery. I am ready for any fights.
Q. Your brother Renzo
is famous in Japan. How do you think about him?
Ryan: He is an
inspiration of my life both as a fighter and as a person. The Gracie
name is famous. However, Renzo is the only one who doesn’t care about
who his opponent is or how big or heavy his opponent is, or what the
rules are. I think he deserves to be called the most active man in the
family in this sense.
Q. How do you think
considers it the biggest and the most important tournament in the world
for fighters. There is nothing else better than Pride which matches good
fighters and provides them with a big fight money.
Q. Well, Who do you
want to fight with in Pride?
Ryan: Of course,
Sakuraba and Frank Shamrock. They must be the best, except for Brazilian
Q. Sakuraba defeated
your family members, Royler and Royce, in the ring of Pride, didn’t
Ryan: Royler is too
light. It was imprudent for him to fight with Sakuraba. As for Royce, he
doesn’t have the best training partners. He is training apart from the
family. It must be the reason why his technical level doesn’t improve
Ryan: But I respect
Renzo and Rickson. After all, a man who continues to win is the
strongest fighter. I respect such a fighter whether or not he is Gracie.
Q. Well, then how do
you think about Ishizawa who is going to be your opponent this time?
Ryan: I am going to
challenge him to a hard fight. So I expect him to be training hard for
Q. It will be his first
challenge to vale tudo just like you.
Ryan: No, it won’t be
my first challenge to vale tudo, because I experienced street fights
more than 500 times without any defeat. This record may be more than
Rickson, and nobody has experience of vale tudo as many as I have. My
ability performed in vale tudo is exactly the same as in street fights.
I am already well prepared for everything.
Q. More than 500 fights
and no loss!
Ryan: My dream is to
keep on winning, and become a fighter who can represent the Gracie
family as a result of continuous victories. I hear that Japanese
spectators have eyes to evaluate jiu-jitsu technique fairly. I am very
proud of fighting in such a country. I guarantee that I will do my best.
See you then!
(c) 2000, GTR, all
***Ryan's fight with the guy from Manaus is shown
part only, because its long) on the Renzo & Craig Kukuk tapes/dvds, which you can order