Global Training Report Archives 1997-2016



Global Training Report


Interview with

  Ryan Gracie

From SRSDX no. 27 August 10, 2000.

Translated by Kondo Yoko.


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” [laughing].

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 up.

Q. Wha…. Unbelievable!

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 stories.

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 about “Pride”?

Ryan: Everybody 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 fighters.

Q. Sakuraba defeated your family members, Royler and Royce, in the ring of Pride, didn’t he?

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 any more.

Q. Indeed.

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 it.

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 rights reserved.

***Ryan's fight with the guy from Manaus is shown (in part only, because its long) on the Renzo & Craig Kukuk tapes/dvds, which you can order below:











GTR Publications



Choque 1, 3rd Updated Edition (June 1, 2016)







Choque 3, 1961-1999





Choque 2, 1950-1960 






A7Choque1_2ndedprint.jpg (19134 bytes)









A1SZprint.jpg (145051 bytes)

Jiu-Jitsu in the South Zone, 1997-2008 







Digital Editions are also available

GTR Archives 1997-2016