FightStylez Interview with Charles Gracie.Sep 13 2011, Posted in: Fighters video
FightStylez had the rare opportunity to interview the legendary Charles Gracie at the Charles Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy in San Francisco, California.
Since the original UFC 1 in 1993, the name Gracie has been synonymous with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Charles Gracie, for one, has had a great presence in the world of jiu jitsu, martial arts, and fighting for a very long time.
The proud Gracie that Charles is, his origins will always be firmly rooted in the beautiful art of Gracie Jiu Jitsu.
“I’ve been training jiu jitsu for my whole life. We start at 5 years old, just the basics…pretty much, we’re born on the mat.”
Charles Gracie, now a 6th degree black belt in Gracie Jiu Jitsu, originally received his black belt in 1985. Since then, he has worked diligently to develop his family’s martial art and spread the word of jiu jitsu all over the world.
In 1997, Charles arrived in the United States from Brazil, and has made a significant contribution towards helping the sport of jiu jitsu grow in America.
In addition to jiu jitsu, Charles Gracie has also played a significant role in training many of his students to become complete mixed martial artists.
“We got involved a lot more in mixed martial arts because a lot of [my] students want to be cage fighters. The transition is very natural. Actually, what I tell my students is that if they want to be in the cage, they need to learn the ground fighting; the Gracie Jiu Jitsu.”
However, being wise to the modern version of MMA in 2011, Gracie fully understands that being a well-rounded mixed martial artist in the sport today requires cross training across various disciplines.
“Of course, if [my students] want to do strikes, [which they] have to, then we look for professional coach[es] [in] boxing [and] muay thai. I’m very happy to be part of this transition between the Gracie Jiu Jitsu, the ground fighting, mixed with the cage. We’re doing very good, the guys are doing really well, they train very hard,” said Gracie.
At the Charles Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy, not all the students that walk through the door are expected to compete at the professional or even an amateur level. In fact, Charles welcomes a diverse array of students from all walks of life to come learn jiu jitsu for whatever reason they choose.
“We have lawyers, police officers, engineers, just students going to school…kids, and we try to help everybody the same way.”
Although some might feel a bit intimidated stepping into a jiu jitsu gym with a name like Charles Gracie attached to it, Charles openly welcomes students of all different skill levels and backgrounds to come experience the martial art that he’s dedicated his entire life to. With hard work and dedication, they will find success.
“We have students in all kinds of levels. Some people who come have no idea what jiu jitsu is. They learn everything in here; that’s great because you can teach techniques until he’s ready to get, for example, his black belt.”
For more information about Charles Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy, located at 603 Taraval Street in San Francisco, California 94116, please call (415) 564-0777 or e-mail email@example.com.
Keep checking in for all this and more from FightStylez.
Alan Chang, FightStylez
Photographs and Video by: Dave Fong