Tonight after UFN22, spike" class="Newslink">Spike Channel is airing a special called: "Ultimate Gracie". Ultimate Gracie focuses on the legendary Royce Gracie, the man whose performance in the first UFC's years ago (along with the efforts of his incredible family and many others) changed the face of Martial Arts in the World and launched MMA as it is now and propelled BJJ to a popularity never before seen.
For those of us who have were around before UFC 1 in 1993, it is astounding to see the progress.
Just back in '93 you could count in your hands the number of academies in the US. Black Belt instructors were so hard to find, yours truly, Kid Peligro, would drive 40 minutes twice a week to train with one (Nelson Monteiro) and 1 1/2 hours once a week to train with another (Rickson Gracie) . Others were less fortunate and even more dedicated, in conversations with some of my friends like Allen Hopkins I found out that Allen drove 7 hours to attend a Gracie seminar and even moved from Dodge City, Kansas to Slat Lake City Utah so he could train under a Black Belt (Pedro Sauer),
I realised the sacrifices people did back then. Back then, you could could in one hand the number of tournaments in this Country as well.
Now some 17 years later, there are so many good academies and so many Black Belts that virtually there is at least one in every City. Tournament schedules are full with many times more than one in the same region on the same dates. Qualified instructors abound and the proliferation of instructional DVD's, books and on-line teaching makes the art accessible to virtually anyone in the World. Now we have a special to remind us what it was, how it was and where we came from on a major TV channel!
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