Writer and lover of vodka & contact sports, preferably combined, Stephanie Joplin has conducted the greatest interview to date with Renzo Gracie in memory.
If you love this sport, you have to click the link at bottom and read the entire interview.
Stephanie Joplin: Did you have any hesitation continuing family tradition in the martial arts? Did it come naturally to you and do you think natural ability is carried in the bloodline?
Renzo: To be honest, I was always very weak physically. I loved and admired so much the people that were involved with jiu-jitsu that I just stuck with. I believed that passion for the sport comes before natural ability. The moment that you love something so much, you just don’t let go; you insist on it and you stick with it. I think the biggest gift that my family could give me was actually not just the bloodline, but the passion to make me understand how great the sport was and how important it was in changing people’s lives. That was very easy to follow, but [It takes] hard work. I would rather have a student who actually works hard than any guy that has a natural ability who is lazy.
SJ: Do you have any stories about your experience on social media to share with me?
RG: There was one time a guy send me a private message saying that he was going to kill himself. He had lost his job…Luckily, he was in Jersey, so when I got that message, I messaged him back right away and asked him where he was. He told me where he was…I told him to wait because I was going to get a beer, too. So I know that this guy now has a job; he is working hard, supporting his family…he realized how foolish his thought was like that, you know? I remember having my beer with him.
SJ: What are some differences between MMA fans of your hay-day and the MMA fans of today?
RG: There’s a small difference, but you have to understand every fan is extremely important for our sport. They’re the ones that support us and makes the sport grow. Without the fans, there’s nobody, but back then, the fans were more hardcore. They knew about everything. Now you have the guy who watches one fight or he heard from his friend who does [MMA] and the next thing you see is everybody is wearing a Tapout shirt and thinking he can fight, but I’m very glad for that. I always dream to see this sport going in that direction and growing like that and be able to give the place in the sun that it deserves from all this hard work.
SJ: If someone were trying to explain all of your accomplishments and your entire legacy that had no clue about BJJ, martial arts or the Gracie name, how would you want that person to describe you? What would you like to be remembered for most in this industry?
RG: I ask everybody to forget Renzo; just remember the Gracie name. Gracie name is the famous jiu-jitsu…the amazing people who precede me. The Gracie name is the backbone of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Gracie jiu-jitsu.
SJ: Tell me about your current workout routine.
RG: Well, I had a problem in my back…I had a horse race in Abu Dhabi.
I did 85 miles on a horse. Out of 180 horses, only I think 17 or 18 horses finished. I was 15. I do believe on that process, I had a hairline fracture in my back from so much pounding on the saddle. It’s been almost three months now and it was bad. So that stopped me for a little bit from training, but I am coming back now.
SJ: Earlier you were telling me your most memorable fight will be your next one. Are you planning on fighting soon?
RG: Yes. I am looking forward to getting in shape again and to be back on the game; one more run! I do have some wood to burn.
Read entire interview... (part 1)
Read entire interview... (part 2)