A while later, another riot happened after a guy ran up on a buddy of mine -- a good twenty-five or thirty foot run -- and coldcocked him from behind with this big, looping haymaker. Caught my buddy totally unaware, but he just took it and then turned around and laughed. I ran around behind my buddy’s attacker and locked one of his arms up, then picked him up off the ground, slammed him down on his shoulder, took his back, sunk the hooks in and choked him out.
I kept the choke on after the guy was out but loosened it enough so he could breathe, but when he woke up he started fighting again. I tried to get him to calm down but he wouldn’t listen, so I put him out again. I let him wake up again and told him, “Dude, I’ve got a full choke sunk in, don’t fight me or I’m gonna put you out”, but once again he forced me to choke him [unconscious]! Three or four times I put him out, until finally he woke up crying and begging, “Please don’t do that again!”
So I let him go and stood up. Now, I’m five-seven, and when the dude stood up he was WAY taller than me, probably six-one. I hadn’t noticed how big he was during the heat of the moment, and of course when you’re on the ground it’s hard to tell how tall someone is. But now that we were standing, you could tell that the guy was wondering, “How the hell did this little guy do that to me?” (laughs)
That’s a good example of why my philosophy was always, “Choke people first, ask questions second”, because if you know what you’re doing, you can use chokes to keep everybody safe. You can put ‘em out, drag ‘em out, and in the end they’re gonna wake up just fine. If you apply the choke right and you don’t hold it for too long, it’s the most humane way to handle violent situations where nobody’s gonna get hurt, you know?
When I went out in Brazil, Gracie family members and students would just take over whatever club we were in. Sometimes the bouncers would be Gracie guys too, or other times our guys would just pretend to be bouncers [so they could] clear people away from tables we wanted to sit at and things like that.
One time we were at a club in Rio where all the Jiu-jitsu guys used to hang out. I forget the name of the club because it was always changing. What they do [in Rio] is, they run a club for one or two years and then they tear it apart and build a new club with a new name, but it’s still the same place, you know? I was standing there with a big group of Gracies and Gracie students who were always at that club causing major mayhem. We would always roll in with twenty or thirty Gracies plus the students, so half the club would be Jiu-jitsu guys.
At one point in the night, some guy grabbed my cousin’s ass and then disappeared into the crowd, so all of our guys stopped everything. With the help of the bouncers, they stood outside the front door and brought everybody out one by one. Every time a guy would come out, Carlson Gracie Jr. would hold him and ask my cousin who got her ass grabbed, “Is this the guy? No? Okay, man, you can go.” They went through almost EVERY SINGLE GUY in the club like that! (laughs) They finally found the guy who did it, and obviously they beat him up. That’s how intense they were, they would shut down a whole club just to find one guy who grabbed my cousin’s ass!
On another night, a guy did something to upset all the Gracies so they walked outside with him and a bunch of his friends. My cousin Russo held up his right fist to the guy and said, “If you can escape from this punch, we won’t beat you up.” But while the guy was looking at Russo’s right hand, his brother Daniel threw a punch over Russo’s left shoulder and knocked the guy out with a punch he never even saw coming -- and then of course all hell broke loose! It was so much fun! (laughs)
One other thing Daniel liked to do -- if he had something against a guy but didn’t have a good enough reason to fight him, he would say to me, “Rose, go slap that guy in the face”. That would make it look like the guy had insulted me or something, and then Daniel had an excuse to beat the guy up! (laughs) It was terrible! But we always had so much fun in those clubs.
When you’re in the middle of that sort of thing it’s just normal, everyday stuff. It wasn’t until I grew up that I realized how serious it really was. We had plenty of bar fights, every single time we went somewhere it was a problem. And if one of our group did something, we would all have to move because of safety issues. Sometimes I would have just gotten to a bar with my girlfriends and already I have to leave because of some trouble where the Gracies might be in danger. I would be so disappointed! (laughs)