Who doesn’t love watching an old school Gracie Challenge? One of my favorite Gracie Challenges features a 16-year old Ryron Gracie being picked by his father, Rorion, to square off against Jeremy, a full-grown man and built like a wrestler. Ryron, who was a sporting a purple belt in the video, made his father Rorion very proud as he used Gracie Jiu-Jitsu to overcome a larger and stronger adversary. If you have a friend who is curious about trying BJJ, this is the perfect video to send to him or her for these following reasons.
Technique beats brawn: Sure it’s Ryron Gracie, but this was a tall and skinny, 16-year old version of Ryron going against a strong and stocky, full-grown man, who moved like he had some wrestling experience. Despite the major differences in age, size, and strength, Ryron was able to use his technique and skills to take down, control, and submit Jeremy.
Ryron was cooler than the other side of the pillow: A teenager should be anxious and nervous when he is facing a full-grown man in hand-to-hand combat. Ryron was cool under fire after years of training with his father, uncles, cousins, and brothers. When you train in BJJ for a number of years with great teachers and training partners, you will be prepared for stressful situations like a Gracie Challenge.
BJJ is great for cardio: Within a minute into the Gracie Challenge, Jeremy had his hands on his knees and was struggling to catch his breath. Ryron was still calm and ready to go. BJJ trains your body to move efficiently in a self-defense situation and is a great cardio workout. Running or using cardio machines can get monotonous really quick, while BJJ is a fun and physical game where you are constantly testing yourself and learning new techniques.
You need to learn how to escape mount: BJJ is great for self-defense. We never want a fire to take place in the kitchen, but there is a reason why we keep an extinguisher underneath the sink. If you ever are attacked, knowing how to escape mount, defend a choke, or execute a technical stand up can mean the difference between a few bumps and bruises and a trip to the hospital. Despite being a strong guy, Jeremy was trapped underneath Ryron’s mount and unable to muscle his way out of the position.
Jeremy was winded, but not beat up: Despite being taken down, mounted, and submitted twice by Ryron, Jeremy was able to get back up both times. Many prospective BJJ students are worried about getting beat up or injured in BJJ. In the video below, the two participants went hard against each other and both were able to walk away. Also, Ryron was in control of both his mind and body the entire time and never took advantage of his superior technique and positions to really rough up Jeremy. A good BJJ school will have coaches and students who behave in a similar manner as Ryron.