Internet fights often pop up acting as case studies for trained martial artists to better understand the mechanics of a fight. Much like a novel, fights unfold with a preface, an exposition, rising action, climax, and very often a fallout.
It makes sense, then, that a show about street fights — and more importantly, how to avoid them or emerge from them safely — could have appeal even for people who aren’t involved in martial arts. This is the idea behind “Amazing Gracie”: a show by Ryron and Rener Gracie that they hope will gain the support of the community and make it to a popular streaming service that reaches beyond the jiu-jitsu community. Rener and Ryron are currently sitting on a few episodes and hope to gauge the martial art community’s interest to see if it would fit well on a service bigger than their YouTube channel.
In this pilot episode of “Amazing Gracie,” Rener and Ryron Gracie watched a YouTube video of Langon “LJ” Johnson mouthing off and starting a fight outside of a gas station, ultimately losing in the fight after it hit the ground. Intrigued, the Gracie brothers flew LJ out to the Gracie Academy in Torrance and underwent an intensive discussion, reeducation, and series of training sessions geared at unveiling why the fight occurred and how it could have gone better.
As early as they could walk, the Gracie brothers were raised in an environment of male dominance and a need to prove superiority. Over the years, the outlook has very much changed to one of service, to learning fighting principles so that one need not use it. They believe that if one has the confidence in knowing they could survive a fight they stand a better chance of avoiding the fight altogether.
In the beginning of the episode, it was apparent that LJ had a set of life circumstances that required intervention. He had lost his job as a result of the fight, he had recently lost family members close to him, and he had not made peace with the situation. Rener and Ryron took it upon themselves to spend as much time as possible with LJ in the limited time they had to better understand exactly where he was coming from. He had run away from home in his teen years and was forced to fend for himself in many ways.
This episode takes an intimate look at the teaching methodologies of the Gracie brothers, delving into the physical, mental, and psychological components of teaching a brand new student, let alone one who has engaged in a street fight that had gone viral.
With the explosive growth of MMA, casual bystanders may believe that what they see on TV is the reality of how fights go down and what they need to learn to survive in the streets. This could not be further from the truth. Shows like “Amazing Gracie” hold importance in terms of being exposed to mainstream society to show how fights can, in fact, be avoidable through education, confidence building, communication, and proper self-defense training. This pilot demonstrates that self-defense begins far before actual fights break out, and it is my hope that this pilot episode will fall in the right hands of a network or streaming service so that the world can begin to see more examples of how jiu-jitsu can be used to serve those who need it most.
Check out the first episode below: