BJJ can help the introverted among us get to know new people, strengthen ties and cultivate friendships. Renzo Gracie, notorious for his good mood, has an endless list of friends — but the value of a good enemy is not lost on him.
To the New York-based teacher, there’s no bigger motivator than a great rival to make you better and keep you on your toes, ready to face adversity as soon as it appears.
“A true enemy, the most loyal enemy my brother Ryan Gracie had, is called Jorge Patino ‘Macaco’,” Renzo told blogger Olivar Leite in an interview that went viral this month. “They fought many times. Whenever they saw each other, they’d brawl. And it was the reason Ryan kept himself in fighting shape. If Ryan became what he became, Macaco helped a lot. He had to be sharp, and that’s what makes you great. I wish I had more people like that in my life.”
Hatred and respect went hand in hand between Ryan, who died in 2007, and Macaco. “Have you ever heard Macaco say a bad thing about him?” Renzo said. “Ever heard him put Ryan down after his death, or gloat? But that’s because he belongs to BJJ, he is of the BJJ banner. People sometimes are puzzled by the love I have for Macaco. I am thankful to him.”
Renzo wrapped up with an anecdote from his own personal life. “To this day I help out a teacher who used to say fighting would take me to prison or to the cemetery,” he said. “To this day, when I write a book, I send her a copy and a card: ‘As soon as your book gets written, please send me a copy.’ You may think that’s mean, but one time she needed to have knee surgery, and through a friend I sent her the money to have it. I want her to keep thinking bad things about me. I need enemies — I got all the friends I need!”