[First published in 2009. Scroll down for plain text.]
EMAILS TO A YOUNG WARRIOR
Teachers reveal the advice they would give their own kids, should they be starting out in Jiu-Jitsu
Saulo Ribeiro – Black belt and six-time world champion
Face the academy as though it were an extension of your home and family. If you wish to become a great champion down the road, model yourself on those around you! Always be receptive to criticism or a tough lesson, as those are the tools that will help you build character as a person and fighter. Toss your ego out the window and understand early that the art of accepting momentary defeat is vital in staying healthy throughout your learning. “To tap” is a way of exercising this. Surround yourself with good influences and your family, train hard and forget the limits imposed by others. Don’t be selfish and open your heart to those you love.
Cláudio França – 4th-degree black belt, leader of the CFBJJ
What most concerns me is your moral background. So, one important piece of advice is: respect your adversary in victory for you to be respected in defeat. Learn to lose, because no one lives without experiencing defeat.
Márcio Feitosa – 3rd-degree black belt and three-time world champion
When you arrive in the academy, pay attention to the concept of “family” that exists in Jiu-Jitsu schools.
Fabio Gurgel – Black belt, four-time world champion and leader of Alliance
Don’t rush to evolve – concentrate on learning the most basic and well-rounded Jiu-Jitsu possible.
Fábio Leopoldo – 2nd-degree black belt and three-time world champion
Jiu-Jitsu is much more than to compete. If competing is pressure to you, don’t compete. Understand yourself and adapt Jiu-Jitsu to your life. Assume the responsibility of always giving it your best till the end without harming yourself. Jiu-Jitsu is a lifestyle.
Rubens Charles “Cobrinha” Maciel – Black belt and four-time world champion
The most important thing in life is to have character, good manners, discipline, loyalty and education… The Jiu-Jitsu philosophy may be a good guide for this. These qualities are more important than any other virtue – never forget it. To become an athlete is easy. You just need techniques and a training program. The hard part is developing the qualities I mentioned.
Royler Gracie – Black belt, four-time world champion and leader of Gracie Humaitá
Choose an academy with tradition, with a teacher of principle. Be calm and patient in learning. The learning process may not and should not be quick, as hurry is the enemy of perfection. Take great care to not get hurt. Don’t worry about competitions, they’ll come with time.
Marcelo Garcia – Black belt and three-time world champion
Choose what you most like doing and if that should be Jiu-Jitsu, give it your best, without worrying about the result. Now, once you’ve made your choice, stick with it till the end. Because life is very short.