Jiu-Jitsu and medical lessons from Dr Rickson

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Emblazoned on his birth certificate, his destiny. Rickson Moraes, from an early age, knew that his mission in Jiu-Jitsu would come in the ring, just not exactly like his famous namesake.

An orthopedic doctor specializing in the shoulder, and the son of Jiu-Jitsu enthusiast José Moraes, Rickson is now the doctor who attends to the athletes fighting in the Jungle Fight MMA promotion. Last December 15, the doctor was awarded the diploma he was missing on his wall: that of Jiu-Jitsu black belt.

He has practiced the art since he was a child with the Gracie family, having been taught by Relson, Royler and Rolker. Then he continued his gentle-art studies with Marcelo Clemente and his cousins Diego and Daniel Moraes.

At the request of GRACIEMAG.com contributor Diego Marcello, Dr Rickson Moraes outlines five lessons he learned in Jiu-Jitsu that helped him to be a successful doctor. Check out what he had to teach, and comment with your thoughts afterwards.

rickson moraes, médico do Jungle Fight, recebe a faixa-preta de Jiu Jitsu

Rickson Moraes, fourth from the left, with his teachers and brothers. Photo: GRACIEMAG.com.


“The trusting relationship between training partners had a great influence on my professional practice. I see the people who work with me as being a true team, which is of the utmost importance when performing complex surgical procedures, where working as a team is of the essence.”


“My background up until black belt was very much influenced by the masters with whom I’ve had the honor of being around since I was four years of age. My first master was Relson Gracie, followed by Rodrigo Miranda, Manoel Tavares, Royler Gracie, Rolker Gracie, Daniel Moraes, Diego Moraes, Marcelo Clemente and my father, José Moraes. I surely owe a good part of my moral upbringing to them. In much the same way, the grandmasters of medicine with whom I’ve spent time were a major influence on me. Through Jiu-Jitsu I learned what a privilege it is to be able to listen to them, partake in their experience.”


“In Jiu-Jitsu and in MMA, we have to keep focused on our opponents the whole time, study their strengths and weaknesses and make quick decisions to get out of difficult situations. These situations can carry through to a surgeon’s everyday life, when we have to confront dynamically changing circumstances that require the ability to reason and think quickly.”


“Jiu-Jitsu underwent a major evolution in recent years, due in a large part to the contribution of a number of different schools and masters originating from and produced by the Gracie family. Each new teacher to come through the ranks leaves their mark through their students, with new positions, distinct styles, and new and creative ways of reaching a submission or victory. Medicine, like Jiu-Jitsu, is extremely dynamic and quickly evolving. It is just as important to listen to the teachings of one’s elders as it is to be humble and aware that we don’t know it all. We need to keep avidly pursuing knowledge and innovation. The new generations also have a lot to teach the older ones.”


“Jiu-Jitsu, more than a sport, is a philosophy of life. Practicing Jiu-Jitsu provides us a great deal of knowledge about ourselves, since we’re constantly dealing with our strengths and weaknesses. Self-knowledge is also important in the practice of medicine, since emotional equilibrium is key when making decisions and prescribing the most appropriate treatment for the patients who come to us for help.”

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