Live your life to the fullest: 5 lessons you can learn from Rolls Gracie

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Rolls Gracie

Rolls Gracie. Photo by Ricardo Azoury

Rolls Gracie would be 65 years old if he was still with us in 2016. Victim of a paragliding accident in 1982, the 15th son of Grandmaster Carlos Gracie had only 31 years to leave his mark within the gentle art community. Here are 5 lessons Rolls left us through his accomplishments in life on and off the mats.

  1. Don’t be afraid to innovate

Rolls was one of the first ones to tape matches and study it later. He tested himself in other styles like wrestling, sambo and judo. He also included extreme sports in his lifestyle to keep active and unwind the stress of the mats.

  1. Don’t let yourself be limited by labels

Rolls was a skinny guy, never weighing more than 155lbs. Even so, when competing, his style was to be on the offensive, shooting for takedowns and playing on top. He was known for pushing the pace and searching for constant evolution in his technique and style of fighting.

Rolls Gracie Photo: Family archives

Rolls Gracie Photo: Family archives

  1. Leadership is earned, not demanded

Rolls had all the characteristics of a true leader. Charismatic, fearless, intelligent and loyal, the Gracie always knew what to say to his students and friends in times of doubt and challenges. His teachings are still passed on to new generations by those who had the luck to learn from him.

  1. Always make the best of your time

Rolls had only 31 years to live, but he did more in life than the vast of majority of people do in 80 years. He learned, taught and competed in Jiu-Jitsu, surfed, rode horses, flew paraglides, got married, had two kids, travelled the world, etc. He used his time on earth to the fullest and so should you.

  1. Challenge yourself

Rolls loved to go after new challenges, be it a sambo competition, a karate tournament or a wrestling championship. He was down for anything, like he himself liked to say. For those who knew him, that was one of the main reasons he was so ahead of his time. “Persistence made a phenomenon of him,” once said Carlson Gracie.


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