How to Master Your MIND, Body, and Breath to Become A WARRIOR | Jiu Jitsu Legend Rickson Gracie | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "How to Master Your MIND, Body, and Breath to Become A WARRIOR | Jiu Jitsu Legend Rickson Gracie".
Note: This transcription is split and grouped by topics and subtopics. You can navigate through the Table of Contents on the left. It's interactive. All paragraphs are timed to the original video. Click on the time (e.g., 01:53) to jump to the specific portion of the video.
After my biggest loss in my life, which is losing my son, we're 18 years old, I was confused for a while, about three or four years in a dark, thinking about suicide, or thinking about drugs, thinking about, you know, what's the purpose of life? And I realized with Hoxo's departure, we may not have tomorrow, tomorrow may never happen. - Hey everybody, welcome to another episode of Impact Theory. Today I am joined by a living legend.
Helio Gracie'S Journey And Philosophy In Martial Arts
Introduction to Helio Gracie (00:35)
This man's life is so extraordinary. The one, the only master Hixen Gracie. - Thank you Tom. - Thank you so much for being here, dude. I read your book, cover to cover. I was blown away. I watched the documentary, "Choke." I knew who you were before I read your book and before I saw the documentary, but this was performance on a level. The note I took was, this is a person who's actually made use of his full potential. It is really extraordinary what you've accomplished in Jujitsu. - Thank you. - I mean, the Gracie name at this point is synonymous with Jujitsu. - Yes. - In large part thanks to just your unbelievable accomplishments. We'll get into some of the specifics for sure as we go, but there was one moment in the documentary that defined for me why you're so different than everyone I've ever met. And that is you're in a championship fight, but the way that it was was it was rounds back to back, or fights back to back.
Why Helio didn't win some of his fights (01:28)
So you would beat one opponent, then you'd get paired with another opponent. And so you and this other guy each had, I think two full fights before you met. And he had been punched in the face so many times that he couldn't see. And in the locker room, somebody in your corner said, "You've got to punch him." Do you remember what you said? - Yes. Said, "I don't want it and I don't need to hurt him "to win the fight." Because I felt compelling based on he's a warrior, he's a tough guy, he's lighter. He previous fight against a whole, a Dutch guy who is very mean and dirty, and poke his finger, poke his eye with the finger. And he was hurt. And he won this fight after about 30 minutes or 40 minutes for a fight. And then he fought another big wrestler who's also. And then he ended up in the finals with me, was an eight-man tournament. And my training partners, my people say, "Oh, you have to kill this guy." Punch him, said, "I don't have to be violent on this guy "because I'm not intimidated by him. "The opportunity is based on striking. "So I will be gentle "because I believe I'm more technical than him "and I can win." So that's what I did. And this was a very interesting, because Japanese are very particular in observing details, moral details, personality, ego, you know, brutality. And after that match, the press recognized my kindness and the spirit of the true samurai, which was not exactly overpower, you know, you just do what you have to do in a loyal and nice battle. - And that was the thing that I found so interesting in your whole journey, and even when you ask your brothers and cousins, like what are the things that made you so special, you hear that idea of spirituality a lot.
How Helio conceptualized fighting (03:31)
Like he really understood his body. He understood like the transcendent nature of the fight. And seeing that the honor of that and that for you fighting seemed to be connected to something else, how do you conceptualize fighting? 'Cause there were times where, I mean, you've said many times, I am prepared to die, literally die in this fight. So how does the same guy that's prepared to die to protect his honor say, I don't have to be violent to win this fight? - Yes, because for me, I was never prepare myself to be a fighter. I was not seeking for elements to win an opponent. I was representing Jiu Jitsu, you know, I was not seeking for learning books or learning elements to just be prepared with all the corners to defeat my opponent. And I went to make money or so. I was there to fight for free to represent the art, to just acknowledge the fact what I've been in practice is a legacy from my family, which brings a technique which enhances the weaker one in a fight to give possibilities. So I was focused on representing the family, representing the style. With this being said, you pick just a fight, but if you get any achievement, if you wanna buy a car, if you wanna get a girlfriend, if you wanna buy a house, if you wanna get a new job, whatever in Denver you focus on is somehow a challenge, somehow a battle, somehow you have to use martial arts, you have to use the ability to, because martial arts give you tools. The tools are connection, base, deflection, strategy, emotional control, the capacity for you to, to over, to visualization and other elements. So, if you wanna buy a car, you have to use strategy, the same way you use to, to, to win a fight. You have to see how much you have to put in a car, everything else after that. So basically, in order for you to achieve the happiness, you have to be strategically correct, you have to be capable to control emotions, you have to be focused, you have to be perseverance, nothing coming easier for free. So, in happiness, it's always changing what make you happy today. And yes, from now, it's not gonna be the same thing, you're gonna be, have different goals, different expectations. So, in order for you to really feel happy, you have to be present, you have to have a goal. My goal always being representing my family, and that's make me happy to go in a challenge situation, to represent my family, to be able to, to bring everything I got in a positive mission in my life. - You said that being born in Gracie, put a lot of expectations on you. You fought in no holds barred tournaments, which is important for people to understand. You fought where people would show up at your training facility to challenge you and show up to hurt you. And how, with all that expectation, with so much physically riding on the line in so many of these fights, how did you control your mind? Like how do you get control of the fear?
How Did You Control Your Mind (07:14)
- Yes, I think what's crucial for me was the deep understanding. All my practice, all my talent, all my physicality, is not gonna be enough. All my thinking, all my emotional control, all my strategy, is not gonna be enough. All my surrender, all my capacity to accept death is not gonna be enough if they come in long, separate. I think we have to be in order for us to grow as a spirit of warriors, no matter if it's physical or just theoretical. You're growth to facilitate your life, to conquer things, to be happy. You have to have a good unified body in terms of body, mind, spirit. You have to understand your physicality, you have to understand your mind, you have to understand your spirituality. Because those three things combined make you feel powerful. How I could engage in a fight, a serious fight like that, with no time limits, no weight division, no rules basically, no mount piece, no cups, no. So you basically go for a unpredictable situation. How I could go just by betraying, with a guy 60, 70 pounds heavier than me. So just being prepared, just being talent is not enough. Just be able to focus and be strategically correct is not enough. I have to have this spirituality to say, today is a great day to be in a battle. If I have to depart today from another, from a different dimension, I would be grateful to get here that far. So I was accepting death in order to be comfortable in hell. Because how a fireman can leave home, disregarding the possibility can be the last day. Because he can be trying to save a kid in a building and die. How a police officer can leave home without knowing the possibilities he may have to get shot. If you don't realistically believe on those possibilities, you should not be a police officer, you should not be a fireman, you should not be a fighter like myself in that kind of perspective of unpredictability. Being an athlete, being a sport like a judo or MMA, which has rules, has time limits, has weight divisions, those are pretty much predictable. It's a sport, a very interesting, a very brutal, a very contact, a very aggressive sport, but it's still a sport. Martial arts transcends that. Because martial arts, I have to feed my students with unpredictable situations for them to start to realize they have a chance when everything is go dark, when everything goes like, if I have a knife against you. So I don't know what you do, so pay attention, calm. Just put your hand here. So I start to build up confidence, I start to build up situations where the guy will feel, I suppose be dead here, but I have a chance. So building that windows of opportunity, windows of chances, I've been creating myself as a confident and possibilities. So I'm not go there to lose or to compete. I go there to preach or to do what I know and be sure I go to win. So in my mind, was no defeat, was just victory. And that's it, because I believe what I do is perfect.
The Story of Rickson and his first professional fight (11:05)
- And what makes that so interesting is that I know at, I think you were 14-ish, you were in a fight, you had need the guy in the face, and you've said he just spit his teeth out and was still ready to fight. And you were like, that was so troubling to you that at round break, you were like, I don't wanna go back in and your dad pushed you. - Yeah, that was my first professional fight. I was 19 years old, the guy was 30 something. - Oh! - He has 120 fights and four draws. So 120 victories and four draws, you know, he was never being defeated. - Wow. - And my father pulled me to, I always crazy about representing and he kind of received a call from the manager of this other guy. And he set up a fight, I said, no, I'm sorry, I don't have nobody to fight. And then I said, dad, please, pull me in, pull me in, pull me in. And I said, I have a kid here, 19 years old. And the manager said, no, master, this guy is professional, he's a very tough guy. And as the guy tried to take my father out of the deal, my father got excited because he felt like, oh, I'm gonna have to put this kid to prove himself. But he's good, he can handle so he set up a fight with me, with this guy. His name is Zulu. And I was there to fight the guy. And he have a trademark move which comes like his starts and then he block himself to get, don't get punched, he get close to you, put one hand between your legs and lift you and throw you back on the floor. Like it's like a move he always does. As he approached that, I was quick, move myself back and hit him with my knee. With the best heat I could ever possibly think. And in my mind, I said, I win the fight for sure was a knockout. And after that he just shook his hand, speed a tooth and ready to promote. I said, wow. So that's taken me out of my comfortable zone in terms of nothing is what I expect. And the fight goes on for the, because it was 10 minutes rounds, unlimited number of rounds. So when the first round stops, and I was dead tired, full of his blood, and I was crawling to my corner and I said, dad, there's no way I cannot go back there. And my dad, not even listen to me, he says, how are you doing great? You know he's worse than you. Now you're gonna kick his ass in this and that. Said dad, I'm serious. I'm just dead here. I cannot go. And I start to argue with my dad and my brother, who has throw me a bucket of ice and water in my head. And then the round bangs like bells, and I went to the fight. And like my dad said, I beat the guy in three minutes because he was already tired. I could get a good position and choke him out. And I noticed my worst enemy at this point was my own mind playing tricks on me. Tell me, I don't have enough. Tell me I was tired. Tell me I'm gonna lost. So my mind was completely against my purpose. And I felt like I could not let this happen ever. So after that fight, I make a a statement in my spirit and my mind. I said, I'm not gonna quit anymore. I prefer to die. Then think I have to quit. So since then, I already creating an element of, I'm going with 100%. And if I felt trying, so be it, but it's no quitting, it's no expectations, it's no, oh, that's got harder than stuff. So based on that, I bring myself mentally to a next level, was an obstacle which should jump that obstacle. I have to see life differently after that.
Cementing self-confidence (15:09)
- Were there things that you could do to cement that so that you knew that you would actually rise to that in the moment? - Yeah, visualization. Because in the water arsenal, we have different tools. We have physical tools like talent, mobility, strength, coordination, techniques, leverage, angles, timing. But if you're talking about mind, we have different tools, visualization, emotional control. In the spiritual side, we have hope, we have fate, we have patience. Those elements, they give you a chance of letting the situation cook in a slow burn and see how it goes. Because if you're impatient, if you don't have the hope, if you don't believe in yourself, sometimes you get caught in the middle of your chores without, you know, what, what, when if you're fate, you're gonna find the light, you're gonna find the hope, you're gonna, you have the hope, it thinks gonna do well. So you become smoother, even in the bumpy rides. So I start to feel like my growth was depending of this growth, not only physical, not only mental, but also spiritual. - Yeah, I find this warrior spirit cultivating the mind, getting yourself to a place where you've rehearsed, like if I'm in this situation, this is what I'm prepared to do, I'm gonna go all the way. I'm utterly intoxicated by it, like I find this, when I think about what does it mean to be a man, that's part of it for me, like just that you, it doesn't have to be fighting, but it does need to be that warrior spirit that there's something that you're so committed to, that you'll go all the way. In the book, you talk about a moment where this really got put to the test, all of this stuff together, Hixen, it almost seems impossible to believe that it's one person, but the time that I think it was a Japanese fighter, shows up at your school.
When ego and suffering fade, there is only respect (16:56)
- I don't enjoy it. - And fish hooks you. - Yes. - Walk us through that story, 'cause in the book, you detail it so well, and I was like, oh my God. - Yes, the situation was after I become successful in Japan and the MMA scenario, professional wrestler in Japan is big, it's huge, but professional wrestlers, they have fighting backgrounds, they coming from Judo, wrestling, catch, catch, gun, striking, box, so they tough fighters, but they fix fights. And I was invited to fight under their arena.
HJJ vs Pro-Wrestler (17:50)
And I said in the magazine, I could not ever fight their champions and stuff, even though the rules are good, because they suppose be fake, fix fights and doesn't give me legitimacy. So when you're losing there has no, there's no role in my realistic view. And I said that, and I said, I'm welcome to bring those fighters to the real arena, which has rules which are for real. And I hear nothing. And then a couple of months later, the number one guy was challenged before, changed the scenario for the number two guy, which was mean, that guy, like the villain of the whole scenario. One of the big villains of the wrestling world. And he said, I wanna go to Los Angeles, I wanna kick your ass, I wanna beat you. And my friends, Japanese friends coming, oh, Angel said he coming to fight you and gonna say, and I could not say nothing about it, because I'm not sure if he's coming, I'm not sure when he's coming. So I keep living my life naturally as nothing happened, because I could not be prepared for, I don't know when or what. Eventually one day I was sleeping in my house, because I don't teach the morning classes, very early morning classes. So about 10 o'clock my instructor called me and said, "Hixson, we have a couple here "wants to talk to you, some Japanese guys." And immediately I imagined the fighter was there to fight me. Said, okay, I'll be right there. And I was with my like pajamas and stuff. And I get into a car, my son was going with me, so I give the camera for him, for him to start to become familiar with the camera. And I start to tape in my hands before I get on the freeway, you know, to get there ready to fight. And I get there, my academy was in the alley. So soon I get into the alley, I saw a van full of Japanese reporters with cameras and stuff, you see a crew, a filming crew in there. And then I get, I pull in, I get there was a couple, a very tall guy, Mr. Grace, how are you? I said, oh, how are you doing sir? Very well dressed. I'm president of the UFO, the Federation there. And I wonder because I wanna invite you to fight in Japan. I said, man, I told you this before, I don't wanna fight in Japan for you guys. Yeah, but you also mentioned you could fight for free. If the guy coming to you said, yes. And I come here because I expect you to be the fighter. Said, yeah, but the fighter is outside. And then I realized the fight was outside with the crew. I can I pick him up, can I call him? I said, yes. So as the guy who approached going out to pick up the fighter. It's like out of a movie. I said to one of my students, which is also a bouncer, and I said, man, stay on the door please. Let the guy, the president come in, let the fighter come in, but keep the press all out. Don't let the guys come in. And that's being said, the guy come in, the fighter come in. And then the guy was all kinda looking ugly, like look everybody like this. And I said, Limon, Limon is my instructor. Said, Limon, great a waiver for Mr. signed the waiver because if somebody gets hurt, this is just a waiver to be signed. Here you ask. And then Limon give it to him. The waiver, the guy look at the waiver like this. And then the president called me and said, Mr. Gracie, that means if you don't sign the waiver, you're not gonna fight. Immediately I felt like a double trick that because if I say, you know, he has to sign, he could leave and tell, I'm scared, I'm afraid or I was queering, whatever. Said, no, no, no, forget the waiver, throw the waiver out. He come into fight, come over, let's fight, man. And then the fight begins. And I felt his approach was, he wanna hit me hard on the face, you know, his base, the way his position himself, comes more towards the striking mode than actually grappling. And based on that, I kinda play myself a little dummy for him to approach. When he go for the punch, I deflect it, grab him under the waist, leave throw him on the floor, mounted, and I start to beat him up. But in my mind, different than a regular competition was not about defeating the guy and making tap because if I make a clean victory and make him tap, he can stand up and say, nothing happened. So I have to show physically the damage. So my intention was not just put him to sleep or squeeze his arm, it was just punch him in the face. And after some punches and break his nose and make him very bloody, he turns back and I choke him out and put him to sleep. And as he's sleeping face down on the ground, I stood up and tell the press could come in. So the press to start to come in and take pictures of everything. And the president of his friend tried to cover his face to don't show his old blood and stuff. And then the guy said to him, "Hey, now get out, let's clean his face." So and then two days after, this guy coming to my place with a samurai helmet and offered to me as a gift sharing, was a lack of respect for him. And he's apologizing and he was, you know, feel like I was honorable and gracious on defeating. So he was giving me a gift and left.
Ready to fight at any time (23:53)
- Did you live ready to fight at all times at that period? - Yes, yes. There was no time for preparing, was just being shaped all the time, be ready to fight anytime because that's the only thing I could do. - Yeah, that's what I think makes your family and your style of fighting certainly in the era where you were the number one.
Jiujitsu Like Einstein's Physics (24:07)
So interesting is that it's born out of being ready for a street fight. It's born out of really being able to defend yourself in a life or death situation, not just in the sport. How were you raised? Your dad seems to be a very unique character. What values did he instill in you guys? - My father was a very special guy because he was very weak when he born. He learned jiu jitsu long before his pratics jiu jitsu because he was forbidding by doctors to pratics his sport. He could not run a bike or run his place soccer because he has very cozy pass out. He was very tense and very weak physically. And he was learned from my uncle, his older brother, but he could not pratics. So when my uncle opened his school on the 1925 in Rio de Janeiro, my father was sitting on the corner for about three years, just watching my uncle teach different moves. So he memorized everything. He knows everything just by photograph. And he'd not exactly fighting because he was forbidding. So in one day, 16 years old, I student come by and my uncle was not arrived yet. So he said for the students, "Mr, if you want to pratics a little b, I can play it done before you. I can just be aspiring for a little while until my brother arrives." He said, "No, I love to do that kid, let's go." So my dad engaged with the guys, talking pratics and stuff, half hour later my uncle arrives and the student said to my uncle, he said, "Khalos, if you don't mind, I love to keep training with your younger brother because he's so talented, he's so good, I love him." And that's my dad engaged himself in the pratics, but different than normal persons. The choke, for example, was done choking somebody using the arms. He could not do one pull up, he could not do one push up. So he's weak. So instead using power from the arms, he developed power from the chest, which comes much more leverage and minimizing the real muscle effort and gives more strength on the leverage of the action. So he started to adapt to himself for the jiu-jitsu he learned and we compare Elle Grey's jiu-jitsu as Einstein's to physics. He was inventor, he creates things to modify things to adapt for himself. And that's why jiu-jitsu gets, once arrives in Brazil, this kind of special element of more techniques or more softness or more capability to adjust, especially fighting from the bottom, which my father could not ever fight from the top. So he developed ways from the guard position, which he has an opponent between the legs, to be able to not only be comfortable against punches. And so also submit with triangle chokes, arm bars and strikes. So he becomes very clever on that aspect of fighting. So with this being said, my dad grow as a general, as a new modern view for jiu-jitsu and make not only his kids, but his nephews, parts of a clan. My uncle Carlos always being a very dedicated to create a clan. And my father Elle was the guy who was the general for the army. He was more physical, he was more giving talents. And my uncle has more the spiritual guidance, giving more nutrition, values for the family, giving more sense of strategy for the accomplishment. So he was the guy behind with his mind open for everything. And my father was the guy who's really breaking the fight, breaking the techniques to the cousins and the family. So when I was born, my father was already on his 50s. So I could not have the experience of him fighting. I could not remember those elements. I remember him more older, giving my brothers thanks for improving my jiu-jitsu or guidance to students or talking about the federation, talking about the politics behind. So I get from him, the impression was, he's the guy who leads all of us to a better future, to a better representation, to grow the family.
Your Word is Important (28:55)
Did he push you guys to be tough for anything? Like what were his... - He's very strong on morals. You know, he's very strong on, I don't want you guys fight each other. So whoever is wrong, too many men is in the house. So whatever is wrong is better apologize because if you not apologize when you're wrong and you guys fight for that, when I discover who is making the mistake, this guy will pay triple. So it's bad you guys arrange it. So I was feeling confident to argue, my brother got the apple I was about to get. So give me the apple I was, I thought, no, so I want to talk with my dad because you're wrong. The guy said, okay, keep taking this. Because he keeps like a moral values. He keeps honesty. He keeps, you know, if you talk the truth, no matter what, you're not going to get punished. If you lie, you get three times more punishment than you suppose you have. So you did, you who breaks this? I said, I break that. So don't do this again. That's pretty much it. Was not big punishments because I tell the truth. If I lie, it was be worse, you know, will be different punishment. So we very early understand how important is to be honest, the valuable, the integrity, the capacity for you because a lot of what I learned from fighting wasn't the dinner table. Seeing my dad talking about resilience, about, you know, elements he passed on his fight. So I was getting that kind of information and applying on my own life. Do you think that being small and weak influence the way that he thought about things like resilience? A hundred percent. His possibilities, he has to develop possibilities outside of the physical fight is physical.
Jacares amazing evolution inside and outside Jiu-Jitsu. (30:53)
Fight is brutal, fight is violent. How a guy who's not physical can be fired. He has to use strategy techniques, leverage, angles, you know, and that's bring a completely different dimension. So interesting that he took to that so well that he could just watch it and then be able to do it instantly and then be able to innovate. It's really pretty impressive. Now, is he unique like that or have there been other people that have added as well? He was just genuine. He's just a special character who he not only devote himself fully to jujitsu, passionately, he's very passionate about but he has the coordination and the talents. Sometimes he spent eight months without going to the sidewalk. He's spending on the gym, eating, sleeping on the gym, waking up, training, sleep. Without going to the beach, without going to the bar or the nothing. He's just spent eating on the school. So, it's unbelievable how much passion and dedication. - Yeah, it's interesting. So there's a quote I forget who said at Aristotle or somebody that the only impossible job is raising kids. And one thing I know you've talked a lot about is when you're coaching or being a parent that you have to first assess what that person is like, what they need and then give that to them. Where did that insight come from?
Insights Into Mindset And Personal Philosophy
Being a parent and teaching martial arts. (32:17)
- Yes. One time I was start to really teach you helping my brother to teach as a dummy for him. So he put me, lay down here, John Mount. So I was playing the dummy for the student practice day, whatever they had. So I was there and he gave me a little tip in the end of the class for me to buy a screen, whatever. So I start to making little money from my brother. And I got my dad and said, "Dad, what I should do "to be the best teacher?" He said, "If you wanna be a good teacher, "you learn the choke, you learn the arm lock "with precision, with details, "and then pass through the student "and ask him to get tight here or there. "So give him the details of the technique. "If you wanna be an excellent teacher, "you have to capture what the students need to learn." So with that advice, he gave me the sense so I cannot be just a juzitsu teacher, I had to be a psychologist too. Because I have to approach a guy who stands insecure in a different way than approach a guy who's just lazy and completely off. So the whole tone of the class, the whole inspiration, the whole taught process has to be different from one to another. I cannot teach a girl as I teach a boy. I cannot, their inspirations are different. So based on that sense, I start to realize juzitsu has a lot to do with the mindset, with the approach, because we all need to learn something from martial arts. But sometimes you're not aggressive, you're not mean, you're not a competitor. That doesn't mean you don't need to learn martial arts. Martial arts is not exactly just to win.
The common denominator of a successful mindset. (34:09)
- So mindset is something you and I were talking about before we started rolling, is being a common denominator among people that are successful. What elements other than emotional control, which we've already talked about resilience, we've talked about, but what elements of, do people need to be successful of mindset? - My developments, my mental, spiritual and physical developments, they could reach a plateau if I was not involved with breathing the way I am. It's very interesting, but the only organs are capable to give and receive informations are the brain and the heart. Other than that, the body just works, but doesn't have influence. If you get a bad email, you immediately gonna get upset, you're gonna get claustrophobic, you can get emotional, you can get that. You know, depressed because your brain tell you you're not happy. Sometimes you feel something, but doesn't hit your brain, hit your heart. And immediately you feel emotional, you feel sad, you feel whatever because you felt in your heart. The lungs are the only organs who are capable to have a connection, a direct connection with your brain and with your heart. When I start to train in breathing, I start to felt a completely different dimension of death and my sensibility and my capacity to feel myself deeply because normally in average, people born, people get slapped on the butt, start to cry. And then they feel like they know how to breathe, they can survive. And then they learn soccer, they learn fighting, they learn baseball, they learn sports, surf, and they live based on the same breath, doing things. But the real learning of a breathing system is to learn how to maximize our ventilation, hyperventilation to cope with the activities you're playing to do. The perfect breathing system, give you hyperventilation, give you capacity for you to relax and sleep in mode, give you capacity to be sprinting for longer, not only for one breath take. So wherever you need from your body, even from your spiritual guidance, you have to drive by a perfect breathing system. The breathing allowed you to find yourself deep into your system. What's the thing in your career that you're most proud of? - Oh man, it's hard to say because it was just a continuous mode of successful elements. I'm undefeated, I have over 450 fights. - Jesus.
What is Jacares most proud of? (37:30)
- I never win anyone by points, I always submit or knock out. So my career is very successful even for my retirement. Maybe the most important thing I'm proud of was after my biggest loss in my life, which is losing my son with 18 years old. I was confused for a while, about three or four years in a dark, not feeling appetite for training, for surfing. Nothing really appeals to me, I was putting a lot of time on my garden, on my hillside, just meditating and thinking, kind of little depressed. And what I allowed myself to get deep in the dark, I allowed myself to hug a stone and go to the lake and stay deep on the thinking about suicide or thinking about drugs, thinking about, what's the purpose of life? Being a very much weak in the purpose, crying and not feeling like, no, that's okay, I'm strong. Because if you try to hide emotions from yourself and try to show everybody okay, you're just making a patch which is not working. So I have to feel like weak and completely vulnerable. And then I get there. And another for me to get out of this hole, one day I was meditating in a little platform, I did on top of the trees for my son. And I was there and I thought about my dad and my dad always saying, in everything bad happens to you, it's always a good side of it.
Nothing Can be Only Bad or Only Good (39:11)
And everything good happens to you, it's always a bad side of it. So nothing can be only bad or only good. And I start thinking about what could be good based on my son's departure. And I realized time for me was always something I was in charge about it. I could fight at will, I could teach at will, I could, I raised my kids, I could, my dad, I wanna talk to okay, not today, I gonna serve. Tomorrow we talk. I was able to be in charge of my time and my will freely. And I realized with Hoxo's departure, we may not have tomorrow, tomorrow may never happen. And I start to understand how important for me was appreciation of today. Our conversation today is the most important thing for me now. Nothing can be better than this. For my attention, for my focus, for my passion, for the audience, for you. I wanna be present here, I wanna be fully. So when this is over, I will think about what's next. So being present, make a big difference.
My Appreciation for Time Becomes Different (40:30)
And thinking about my son, thinking about that, I give it a glimpse of how I change. If I go in for the fight in Japan now, and I'm in the freeway, what I'm sending out, or something in my show or something, and my daughter called me, "Dad, I need to talk to you." I said, "What's happened, sweetheart?" "Yeah, because you start to cry, I will stop my car in the freeway, talk to her, try to resolve the problem, get into the depth of the situation, become whatever I have to say, how long it takes, I will be there for her. And after I turn it off, I will see if I still able to get the flight, if my trip has to be canceled, if whatever is gonna happen after, I will deal with. But I'm not gonna say, "Sweetheart, I go to Japan, I call it from there, bye. I never will do this anymore." So, my appreciation for time becomes different, and I'm grateful for Hoxone departure, because now he gives me a completely different perspective of how I should live my life, and how I appreciate my time, and how much I can attack the notch for not getting loose gaps and be just not concerned about things that matter. Today, my day is based on what I can do best to make my best day today. I have to walk the dog, I have to do things, which I feel complete if I do what I have to do, if I leave my dog without her. I will feel like, "Wow, man, I let him down." So, I wanna do my best day, no matter if he's walking the dog, no matter if he's helping somebody to go to coast, no matter if he's helping somebody to make my stuff, no matter if I have to fix my roof, whatever I have to do, I'm focused and grateful, and happy about it in my way. So, the appreciation for those elements coming from my understanding, and maybe it was maybe the biggest change, the biggest progressive, positive move I did in my life, was exactly that kind of positive change. And then, after I understood that, I think about Hoxel, I'm happy. I think about my possibilities.
You Have a Really Interesting Philosophy (42:54)
I'm happy and aspire with the moves I do to Jujitsu, to my federation, to my... So, my life changed because what was my biggest lost becomes my biggest sign of how I should do to have a happy life. It was really heartbreaking reading in the book about that. I didn't realize that you had lost your son. When you think about that, like the spirit of, you know, a kid growing up in your family and how hard they have to fight, how do you like, rein them in? You have a really interesting philosophy about how much you can guide, and then at some point you have to let them be them. So, what do you do that when you know that tomorrow isn't guaranteed? That seems so difficult.
Thriving Techniques And Principles In Martial Arts
Not All of Us Are Champions (43:46)
Yes, my father has ten kids. So, not all our champions, not all our fighters, we all involve Jujitsu, but in the sense of education, they bring Jujitsu to my attention, they bring the sports Jujitsu to my attention, they bring the philosophy of martial arts to my attention. And I could be a doctor. I could be a police officer. I could be other things. But it was an underneath pressure, which you grace, you're supposed to be a fighter. So, I know what my direction was, but I have to recruit my courage, my desire, my sacrifice, which a lot of members of the family doesn't feel like, "Oh, man, too much training. Today I hurt myself. I'm not going to go back there next day." So, it's a different element to combine the experience I have, what's the information I get with the dedication and the compromise I put myself in. So, it's a dual thing. Nobody could make me what I am if I was not focused and passionate about it.
My Dad Could Help Put His Equal Passion and Commitment (44:58)
So, my dad could make his put his part on it, but also I put my part on it, my commitment. One example is I was 12 years old. I was very orange belt, practiccy, and a group class with adults. They had fun with me. They not hurt me or anything. So, I was there playing, and then one time I fly to a strong man, not tough guy, but just tough, just strong. And he got me in a headlock. And headlocks, technically, are not exactly to make you tap. It's a position that is very uncomfortable, but you can resist. I was tired. I was a kid. The guy was very strong, and I tap. And I got so upset because it was claustrophobic. It was not about the pain or the submission. It was about the agony. And I get panicky and I tap. And I was upset. I cry a little bit. The guy said, "No, what's your okay, kid?" "No, I'm okay. Thank you."
My Claustrophobia Technique: Embrace the Panic (45:58)
And I went home with Dad in my mind. And I got home in Rio de Janeiro like summertime, 120 degrees, hum, it was unbelievable. I laid down myself in a carpet almost like that. I laid down myself on the corner of the carpet like this. And I told my brother, "Halls, you roll me up like a burrito." And just take me off here in 10 minutes. Leave me 10 minutes here for me to get claustrophobic in this feeling. So I was rolling the carpet all dark, smelling bad, get claustrophobic at first, and then eventually I started thinking about the beach, the seagulls, the wind, the breeze on my face, start to get calm. And I start to take the panicking out of my system. And then he unfolded me from there. In the same year, I did three more times, the same experience. And two I felt like was just another day in the park. Just do this, like, "Oh, oh, oh, oh." And I looked. So that shows my commitment with my own fears, with my own. I was upset because I got panic, and I was trying to fix my panic on the carpet in home. I was not a doctor, I was not a pew, I was not a conversation. I was just brutally staying in the hole until you get killed. So that's kind of commitment I have at a very early age to be the best I can be. And for me, breathing was always not a problem, but it was something which, when you get panic, you panic, man. All the strategy, all the thinking, all the goes to the drain. So I was focused on not getting panic, and then I learned how to breathe. And this was the missing link in my life.
Principle 1: The Moving Breath (47:54)
The breath. The breath. I saw you also do, like, cold water exposure. It seemed like you did a lot of things to make yourself extraordinarily uncomfortable. Yes. And functional strength, I never learned functional strength. I invent functional strength in my mind, playing with elastics, which I never heard about. I bought elastics from diving, the ones you put on the... You just had an intuitive sense that it would work? Yeah, it had to be a consistent resistance. I had to move, but with resistance. So I put in elastics, I put in light weights and start to do like crazy. And also, the cold water.
HEAR ABOUT COLD WATER & ICE BATHS (48:33)
Cold water is a very important treatment for me because if you're thinking about something who's going to scare you the most, it's getting burned alive. Second, it's getting cold water because, give you chills from immediately, like, "I don't like this." It's like putting a cat in the water. I hate that every touch, every comfortable is superb. You're just not going to get cured, you're going to get hurt. But mentally, you could not be in a more stressed situation than being in the ice. So I felt that would be a good learning ground for me.
HOW TO GET INTRODUCED TO ICE BATHS (49:14)
So I was using the ice bets. How did you get introduced to that? Like, you're doing stuff back in the... Are we talking the 80s? Yes. You're doing the stuff back in the 80s. I didn't hear about this stuff until 2015. I mean, this is crazy. Because I was seeking for things that were giving me chills and emotions. I love to play with nature because nature is unbreakable, nature is stronger. So surf for me, it's always a double role. First, the sport of surfing, the delightful element of playing the ocean. The second is the energy of the ocean, is how the ocean moves. And you cannot fight the ocean. You have to go into the channel. If you get caught, if you lost your board, you cannot just swim in back through the channel. You have to get pounded in your head and go from the waves. So you have to have a... It's a... It's a ways to do it, to deal. One time I lost my board and I very heavy surf. And the very late afternoon, I was by myself in the ocean and I lost... I was thinking about the last set I would get. So I got one more wave, so I did... So I went as about to get the set. I got one pound in the head and I broke my leash. And I was already out there getting dark by myself with the channel pushing me towards the ocean. And I was by myself, so I had to become enough to just go through the ocean and then eventually go sideways along the beach for about an hour and ten minutes and then go back to the ocean, back to the sand. And I arrived on the sand about nine o'clock at night. Thanks God for being alive and lost my board. But that's given me a sense of calmness and the pressure. And so I was not intent to do that. But as I put myself in that situation, I could use this as a positive experience. So, Hixen, you're now moving into a different phase of your life. Do you feel as alive now as you did when you were a champion or do you think about it differently? No, I don't feel better.
Learning And Embracing Jiu-Jitsu
Respecting the art of the competition aspect of BJJ (51:37)
But thankful, I'm not feel worst. Because what I could do with very graciously and very motivated and inspired for me was changing the focus. If you measure yourself in a pyramid, I always focus on the top of the pyramid, efficiency and competition and proving to Hixen's the best. But for the last 25 years or so, Hixen's been growing based on the... and becomes more competition aspect, tournaments and submission tournaments, grappling tournaments. And they become... I feel like they losing the martial arts spirit, becomes a game without that spirit. And now for me, my goal is not only not to force or to show details for better fighters, but to give a more accessible base for people who are not fighters, and they need something to really grow. Because if you put yourself in perspective of how much you can grow from Juzhi's to pratix, I tell you, you can double your perception of yourself in terms of... of understanding your gauges of tiredness, of sharpness in your mind, possibility of strategy, calmness, emotional control, everything you have, you don't put a test because you're not playing Juzhi's. When you start to play, you start to understand the physicality, the techniques, the movements, and that's give you a perception which I call invisible power.
The learning process of jiu-jitsu (53:07)
You start to develop a better sense of balance. You start to develop a better sense of deflection and not get punched, or how to respond to. So based on that learning process, you start to become more confident. You start to humanize yourself. Another big problem I see today is the fact technology, robotics, internet, the humanize you. We become half humans and half this universe we live here. So you can be anywhere, you can talk with anyone, you can see any three... So everything is there, but it's not the ability to shake hands, to look somebody in the eye, to just for a job, to talk with a girl, to be present human. We are humans, we have to eat, we have to connect relationships. So the humanizing does not make you strong in relationships, does not make you strong in your presence. Jujitsu, just the hug, just the breathing together, just give you that sense of presence, the sense of connection, which is very important and you not feel how much is important for you. But because you not... sometimes you feel like you spend your time without feeling a hug, feeling the sweat, feeling something which is very... So Jujitsu can also help you in that matter of supporting your life, not for as a fight. Because today, this is winning fighting. This is winning without a fight. I can give you tools for you to become more peaceful, more connected with yourself, more sensitive to others, better in your relationships, better in your sense of believing in yourself for a endeavor. And you don't have to spar with nobody. The concepts I change and my teaching progress now is before, in the first month, you're going to learn some techniques and the end of the first month, you are inspiring. And that sparring session can be very positive for some warriors, but can be jeopardizing. A lot of guys who are not designed to fight. And what way does it jeopardize emotionally? Yeah, because if you come into learn techniques and you amaze by "Oh, I like the tech" and you come in and I pull you to spar with a 17 year old brutal, aggressive, with nothing in the head.
Judging Your Performance (55:55)
And he come into grabbing... I'll pay a... so hurts and discomfortable and agony. And you're going to say, "Fo, I don't want to die in my life. The guy is stupid. So if you get too soon involved with the actual competition aspect, jeopardizing your learning process and martial arts, which I believe the first year, right now I'm sure the first year of pratics has to be learning, practicing with a training partner, not with an opponent. The opponent you're just going to face, not in the first month, not in the second month, you're just going to face when you say, "Yeah, I feel like I want to learn a little more how to get a belt. And so now you're going to start to go here. John, come here." So you try to see who falls on top and then start the competition. But you have first to get a deep understanding of the purpose and the ideas. And you may never like to compete. And you're going to say, "You know what, Higgs? I want to keep the fundamentals program." In shape, I feel the knowledge, I feel the possibilities. I add to myself, but I don't want to compete. I just don't like it.
Connect with Helio Gracie (57:21)
Because the average attendance for a jujitsu school those days is for every 10 students who come into the class, new students, eight, will live in less than six months. So that drop off means it's too hard too soon.
The Importance Of Breathing
Why Breathing is Important (57:34)
If I keep under my attention, I can keep my students passionate about for the first two years, easy. And he's getting shape, he gets to learn how to do the things, but he don't have to aspire. Higgs, your wisdom is incredible. What you've learned from fighting and just life in general is really breathtaking. The book was amazing. Your life story is truly unbelievable. It is inspiring in ways that I can't articulate. Where can people connect with you? Where can they buy the book? My new site now is Higgs on Dokk Academy. The book is all over. It's like a big release in the four corners of the world, Japan, Europe, US, Brazil. So it's not going to be hard to find. What's the title for people? Breathe. Because breathe, I think, is the initial process of enlightenment and performance and understanding and spirituality. If you cannot control your heart, if you cannot control your brain, you in bad shape. So breathing is a big inspiration for me and what's the turning point of my evolutionary process. Yeah, the book is really amazing. Thank you, my brother. Thank you so much for coming on. My pleasure. Trust me, you're going to want to read the book. If you don't already know who he is, you are going to be absolutely blown away. The book is part memoir. It's all mindset. It's exactly what he did to become arguably the greatest fighter of all time. When you get into like real fighting circles, this is the name that comes up over and over and over again. The documentary "Choke," one watch of that and you will understand exactly why. It is a career that's truly unparalleled and I think you guys will get a lot out of reading the book and spending time with him online. It's really, really extraordinary. And speaking of things that are extraordinary, if you haven't already, be sure to subscribe. And until next time, my friends, be legendary. Take care. You know, a lot of us are going through a hard time in life. Some people have been bullied. Some people are distressed. Some people are insecure. Some people are fat and overweight. And the world puts a lot of this shit in your mind. It's not just you. Yeah, you help it.