After a two-day seminar, Ultimate Fighting Championship Hall of Famer Royce Gracie says it’s awesome to see the students gain confidence in their training.
“Some of them I met in the past years and they were so shy and quiet, and now they can talk and they’re confident. That’s the main thing, teaching them confidence,” Gracie told the Now-Leader during a two-day seminar for his Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
“I teach self defense, so it’s for everybody, not just for the law enforcement… It’s about teaching them to defend themselves, giving themselves confidence that they can defend against any kind of aggression.”
Gracie was at the Newton Recreation Centre Nov. 23 and 24 for a two-day jiu-jitsu seminar as part of his Gracie Dojo Protection, which included stand-up and ground defense, as well as knife defense.
Shane Brown, the head instructor at Gracie Dojo, said Gracie has been coming to Surrey for more than a decade, first as law enforcement training.
During the Nov. 23 and 24 seminar, Brown said there were about 10 to 15 police officers in attendance.
“It’s very applicable to law enforcement, but jiu-jitsu is really an art form for the everyday person… You can see the people out on the mat; all shapes and sizes, all ages from young to old. You don’t actually need athletic ability,” said Brown, who also teaches law enforcement.
Over the two days, Brown said, Gracie was teaching “applicable self-defense.”
“Now, I call it personal protection because, to me… when I say, ‘What is self-defense?’ People will generally say, ‘Well, it’s when you defend if someone’s attacking you,’” Brown said. “But personal protection is so much more; it’s being aware of your surroundings, it’s avoiding situations, it’s learning how to be assertive and confident with your own abilities. So all that plays into personal protection, whereas self-defense is a part of personal protection, like the actual move to protect myself.
“He’s working on personal protection. He’ll be talking about distance and all those things to be aware of and to avoid. Prior to walking in, he basically said, ‘Listen, what we’re doing right now is if someone attacked you with a knife, you might not even see it. You’re within this distance, so you’re hands should be up right away whenever you’re in this kind of personal distance and they’ve attacked you. You will be able to if you’re ready to protect that move.’”
Asked what it’s like for the students learn self-defense techniques from Gracie, Brown said it’s “remarkable.”
“Keep in mind, most of the people in there have had some experience to it before because they’re actually training at my club or the club in Victoria or the club in Vancouver or the club in Port Alberni, so they’re already doing forms of personal protection and jiu-jitsu,” he said.
“But learning from Royce is something… It’s like night and day.”
Gracie Dojo, which is run out of the Newton Rec Centre, runs five classes each week, Brown said.
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:45 to 8:45 p.m. is a youth/adult class, followed by an “open role” class from 8:45 to 9:15 p.m. There is another class on Sundays from 4:15 to 5:15 for youth.
For more information about Gracie Dojo in Newton, contact Brown at 604-788-4933 or visit graciedojo.ca.
Gracie said he spends about seven months of the year travelling around the world, “teaching the art that my father creates, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.”
He has been teaching for about 38 years, but practicing for 52 years.
“Since I was born, pretty much. Born on the mat.”
Gracie, born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, began his jiu-jitsu training at a young age with his father Helio. At the age of eight, Gracie began competing in tournaments, according to Gracie’s website.
His career as a fighter began in 1993 after defeating three opponents in the first Ultimate Fighting Championship in Denver, Colorado. Gracie went on to win three UFC titles and “today is the only man in the history of no holds barred matches to successfully defeat four opponents in one night.”
In 2003, Gracie was the first fighter to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame, along with Ken Shamrock.