Gracie Barra Philosophy—A testimonial of a disciple
Master Carlos Gracie Jr. believes that proper teaching does not make winning the ultimate goal. The greatest victories at Gracie Barra are always a consequence of the process and of embracing training as the best method through which one can test their personal limits.
Losing helps us to evolve into better athletes and competitors and should not be perceived as failure. Instead, Master Gracie believes these lessons should leave our self-respect intact as different facets of competition are wholly out of our control: the talent and experience of the other athletes, errors by referees, injuries and bad luck.
Because of this, he accepts physical errors but not mental ones. Our preparation, planning, attention to detail and the development of discipline and willpower are always seen as the top priority in the training process.
Inside the school, Master Carlos Gracie Jr. doesn’t limit his teaching to techniques, but also forming character. From the beginning he instills us with the understanding that the fundamentals for good Jiu-Jitsu are also fundamentals of good character. Without honesty, integrity, discipline and unselfish acts, one cannot become the great athlete he or she strives to be. As Master Carlos teaches us, if you want to truly know someone, pay attention to them as they fight. When one is engaged in struggle or combat, they cannot hide their true personality.
Gracie Barra’s success throughout the years means other teams typically see us as a major rival. While getting to the top is difficult, staying there or near there over time is an even bigger challenge. It takes a special group of people to handle that pressure. Still, our team is always ready to deal with the expectations because of the manner in which Master Gracie conducts training. His teaching philosophy is also notable. He focuses on building not only our techniques but, more importantly, our self-confidence, giving us a mental edge. He achieves this by using positive reinforcement as a tool to influence behavior rather than pressure. The result? Win or lose, he creates a group of athletes who feel a deep sense of loyalty and commitment to him and the Gracie Barra family.
Master Carlos Gracie Jr. isn’t the type of instructor that would pressure you at every tournament, screaming from the sidelines.
Instead, his lessons are felt each day, slowly growing on you, where you feel it constantly, in every aspect of your being. The true guidance he provides is in realizing that success in Jiu-Jitsu must be an extension of one’s life, and that building confidence and a commitment to excellence must be cultivated over time.
His method of building champions is not through last minute speeches providing superficial motivation. The athletes and instructors at our school learn that becoming a champion on and off the mat takes time, hard work and dedication built over the years.
Competition is always a very serious subject, but Master Carlos Gracie Jr. describes it as a test of our mindset and maturity. Conversations about matches never revolve around opponents but are seen as a fight against ourselves in our quest for self-mastery.
Going into a tournament, our thoughts are always the same: to trust in our abilities and our techniques. He inspires us to believe in ourselves and our skills and to impose our will upon our opponents, not reacting to them.
Because Master Carlos Gracie Jr. believes in us, he is always able to make us feel we are unstoppable. Even in defeat, he looks upon us not with scorn, but always shows how proud he is of our efforts “on the battlefield.” He makes you understand how much respect he has for the way you fight.
This is why when you see an athlete bearing the Gracie Barra shield on his uniform you see a competitor who is filled with an overwhelming sense of pride for the legacy and heritage we share.
Today, I am very grateful to Master Carlos, not only for being a GB instructor, but also for having been a great Master, father figure and best friend. It is not medals or trophies which inspire me – it is the lessons I have learned from him which give me strength and courage. I will never let him down.