Global Training Report Archives 1997-2016



Global Training Report


Interview with

Royce & Rorion Gracie

From Kakutogi Tsushin November 6, 2000, No. 254

Interviewed by Mr. Anzai & Mr. Kubo at Hilton Hotel, Tokyo on May 2

  Translated by Yoko Kondo


Q.  First of all, how are you feeling today, one day after the fight?

Royce:.  I am feeling very good. It was a good fight. I think Sakuraba fought with his style using intelligence.

Q.       Do you appreciate him as a warrior?

Rorion:  Yes.

Royce:  Absolutely

Q.       In the position that you were lying down while he was standing up, you were trying to stand up because he never got into the ground.  Didnft you expect him to get into the ground?

Royce: Not really. It didnft matter to me. All I was going to do was to fight with him in whatever position , standing or lying down.

Q.  Well, you mean his strategy, avoiding ground fight, didnft make you upset?

Royce:  No way.  I thought he was a smart guy.

Q.       How about being turned over or pulled down your gi?

Royce:  I just thought itfs one of his strategies.

Q.       He tried to even take off your underwear.

Royce: Anyhow, he seemed to do anything he could do for his victory.

Q.       The spectators were excited with it, but honestly speaking it was the last thing I wanted to see in Vale Tudo.

Royce: He was wearing tights, so I couldnft hold or take them off according to the rule. But he did.  It made me confused about the rule.

Q.       Donft you think Sakuraba should be ashamed of himself for trying to pull down your gi?

Royce:  No, he really didnft mean it.  He just pretended to do so.

Q.       In the middle of the first round, he tried to get you in arm lock in a standing battle next to the rope.

Royce:  No problem. I knew he was trying to make it, but he didnft catch the right point.

Q.       While he was trying to give you knee lock on your left leg in the end of the first round, you were getting out of it by pushing his butt with your right leg.

Royce:  He caught me for two seconds, but I got out of it by maneuvering.

Q.       It looked like you were covering your left leg a little bit since the 2nd round.

Royce:  No, not really.  Everything was OK.

Q.       It looked painful when you were kicked with low kick.

Royce:  There was no problem until I got hurt on the left instep in the last round. In the 6th round, when I was lying down on my back, he kicked twice exactly the same place of my left instep.

Q.       There was a scene in the 6th round, when you were standing alone close to your corner without fixing your gi which was unkempt, that you turned back and turned your eyes on Rorion below you.  What was on your mind at that time?

Royce:  I told them that my leg hurt.

Q.       Did you come up with the idea of stopping the fight then?

Royce:  No, I just told them about the pain. I wanted to make them understand the condition that my leg was so painful that I couldnft move as they demanded. I decided to stop the fight when I got back to the corner after the 6th round.

Q.       Who decided to throw in the towel after all?

Rorion:  (laughing) No mass communication skip this question. Royce said that his leg was painful, so my father and I discussed it and came to the decision to stop it. If I had asked him to fight in the next round, he would have done it, I am sure. But it is not  right to make him do it under that condition.

Q.  How did you think about it yourself?

Royce:  My leg was really painful, and I couldnft walk. So I just asked them what they thought.  I would have fought with him if they had asked me.

Q.       Some people simply pointed out the legend that the Gracie family never gives up.

Rorion:  The Gracie family wonft give up, but at the same time we are not stupid.

Q.       But throwing in the towel means ggive-uph, doesnft it?

Rorion:  It is not a right decision to continue the fight more than that. We temporarily did ggive-uph that day for further fight to come at a different time. You shouldnft mix courage with stubbornness.

Q.       Then do you accept yesterdayfs fight with Sakuraba as a defeat?

Rorion:  Of course. There is no excuse. Sakuraba was the winner.

Royce:  If he had not met me in the first match, he would have become the champion in the tournament.

Q.       Do you want to fight with him again?

Royce:  Yes.

Q.       Do you already have a strategy to defeat him in the next fight?

Royce:  Your life would be over if you knew it. (laughing)

Q.       Are you going to continue to insist on special rules for Roycefs matches?

Rorion:  There are some I want to ask the promoter for, but itfs a small thing.

Q.       Your claims, no time-limit and no decision by judge, are understandable. But many difficulties will be coming up under the tournament with eight participants.

Rorion:  Even so, I think we should stick to that way.  You have been watching UFC in the early time, havenft you?

Q.       But, nowadays fightersf quality is going up to the almost equal extent with each other.  The level of fighters is quite different from that in the early time.

Rorion:  It doesnft mean the fighters are better.  Itfs just because nobody knew about jiu-jitsu before. Even Ken Shamrock was defeated by Royce in one minute in the first UFC.

Q.       Right. So you're am saying the situation is completely different now?

Rorion:  Yes, itfs because everybody learned jujitsu. Maybe there are some who donft want to admit it, but everybody has started to take jujitsu technique into the fight by learning jujitsu.

Q.       Regarding yesterdayfs fight, however, jujitsu technique did not necessarily lead him to victory.

Rorion:  Sakurabafs kicks, which hurt Roycefs leg, are not the one, but knee-lock in the first round originally came from jujitsu. Moreover I suppose that he could read Roycefs movement because of a well-preparation for jujitsu. He could defend himself or deliver a counter blow by predicting what Royce was trying to do.

Q.       Well then, what if somebody says that jujitsu is not a best fighting art any more, and submission wrestling is better than that?

Rorion:  I canft agree with it.  Jujitsu is best.  Everybody improved technique by learning jujitsu.  Roycefs loss last night doesnft mean jujitsu is inferior to it.

Q.       How is your feeling about yesterdayfs loss?  Sad?

Royce:  I am sad, but itfs not a type of heart-rending sorrow.  I did a good fight.  He kicked the right place and I could not keep on fighting any more at that time.  He deserves to be a winner.

Q.       The 90-minute long fight was so great in terms of quality.  Both of you really did a good fight. But it is very sad to see that some of Japanese people focus on only the result, Japanese Sakuraba won and Gracie lost.

Royce:  That is human.  We, ourselves, are just human. (shrugging shoulders as though to express that it canft be helped).

Rorion:  I am glad to hear that.  We want to spread jujitsu to Japan. We donft say that we are born superior to others as a human or we are physically stronger.  But jujitsu is great.  The point is that even a weak man can defeat a strong man, if you learn.  I want them to show their appreciation for our work on spreading jujitsu, not their hatred for us.

Q.       There are some people who understand it.  But it was your fault that you started to claim a change in the rule in the process of the tournament.  You should have proposed a rule based on your own policy before the fight with Takada.

Rorion:  Yes, right.  I am sorry for that.  But I thought after the fight with Takada that the rule should be more clear and easier to understand.  The fight with a man who had no fighting spirit was decided by judges.  Itfs ridiculous! That should have been judged as a TKO loss of Takada. I claim a fair and right result.  That is a point I especially want to emphasize when I look at the reality that a small guy (Royce) has to defeat a big guy (Takada).

@(c) 2000, Yoko Kondo, all rights reserved.


@**These are where it started. The basic GJJ technique tapes are still worth seeing not least of all to learn from Rorion's clear, logical explanations. And the GIA tapes never get old. 

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