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Global Training Report


 Interview with

Royce Gracie

Gong Kakutougi (No. 125)

September 22, 2002 

Interviewed by Shu Inagaki

Translated by Roberto Pedreira

[Note: The magazine was distributed prior to its official issue date, as magazines typically are].


Q:  What made you decide to fight with Yoshida this time?

Royce: Because this year is the 50th anniversary of my father Helio's fight with Masahiko Kimura, I  had been thinking to commemorate it with a jiu-jitsu match. My father is turns 90 years old this year, you know? And I have been talking about it with the promoter since last year, and I started to get into shape one and half months ago.

Q: Why did you choose Yoshida?

Royce: It wasn't me who decided. It was the promoter. Probably because Yoshida is the top judoka. 

Q: Have you seen him on video or something?

Royce: I haven't seen him, but  I've heard a lot about him. And he is strongly built, isn't he?

Q: Yoshida weighs over 20 kilos [44 lbs.] heavier than you. Do you want him to lose weight?

Royce: Have I ever complained about an opponent's weight? (laugh)

Q:  No, you haven't.  And there's no time limit?

Royce: No [there is a time limit]. I want to fight under the same rules that my father fought with Mr. Kimura. Three 10 minute rounds, and if no one gets finalized, then it will be a draw. And striking is not allowed either. 

Q: Because Yoshida has no vale tudo experience, wouldn't it be to your advantage to permit striking?

Royce: That's definitely true. But because this is Yoshida's first pro fight, not allowing striking is probably the best thing to do. And it will be a good challenge for me too to fight with him, the strongest grappler and the judo gold medallist, with a dogi under the rules of grappling, because I've been doing only vale tudo these days and far from a fight only with grappling. When I told Rickson that this fight was decided, he asked me "What made you decide to fight with him?" I answered, "because I love a challenge."

Q: At a press conference, Mr. Ishii said "probably it will be vale tudo......"

Royce: Nothing has determined yet. We will start negotiations from now. 

Q:  What is a difference in techniques between Judo and Jiu-jitsu?

Royce: The first point above is the throwing technique. I've heard that Yoshida can quickly throw any opponent no matter who they are. It must be possible for that kind of fighter with such a strong throwing technique to KO an opponent with a throw. 

Q: Frank Shamrock in the UFC KOed an opponent [Igor Zinoviev] by throwing him. And  Vanderlei [Silva] broke Sakuraba's shoulder by throwing him, didn't he?

Royce:  That's right. Around the time when Kimura fought with my father, Kimura also knocked out many opponents by throwing them. And Kimura told my father before that fight that "you are completely lighter than me, so if you can fight with me for more than 3 minutes I will consider you the winner".  But it took him more than 10 minutes to have finished my father with an armlock.[1]

Q:  What is a difference in ground fighting between Judo and Jiu-jitsu?

Royce: In judo, holding an opponent down under your control is mainly focused on. But in jiu-jitsu, finalizing is the final objective. But I've heard that Yoshida is good at finalizing too,  so it would be an interesting fight much more than a fight with an opponent focusing on only holding down. 

Q: Do you think that this fight is a fight for revenge of jiu-jitsu against judo? 

Royce: I don't think so. For me it is a challenge while at the same time a chance to commemorate my father's great fight with Kimura. 

Q: What kind of training are you doing?

Royce: In Los Angeles, I wake up at 5:30, and start training at 6:00. Then I take a nap, and try to adjust to the time difference in between [the West Coast and] Japan.

Q: And the training in Los Angeles?

Royce: Yes, but I will go to Japan 10 days before the fight. I have always come three weeks ahead of the fight, in the past, but this time I couldn't change my schedule. 

Q: Who is your training partner?

Royce: I'm training with my students,  but at the end of July my father will come to Los Angeles. 

Q: So you trained together with Royler?

Royce: You know alot! [laugh] The other day we did sparring for the first time in about five years. Royler had some business to do in LA, so I asked him to come over where I am training.  It was a very good training. 

Q: The last time when Rickson came to Japan, he said "all our family members should not only improve techniques but also share and enhance the passion for jiu-jitsu with each other by training together again." It seems to come to realization, doesn't it? Are you going to train with Rickson?

Royce: Yes.  I will get in touch with him after I return to America. And if it's convenient for him, I would like to train with him together. But he is back to Brazil now, so I have to catch him first. And I want to invite to this event not only my father and Rickson but also as many members of the family as possible. As far as conditions allow, I want everyone to come. 

Q: That would be fun, wouldn't it? By the way,  I heard that you recently went to see Oscar De La Hoya who is the five weight divisions boxing champion. 

Royce: You really do know alot! [laugh]. He was a good guy. Through the introduction of an acquaintance, I went to his boxing camp, and compared or learned training methods with each other. When I told him "After the fight why don't you come to my place to learn how to choke", he said,  "in that case, I'll teach you how to punch". 

Q:  If it really happens, I want to go there for interview for sure. Yoshida was surprised to see how tall you are. 

Royce: Yoshida might become more surprised on August 28. (laugh)



1. Here, Royce is repeating the myth propagated by his father and big brother Rorion. See Choque 2, chp. 2, for the facts.)


Other interviews with Royce on GTR:

Royce 1

Royce 2

Royce 3

Royce and Rorion

Gracie in Action and  GJJ instructional dvds can be ordered below:












(c) 2002-2007, Roberto Pedreira. All rights reserved.

Slightly revised August 5, 2016.