Training with Royce

A few years ago (2012) I had the opportunity to take a private class with Royce Gracie.  We were visiting LA on a small family vacation, and I called to see if Royce was available during the time we were in town.  I was lucky enough to find him free and not traveling for a seminar as is common for him.  The class was in Long Beach at one of his affiliate network schools.  

I arrived and he was running a bit behind with a purple belt working through some knife self defense with him.  I hurried back to the back to change as he finished up the private class.  After changing the school was closing down from its regular group classes, and I found myself with sharing the mat with only Royce.  Everyone had left.

The class focused on his usual focus of his father’s self defense techniques and methodologies.  It was quite the experience to have some one on one private training with the man who put Gracie Jiu Jitsu on the map and kick-started the Jiu Jitsu revolution.  The most interesting techniques were the various gun defenses that we went through as these were something that I’d not focused on before.  He was very astute to the details of each weapon and unarmed techniques.  It was clear that he wanted to ensure that he imparted the technical intricacies of each technique with an emphasis on the leverage that allowed a smaller person to defend himself or herself from a larger opponent. 

The last 15 minutes of the lesson were focused on a careful rolling session where he corrected and instructed technique along the way.  This was all fundamental Jiu Jitsu.  Nothing fancy, showy, or faddish technique; all pure Gracie Jiu Jitsu.  While executing an armbar from the technical mount with him on his left side, he warned me, “don’t break my nose…it will make me angry.”  Of course, I did NOT want to make him angry.  Following the rolling session we had a brief question and answer session.  Another quotable quote in response to one of my questions, “put your head in a toilet and flush it.”  Advice I’ve yet to act upon….

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