Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Rolling With Clark Gracie In Sunny Singapore

David's photography adventures had taken me places and exposed me to the 
adrenaline-charged intensity of contact sports in the last couple of years. This had led me to  a clandestine love affair that I have had with Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), and an undying passion for Kickboxing.  

During my Kickboxing training at Juggernaut Fight Club,  the guys would be having their Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) training session alongside me.  I always had fun watching them roll about in a twisted heap, some caught in a head lock, some in a rear choke and others in the midst of a takedown.  While my age had not stopped me from embracing Kickboxing as a passion, I certainly felt that the art of  BJJ should be left to those within the age bracket where they could still get an occasional pre-pubescent breakout of pimples. 

My erroneous perception was put to rest one Sunday afternoon by none other than Clark Gracie, the grandson of Carlos Gracie, the Grand Master and founder of the world famous Gracie Jiu-Jitsu academy.  

Some 15 Jiu-Jitsu enthusiasts of differing ages that spanned from under 10 years old to over 50, turned up for a seminar conducted by Clark Gracie last Sunday, at the Singapore Judo Federation. I was more awed by the vast age span of this group of Jiu-Jitsu students than I was with the different colour belts they had on their gi.

Noticing my inquisitive stare at the little girl warming up at a corner of the mat, Gracie told me that having to deal with this vast age span at the seminar was no different from the training environment he managed back home.   He was particularly adamant that Jiu-Jitsu students who started their training as children should make it a priority to have fun with the sport.  His advice to Jiu-Jitsu coaches training young children, was to always keep their students motivated by appealing to their sense of curiosity and play.   Once the priority scales tipped towards the pressure to win, the training would become a chore and it might take the fun out of the sport.  This advice was applicable even to adult students of Jiu-Jitsu.  Gracie encouraged all Jiu-Jitsu students to allow their body and mind to explore the sport freely and look to increase their knowledge and education of the sport constantly.

As a child, Clark Gracie was asked, "Do u enjoy Jiu-Jitsu?"  He had to think hard before answering the question because he came from a Jiu-Jitsu family.  It was a "family business" and he was, as part of the family, very much a part of it since he was a child.  However, he was brought up with the notion that only when he had fun with Jiu-Jitsu during training and embraced the sport with genuine passion, he could excel in the sport and the will to win would then come easily.

When asked if someone older would find age to be a barrier in his performance as a Jiu-Jitsu student, Gracie said that back home, he had personally known a student who had attained a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu at the age of 70. This student had started training in Jiu-Jitsu in his 50s.   Gracie never believed in age barriers. To him, the only barrier that could possibly limit one from achieving his of her goals as a Jiu-Jitsu student, was ego.

Clark Gracie won me at that point.  He was right on the button with the very mantra I led my Kickboxing training with - No Ego, No Barriers.

The photos accompanying this blog post were taken by David Ash,

About The Writer

The writer of this blog post is a Marketing and PR professional by trade and a psychic intuitive by accident who balances her corporate career with running a consultancy providing Tarot and Numerology readings.  She is also passionate about Kickboxing and has no qualms landing a kick to readjust the jewels of anyone who lacks integrity.  She enjoys supporting her husband and avid sports photographer, David Ash from on his trips around the world as he takes photos at sports events while she does the write-ups  for the various sports media.  This blog is affectionately named "The Crazy AngMo" as she is married to one, although she has not yet explained to THE Ang Mo that when translated, he has been labeled  “the bloke with ginger hair”.  Together, they create a home made up with more nuts than a fruitcake but filled with plenty of love.

No comments:

Post a Comment