Thursday, January 09, 2014

Royce Gracie Makes SI's 50 Greatest Athletes of All Time

For all my love and respect for the many masters of jiu-jitsu, there is no doubt that I would not be involved in this martial art at all if it weren't for the performances of Royce Gracie in the first few Ultimate Fighting Championships.

Royce Gracie is my alpha and omega. He is the jiu-jitsu artist whose performances  in the vale tudo days of the UFC forged my most basic and fundamental notions of jiu-jitsu. It is no exaggeration to say that that is where my jiu-jitsu was born and, in many ways, where it still lives.

It is why I am both a strong supporter of the "jiu-jitsu for everyone" approach to promoting the art, as well as a knee-jerk defender of jiu-jitsu's more violent practitioners when it comes to mixed martial arts. It is why I respect the ability of consummate jiu-jitsu technicians from Os Bros Mendes to Os Bros Miyao, but remain most mesmerized by the work of jiu-jitsu artists like Roger, Marcelo, Kron ...

But I digress ... Congratulations to Royce Gracie - the competitive mixed martial artist, Royce Gracie - for earning a well-deserved spot on Sports Illustrated's list of the 50 greatest athletes of all time.