Portrait of Carlos Gracie.
Jiu-Jitsu constitutes the natural defense the weak person disposes of against the strong person. It is a sort of leveling process through which brute force, confronted and dominated by the wise application of rational mechanics, is led to admitting that the human being, usually taken as a body endowed with a soul, should actually be deemed a soul that happens to reside in a body. This, however, no matter what our philosophical or religious orientation is, must never mean disregard or lack of attention towards the body we use in this world. We don’t understand, really, how, in order to reach wisdom, love, or in order to adore and serve God, respecting His laws, it can be necessary or possible to harm one of His most beautiful and perfect creatures.
If it is true that the disharmony in our thoughts and feelings can generate physical harm, it is no less true that the care we take with our body reflects not only on that body, but also on the mental health we all need to achieve a harmonious, happy life.
Of course, one doesn’t need special abilities to master certain resources of Jiu-Jitsu, which allow us to defend efficiently. Let us not forget, notwithstanding, that, no matter what we look forward to, we will always have better chances of reaching it if we use our greatest spiritual and physical possibilities. Jiu-Jitsu, which cannot escape that peremptory rule, is nothing but its application in self-defense. Being, further, a sport, and indeed one of the most complete, how could it possibly turn its back on physical preparation?
Without health, in its whole meaning, there can be no complete happiness. Very often, however, instead of studying the laws we must respect in order to avoid diseases, we are more concerned about what is the proper medicine or process for repairing the consequences of our ignorance or conscious infractions.
It is illogical for man, who is the most perfect being to inhabit Earth, to have a shorter life than that of other animals. We are among those who fiercely believe we should live more than any irrational being. Therefore, if we compare the current average duration of the human life to that of the parrot’s, we don’t understand why, when one of us decides to live a hundred years, it is something so extraordinary. Imagine if, like an elephant or turtle, one of us happened to live until the age of two hundred!
However, as we see it, all that would be very normal if, throughout generations, with strange perseverance, we hadn’t been driving away from the natural laws.
Among other explanations, for instance, is nutrition. What do we really know about how, when, how much and what to eat in harmony with natural laws?
But let us stop here before, my dear reader, your tolerance goes away completely and you, with justifiable irony, ask: “And, by the way, what about Jiu-Jitsu?”
You are partially right. Due to the fact that it is, however, a difficult – if not impossible – task, in its amplitude, we won’t neglect our duty of warning you that hoping to learn, exclusively by means of reading, the secrets of this traditional art of defense and attack is as efficient as studying singing by mail.
To you, friend and reader, my sincere thanks, and we’ll see each other again. If I didn’t succeed in pleasing you, at least I hope I didn’t totally disappoint you.
~ Carlos Gracie
Founder of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu