Diary Of…Daniel Gracie – February 13, 2011

 

The past few weeks have seen three submission victories for Team Renzo Gracie fighters – Roger Gracie, Igor Gracie and John Cholish.  Each fighter did what they do best.  They each won by going to their foundation to give them the strength to finish the fight.  Watching these fights further reinforced my choice to stay true to my roots.  It is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu that has made me the person I am today. 

Learning BJJ from my family in Rio de Janeiro during the eighties and nineties was my upbringing.  Gracie Barra.  Two words that speak volumes.  It is the home of champions.  Back then, it was a simple tatame on the top floor of a local gym.  With a corrugated metal roof, the academy became a sauna.  This was no place for those who did not wish to become champions.  You gave it your all and left your ego at the door.  Our team was born in this academy and we carry on the tradition today.  Team Renzo Gracie is the 21st Century re-incarnation of the friendship, brotherhood and unity that made us all champions.  These are days that I will always remember and look forward to as well. 

 There are positions, moves, submissions and chokes in BJJ that are classics.  These are the go to moves for us.  Roger Gracie and Igor Gracie both used classic moves with their respective classic approaches to submit their opponents.  John Cholish took a page from the history books when he submitted his opponent by kneebar.  It was beautiful to see him pull this move in the same way that Oleg Taktarov used to submit many opponents in the early days of MMA and the UFC.  Fast forward to today.  I am training for the Light Heavyweight Tournament in Bellator.  Tournament.  This is a word that I do not take lightly.  This is my opportunity to compete against seven other men all vying for the same belt.  This is not an opportunity to win a championship that is simply offered to you. 

This is one that will be won the hard way.  With hard work.  This past week personified hard work.  Traveling as usual between Connecticut, NYC, the Bronx and New Hampshire, I spent each day giving it my all.  Training on Monday in John Danaher’s class at Renzo Gracie Academy saw a packed mat with UFC and Strikeforce fighters.  This is my time to train with some of todays best MMA fighters.  In the middle of the week, when the Bellator crew arranged to film me for the fight promo, the scheduled day fell on my day to train at John’s Boxing Gym.  After four hours of non stop sparring, padwork, BJJ, working out all the while being filmed and making commentary, they got the images they wanted.  I was honored to share my story with Bellator and it was another realization for me that this tournament is one week closer. 

 The end of the week saw another trip to New Hampshire.  Tough MMA training twice per day with other Bellator fighters.  With workouts during the middle of each day, there was no down time.  This is my life.  A life that I am honored to lead.

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