There’s a picture hanging at the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York City that isn’t typical. This is not a photo celebrating Gracie’s big wins over Oleg Taktarov, Maurice Smith or Pat Miletich. Instead, students of jiu-jitsu’s famous black belt see Gracie at a low point, a 2000 loss to Kazushi Sakuraba that ended in a technical submission when the famous “Gracie Hunter” broke his arm. of his enemy.
“When you win it’s easy to forget all the hardships you went through to achieve victory,” Gracie told me in 2010. “You are so excited about the victory and the people around you are congratulating you and you. hug, you completely forget all the mistakes you made in this fight. But when you lose, you know them and you will never forget them. So I made sure to put this photo here, and in fact it’s the only photo I have here, hanging on the wall. It’s to constantly remind me that a fight isn’t over until the bell rings and the referee pulls you guys apart. Every time I walk in I see this photo and remember I’m not perfect. I need to improve myself, I need to improve myself, and I need to improve the people under me, so that they don’t go through this.
THE HARLEY FLANAGAN WILD RIDE: Part one | Part two | Part three
This lesson is not lost on Gracie students like black belt Harley Flanagan.
“This photo says a lot about Renzo’s character and the honorable man he is,” said Flanagan. “Most people have a hard time, at first, accepting defeat in life in any form. But being able to get someone’s arm broken, to stand up, to shake someone’s arm. hand, smile at him and say, “Good job,” that shows what kind of a character he has that he can have that kind of cuteness in defeat, and we should all aspire to be more like that. jiu-jitsu saying: you don’t lose in jiu-jitsu, you learn, and if we could all take that with us in life, we would really improve our lives. He broke his arm, he was in a lot of pain. wasn’t going to show it; he smiled at her and squeezed her hand. To me that said right there, he’s a bad son of a bitch. And God bless him, we should all aspire to be a bad son of a bitch. like that, to be able to absorb our losses in life and to be gracious and honorable in victory and loss. Life is nothing but an experience. this learning and a lot of experiences, good and bad. If you know how to look at it, you can really appreciate it for what it is in there. I learned a lot about life being with Master Renzo, and not just about jiu-jitsu. I learned a lot about myself and about life.
Flanagan lived much of his life before entering Renzo Gracie Academy in early 1996. There were good, bad, but all memorable. And while her life is quieter than it ever was at 54, with a Cro Mags tour in 2022, a documentary by Citizen Ashe’s Rex Miller, and a happy family life with his wife and two. son, the New Yorker fighter has always been there. And if it weren’t for the fact that the UFC arrived in 1993, when he was 26 years old and already well established in the world of music, he might have taken another path in the world of music. life.
“If MMA had been something going on in the ’80s, there’s definitely a chance I would have ended up going down that route,” he said. “I fought a lot as a kid, and in my neighborhood it was kind of inevitable. And if there had been a platform to make a living and release some of this pent-up aggression, it would have been helpful. I probably would have done a lot less on the streets than I now regret in my adult life.