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“You cannot believe how good this man was,” Murgel told me. “He fights every Monday for a year and beats every single opponent, all by knock-out or submission.” Murgel told me another story about Joao Alberto’s fighting days. Once at a public exhibition a Japanese fighter refused to fight Joao saying that the Japanese karate he practiced was too fatal for a sporting competition. So João offered to fight him to the death right then and there…
Álvaro looked back on the early days with fondness and lamented that the dissemination of Jiu-Jitsu led to declining standards. He commented how many of the students who’d come into his gym now lacked the proper respect for their teachers and the art itself. “It’s a failure on the part of the Grandmasters who control the sport,” he said. “They haven’t been selective enough about who gets black belts and who gets to become instructors. People are getting black belts just because they participate in a couple of MMA fights and then opening schools.”
On a plane high above the Atlantic Ocean in the summer of 2008, the man who sat next to me regaled me with an encyclopedic survey of mixed martial arts that spanned three thousand years and four continents. He explained how the Filipino marital art of Kino mutai has classified 36 different ways to bite your opponent. […]
Carlos believed that the Jiu-Jitsu being taught by the Gracie Family was the most effective fighting system in the world and if people doubted the claim the best way to prove it, he reasoned, was be to let anyone who dared to come fight it out with the Gracies.
His Jiu-Jitsu was founded on the principle that the weak can defeat the strong and what better way to prove this than fight against a larger, stronger opponent. He wanted to prove that any man, as long as he learned the closely guarded secrets of the Gracie system, could attain invincibility.