Author: Sean Peake for BJJ LegendsTM Magazine
On Sunday August 1, 2010, Ralek Gracie, son of Rorion gracie and grandson of Master Helio Gracie, visited the students of the La Jolla Academy of Martial Arts for a fantastic seminar. Fresh off his win over MMA Legend Kazushi Sakuraba, aka the Gracie Hunter, Ralek Gracie visited San Diego for the daylong event.
This was not your ordinary jiu jitsu seminar, to say the least. Students had the very unique experience of breaking down the fight on video versus Sakuraba with Ralek. For those of us in attendance who had studied the history of the Gracie fighters of the past, there was a historic feeling in the air. Not in an obsequious manner of being in the room with a “Gracie.” Rather, it was inspirational feeling. As the group discussed the events of the fight one could not help but notice the exact similarities between the technique of the young Gracie and the technique of Rorion, Rickson, Royce, and Royler who came before him. From the famous front kick to the seemingly impossible to avoid clinch, classic gracie jiu jitsu was on display.
To see the humility and hear of the deep respect had for his family and art, his recent opponent Sakuraba, and for all of the students in attendance was refreshing.
The group learned the importance of keeping the correct distance in the stand up Jiu Jitsu game. Ralek then took us through the very same take down series he used in his fight. We then went through a variety of ground techniques including maintaining top control, arm bar escapes, closed guard passing, and the highly effective knee on belly that Ralek used in the fight. Finally, we were able to drill the entire sequence we learned during the seminar from standing, to clinch, to take down, to pass and finish.
The four-hour seminar ended with a question and answer session and belt promotion for those who were ready to take the next step in their Jiu Jitsu journey. What stood out the most? Well, the technique was smooth and exact. The lesson plan had a great flow and the students were engaged the entire time. For me, the beauty of it all was the attitude of the teacher. To see the humility and hear of the deep respect had for his family and art, his recent opponent Sakuraba, and for all of the students in attendance was refreshing. It was great to share the mat with the next generation of Gracie fighters! If you would like to have Ralek visit your academy for a seminar, please email