Sunday, November 27, 2011

5 Gracies for the price of 1

As alluded to in my last post, Mask and I ventured to New York last weekend for some jiu jitsu fun. We had considered flying home to visit our families for Thanksgiving, but that would have been lame. Instead, we cashed in our frequent flier miles and went to New York for a seminar hosted by Renzo, Kyra, Gregor, Igor, and Rolles Gracie.

Yes, it was 5 Gracies for the price of 1, an offer too good to pass up. Plus the event was a fundraiser for Kyra's social project, the Kapacidade Institute, which brings jiu jisu (as well as food, tutoring, and other necessities) to impoverished children in Brazil. Here's one of their videos:

The seminar began as expected, with Renzo arriving very much on Brazilian time. But that's where the predictable ended. He proceeded to greet each one of us - all 100+ participants - with a giant, back slapping man-hug (what cool people would call "dap").

After making fun of his relatives and cracking some jokes, he introduced a bashful Kyra, who very humbly and very shyly talked about her project. When describing the living conditions of the children and how much jiu jitsu means to them, her voice cracked. She got teary eyed...and that was when Renzo lost it. To my astonishment, he started crying too.

I know, of course, that bad-asses have feelings too, but usually they aren't expressed so publicly. Through tears. Renzo talked about how proud he was of Kyra and what an amazing young woman she had grown into. He was one proud uncle.

All 5 of the Gracie hosts went on to present great jiu jitsu techniques, but that was not the most memorable part of the seminar. What I took home was that Renzo and his crew are quite possibly the most personable, most affectionate, most humorous, most human bad-asses on this planet.

I was lucky to have met them!

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