User ReviewsAdd a Review
The movie is an awesome look at the life an NHB fighter during the early years of the sport. Rickson is one of the nicest people one could ever meet. I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone who is a fight fan. His style of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is something that leaves everyone in awe.
One thing I especially liked about this movie is the way they show Rickson training. He definitely has some very unorthodox training techniques to prepare for his fights.
A side note: His son who is shown in the movie with him, Rockson, died in a motorcycle accident a few years ago. Many believe this to be the nail in the coffin for Rickson's retirement from the sport.
Rickson Gracie himself is something of an enigma. He claims to have over 400 fights, with only 1 loss that only happened because he did not understand the rules of sport sambo. Almost all of these fights are unrecorded and unverified by independent sources. Hélio Gracie, the now-deceased patriarch of the family, has said that Rickson counts amateur and even practise fights in his record - and that if Hélio did the same, he would have over a million fights. Even Rickson's professional MMA record of 11-0 has never been against any top-10 fighters. Having said that, in any of the fights I've seen him in he has always looked awesome. Of course, it is easy to look good if your opponent is bad, but any top player in grappling who has rolled with him (such as Paulo Filho) have said that Rickson's skills are godlike.
The film darts around various aspects of preparation for the Vale Tudo tournament, following Rickson from the gym to the mountain waterfalls, to the competition itself and into the dressing room. It is in the dressing room between fights that I think we see Rickson for who he truly is. In all parts of the film, he is presenting his persona to the camera as he wishes to be seen. Backstage, between fights, he is physically tired, emotionally drained, and his defences come down. The dressing room area is not often seen in tournament videos (with the exception of Spike TV's Ultimate Fighter, which I would say is virtually rehearsed) and it is intriguing to see the great man drop his charisma shield.
We also follow 2 other fighters as they prepare for the same tournament: Koichiro Kimura and Todd Hayes. It is here that the difference between the Gracies and other fighters is clearly illustrated. Kimura is a shoot-fighter and is new to the vale tudo scene. Likewise, Todd Hayes is only fighting to earn enough money to buy his own bobsleigh to help him get to the Olympics. Whilst Rickson Gracie is shown to be utterly dedicated to his art, many fighters went into vale tudo half-heartedly and without knowing what to expect: this lack of knowledge makes them vulnerable. Nowadays, everyone knows the value of cross-training in fighting and also learn BJJ and how to defend against it, but back then the Gracies used their mystique and unknown qualities to great effect.
If there is one criticism to be made of this film, it is that it darts around too much. It doesn't show enough training/sparring in the preparation scenes, and only highlights of the actual fights are shown. One gets the sense that this is one big commercial for the Gracie system of fighting rather than a real insight into Rickson himself. The end result is a glimpse at the inside of the Gracies' world, but no more than a glimpse.
The japan open 2 that rickson fights in isn't the toughest tourny in the world but it was still no rules unlike mma is today. i think this film gives a good insight into the mind of a master of a martial art who is willing to put his families reputation on the line . i enjoyed seeing rickson personality's rather then the fighting and i believe that is what most fans of mma will want to see, a little of rickson personality sorry for any bad grammar, i left school early