As I posted a week ago, Jean Jacques Machado was promoted to red-black belt by Rickson Gracie. The video was just put up this morning and I thank Part Time Grappler for sharing!
I cannot fathom getting a purple belt, let alone a black, let alone a red-black! There is not enough time to eloquently write about how much knowledge these two men have shared with the world, and how much we owe them.
A great quote at the end: "The best way to appreciate our heroes is to imagine the world without them"
Also here is the transcription of the open letter to Rickson from JJ Machado. Once again lessons of class, humility, and dignity abound. Read, watch, study, learn.
"How does one adequately express their appreciation to someone who has given them the gift of sight? The ability to see and understand things as they never had before.
I am referring to someone in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world who is known by a single name ... "Rickson."
"Before Rickson Gracie I studied Jiu Jitsu, after Rickson Gracie I understood Jiu Jitsu."
Without understanding Jiu Jitsu I would not be who I am today, and knowing this overwhelms me with love and admiration for him, for the wonderful gift he has given me.
No matter where or when, Rickson was always there for me. The 5:00 am lessons, the 15 minute instructions in-between his many private classes - a thinker before a fighter, my mentor had gone above and beyond. I can only hope to aspire to half the level of his influence. To ignite the passion within others as he did with me. To make a difference to others as he has for me.
It is my honor and privilege to be able to help preserve the memory and spirit of his teachings, his philosophy and his humor where ever I may go.
Rock'n roll will always have Elvis, basketball will always have Michael Jordan and Jiu Jitsu will always have Rickson Gracie.
Honestly I don't feel I could ever fully explain the deep rooted emotion of appreciation I have for this man, so I'll say it simply.
Thank you, Rickson. Thank you for taking me beyond the technique. Thank you for providing me the guidance. Thank you for your constant unselfish dedication to show me an art that transcended to the practicalities of life itself. Thank you, Rickson. Thank you for giving me that life."
- Jean Jacques Machado