Rolls Gracie died way before his time in a tragic hang gliding accident in his early 30’s. His mat prowess and skills are the marrow that legends are born from. Needless to say there is little training footage of him out there, but recently this short clip surfaced of Rolls training with Rickson (again, little footage of this legend as well). And though only a couple of minutes long one can glimpse into the history of the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Vale Tudo (MMA for you new kids).
I have had the pleasure on many occasion to sit down with Rigan Machado, Carlos, and Roger Machado and talk to them about the history of our art, and one common theme is prevalent with them… the respect and admiration they have for Rolls! Rolls was a sponge according to Rigan. An absolute beast who would look past all bias’ to learn how to grapple better. Studying with Samboists, Judoka, and western wrestlers Rolls never passed on an opportunity to better his understanding of the art. And clearly he was a red-black belt in the art of the “stache!”
Know your history and respect your roots folks: