I read a long article this weekend, "One Hundred
Years of Arm Bars: A family epic spanning the
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu dynasty's generations of combat
and betrayal, from the Amazon to Hollywood to the
UFC," by David Samuels.
I knew roughly how Jiu-Jitsu spred into the West
over the past century from listening to Mr. Steve
Maxwell on several podcasts. The article went
deeper, tracing the Gracie family history from
early 1800 when a Scot came to Rio. The article
gave exposure to a less-celebrated founder of the
art and led me to nearly ordering Reila Gracie's
547-page tome, "Carlos Gracie, Creator of a
Dynasty," were it not out of stock.
Sentences like the following have always intrigued
me: "Gracie jiu-jitsu can be understood as a
physically brutal form of psychoanalysis. Weaker
positions offer powerful leverage, dominant positions
are revealed to be traps, and the price of clinging
to one's illusions is relentlessly exposed." It's the Tao.
Rickson's self-centering philosophy in contrast to
Musashi's detachment was interesting. It reminded
me of a quote "The opposite of true is false; but
the opposite of a profound truth is another
profound truth." Light can be modeled as both
waves and particles. I think I've got it: I am the
center of the universe and, at the same time, the
center is everywhere.
Technology didn't hurt the Web article. When the
mouse was over a Gracie name, the family tree
was shown on the left pannel with the name
highlighted. After reading, I became quite good at
placing a name in the tree in my head.
I also read the interview of Reila Gracie about
the book. I have to study it if only for the diet.