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Fresh off our coverage of Brazilian jiu-jitsu in Asia, The FightWorks Podcast now brings you the story of jiu-jitsu in one of the toughest environments in the world today: Baghdad, Iraq. At the invitation of a United States Army general, Ryron Gracie, Rorion Gracie’s son, headed to Iraq to instruct soldiers at Fort Victory this month, along with Gui Valente of Gracie Miami. Ryron will not only tell us about his trip and the conditions there, but will stress the importance of returning jiu-jitsu to its original focus on self-defense. The strongly-held view of the Gracie Academy in Torrance is that Brazilian jiu-jitsu today has become geared to competition in sport rather than self-defense.
ryron gracie us army jiu jitsu
Ryron Gracie instructs jiu-jitsu to US Army soldiers in Iraq.
Our second conversation in the show this week comes from Greg “Ox” Jennings, whose story appeared in an article in the December 2008 issue of GracieMag (an excellent resource on Brazilian jiu-jitsu). Ox spent more than seven years in prison for a crime he did not commit, and took a vow of silence to protest his situation. Upon release from prison he found his way to the Brazilian jiu-jitsu academy of Rodrigo Medeiros in the beach community of Pacific Beach, San Diego. Still not talking, Ox began and became enthralled with BJJ. Years later, Ox is a purple belt and now speaks of his experience freely. Ox brings us his story this week, and what he has learned from it.