“Breathe: A Life in Flow” by Rickson Gracie with Peter Maguire— A Carreer and A Life

Gracie, Rickson and Peter Maguire. “Breathe: A Life in Flow”, Dey Street, 2021,

A Career and a Life

Amos Lassen

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA master Rickson Gracie brings ushismemoir that bringstogether the story of hiscareer with the larger history of the Gracie family dynasty and the founding of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. We seehow the connection between mind and body can be used for success both inside and outside the ring.

Gracie was undefeated from the late 1970s through his final fight in the Tokyo Dome in 2000 and also collected victories in the street, on the mat, at the beach, and in the ring. He joined the pantheon that includes Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, and Jackie Chan as one of the most famous martial artists of the twentieth century.  His family developed and pioneered Jiu-Jitsu which has become one of the world’s most prominent martial arts as well as Vale Tudo, the “anything goes” style of Brazilian street fighting. The Gracies held a monopoly on Vale Tudo, an early precursor to the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Without the Gracie family, there would be no sport of “MMA,” no UFC empire, and no “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu” at strip malls all across America.

For the first time, Rickson shares the story of how his father and uncles came to develop Jiu-Jitsu, what it was like to grow up among several generations of universally famous fighters from the Gracie clan, and the principles and skills that brought him to his undefeated record. Gracie learned to assert himself on the streets of Rio and gainied fame and honor in Japan while dealing with heartbreaking tragedy. We read of his challenges and how he overcame them and he shares how pride and ego are the enemies of success. 

The book contains never-before-seen photos and insights into the sport and way of life  and gives us a look at Gracie’s legacy as he dealt with the complexities of life.

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