BiggerPockets Podcast 477: Discomfort & Uncertainty Lead To Victory with BJJ Black Belt Ryron Gracie

BiggerPockets Podcast 477: Discomfort & Uncertainty Lead To Victory with BJJ Black Belt Ryron Gracie

59 min read
The BiggerPockets Podcast Read More

As a Guest you have free article(s) left

Join BiggerPockets (for free!) and get access to real estate investing tips, market updates, and exclusive email content.

Sign in Already a member?

What happens when you’re pinned to the floor in the middle of a fight? Someone has you in a locked position and you can’t move. You’re sweating, you’re angry, and you start feeling the will to fight flow through your whole body. Although we’re talking about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with the legendary trainer and black belt, Ryron Gracie, we could easily be talking about real estate.

So many new real estate investors come into this space being scared of discomfort, wanting to be hand-held, and feeling like there is no way to hit their investing goals. That is until they’re put in the proper position, scenario, or matched up with a great teacher. These are the exact lessons that Ryron shares with us today.

As a lifelong Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, and now a teacher himself, Ryron knows that the same lessons applied on the mat should be applied in everyday life. Lessons like: be comfortable with discomfort, never get pulled into anyone else’s fight, and change the game to fit your needs. This not only makes Ryron a financially successful individual, but a master in martial arts.

Even if you’ve never done martial arts, had any interest in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or started real estate investing, this episode will help you change your mindset to thrive in situations where you feel lost and helpless, which is something all of us need throughout our lives.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

David:
This is the BiggerPockets Podcast, show 477.

Ryron Gracie:
When I think of being one of the best teachers, it starts with knowing that you yourself are always a student. So if I can learn from anybody and everybody around me, then that is a great way to kind of just show the level of teacher that I am. And I learn often from White Belts and Blue Belts.

Intro:
You’re listening to BiggerPockets Radio, simplifying real estate for investors, large and small. If you’re here looking to learn about real estate investing, without all the hype, you’re in the right place. Stay tuned and be sure to join the millions of others who have benefited from biggerpockets.com, your home for real estate investing online.

David:
What’s going on everybody? This is the BiggerPockets Podcast and I am your host today, David Greene. Brandon is actually taking the day off, so he will be joining me later. But for today’s show, we’ve got a gem for you. Today, I’m going to be interviewing Ryron Gracie, one of the top jiu-jitsu practitioners and teachers in the entire world that comes from the family that basically invented the sport or combat of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

David:
Now, Ryron has been involved in this obviously since he was a tiny child and has committed his life to the mastery of both the principles and the execution of jiu-jitsu. And we get to dive into his brain and get a feel for how he approaches the world, what jiu-jitsu has taught him about how to handle conflict as well as confidence and a ton of great things. But before we get into the show, let’s hear today’s quick tip. Today’s quick tip is Ryron and I discuss how important a community is to making progress when things are hard or uncomfortable. A big component why he has been successful with his family teaching jiu-jitsu is that it has a strong community and family component to it.

David:
Everything that you go to and start when you’re not good at it is hard. That’s just a fact, but when you’re going through hard things with other people, especially when there are people that make it easier for you, you are way more likely to be successful. Now, Ryron has incorporated that philosophy into his family’s academies, where they teach people and BiggerPockets has done the same things. What we have here is actually a community of more than two million members. So what I’m getting at, don’t waste your time and isolate yourself from two million other people that are trying to accomplish the same things as you. We should all be learning from each other. Get yourself tapped into the collective knowledge by going to networking events, getting into the forums, using BiggerPockets networking feature to find people that live near you and reaching out to them to see if they’d like to meet up and talk about real estate, learn from what other people are doing and share what you are doing.

David:
Oftentimes they say that you learn 90% of what you teach. So teaching other people within the BP community, where you’ve had success, is sure to make you even better at what you do. Don’t ignore the collective or the community and you will find that your success will be ramping up. Okay. For those who don’t know who Ryron is, he is Helio Gracie’s grandson and the eldest son of Rorion Gracie being part of the third generation of Brazilian jiu-jitsu’s most illustrious family, The Gracie’s. A recognizable figure within the jiu-jitsu community Ryron Gracie became also a familiar face among mixed martial artists or MMA fans after a series of web episodes named the Gracie Breakdown where Ryron and his brother Rener Gracie go over techniques utilized in UFC events. If you are in any way interested in combat sports or self-defense, or really just any form of analysis, I highly recommend that you follow them on social media and you listen to them break things down.

David:
They are clearly at the top of their game, and then really at the top of their really area of expertise when it comes to understanding and analyzing why something worked and why it didn’t work. They’re are also frankly great communicators. I follow both Ryron and his brother Rener myself, just to listen to them talk so I can be better when it comes talking for you guys within this community. Ryron is also an instructor at the Gracie Academy and part of the owners of gracieuniversity.com, where you can learn about Brazilian jiu-jitsu from home with your friends if you don’t have an academy near you. Now today’s show is freaking awesome but I do want to let you guys know Ryron is not a real estate investing expert. He’s not really even a huge real estate investor as he has a couple of properties. What we talk about today is the mindset of being successful, particularly within the sport of jiu-jitsu. Now there’s a lot of ways this relates to real estate.

David:
And this is one of the reasons that Brandon and I have gotten into it is because the skills that we’re building in jiu-jitsu are making us better business owners and better investors. One of the big pieces we talk about is how to have uncomfortable conversations regarding difficult feelings and emotions. We call it emotional Brazilian jiu-jitsu where Ryron talks about why he feels uncomfortable having certain conversations and he lets that tell him something about himself, what he’s hiding, what things happened in his childhood that made him that way so that he can take more control over having the life that he wants to have. We also talk about how important it is to be the owner of your own success. Man, guys, this is so important. The agents who joined my team that do well always walk in here saying, “I’m going to be successful and David is a resource to help me.” It’s the same way with real estate investing. If you make up your mind you’re going to be a real estate investor, you will love the resource that BiggerPockets provide.

David:
If you’re looking to BiggerPockets to have the responsibility of getting you into something that you haven’t committed to, you’re going to be in trouble. So we have a great conversation about how you can take ownership of the results you want. We also talk about the frank candid conversation about avoiding making difficult decisions because you’re coming from a place of lack. Really when you’re unconfident in life or in any decision that you have to make, that lack of confidence or you not feeling good about yourself, leaves you open to being controlled by other people or controlled by the overall environment.

David:
And then people that face discomfort and get through it develop a confidence that leaves them impervious to making poor decisions based on coming from a place of lack and needing to prove yourself to the world. I really thought that was great. And then by far today’s guest is on par with some of the guests that we’ve interviewed on the show, but it’s definitely a little bit different than our traditional guests. So I loved our conversation. I think you guys are going to love it too. Without further ado, let’s bring in Ryron. Mr. Ryron Gracie, welcome to the BiggerPockets podcast. How you doing this morning?

Ryron Gracie:
Thank you. I’m feeling good. I just did a little bit of jiu-jitsu, so that starts my day off very nicely.

David:
I am stoked. So everybody, we have one of, or I guess it depends who you ask, it’s probably hard to gauge who is the best and what definition we’re using for best, but we have one of the most influential and best teachers and practitioners of Brazilian jiu-jitsu in the world with us today. A fascinating person who understands mastery, humility, commitment, really everything that goes into being successful at whatever you want to do in life with us and we are honored to be able to sort of pick your brain and get a feel for what makes you tick here on. So I’m super excited. For those who have not heard of jiu-jitsu, or maybe have heard the words, but don’t understand what people are talking about, could you give us a brief definition of what that means?

Ryron Gracie:
Yes, I can go into that for sure. But real quick, first, when you mentioned being one of the best teachers, I pride myself on being a great teacher and by always learning and improving my teaching skills, but I’m also part of a family which consists of so many, so many, so many teachers as well as there are other people outside my family that teach jiu-jitsu. So one of the best is a good way to put it. And when I think of being one of the best teachers, it starts with knowing that you yourself are always a student. So if I can learn from anybody and everybody around me, then that is a great way to kind of just show the level of teacher that I am. And I learn often from White Belts and Blue Belts. So as for what jiu-jitsu is, jiu-jitsu is a form of self-defense.

Ryron Gracie:
It’s a martial art that from Japan it reached my family in Brazil and my grandfather Helio Gracie and his brother, Carlos Gracie, as well as his other brothers, they were exposed to jiu-jitsu many, many years ago, early 1900s. And my grandfather was a very frail kid like 14, 13 years old. He was not somebody who was very much into sports. He used to have fainting spells and sports was not for him, but his brother started learning jiu-jitsu from a Japanese man in Brazil. And then eventually my grandfather started watching and learning as well. And it really clicked for him, right? Being the small guy that he was, jiu-jitsu clicked for him. It made sense, but it clicked partially because he gave himself the freedom and the permission to make small changes in this art. And then as my grandfather really dove into this and started making these small modifications and really making it to work for himself, this very light weak man, he continues to teach jiu-jitsu throughout Brazil and becomes very recognized in Brazil for he would fight other martial artists to prove the effectiveness of jiu-jitsu against others.

Ryron Gracie:
Of course started having children, his children, my father grew up in this world as well as my uncles. And in 1980, I want to say 1979, my father came to Brazil. I’m sorry. My father came from Brazil in 1979 to America right here in Los Angeles where I am right now, where I live and started teaching this martial art out of his garage, kind of just hanging out with friends on the front lawn, playing jiu-jitsu. And I was born in 1981 and years after that, 10, 12 years after that, jiu-jitsu was growing so much out of my father’s garage and he’s teaching this art of self-defense and it’s very much based on leverage and timing and patience, which so many of the martial arts embody these principles.

Ryron Gracie:
But jiu-jitsu is very unique because it’s a very defensive martial art. And like I said, my grandfather fought these challenges in Brazil, as well as his brothers and my father and his uncles would fight these challenge matches against other martial artists here in Los Angeles and all around. And when they would fight, they would display jiu-jitsu. Now, what does that look like? It’s two people who naturally, they fight… Two people normally fight at this agreed upon distance. And this is what we learn about when we watched old movies and we see old martial arts clips, people stand about one arm’s length distance apart, and they are just exchanging punches and kicks. But when my father created the ultimate fighting championship, the UFC in 1993, that really threw the world for like this. It threw a curve ball. Everybody all of a sudden said, “What? Hold on, this isn’t fighting.”

Ryron Gracie:
And why is that? Because jiu-jitsu teaches us to stay outside of the striking range. We call it a green zone, and then you want to pass through the red zone, which is the striking range where someone can hit you. You can also hit them, but they can hit you. And you want to move into the next green zone, which is where you can actually grab a hold of the person’s body, potentially off balance them, take them to the ground and now you’ve pretty much taken the fight into like a whole new world. And when the fight is taken to the ground, all of a sudden you have someone who doesn’t understand anything about anything. They never lay down other than to go to sleep. And now we’ve put them on the ground and it’s the art of managing distance, of controlling this person, staying very close, allowing them to exhaust their energy while they’re trying to punch you and headlock you and who knows, eye guard, whatever it may be and we’re surviving and we’re surviving.

Ryron Gracie:
So jiu-jitsu is an art of survival, taking the person away from their element where they can get lucky when they’re standing up, bring them to the ground. As they burn energy, they essentially defeat themselves. And this is what happened in UFC number one, number two. These early UFC fights, that’s the curve ball that was thrown to the world. People were watching and they said, “Wow, how is this jiu-jitsu representative?” And at the time it was Royce, My father’s younger brother and my uncle who would take these guys to the ground and then two minutes later, 12 minutes, 15 minutes later, he would be submitting them. So very much shocked the world that that’s not how fighting goes down. But now here we are years later, and everybody now agrees that how a fight ends up going, there are no rules to how a fight may end up. It may end up on the ground and an arm bar, it may end up standing, it may end up against the car, getting hit your head punched into a car door, who knows? But it can for sure end up on the ground.

David:
I’d probably say my experience in law enforcement almost every single one ended up on the ground and that was with us not wanting it to be on the ground. And it’s still whether it’s from fatigue or just the mix and tumble of how everything goes. And when the UFC was new, your uncle was showing people there’s actually a way to fight on the ground that nobody else had practiced. And here, I mean, there’s several things that I really, really like about Brazilian jiu-jitsu and its genesis, why it was created that really applies to people who want to build wealth. The first would be your grandfather was, as you said, more of a frail, weak person. He was not going to win at somebody else’s game. He did not have the same opportunity and skills that those people had. Many people in America are in the same position where they are not born into a wealthy family, they’re not born into an area that has a lot of opportunity. They don’t have the same ways to win at the game the way that most of corporate America works.

David:
And rather than just saying, “Well, I guess I’ll never be athletic,” or, “I’ll never fight,” he took what was available and he tweaked it to make it work for him. That’s like you said, that’s when the leverage became a bigger thing. Energy efficiency became a bigger thing because he wasn’t going to overpower the other person and sort of cheat his way through what was going on, which to be frank is always a temptation. That’s always the easier road. I’m a bigger guy, when I go roll, I’m always fighting myself wanting to just throw them all over the place. And so it forced them to be disciplined. And then out of that was born this better technique. I mean, there’s no way around it. Big people can use it too. And it’s better than the way that they were doing it before and this is really what became Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

David:
So the first piece I love about your family story was that it was born from a place of maybe lack, where he was coming from behind what his brothers were able to do and he didn’t let that have him quit. And then what you saw when the UFC started was someone who was smaller than everybody else and not competing the same way they were just slicing through everybody. There was no one that was able to beat your uncle Royce and everyone was scratching their heads, what the hell is… How is that happening? Because he understood a way of combat that they didn’t understand.

David:
It was this people had been doing like what you said, standing there and trading blows forever and whoever traded the better blow was the one who won. And that makes me think of the people who think, all right, go to school, go to college, get a corporate job, work your corporate job, get into the corporate world, exchange blows with the person in the cubicle next to you, try to do better, build up your 401k and then someday retire at 60 years old and then you can finally enjoy life.

David:
And what your family did was said, “No, we’re not going to stand here and get punched in the head and hope we can punch you in the head more,” which is very close to what we see happening with real estate. People can build wealth through real estate that isn’t the traditional way. Have you noticed something similar with the mindset you’ve developed from studying jiu-jitsu and then how that has you interact with the corporate world or wealth building?

Ryron Gracie:
Well, what I’m thinking right now as you just said this real quick is that my family didn’t quite have a choice in the matter. It’s not like my uncles or my grandfather said, “Yeah, you know what? We’re not going to go the route that everybody’s been going, which is to just to punch people in the head and rely strictly on our hands. We’re going to go this route of technique and efficiency and taking the fight to the ground.” That’s all they ever knew. That’s all my… Now, of course my grandfather being a very frail man, it caused him to be resourceful and to figure out a way to build his confidence through the martial arts, but people today, the person… My uncle, Royce, for example, when he fought in the UFC in the early ’90s, he’s not very impressive.

Ryron Gracie:
He’s impressive because he’s doing impressive technique and impressive jiu-jitsu, but the person that is most impressive is the person that’s been studying striking for 14 years. Since there were 14 years old, 15 years old, and now they’re close to 30 and they say, “You know what? I’m 30 years old. I’m going to change. I’m going to do something different and I’m going to start learning how to take the fight to the ground, how to manage distance the way this art of jiu-jitsu is teaching us.” And that’s the difficult jump to make.

Ryron Gracie:
So now when you’re talking about people in the real estate world who are… Some people out there have proven that there are ways to approach real estate that might be, let’s just say, a little different from what was traditionally accepted. And I’m not a real estate specialist by any means, but when you see… For example, if I see you, David, doing something that is working very well for you, it’s easy for me to look at that and say, “Man, but I’ve never done that before. I’ve never done that art. So I’m not going to do it because that’s not what I know, what I know is this art. I know the art of, who knows, of boxing.”

Ryron Gracie:
You’re doing jiu-jitsu over there with how you’re doing real estate, for example. So the very courageous person is the one that jumps and says, “You know what? That’s not what I do, but I’m going to try that. I’m going to jump into that pool. And I’m going to explore that.” Now, what allows someone to go and do that, that’s… Now I’m a little bit biased. I feel like what allows someone to go and do something outside of what they would normally do or outside of what feels safe or what people are suggesting or what your family is suggesting is your belief that you’re going to be okay, that it’s going to work out. That you’re going to be okay. That you’ve experienced difficult moments in the past and you made it through those difficult moments. And this is just another one of those that’s right in front of you.

David:
That’s so good because I think that’s how most of us make decisions in life is we look back at what we’ve done before, and we build confidence by going through something tough and realizing that even though it didn’t feel good in the moment, there was sort of a fate that’s forced to be developed when you get through that initial, this is really hard and then you start to see the results come on the other side. And I think jiu-jitsu, I mean, to be frank it’s becoming so popular and so talked about, it’s very close to just turning into a meme that everyone can use jiu-jitsu to relate to everything. So I try to be careful not to use it too much. It’s one of those things like CrossFit, where people that do CrossFit, they talk about CrossFit where you’re not even asking, right?

David:
But there’s a reason why it’s so relatable because there’s this scale that you see. You first go and you think you’re better than you are and you quickly learn you’re not that good. Then you go through the process, am I going to quit because I got my ego checked really hard, or am I going to continue? And then as you continue, you realize I don’t have enough cardio to even keep up with this. And then your cardio builds. And you’re like, “Man, I don’t practice this enough for my techniques.” It just sucks all the time until everything clicks.

David:
And that is exactly what it’s like when you get into the entrepreneurial world or the real estate world, people know how to win in the corporate world. Even though it may not be effective and they don’t love their life, they don’t love working 50, 60 hours a week sitting in commute, traffic, in a cubicle getting tax really bad because they’re in a W2 world, fighting their way to the top of something and it’s not always worth the effort, but that’s what they know. They practice boxing, they practice Kung Fu. And I think I see what you’re getting at. You’re hitting it right on the head, it’s those people that are willing to let go and have faith if they go try something different that actually end up winning in life.

Ryron Gracie:
And it’s so scary to try something different because what if it fails? And then you have to ask the question, well, even scarier than what if it fails is everybody talks about, which is almost kind of another meme, which is, imagine living a life that you don’t do that which you want to do. Like you have something that you’ve always thought about doing. I’ve always thought about doing this one thing and then before you know it, you’re 40, then you’re 60, then you’re 90 and then you’re dead. And you never did what you always thought about doing. Something was pulling you in that direction and you don’t do it. And this happens for… I imagine in the world of real estate in terms of someone making an investment here or there, I want to own X, Y, and Z properties and have these investment properties.

Ryron Gracie:
But if I do that, then I have to do this or there might be the risk of this and you don’t do it. And how many times have people… People have come into this building and I ask them, “Hey, how’d you hear about us?” And they say, “I’ve been driving by for 11 years.” Now, I’m so glad that after 11 years at 57 years old, they walked in the building, but it’s kind of the same for anything in life. You could be thinking about doing something for 11 years or for one year or for two months or for 25 years, or you can never do it. So when are you going to actually pull the trigger and do something? And that is a very powerful skill to have in life to pull the trigger. And I also need to work on it. So I’m glad we’re having this discussion right now.

David:
Yeah. That’s really why I was so stoked about getting you on the show because, I mean, there’s many reasons and probably more than we could ever talk about in our hour here. But you watch the people who come in and everyone for the most part, I’m sure, feels the same. They’re nervous. They’re scared. They don’t want you to see that they’re scared. They’re afraid of getting beat up. My thing was I’m afraid of just not being able to keep up with like the pace of this. Like the first couple of times I did it to go for three minutes, it’s almost like, okay, I just can’t breathe anymore. This isn’t any good. And so that’s no man ever likes feeling. They are so tired that they can’t be competing. So there’s fear associated with all of it. But you watch the people who stick with it and then actually go on to be successful. And it doesn’t, I don’t want to say it, becomes easy, but it definitely becomes easier. And you have more tools that then become available to you as you learn the rhythm of the way to do this.

Ryron Gracie:
Yeah. This goes back to being a good teacher. I’m wondering now because some people don’t want to walk in here because they’re afraid of embarrassment. They’re afraid of not being enough. They’re afraid of failing, of getting injured. They have this idea of how manly they are. They don’t want to be humbled. So there are many fears, you are right, when walking into a building, a martial arts school like ours. And the teacher can do a lot. The teacher or the guide can do a lot in helping so that the moment someone walks in the door or the moment somebody picks up the phone and calls and says, “Hey, I think I want to try jiu-jitsu,” how you speak to that person will make all the difference in whether or not they continue to move towards the mat or they start creating excuses as to why they can’t do it. And in terms of real estate investment, which I can’t wait to learn more about real estate investment from you guys because is that the-

David:
Yeah. That’s basically what we do.

Ryron Gracie:
There you go.

David:
We’re the real estate to your BJJ.

Ryron Gracie:
So there you go. So I need to learn real estate investment. Now the question is, naturally when I think about it, I have one investment property right now as it is. Now, I would like to have 10 more, let’s say, or three more. Do I want 400? No, I don’t want 400. I don’t need 400, but I think it’s cool to have five, 10 investment properties. It’s great. Now, when I say, “Hey, David, I want this.” And everybody who I imagine dives into that world connects with somebody, how that person walks them through it can really make all the difference as to how safe they feel going through the process.

Ryron Gracie:
And how safe they feel has so much to do with how much they understand what it is they’re getting involved with because there’s nothing more stressful than being in a position where you don’t quite understand what’s happening to you, which brings us again back to the martial arts. Because when you practice jiu-jitsu, you land in a position and you’re like, “Wow, I’ve never been here before, and I don’t have any tools for this.” But then you stop and you say, “You know what? I don’t have any tools for this, but I know that the information is out there, that I can very quickly equip myself with the information so that I have an understanding of how to treat this situation.”

Ryron Gracie:
So I can land in a situation with you in terms of real estate investment in eight months. And I’m feeling nervous and I’m afraid and I’m sweating and that’s because again, I’m almost like I’m worried. I’m thinking futuristic, like what this could mean. Even though things are okay right now, present moment, everything is okay, but the fact that I might lose the property or the value might be lost or the bad things that can happen around real estate investment, that possibility gets me stressed out, which therefore keeps me from talking to you my guide and saying, “Hey, what’s the deal right here? This is happening. I’m feeling this.” And you say, “Of course, you’re feeling that. It makes perfect sense. It’s so common. I felt that many times, this happens all the time. It makes sense to keep feeling that. But when you’re ready, I’ll break it down for you as to why this is all going to work out just fine.”

David:
And the emotional experience that I’ve found both with jiu-jitsu and when I was a new real estate investor are almost identical. So before you buy your first property, you’re worried about things like, what do I do when the toilet breaks at two o’clock in the morning and the tenant calls me? How do I collect my rent? How do I find out what rent I should charge? There’s all these questions that seem insurmountable and they make you feel helpless. And so that stops most people from going forward.

David:
Now for the person in my position who’s done this for a while, I know that that mountain that you think you’re looking at is less than a molehill. Like you could Google that question, the answer is always so, so simple, especially once you understand the principles of what managing an asset is like. And then when I’m rolling in jiu-jitsu and I find myself in a position, just like you said, that isn’t when I like to comment in my mind there’s like four or five positions you’ve got mouth, side control, guard, having someone on your back.

David:
But then there’s these weird things that kind of ended up that I don’t really know how you classify it. And you’re exactly right, you don’t have a tool and it immediately just feels helpless and horrible. And if that was the feeling that I stayed in the whole time, I would never keep going. And so then you ask somebody, what do you do when this happens? And they show you and you go, “That’s actually not that complicated. I probably could have thought about that.”

Ryron Gracie:
Yes. I could have thought-

David:
Yeah. So then I get empowered and I’m like, “Man, I want to do more of it.” And it’s exactly what real estate is like. You have these ideas in your head that it’s going to be so hard and then someone tells you what you do and you go, “Okay. That actually makes a lot of sense.” Have you found similar experiences with training people?

Ryron Gracie:
A 100%. The line of all lines, I could have thought of that, or you’re almost embarrassed at how simple the solution is. And this goes… Of course, I’ve heard it so many times with teaching people jiu-jitsu and I love seeing the light go off. I love seeing people say, “Oh, of course.” And you know what’s interesting is that over time, the student who asks questions, they ask 10, 50, 100 questions, they start to realize the formula that I’m using to answer questions. They look at the pool of techniques and principles and mindsets that I’m pulling from to create the answer for their situation. Oftentimes I had never even been asked the question or I’ve never even been in that situation, but because I have so much experience, I trust in my ability to pull from everything that I know and present something that will help that student in that moment.

Ryron Gracie:
And this is obviously my specialty is combat, is hand to hand combat, is fighting. But I imagine this to be true even for somebody who is, let’s just say, a professional rock climber. It’s probably very rare that they get to a situation that they don’t quite have a path to take or a way to get around a certain part of the mountain, they’re always going to get to the top and, or the same goes for back to real estate investment. There is a problem. And in the beginning, you’re going to need help. You’re going to need help. You’re going to need help. But I imagine that after you have been helped a fair amount of times, you get to a point where you say, “You know what? No, I don’t need help. I have all of the answers. I have the solutions within me.”

Ryron Gracie:
You take a moment and you figure it out. And maybe your solution will only be maybe what this person comes up with is only 70% of what another extremely successful person would have done. But it doesn’t matter. They’re still becoming empowered and they’re still growing in their ability to improvise and to create and to problem solve. And that in itself, it’s probably more valuable that there has to be a point in your life where you say, “Stop. I’m going to stop going outside for the answers and I’m going to look in here.” And when that happens in anything that you do, that’s when you’re going to… The sky’s the limit.

David:
That’s beautiful. That’s exactly what happens is in the beginning, you think someone else has the answers and I need to get it from them. There’s some external source where I can go get answers from. And that is the frame that you look at the problem through. And then at a certain point, you get enough experience and something switches and you realize probably the number of positions that two human bodies can end up when they’re rolling in the ground is infinite. There is no way that there could be the same answer for every solution. So what it comes down to is a principle. Okay. If I understand the principle, then my mind will give me the solution that I need. Now, there’s also a matter of like Rener and you are going to come up with that solution much faster than somebody who’s done this for a couple of years. They’re going to need some more time to process it, but it is coming down to principles.

David:
And that’s what I found getting into jiu-jitsu, I’m sure there’s a point it becomes addicting. This is all that people want to do. And it’s so much fun and they’re like depressed if they can’t do it, which is about as opposite as it is in the beginning where it’s terrifying and you want nothing to do with it but it’s the same thing. Real estate is exactly the same journey. It’s scary, scary, scary, scary. “Oh, this is so bad. Oh my God. I love it. It’s all I want to do. It’s all I want to talk about.”

Ryron Gracie:
That’s just human beings. That is a clear example of how we are uncomfortable in the unfamiliar. That’s it. So we have to make a choice. When something is scary or something is unfamiliar, you have a choice. You can say, “No, I’m going to stay right here or I’m going to jump in the uncomfortable. I’m going to step towards the unfamiliar and I’m going to familiarize myself.” And then all of a sudden there are people… And in some ways I attempt to do this, but there are people who I imagine seek uncomfortable, unfamiliar, uncertainty. That becomes their way, that becomes their thing.

Ryron Gracie:
And I do it on a very surface level, like for example, very cold water. If water is 50 degrees or 48 degrees, and we go on a hike somewhere and there’s a freezing ice around the lake, I’ll jump in the lake. And I do that because my mind says, “Don’t do it.” My mind says, “Oh my gosh, it’s so cold.” And my three friends are saying, “Don’t do it. It’s freezing.” They touch it and they say it’s cold. So because many people say no, I have this draw inside of me to say, if everyone’s saying don’t do it, I want to go and do it, which can be dangerous at times but in most cases, it’s very, very enjoyable and it’s very empowering.

David:
What I’m hearing you say is that you value making yourself do things that are not comfortable and that other people would say don’t do it even if there’s not a good reason to. Do you think that desire was born of being a young kid in this family of like the crown kings of jiu-jitsu in the world and you probably didn’t have much choice whether you’re going to class or whether you’re going to do this hard stuff and getting through that you realize how glad you are you doing quit.

Ryron Gracie:
Yes. Yeah, this idea of stepping into the uncomfortable, I grew up, obviously my grandfather, Helio Gracie, and my father always just telling stories about these impossible feats. For example, my grandfather fought a fight that was no time limit and it went three hours and 40 minutes. So when I’m hearing this story as a young child of him going for three hours and 40 minutes, and my father explaining how someone doesn’t even sit in the chair for three hours and 40 minutes. A three hour and 40 minute podcast, you’ll start having back pain. You won’t do it. You’ll stop at three hours. It’s very difficult. So when I hear these stories, I’m like, “Wow.” I had this appreciation for the heart and just the commitment that it took for my grandfather to fight for three hours and 40 minutes, or to fight somebody who outweighs him by 80, 90 pounds.

Ryron Gracie:
And many Gracie family members have fought people who were much bigger, heavier, and stronger. They see somebody 100 pounds heavy, “I’ll fight him. It’s not a problem.” And so there it is. So now on a small scale, because I had never fought MMA, I’ve never fought professionally in an arena, I fought a few times in the world of people challenging me in a safe environment of this building. Like someone, “I’m going to fight your karate representative,” which those were great experiences. But so no doubt that a part of me enjoys these challenges and these difficult feats. Growing up as a child, jiu-jitsu was everything. Every day we’re going to jiu-jitsu, maybe three, four days a week, we had our normal kids classes and I resisted it a lot. I didn’t want to go. It was like, no, I didn’t want to go because at that young age I was comparing myself to other kids and I would not necessarily be the best in the room sometimes.

Ryron Gracie:
And I had this expectation that I needed to be the best because my family was a bunch of warriors and fighters. So I needed to show that I was worthy of being in this family. And so I would stay home and I would be in my room. For the whole two hours that the class would happen, I had to be in my room with no electronics, like nothing, a GI Joe at 14 years old or 12 years old, just sitting in my room. And then eventually at 16, 17 it hit and I started getting very heavy into jiu-jitsu and teaching a lot more. But going back to what you mentioned about, I’m so grateful as to how I was semi-forced to do jiu-jitsu. And today the fact that I feel, and this brings me to something that my grandfather always said, he said, “Ryron, there are three powers in the universe.”

Ryron Gracie:
And in terms of… And I wouldn’t say the universe, I would say just in the world, because the universe, there are more powers behind us we could never imagine, but the power that exists in the world, there’s the power of money, the power of the media and the physical power. So if you have all the money in the world, you’re very powerful. If you have the media in your corner, if you own Viacom or whatever media, very powerful, very influential. And if you have the physical means to overcome and overpower anybody in, out and defeat anybody and to fight someone and to win the fight that in itself has a power. And even to defend yourself, someone can be worth 700 or $10 billion but he, at the same time, doesn’t have the confidence if he’s in a parking lot and someone spits on him and says, “Hey, give me your car keys.” All of a sudden his world is crumbling inside.

Ryron Gracie:
So the power, the currency that I have from knowing that I can defend myself in a physical situation, that I have the confidence to communicate to somebody in a very deescalatory manner. If I’m verbally attacked, I have the confidence to speak to somebody and to kind of verbally deescalate the situation. And if anything happens, if they happen to cross the line, I can defend myself, that confidence allows me to step out into the world in a different way. And the same goes for doing something very kind of scary or challenging.

Ryron Gracie:
If somebody says, “Ryron, hey, try this,” and I try it and I fail and I look like a fool, it’s okay because I failed at that, but there’s a confidence that exists inside of me that is still right there. It’s in my corner. Now, let me tell you this, that confidence of being able to defend yourself comes even second to the confidence and the belief that you, just you alone, even without the martial arts, you are a very, very special, powerful, amazing human being. And you David and myself, I am no more special than you are on this planet.

Ryron Gracie:
We’re all here just playing the game of life. And it’s easy for me to sometimes think that because I’m a Black Belt and because I can beat you up that I’m greater than you, but it’s not the case. That’s my ego. And that’s my insecurity reminding myself or trying to tell myself that I’m better than others, than many, than most. But going back to the confidence that I can defend myself, helps in so many areas to the point where I’ve been offered marijuana, I’ve been offered drugs or alcohol, and I don’t drink alcohol. If you drink alcohol, that’s great. We can still be friends. You’re amazing. It’s just not for me.

Ryron Gracie:
So when somebody offers me a beer and I say, “Oh, no, thank you.” There’s no pressure. When somebody offers me a cupcake and I say, “No, thanks. I don’t want to eat a random cupcake,” I don’t feel guilty for saying no to somebody. So this confidence that was almost drilled into me by way of me learning how to fight and defend myself is priceless. And today, the big balance for me today is to just really keep in mind that in the eyes of the universe, we’re all equal. We’re all amazing people.

Ryron Gracie:
Obviously some have more influence than others in the world. Some might help more people than others. Some might have a charity that helps 10,000 people, gives food here and there. But really when I look at a human being today, there’s a feeling of almost like you’re my brother, you’re my sister, we’re on the same team even though I have no idea who you are and I’m just living and enjoying my life. So back to the challenges, back to the difficult times, do you feel you yourself, are you someone that embraces difficulty and challenge and struggle?

David:
I think I avoid it when my environment is soft and easy. And I think when my environment becomes harsh, I all of a sudden value that edge that you get from. And that’s something about myself I don’t like that I can’t just stick to that principle the same all the time. So like when I was in law enforcement and I worked in the jails, we would have violent inmates that would come in there. And I had an experience with somebody who trained and I did not train, but I was bigger than them so I just thought that’s all it would take and I couldn’t control them. And they were controlling me until someone got there. And it was a horrible feeling. All I could think about was what if people weren’t coming? And so that lit this fire in me that I was working out every day before I went in there and I’m watching videos.

David:
And I remember in the academy we were doing, it’s called sustained resistance, which is basically like the worst 20 minutes of your entire life, where they just gas you out as much as they can then make you fight forever. And the person did something where I was on top of them simulating punches and they threw their leg over my head. And I was like, “Are you an idiot? What are you doing?” And then the next thing my arms locked and said, “I didn’t even know that was bad that someone could put their leg over me. What else don’t I know?” And that lit this thing where I was waking up every day and running and working out and studying the defensive tactics, because my environment made it valuable for me to do that. And I got away from it and I got into a world where I’m leading people and I’m selling real estate and I’m a business person. And so I stopped valuing that other type of thing.

Ryron Gracie:
Yeah. It’s almost… I’ve heard that it take a nightmare for someone to wake up.

David:
That’s good.

Ryron Gracie:
Something’s got to happen. And I’ve seen many cases of this, right? Someone who I know, who knows someone, that their mother gets cancer and now the whole family’s eating vegetables and juicing, it changes the whole family. So I guess that’s part of life, things happen and we gather information from an experience and we say, “Okay, now that we know this is possible, how can we go forward from here? What do we want to equip ourselves with?” And in many cases, jiu-jitsu is something self-defense, self-confidence.

Ryron Gracie:
The ability to defend yourself and your family is something that comes into people’s minds quite often, because we live in a wild world where people are saying and doing things that make no sense and there is a lot of collateral damage, right? The most random acts of violence, especially today with the social media, people are seeing just crazy things. So I can imagine. And we are seeing it more than ever that people are making steps towards working on themselves in terms of their physical safety. And even it’s also psychological or emotional, your ability to defend yourself physically spills over into other areas of your life.

Ryron Gracie:
And I guess real estate investment or investments of any sort is another way of taking care of yourself, because you never know what the world’s going to throw at you. 10 years from now, 20 years from now, we don’t know what’s going to happen. So what can we do to create a certain comfort around ourselves so that we can enjoy lives and maybe having a couple investments, whether that’s in real estate or whether it’s in stocks, who knows? But the point is that investing somewhere and having some kind of a cushion in terms of money, I think most people would agree is necessary.

Ryron Gracie:
Now, do they have the confidence to step out and do it or the knowledge or the path? We don’t know. And that’s for people like yourself to educate the world on that. And the same goes for learning self-defense. And now no matter where you are or who you are, we have a huge platform for teaching jiu-jitsu online. It’s gracieuniversity.com. And we’ve gotten a lot of heat from people saying, “Yeah, you shouldn’t be teaching the martial arts online.” And the reason why is because it’s never been done before.

Ryron Gracie:
20 years ago, 15 years ago, 30 years ago, there was no art. When did the internet even start? People weren’t teaching online 40 years ago, you had to travel from who knows where to who knows where to learn from the master. But now we’re teaching online. And is it replacing in-person classes? No, but when you have thousands and thousands of people who don’t have a school near them, but at the same time they do have two or three friends that they can meet within the garage, why not have an online class that is laid out for you literally the most introductory level technique all the way to the most advance with everything kind of thought out protecting the students, helping them work together and build each other?

Ryron Gracie:
So we’re in a time right now where if you ask me, it’s about better understanding yourself, but at the same time, it’s also creating a certain protection around yourself, which like I just said, financial, physical, relational. It’s good to have friends and family around you. People that you care and love, to have those people nearby, that’s as important as having money to eat is having friends and family and loved ones around you.

David:
To be candid, I think part of the reason that you and I are both very passionate about the things that we teach is that, for instance, I’ve seen somebody can come spit in your face, talk trash, disrespect you, poke you in the chest with their finger, most human beings would be controlled by that person. They would match the energy that they’re being given and they would get pulled into what that other person wanted, which was a way to vent whatever anger they’re having, feel more powerful about themselves by getting into a fight and hopefully winning. But the person who ends up in the situation being poked in the chest, they weren’t looking for a fight that day, they got pulled into a fight. And someone like you, that just isn’t going to happen. You’re not going to fight unless you decide that that’s the best way. You’re not going to be taken advantage of.

David:
And I noticed with wealth building, it would be almost impossible for someone to pull me into some scam, one of those like pyramid scheme type of situations, because I know the principles of wealth building, I know what works and what doesn’t work. I know what a good decision looks like versus a bad. So immediately I spot that there’s no way that would work and this is ridiculous and I know the motivation of the person doing it, I’m safe. I don’t have to go get into these bad business deals and figure out the hard way just like you wouldn’t have to get into a fight. And that’s one of the reasons I really encourage people to get out of their comfort zone and get into this world because you Ryron walking around in a bad neighborhood are way more comfortable than someone who isn’t familiar with this. That doesn’t know… It’s kind of like you ever meet someone that grew up never around dogs?

Ryron Gracie:
Yeah.

David:
And they can’t tell when the dog is actually happy or mad, they’re just scared of all dogs, right? And when you’re familiar with dogs, you’re like it’s wagging its tail and is licking your leg, what are you worried about? But they can’t really see the difference. Is that something that you’ve noticed as well?

Ryron Gracie:
It’s the comfort, right? You are comfortable in your business that you exist in right now. So when someone comes with a deal that’s kind of a little bit shady, you don’t jump on it because there’s not this void inside of you, this discomfort, and also this feeling of not enoughness. And maybe there’s not the financial struggle where somebody else-

David:
I’m not as tempted to make that bad decision because I’m not in a place of lack.

Ryron Gracie:
There you go. The same goes for a street fight. Same goes in everyday life. If I’m in the street and I see someone who is… Just a random person gets their chest poked and says, “Hey, you’re an idiot. Get out of here.” And you see someone’s chest get poked, if that person doesn’t feel like they are enough, doesn’t feel in their own skin, “You know what? Man, I’m a little bit overweight. I don’t have the living situation that I want to have. I just lost my girlfriend,” whatever it may be. “I’m not feeling enough.” Then that’s an opportunity for them to show that they’re enough. Now the part of them that’s going to want to show that they’re enough is the part of them that we don’t even really want to come out and to speak because they’re going to show that they’re enough by saying, “Hey you, don’t talk to me like that. Get out of my face.” And yelling back. And they’re going to try to be big and be more and be powerful.

Ryron Gracie:
So those that are not powerful, those that feel, like you said, that lack and that had that insecurity, they want to flex. Now that is one path someone can take, or they can take the path of kind of cowering and then going home and, “Oh my gosh.” And they call their friend, “I can’t believe someone said this to me. Oh my gosh.” And they tell 10 friends over the next hour of how someone poked their chest and called them an idiot. And they have a hard time eating and they have an upset stomach, but they didn’t say anything to the person.

David:
Yep. That makes the lack worse.

Ryron Gracie:
Correct. So either A, you overcompensate or B, you basically put yourself in a hole and you cower. So when you have jiu-jitsu or when you have the comfort and the knowledge that you have in terms of your business dealings… When I have jiu-jitsu, this hasn’t happened to… It’s happened to me a few times, but it hasn’t happened to the… That’s not true. Yeah, I’ve been pushed my chest. The guy pushes my chest and says, “Hey, F you man, get out of my face,” in a party in a restaurant kind of bar area. And my immediate response is, “Hey man, I’m so sorry for inconveniencing you,” but not from a place of fear, from a place of, wow, this person right here, they’re through something. And it’s from a place almost of peace. And I have my hands in somewhat of a ready position.

Ryron Gracie:
I’m talking with my hands up. And if at any moment they want to punch me, it’s okay, we’re going to dance. And if my words of saying, “Hey, I apologize, sorry for inconveniencing you. I’m going to move out of the way. And man, enjoy your day. I made a mistake. I shouldn’t have been standing here.” And I move away and it ends it, that’s great. It can end both ways, no problem. But the point is it’s true, I will not get pulled in to this battle especially in the physical, in the verbal. The verbal is huge. How often are people verbally disrespected? I can’t remember the last time I was verbally disrespected, but if you ask somebody, they would say, “Yep, that person just verbally disrespected Ryron.”

Ryron Gracie:
So I did not feel disrespected because I allow myself to kind of almost go to a different frequency of that person. And I accept, I acknowledge and I accept that they’re having a hard time. There’s pain right there. And they’re throwing the pain in my direction and I don’t want… Sometimes it can be someone that I know. It can be a loved one. It could be a friend, family. So I don’t want to completely ignore it, but I want to be careful not to be too caught up into it because that’s not going to be helping anybody.

David:
Yeah. It just amplifies that combative energy when you go throw the same thing back. And it’s very difficult, I’ve found, for anyone to fight when they’re not mad. I mean, you got to be trained to be able to fight when you’re not angry. You could, you do it all the time.

Ryron Gracie:
That’s the thing though now. You have to ask… When I think about jiu-jitsu, the idea of fighting when you’re not mad, if someone puts their finger in my chest and says, “Yeah, man, get out of my face,” and then he throws a punch and I cover myself and I tackle him to the ground and now I’m controlling him on the ground, am I fighting him?

David:
No. I mean, depends how you define fighting, but doesn’t sound like it. He hasn’t been hurt.

Ryron Gracie:
There you go. He hasn’t been hurt. That’s a good way to define fighting. People are not hurting each other. He’s trying to hurt me so he may be fighting me.

David:
He’s fighting, but you’re not fighting him.

Ryron Gracie:
Yes. But I’m not fighting. Okay. And this goes the same for… I always tell this funny story that if you, for example, let’s say you’re in a restaurant and you see me fighting a 70 year old lady who’s in the restaurant who happened to… I stepped on her foot as I walked by her booth and she yelled at me. And then she started hitting my face and put her finger in my face, and let’s just say that I needed to take her down to the ground and control this 75 year old, 80 year old woman on the ground, if you see that happening, you don’t even have to call the police, you don’t have to call the manager, you don’t have to take a picture or video or get up. You don’t have to do anything. You can just keep enjoying your meal because she is in very, very good hands. I’m not fighting her.

Ryron Gracie:
And this is exactly why jiu-jitsu is one of the most beautiful and most powerful martial arts in the world because we can defend ourselves and the person that we happen to get into a verbal or even worse, a physical altercation with you need to have… Are you married?

David:
No.

Ryron Gracie:
You’re not married, but when you get married or if you have a girlfriend, whenever if you get into a relationship and if I start fighting your partner, your loved one, you can just chill out and say, “Oh, it’s okay. Ryron is fighting my partner.” It’s no problem because I’m not going to do anything beyond what’s necessary. And what’s necessary against a situation of an unskilled person is so, so little. And isn’t that what life’s all about, right? It’s just doing what’s necessary. Figure out how little you need to do to solve any given situation and do it.

Ryron Gracie:
And when it comes to fighting, when somebody throws a punch at me, I need to do so little to avoid the punch and keep from being punched with follow striking attempts and just control the person. And then after two and a half minutes, I can say, “Hey, here we are. Is everything okay? I can see you’re having a hard day. I can see I made you angry and I’m ready to get up and get out of here and be done with this. Can I let go of you? Can we go home?” And when they say, “Yes,” it’s a wrap.

David:
So I think that’s what I was getting at. You can bring somebody’s energy down to where they don’t even want to fight because they’re not angry anymore. And what I really want people to take out of why we are interviewing you specifically about this mindset is not everybody listening is worried about getting in a fight. Maybe they live in a world where it just doesn’t happen often. Now, I would tell you, you may have lived in that world a long time, that doesn’t mean it’s going to stay that way. Ryron and your brother, Rener, just put a really good video on their Instagram about a person who got into a traffic collision, a small one with somebody and that person just brought the fight to them. They didn’t really get a chance not to fight, but even if that isn’t what you’re worried about, when you’re in a place of lack, you are easily controlled by outside forces, okay?

David:
If you feel like you’re not strong enough, someone can talk you into a fight. When you are not confident with your own financial situation, you are vulnerable to scams. Like Ryron you mentioned the whole, I could puff my chest and want to prove that I’m tougher than you, that’s the person who wants to drive a car nicer than what they can afford and wear a watch nicer than what they can afford, because they need to let the world know I’m a somebody. And then there’s people that take the other path and what they say are things like, “Well, money doesn’t matter to me. So I’m going to live in my mom’s basement and I’m going to make my own soap. And I’m going to work at Starbucks because it’s not challenging me in any way.” And that’s the cowering person.

David:
Neither of those people are happy. It’s both a response to a place of lack because you don’t have the confidence that you can provide the life that you want for yourself, whether that’s through real estate or anything else. And that’s what I really want people to hear. It’s when you avoid the challenge of the difficult situation like the person walking into the academy that’s scared and they just leave. You’re not really controlling your life at that point, you’re driving a car and you’re wearing clothes to impress other people or you’re hiding from the world and trying to prove to them that you don’t need to play by their rules as you are living broke all the time eating top ramen because of that place of lack. That the way out of it is you have to answer the difficult call and Ryron you make your living helping people through that journey.

Ryron Gracie:
It’s so common, especially amongst men. And you said it in the very beginning. You said when you start training in the martial arts jiu-jitsu, you realize that you’re not as good, right? You said as you thought you were.

David:
Yeah.

Ryron Gracie:
And what people also say is that when you start jiu-jitsu, as you start to learn, you realize how little you really know. Because for example, in the beginning you think I’m ready to fight, and then you learn one technique and you say, “Oh my gosh, there is so much that I don’t know.” Now, when you’re exposed to how much you don’t know, again, here you are. You’re at the fork in the road. Looking to the right, there are so many situations that I don’t have answers to, looking to the left, I can continue. It’s like the matrix, the two pills.

David:
Yeah. The red pill and the blue pill.

Ryron Gracie:
Continue living in a world where I just, like you said, go to Starbucks, get up in the morning, Starbucks, go back home, I sleep in the basement. You can continue in that world or you can say, “You know what? I don’t know what’s down that path right there but if there’s one thing I do know is that I’m capable. If there’s one thing I do know is that the information is out there to help me through all of these unknown moments.” So yes, we make a living out of showing people how little they know when it comes to personal protection, but then immediately after we show them what they don’t know, we give them a solution.

Ryron Gracie:
And that’s what you said is addicting. And now the person says, “Wow, never in my life. I didn’t even know that being in this position was bad, but now I know it’s bad. And I know that if I get there, I have an answer.” And that small example can apply to anything in the world, anything that you want to involve yourself with. You involve yourself with something, you start working on something and you say, “Oh my gosh, I have no idea what I’m doing.”

Ryron Gracie:
If you put in the work, it’s only a matter of time before you say, “Oh, I understand this.” And understanding it then that builds the confidence. And that confidence is what allows us… That confidence is what I believe people need. It’s a really hard time right now in the world. There’s so much uncertainty. People are very afraid. It’s a very scary time in the world. Matter of fact, it’s always a scary time in the world. Not right now, even eight years ago, it was a scary time. People are always struggling with something. So find something that you’re uncomfortable with or you’re unfamiliar with and go become familiar and build confidence and then see what happens.

David:
Would you say with the students you’ve had over the years you’ve noticed that the confidence they develop training in jiu-jitsu is actually translating into other areas of their life as well?

Ryron Gracie:
Yes. I have had people tell me, “Man, there’s no doubt. 100%, it has rolled over into their everyday lives.” In terms of simple answer is just being more observant, not being in such a rush to do anything. Just wait a little bit, give it a moment, even in how you respond to someone, right? When one of your loved ones says something to you that is somewhat four years before might’ve gotten a rise out of you. Now when they respond, give a moment. The same way you give a moment when you land in a position that is unfamiliar to you, give a moment to analyze the position before responding or overreacting. Hopefully you’re responding, you’re not overreacting. So the same goes for in everyday life, whether it’s a business encounter or a personal family encounter, when something happens, take a breath.

Ryron Gracie:
I’ve heard that a fair amount of times, and I’ve had so much gratitude. It could be someone who’s a doctor. It can be someone who’s an attorney. It doesn’t matter what line of work somebody is in, they’re extremely grateful for the lessons that they have learned in jiu-jitsu, the principles that they have learned in jiu-jitsu and how they’re applying those lessons and principles to all different kinds of situations that the world throws at them.

David:
So there you go. If you’re having a hard time overcoming your fear of getting started, if you’re stuck in analysis paralysis, and you just want to analyze everything and not take action, the answer might be not in real estate. It might be finding something else like jiu-jitsu that might actually give you some of the tools that you need to take on the world of real estate or the world of entrepreneurial-ism, or just tackling your own personal debt that’s crushing you right now. I think a lot of people just stare at that mountain and they go, “I’ll never get over it,” as opposed to, “Hey, maybe I could take a path over to this side, build up some skills and then that mountain doesn’t seem so hard.” So for people that are hearing this and they’re thinking, hey, I want to check this out and I’m glad that I’m not going to get thrown into the lion’s den, there’s actually teachers that are going to walk me through this, where can they get more information about what you guys provide?

Ryron Gracie:
Thank you for asking that. And I’m almost asking the question for people who would like to experience a little bit of discomfort and then right after be given the solution that helps take away that discomfort, where can you go? And the answer is Gracie University. Our headquarters is here in Torrance, California in Los Angeles. And we also have gracieuniversity.com, as I mentioned earlier, which is our online platform as well as we have maybe 160 plus certified training centers. So we have schools around the world that are teaching the same programs that we teach and the same teaching methodology, the same care that we take for a new student when they walk in the building, how we treat that new student, we teach that to all of our schools around the world so they would be happy to receive anybody and to have an intro class with them. So gracieuniversity.com is where you can find a list of those schools and also find our headquarters here in Torrance, California.

David:
That is awesome. And to people who still say, “I don’t like discomfort,” if you’re just stuck there, I want to ask you this question, does food tastes best when you’re full or when you’re hungry? When you go through discomfort and someone puts you in a position that does not feel good, all of a sudden you’re hungry for the answers that you need.

Ryron Gracie:
My brother tells a story about how he hated to eat beets, but then one day he got to the table and there was only beets out, but he was starving. So he ate the beets. The beets served the purpose and beats became… Now he loves beets. So a 100% food tastes better when you’re hungry.

David:
Yes. And I think a lot of human beings operate better when they’re coming from a place of hunger. So if discomfort causes hunger, it’s okay, that’s some good medicine for you, okay? We don’t want you to starve. So don’t worry about being overwhelmed by discomfort to where you just want to run away and hide, right? Starving is bad but hunger is good. So thank you, Ryron. I love your mind, man. I love hearing how you look at things. I love hearing the approach to stuff you’ve had. I love that you’ve gone through a crucible of fire to become as good as you are at what you do and you don’t selfishly just take that and look down at other people. You want to share that experience with everybody else and you’re very humble with the way you do it. So I’m just appreciative that people like you exist in the world that we can all learn from.

Ryron Gracie:
Thank you so much. I feel very honored. My grandfather and his brother and my father, my uncles, so many Gracies, so many people in my family has… I guess the arrow has been thrown. I use the analogy that someone threw the arrow, my grandfather Helio Gracie and his brother, and then so many people in my family are just doing everything to continue to push that arrow forward. And that arrow is sharing that which has done so much for our family and that which we see do so much for so many other families, men, women, and children all around the world. So thank you for allowing me to explain what it is that we do. And hopefully I’ll share the mat with you one day. I would love to be doing some jiu-jitsu with you. When the time allows, we can share a mat together and just go deeper into the principles and the techniques of jiu-jitsu, as well as anybody else out there who wants to learn jiu-jitsu, we’re here for you.

David:
I would love that man. And from the law enforcement community, I also just want to say thank you very much for frankly the benevolence that you show that community, the passion you guys have for helping police officers be better, control people much more safely, reducing the use of force that’s causing such a division in our country right now between law enforcement and the citizens that we have. And that was where I first came across you and your brother Rener was I was a defensive tactics instructor as a police officer, and I loved every single thing that you guys did for us.

Ryron Gracie:
Got it.

David:
We are going to move into the last portion of our show here, we call it The Famous Four where I’m going to ask you a couple of questions just to get to know you a little bit better, dive deeper into your mind. The first one is, what is something that you are currently working on that you’re passionate about right now?

Ryron Gracie:
What I’m passionate about right now is identifying the things that I identify with. There are things that I can sometimes feel a sense of superiority and specialness because I have these things. And for example, I haven’t told anybody this, but I drove a Tesla for five years, but I started feeling that when I would drive my Tesla there was this sense of like, yeah, I would pour mess with a car that wasn’t a Tesla. And I noticed myself feeling like, yeah, look at my car. Just in my mind, it was so small. And then I said, “Oh my gosh, I can’t.” I was feeling greater than other people. I was judging myself based on my Tesla. And I am not better because I have a Tesla, I am fortunate that I have a life that allowed me to get a Tesla.

Ryron Gracie:
So then I got rid of it and now I don’t drive a Tesla anymore. So it’s been very, very enjoyable noticing the things that I look at and I say, “Wow, look at what I have.” Like my wife, for example, there’s the extreme like my wife is beautiful and I’m so proud of my wife. She’s my property. So now there’s this feeling of like, hey, if she wants to travel for three weeks to who knows where with her friends on a trip, there’s this like, “Okay, you go and do it. I don’t need you here always around me.” I need to let go of these things that I have somewhat built my identity around, which is very scary because a huge identity of mine is jiu-jitsu. So what that means is I’m going to have to stop doing jiu-jitsu, which is crazy. I’m not going to stop forever, but I’m going to release jiu-jitsu at some phase of my life. I have to release it so that I can come to terms that I am not jiu-jitsu and I am way beyond it.

David:
You’re creating discomfort in your own life to be a better version of you. And it’s funny to hear you say that thought about you would never actually say to somebody, “I have a Tesla,” but just the thought in the back of your mind that you could see this weakness starting to creep in, then you knew you had to cut it off right there. I struggle with that all the time. It’s one of the reasons I drive a Camry. I don’t like the way I feel when I drive a nice car and music can do that to me sometimes. Certain music can just create this like wavelength in my brain where I start thinking I’m cool and then I just lose myself. It’s like you just get caught up in this wave that takes you and so that’s great advice for people to listen to that little voice because I think a lot of really bad decisions get made from the wave carrying you so far that you couldn’t stop yourself while if you’d have stopped it in the beginning-

Ryron Gracie:
I think the Tesla’s not a problem, but believing that without the Tesla, I am less. That’s where I was like, “Oh shoot. Let me check this, I need to test this. So I need to get rid of it and now see how I feel it.” Okay. I feel okay. I’m still me. Now if I get a Tesla again one day, who knows, but the point is that I don’t need a Tesla to exist to be me. I can drive a car that everybody drives. Everyone drives Tesla these days-

David:
The Tesla test, test the Tesla.

Ryron Gracie:
Yeah.

David:
That’s good. Okay. Next question. Do you have a favorite business book or maybe just a favorite personal development book?

Ryron Gracie:
Right now I’m very much enjoying, which I think it is a business book, business communication. I’m really enjoying Nonviolent Communication. I’ve been listening to it a lot, Nonviolent Communication. And I would say that’s my favorite book right now because my favorite book is my favorite book in the moment.

David:
Who wrote Nonviolent Communication?

Ryron Gracie:
I think it’s Marshall Rosenberg, Marshall something.

David:
Okay. What’s on the street is that you don’t own a TV? Is that true?

Ryron Gracie:
I did not own a TV for many years because my children, I didn’t want them watching TV. Marshall Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication it is. So I don’t want my kids watching TV because I felt like they needed to just find a way to be creative and kind of self-sooth and entertain themselves and I to read them books a lot. I was never really a big book reader. I started more. I have like seven or eight books that I’m cycling through right now on audible, no TV. But I would say about a year ago when COVID… Six months before COVID I got a TV. Six months before COVID someone gifted me their used TV. So now I’m back on it. The kids watch TV on the weekends. It’s very rare they’d watch anything on a weekday.

David:
Okay. Outside of jiu-jitsu, what are some of your hobbies?

Ryron Gracie:
The ocean. I like cold plunging. I like riding bikes. Man, I like hiking. I like going for walks. I like outdoors. I love the outdoors. The thing is I enjoy everything. I enjoy playing soccer with friends on the beach. So when you say a hobby, I feel like you’re asking for something that I do somewhat regularly. And for me, that would be riding bicycles or I enjoy yoga. I do yoga, Kundalini yoga on the beach, and I like cold plunging and more than ever, I’m enjoying having the uncomfortable conversations with my wife.

Ryron Gracie:
It’s becoming somewhat of something that I’m not running away from. I turned off all social media, January 4th or 5th. I erased all the apps on my phone. They’re still there. You can still find me, but I stopped posting. I stopped looking at everything because I really want to have the conversations around difficult feelings and emotions that I realized a year ago I might’ve like, “Man, come on. I don’t want to hear this.” So I’m enjoying the discomforts, like I said, that come up, the arguments, the motions, and the big feelings. Even though they’re still difficult, I’m almost making it a hobby to learn to navigate and sit with these difficult conversations.

David:
It sounds like what you’re saying is you’re taking jiu-jitsu principles and you’re bringing them into the emotions of a combative conversation where people can hurt each other very easily. And you’re trying to learn how do I take the desire to take this hurt coming at me and gently control it, right?

Ryron Gracie:
Yes. It’s so tough, right? Most men that I know, they’re not really trying to get into the big emotional conversations. They’re just like, “Come on, whatever we can do to get over this.” But the thing is why don’t I want to have the difficult conversations? What am I running from? What am I hiding? What is it about my wife saying X, Y, and Z that makes me feel uncomfortable. Is it something that happened in my childhood about how I was raised? Is it my beliefs as to who I am as a man? Who knows? There’s all kinds of weird things that are happening and my wife is really good about making me uncomfortable, but then again, is she making me uncomfortable? No, she’s not making me uncomfortable.

David:
Is she exposing your lack of tools in that-

Ryron Gracie:
Yes. She is the stimulus, right? And that’s what the book explains, she’s the stimulus to my discomfort and my pain and my sadness. She’s not the cause.

David:
We might have to talk about that more as you get better at this because I’d say, I think almost every man I know, including me, is a White Belt when it comes to having these conversations, less than a White Belt, like a clear belt, whatever that would be, don’t even have a belt. And that’s a big struggle of mine. So I’m glad you’re venturing in there first Ryron. Thank you. Once you get to the top, throw down a rope and then show me how to get there too.

Ryron Gracie:
I’ll let you know when I get my Blue Belt.

David:
All right. When it comes to those who succeed in your academies, what sets apart those successful people from those who give up fail or never get started?

Ryron Gracie:
What separates the successful from the rest of the people on the mat. So someone who figures out sooner than later that the answers to the problems, the situations, the challenges are inside of them, someone who gives themselves permission to look within themselves to find the answers, to look at all of their past experiences and all of their tools and their arsenal of information and techniques to say, “You know what? I’m going to solve this.” Someone who takes ownership of their jiu-jitsu is going to do great. They’re going to soar. They’re going to be around for a long time. That you have to use your instructors, use your teachers, use your resources, but there comes a point where you’ve had enough help from the outside world and now go figure it out, go put everything that you’ve learned, put it to the test, put it together and apply it.

Ryron Gracie:
So that right there combined with an understanding that we are not here on the mat in jiu-jitsu to win right now and to be good today and to submit somebody, to armbar somebody and have a good role today, we’re doing jiu-jitsu because we want to be around the energy, the energy of good people, of people working together helping each other. We want to be around the energy of problem solving people. We want to be around. We want to practice applying these principles and these techniques on the mat so that one day when we’re put to the test in life, we can call on these principles or techniques. So people often quit because they’re thinking short-term gratification. They want to have a good training session that day, and they want to break a sweat and they want to do two moves successfully.

Ryron Gracie:
But those that realize that jiu-jitsu can be with you for the rest of your life and that it can be a tool that, like we mentioned, in many times can help you in many areas of life, they stay with it. Now, how they stay with it will change. When you hit a certain age, you may not be able to do jiu-jitsu how you did when you were 27 years old. And that’s okay, you’re modifying how you do jiu-jitsu. You could be 79 years old and you can walk on the mat and just be in the conversations and be in the discussions and just talk about the technique and leave.

Ryron Gracie:
And that’s much different than the 79 year old, who hasn’t done anything physical or challenged himself mentally or physically since he was 44, since he started having bad shoulders. So I have no doubt if my grandfather could be on the mat until he was 96, anybody can. So let go of this idea of having to beat everybody up and just have fun and at the same time ask yourself the question, challenge yourself, become the scientist that you need to be. Not that you need to be, become the scientist and when you become the scientist, you’ll be on the map forever.

David:
Did you hear that BiggerPockets? There were so many good nuggets in there. First off, quit looking for somebody else to be responsible for directing and guiding your success. The forums are a place where you can use as a resource to get answers to questions. And Brandon and I are people that can help direct you but your success is on you. I’d say a 100%, the agents that join my real estate team, if they show up thinking it’s David’s job to turn me into a Black Belt, they never make it. If they come in here saying, “I need to be a great realtor,” and they’re hungry, man, the food I give them nourishes them and they take off.

David:
And then I also loved that you said jiu-jitsu changes as your body changes just like wealth building as you grow. When you’re some 22 year old kid, you may be out there knocking on everybody’s door and asking if they want to sell their house and when you get older and you’re kind of set, you can be lending money to other people or educating people and building a network and a community that you make your wealth out of instead of you being the hustler out there doing it.

David:
So just that flexibility of the mind that it is okay to do it differently than you did it before or differently than what you see other people doing is literally how your grandfather Helio developed jiu-jitsu. It’s okay to do something different than what I’ve seen everyone do. So, man, I love talking to you. All right, last question of the day. We normally ask where can people find out more about you, but you’ve already told us gracieuniversity.com is the best place to go. What about a course that you are working on right now that you think people should check out?

Ryron Gracie:
So for those who have zero experience in jiu-jitsu, gracieuniversity.com has so much for you for entry-level students. We just recorded a course and it’s not available yet. It will be available soon, but you can check out onecommune.com. And there’s a very interesting course that we just recorded. It’s 10 lessons and it should be available in the next couple months on onecommune.com. It’s a very special course because it is 100% strike punching free. There’s no punches. We don’t talk about punching and we don’t talk about armbars and submissions. It is strictly a survival course, 10 lessons on survival. And if any one of you was going to get in a fight in 10 days and you had to prepare for this fight, we would teach you these 10 lessons. That is how we created the course. That’s what we had in mind as we’re creating the course. So maybe some of you will enjoy that course when the time comes.

David:
Yeah. And we do the same thing here at BiggerPockets. We’re always thinking about how do we reach these people? How do we get these ones that are feeling this feeling or struggling with this thing or having this problem? So I’m going to start telling people that BiggerPockets is the BJJ of real estate. Actually, I probably won’t say that, but I just want everyone listening to hear it. All right, my man, thank you very much. We went a little overtime and I really appreciate your time. I appreciate your patience with us and sharing your resources. Any last words before we get out of here?

Ryron Gracie:
No, I appreciate it. Thanks for having me and I look forward to seeing you on the mat.

David:
All right. Thank you brother.

Ryron Gracie:
All the best.

Outro:
You’re listening to BiggerPockets Radio, simplifying real estate for investors, large and small. If you’re here looking to learn about real estate investing, without all the hype, you’re in the right place. Stay tuned and be sure to join the millions of others who have benefited from biggerpockets.com, your home for real estate investing online.

 

 

Watch the Episode Here

 

Help Us Out!

Help us reach new listeners on iTunes by leaving us a rating and review! It takes just 30 seconds and instructions can be found here. Thanks! We really appreciate it!

In This Episode We Cover:

  • Emotional Jiu-Jitsu” and how to find comfort in difficult conversations
  • Taking the fight to the ground and changing the game
  • The crossovers between martial arts and building wealth through real estate
  • Putting your ego and insecurity to the side and doing what’s truly best for you
  • Realizing when you’re coming from a place of lack
  • And So Much More!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show:

Connect with our Ryron: