Following in his father's footsteps, Carlson Gracie Jr. attempts to keep alive the legacy of Carlson Gracie Gym in his own Chicago school, and talks to us about the criteria he uses to promote students.
Training at my dad's gym was very tough, and sometimes the guy wouldn't get promoted. In my day, in order for the guy to get promoted, a black-belt had to retire. At the blue belt there were several who wanted to be the No. 1 blue-belt, so the black-belt had to retire so that the No. 1 brown-belt could got to black, in order for the No. 1 purple to go to brown, and for the No. 1 blue to move up to purple.
Those were the old days. Nowadays the sport has gotten popular, and there are lots of people. At the gym there were all types of training -- sometimes there were brawls, and only the brave would stay, and my dad valued that highly. So the guy sometimes wouldn't move up -- many stayed on, but many more quit. It was a very arduous path, but also a very serious one, which is why the greatest team of all time emerged. Because people say, "That team nowadays is very good." But none of them were shaped on just one mat; that's the difference of Carlson Gracie Team, which was shaped on just one mat area.