I was watching television as I waited to teach my Gracie Jiu Jitsu class the other day. As I flicked channels to settle on the National news, the presenter started to report on the Grant Hackett story that has been circulating over the past few days. The once Olympic and World swimming champion allegedly grabbed a knife to threaten his parents. The police were called by his father and brother and he was arrested as a result of the event. The following day, photos of a bruised Grant Hackett surfaced. He claimed to now be in hiding after an alleged physical assault by his brother.
A couple of weeks ago, I had one of my students ask me about a specific scenario where you were attacked by a loved one and how you would handle it. With the rise of the drug problem, mental illness, domestic violence, alcohol, etc. The chance of one day having to be in a situation where you need to defend yourself or a loved one from another loved one increases.
Before answering this question, I had to step back and imagine for a minute how I would feel and what I would do if I was Grant Hackett’s brother and I witnessed my sibling with a knife in his hand threatening my parents. The first thing that came to my mind was the difficulty that I would have trying to hurt a loved one to protect another loved one. In Jiu Jitsu or “The Gentle Art” which would be its Japanese translation we are taught to subdue an opponent using leverage and technique, many times without even throwing a single strike. I remember in one of the first UFC’s that I ever watched a young Royce Gracie was fighting an American Karate Legend by the name of Ron Van Clief.
Ron Van Clief was 51 years old when he took this fight, out of respect Grandmaster Helio Gracie (Royce’s father) told him to not throw any strikes and just submit the older fighter. With Brazilian Jiu Jitsu I would feel a lot more comfortable to deal with a situation where I had to neutrelize a loved one in order to protect others or themselves.
With this in mind, always remember that Jiu Jitsu is known as the Gentle Art for a reason.