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Breathe: A Life in Flow


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Rickson Gracie, member of the most prominent martial arts family, was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he entered his first Jiu Jitsu competition at the age of six. By the age of fifteen he was teaching his family's martial art. For almost two decades, Gracie reigned as world Jiu Jitsu champion in both the middle heavy weight and open divisions. He retired from fighting with an undefeated record. Since retiring, he has focused on unifying and spreading his family martial art through his Global Jiu Jitsu Federation. Today, he teaches seminars around the world and his students come from all walks of life: men, women, children, senior citizens, law enforcement officers, military personnel, veterans suffering from PTSD, and martial artists of all styles. A film about his life, Dead or Alive, directed by Narcos director Jose Padilha, is currently in production from Netflix. Peter Maguire is the author of Law and War, Facing Death in Cambodia, and Thai Stick, which he is presently developing into a feature film for Netflix. Maguire has taught the law and theory of war at Columbia University, Bard College, and University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His book Thai Stick was nominated for American Historical Association's Gerry Bentley Prize for global history and Columbia Journalism School's J. Anthony Lucas Prize for excellence in nonfiction. A coauthor of the script for the Rickson Gracie film Dead or Alive, Maguire has been Rickson's student and friend for over 25 years.


Breathe: A Life in Flow is at its best when it tells beautiful, small little stories illustrating this truth about how Gracie moves through the world, as a fighter, a surfer, and a man doing his best to be his best.--Carolyn Lee Adams, Bloody Elbow
"One of my favorite books on martial arts are Takuan SoHo's The Unfettered Mind. Takuan was not a sword master--he was a Zen Master who wrote about the sword, in spite of never having fought with one. And yet his writings were revered by Japan's legendary sword masters, including Miyamoto Musashi. Why? Because Takuan understood that a fluid mindset is required to excel in both combat and life. Rickson Gracie is the embodiment of this mindset. His book Breathe tells the story of his life, a journey that taught him how deal with pressure with an unfettered mind. I don't know of any athlete, in any sport, who can perform in 'the zone' or 'the flow, ' the way that Rickson Gracie did." --Jose Padilha, director of Bus 174, The Elite Squad, Robocop, Narcos, and Entebbe
"Rickson Gracie and me had a match in the BYU wrestling room in 1992. He made me tap out twice and told me I was the toughest guy he'd gone against. Rickson was the best fighter I'd ever seen. He still may be."--Mark Schultz, wrestler and Olympic gold medalist
"His approach to martial arts, to the game of unarmed combat is well beyond his years. He is definitely an inspiration of mine."--Conor McGreggor, UFC double-champion
"Rickson's one of my heroes. Maybe the most dominant athlete in any sport of all time, and he's hugely inspired me. Without knowing it, he helped me a lot."--Kelly Slater, 11-time World Surfing League champion
"There is Jiu Jitsu, and then there is Rickson Gracie. All others fit neatly below. The presence of mind and body to make micro adjustments in order to occupy what he calls 'The Middle' and his deep understanding in the form of Connection and Balance sets him apart from other Masters of this so called Gentle Art. Gentle, my ass. You keep what you kill."--Maynard James Keenan, martial artist, winemaker, and lead singer of Tool and A Perfect Circle

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