Rickson Gracie gives off such a peaceful aura, it’s hard to think he can make you cry “uncle” and tap out with the greatest of ease. But only a fool would doubt his deadliness. The 58-year-old Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and mixed martial arts legend boasts an undefeated record and a level of respect few can match in the fighting community.
A large part of Gracie’s peaceful demeanor off the mat, though, comes from expressions of nature, be it art or surfing, music or snowboarding. And that connection is on full display in his partnership with Citizens of Humanity during their yearlong program “Just Like You.” The campaign spotlights more than 20 individuals who inspired the fashion brand with a video package and limited edition T-shirts designed in collaboration with the visionaries. Gracie’s video debuts today, and the proceeds from sales of his tees will go to The Rockson Gracie Foundation, a charity created to give underprivileged youths refuge in Jiu-Jitsu.
The charity represents Gracie’s attitude toward Jiu-Jitsu and MMA: neither are just a fighting tool. In that vein, Gracie offers five surprising reasons why MMA is one of the best—and most beneficial—workouts around.
It helps you handle stress. Dealing with office politics takes its toll on even the most level-headed man, and a workout based in mixed martial arts—which offers a chaos your regular gym workout can’t match—will teach you how to handle yourself under pressure. “Mentally, you learn how to have emotional control in stressful situations,” Gracie says. Experience with gaining control over your stress will translate into your personal life, giving you a more calming presence.