"My friend, have you ever done any martial arts? My family has been doing Jiu-Jitsu for sixty-five years. We're champions. We're very well known in Brazil. Why don't you come by for a free class?"
I couldn't have imagined it then, but that moment would mark the beginning of the rest of my life...
Richard Bresler was Rorion Gracie's first student in LA, and is widely recognized as the first student of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in the USA. His memoir, WORTH DEFENDING, chronicles his over 40 years' involvement with the Gracie family and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, including the almost 20 years he spent working closely alongside Rorion helping to grow Jiu-Jitsu through the "Gracie Garages" (the first of which was in the house that Richard and Rorion shared in Hermosa Beach, CA), the founding of the Gracie Academy (made possible by a loan Richard made to Rorion), and the inception of the UFC (in which Richard invested and at which he was ringside with Hélio Gracie himself). Read the story of the birth of modern MMA from someone who was there every step of the way!
This memoir includes:
- Richard's journey out of depression and substance abuse through the transformative power of the martial arts.
- Richard's experiences training privately with many members of the Gracie family, including Rorion, Rickson, Royce, and Grandmaster Hélio himself.
- Richard's trip to Rio de Janeiro, where he shared the mats with the legendary Rolls Gracie.
- Richard's experience watching from ringside as his friend and teacher, Royce Gracie, won the first Ultimate Fighting Championship, including never-before-published photos from behind the scenes at the first UFC.
- The creation of "Krav Ground," the ground-fighting system that Richard helped develop for Krav Maga.
- Richard's experiences with and take on alternative health and dietary practices, including the Gracie diet.
- Richard's take on the current state of BJJ, and where it needs to go moving forward.
About the Authors