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ROYCE GRACIE: THE HUMBLE LEGEND

Royce Gracie is more than a legend. He’s a humble, wise man who had a tremendous impact on our island in just five days.

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By Patrick Lujan

Fame and fortune normally are followed by entourages and a list of demands.

When you are the GOAT (Greatest of All-Time) in your respective career field, you can get away with such demands with an entourage.

Royce Gracie does none of that.

Having the honor of hosting jiu-jitsu royalty, the top of the food chain, the man who single-handedly changed mixed martial arts was so surreal yet ultimately humbling.

He travels alone “so I don’t attract attention” he says. No demands for a first class seat. He’s happy with bulkhead.

Royce Gracie couldn't get enough of the beauty of our island. (GSPN photo)

Royce Gracie couldn’t get enough of the beauty of our island. (GSPN photo)

Despite Bellator making a huge announcement just a weekend prior to his long travel to Guam, he showed commitment in his promise to visit our island for the first time ever. “I’m a man of my word.”

Dusit Thani Guam Resort was gracious enough to host the living legend and his approval of the outstanding service didn’t go unnoticed as he even Instagrammed a post of the Dusit with a simple message: “Beautiful Guam.”

He was eager to feel the humidity out of the airport. “It feels like Brazil”. He couldn’t wait for the sun to come up after his 1 am arrival. First thing he says in the morning, “This is absolutely beautiful. How can you have a bad day here?” As he looked out on to Tumon Bay.

As the special guest to the 2015 GSPN Kids Jiu-Jitsu Open at the Agana Shopping Center, the much-anticipated arrival of Master Gracie was probably a little anti-climactic for the adults as he quickly got on his knees on the mat upon his entrance with the kids all in gi’s surrounding him.

“I’m here for the kids today,” he told the crowd. He swiftly gave me the microphone and started a long dialogue with the children.

With his special appearance at the GSPN Kids Jiu-Jitsu Open, his focus was all on the future of our island. (GSPN photo)

With his special appearance at the GSPN Kids Jiu-Jitsu Open, his focus was all on the future of our island. (GSPN photo)

He demanded nothing. He was game for everything. Visit the Air Force Reserve troops? “I support the law enforcement and military. Let’s go”. Want to tour the southern part of the island? “Let’s do it”.

His autographs were never rushed – he calls it art. Dining etiquette was respectful and methodical with every scrape of the fish skin.

We had to stop numerous times on our drive down south for him to hop out and take pictures. His phone is loaded with Guam photos.

At Malesso Pier, he jumped into the clear water head-first without any hesitation. “This water isn’t cold,” he said. We both agreed that the temperature of the water, the distance of locations and time are all relative.

“Everything in L.A. is so fast; just go go go,” he said about his home of 31 years. “The pace here is perfect.”

As he jumped out to take pictures at the Arriola Beach further down the road in Malesso, he said, “I don’t want to get beaten up” walking on private property. Ummm, ok.

He denied no one of a photo or autograph. The smiles and sure energy and excitement he bestowed on our island during his five days here was immeasurable.

During his seminar with the kids, he said not one word to get their attention. His sheer presence brought them to silence.

His diet was super clean, forcing me to scrap the barbecue plans. Egg whites for breakfast, usually an acai bowl or two for lunch and fresh fish for dinner (except that belly-filling seven-course meal Churrasco had for him).

Master Gracie was all smiles with his post seminar meal. (GSPN photo)

Master Gracie was all smiles with his post seminar meal. (GSPN photo)

“How does it feel hanging out with the Michael Jordan of jiu-jitsu?,” Figo instructor Luis Reyes asked me.

“It’s cool, and I don’t even roll,” was my reply.

“I bet you guys don’t talk about jiu-jitsu,” he asked.

“Nope. We talk about life.”

Our discussions were far-reaching beyond any martial art. We spoke about Guam history. The Spanish and Japanese Periods. Syria. North Korea. The digestive system. The Paris terrorist attacks. His love for guns and passion for hunting his own food. Gentlemen’s agreements. The educational system. Greed. Loyalty. The U.S. Presidential Race. How roller coasters and Sling Shots don’t quite wet his adrenaline appetite because they’re too controlled.

I was in awe driving him from the airport as I was in the presence of a sports icon. I was in awe driving him to the airport as I was in the presence of a humble man filled with wisdom I hope one day I may possess.

 

Special Thanks: GSPN couldn’t do it without our awesome sponsors and major players Agana Shopping Center, Dusit Thani Guam Resort, Guam Visitors Bureau, The Works Foundation, University of Guam, Calvo’s Select Care, Buddy’s Home Furnishings, Churrasco, TGI Friday’s, Froots, Infusion, Powerade, The Daily Post, Sorensen Broadcasting, Cauliflower Culture, Mike Kogan, Chuck Sanchez and Kevin Cruz.

*Be on the lookout for Royce Gracie on Guam documentary in the near future

A gun enthusiast and deputy officer in Albuquerque, NM, Gracie spent some time with Guam's finest during his five-day visit to Guam. (GSPN photo)

A gun enthusiast and deputy officer in Albuquerque, NM, Gracie spent some time with Guam’s finest during his five-day visit to Guam. (GSPN photo)

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Sports legend Joe Taitano used to run to school at JFK from his Yigo home and back. He continued this routine up to 1979 when he’d run from home to GW gym and back to practice for the South Pacific Games with the national basketball team. Guam went on to win its second straight SPG gold medal.

 

 

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