June 2013, Virginia, USA
Renzo Gracie is the kind of guy you would like to have as a neighbor; kind, friend, generous and always full of great martial arts techniques. He is a master instructor, fighter, and entertainer, quick on his feet, quick on the ground, and quick with a witty remark.
With Renzo at Karate College, Radford, Virginia, USA
I trained with Renzo for four summers at Karate College in Virginia. His approach was to take just three or four techniques for an hour session and work on them until everyone got them down pat. Training with such an expert was truly a great experience. Some of the concepts that he taught have been incorporated in our IKI Krav Maga system.
On occasion he brought some of this BJJ students with him; tough guys, highly skilled, but kind and patient. Renzo was strict with ranks and only awarded belts to those who really deserved them. He also had an amazing ability to remember students' names from year to year.
He has a wonderful sense of humor. Once, his phone went off, a little embarrassing during a seminar, but he turned it around and says, "It's my wife, she doesn't believe me. I tell her I am at a seminar." He noticed me meticulously taking and said, "Save a copy for me, I may want to do another book."
His techniques were impressive, but more than anything I enjoyed his happy, positive, and friendly disposition. I also had the opportunity to train with his cousin Rodrigo Gracie in New York. When I told Renzo, he said, "Yeah, but I am better looking!" You gotta love him.