Self.Defense.Unit: meet the training partner

Son of a master Caique, Pedro Elias was chosen by Rickson Gracie to be his main training partner at the Self.Defense.Unit course. Photo: Luca Atalla

The training partner is essential both to teach and learn Jiu-Jitsu. The older son of master Caique Elias, Pedro, is in most of the classes of the Self.Defense.Unit, as the training partner of the teacher, master Rickson Gracie. Get to know a bit of him below:

GALLERR: Pedro, your father Caique is a Jiu-Jitsu master, and you were born inside the mats. Can you go through your story with Jiu-Jitsu?

Yes, my father was a black belt before I was born. I started out by playing with him at home as young as I can remember. The first class I ever went to was at Master Academy which was next to our house then I trained off and on at Gracie Humaita (where my father trained).

When I was 12, I moved to the US to be with my father, and since then he has taught me more than I can remember. I am very grateful. He was teaching with Royce at the Gracie Academy at that time. I would train in my dad’s and Royce’s adult classes almost every day. From Monday through Thursday after school and Saturdays, I was always there learning. Grandmaster Helio Gracie would visit often, and I got to train and spend time with him there.

When did you start teaching?

We opened our school in 2001. Since then I have been training and teaching 5 to 6 days per week for most of the year. Learning from my dad, from experience and sometimes from some of our jiu-jitsu legend friends haha.

Does master Rickson teach you?

I have been close to Rickson and learning from him for the last few years, and I feel very honored, it has taught me a lot and inspired me to improve. Since I started training, we always did jiu-jitsu with gloves and punches and had an emphasis on self-defense.

Do you also relate to sport Jiu-Jitsu?

My father also always encouraged us to compete which I am happy. That was the old school jiu-jitsu: train to fight and compete. I did my first tournament when I was 12 then against adults when I was 13. Those were some of the first tournaments in the U.S. I competed a lot in jiu-jitsu through my early 20’s and had over 150 wrestling matches. I think the balance of self-defense and competition makes for a very effective jiu-jitsu practice and gives us confidence. I train and teach very often and try to stay sharp all of the time. I hope to keep training and learning until I am very old.

You and your brother are the training partners of master Rickson for the Module 1 of the Self.Defense.Unit. Can you talk about this experience?

It was an unbelievable experience. I still get nervous around him sometimes, but who wouldn’t… Having practiced these moves for years, Rickson’s technique and connection concepts made me feel like I re-learned the positions. The invisible details of the way Rickson uses connection make him feel very strong without having to exert himself.

We are about to film another set of movies. What type of research are you doing to play your role successfully?

When I get the list of positions from Rickson, I read them to make sure I know what the moves are. Then I focus on how I can be a good attacker. If I have questions, I talk to Rickson or my father and brother, and we brainstorm. I practice the moves and attacks but try to come in with a clear mind on the technique because I know I will always learn something new.

Does the “Self.Defense.Unit” course help you with your teaching?

Definitely! The techniques have leverage during the whole movement. It helped me with the moves shown and with the concept of connection.

Module 1 of Master Rickson Gracie’s Self.Defense.Unit course is now available. Enroll now.