Developing a fighting foundation with Royce Gracie

Developing a fighting foundation with Royce Gracie

Last Friday I had the opportunity to train with a jiu-jitsu legend as my club Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Burwood hosted the Royce Gracie Seminar - Develop your Fighting Foundation. After rolling around on the mats for over two hours, here are a few things I still remember from the evening.


During the seminar we covered a series of techniques from standing to the ground, and put them together in various drills.

From standing:

  • leading leg side kick to stop an approaching opponent, then close the distance and establish the clinch (a defensive variation of the Gracie Stomp and takedown Royce used in early UFCs)
  • standing headlock escape into hip throw
  • standing headlock escape into standing guillotine
  • standing guillotine guard pull

From the guard:


After the training we sat down for a Q&A session. Some of the key take aways for me are below.

Training only your strong side

During the first drill, Royce noticed people swapping legs on their side kicks and stopped the class to make the point that we only drill our strong side. He gave the example that a soccer player taking a penalty kick for the World Cup will always take the shot with their dominant foot. He brought up this up again during the Q&A.

I looked into this further and discovered that BJJ champion Marcelo Garcia also advises training one side.

Drilling over sparring

When asked about how he has managed such longevity in the sport, Royce mentioned he favours drilling technique over sparring when training. He remarked that he would rather practice how to hit someone instead of how to take a hit! This drew a laugh. He gave the example of how much time boxers spend on the heavy bag over sparring.

Technique, cardio, then strength

In answer to a question on his training habits, Royce favours technique first, cardio, then strength. His analogy here was a scooter with a full tank being able to travel further than a Ferrari that’s empty.

His training involves a lot of running and plenty of stretching, which was obvious given the splits he was doing beforehand!


Thanks to Robbie Singh, head instructor at Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Burwood, for putting together a great event.