Mixed Martial Arts legend Royce Gracie spent a few days enjoying Ocean City this week, while in town for a training seminar at Gracie Ocean City on Wednesday.
Royce is popularly known for pioneering mixed martial arts, spearheading the UFC, becoming the first UFC Champion, and being inducted as the first member of the UFC Hall of Fame. He is one of the most influential figures in the history of MMA, and he has dedicated his life to raising awareness of his family’s signature style of grappling and self-defense.
Not only does Gracie love his sport, he loves teaching it. Gracie spends about seven months of the year traveling all over the world, teaching and spreading the art that his father Hélio created – Gracie Jiu-Jitsui. Ocean City and Gracie Ocean City are one of his many educational stops this year.
“My favorite part about the sport is watching the students grow. A student that comes into us without confidence, without knowing what they’re doing, and we teach them and they go wow, it’s so easy,” Gracie says. “You don’t have to be strong, you don’t have to be fast. It’s not about fighting. I’m not teaching the people how to fight, I’m teaching them self defense, how to defend themselves against a bigger and stronger opponent.”
Gracie says that throughout the years, his biggest inspiration has been his father, saying he is a product of his father’s work. Even with years of experience under his belt, Gracie says every day he is learning and progressing as both a fighter and an instructor.
“I mean I just fought last February…I’m trying to get out of the fighting business but they keep pulling me back in,” Gracie laughs. “I love my life on the road, traveling, teaching and seeing the world.”
While in town, Gracie got a chance to enjoy Delmarva and the Eastern shore, driving onto the OSV area on Assateague Island, posing with the horses, fishing for (and catching!) marlin, and enjoying dinners at Mother’s Cantina, where owner Ryan James helped Royce maintain the Gracie family’s strict diet. When all was said and done, it was easy to pick his favorite part about his trip to Ocean City.
“My favorite part about Ocean City is the weather, the beach. I’m from Brazil, so I’ve lived in L.A., I’ve lived in California, but I love the beach,” Gracie said.