#147 Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in Iraq; The Journey of Ox Jennings

gui valente ryron gracie jiu jitsu
Ryron Gracie and fellow jiu-jitsu black belt Gui Valente in Iraq.

Fresh off our coverage of Brazilian jiu-jitsu in Asia, The FightWorks Podcast now brings you the story of jiu-jitsu in one of the toughest environments in the world today: Baghdad, Iraq. At the invitation of a United States Army general, Ryron Gracie, Rorion Gracie’s son, headed to Iraq to instruct soldiers at Fort Victory this month, along with Gui Valente of Gracie Miami. Ryron will not only tell us about his trip and the conditions there, but will stress the importance of returning jiu-jitsu to its original focus on self-defense. The strongly-held view of the Gracie Academy in Torrance is that Brazilian jiu-jitsu today has become geared to competition in sport rather than self-defense.

ryron gracie us army jiu jitsu
Ryron Gracie instructs jiu-jitsu to US Army soldiers in Iraq.

Our second conversation in the show this week comes from Greg “Ox” Jennings, whose story appeared in an article in the December 2008 issue of GracieMag (an excellent resource on Brazilian jiu-jitsu). Ox spent more than seven years in prison for a crime he did not commit, and took a vow of silence to protest his situation. Upon release from prison he found his way to the Brazilian jiu-jitsu academy of Rodrigo Medeiros in the beach community of Pacific Beach, San Diego. Still not talking, Ox began and became enthralled with BJJ. Years later, Ox is a purple belt and now speaks of his experience freely. Ox brings us his story this week, and what he has learned from it.

Jiu-Jitsu Greg Jennings
“Ox” and his dog Butter.

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5 Replies to “#147 Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in Iraq; The Journey of Ox Jennings”

  1. Do you really think BJJ is getting off course of what it is susspose to be used for ?…Ryron really explained this in the podcast and i was just thinking does he really want to shine the light down on Gracie Barra. Or do they teach the Gracie Jiu Jitsu combatives class like they do at the Gracie Acadmey does ?…

  2. Amazing story. How did OX “live” with out speaking for all those years? It would have been hard for him. Stef. Boyne Island Australia.

  3. Yes not speaking takes great preseverence in dealing with those whom live in the fast paced world. A great many observations took place during this practice. MAINLY I CAME TO THIS SITE TO OFFER HUMBLE THANKS FOR THE POSITIVE SUPPORT FROM CALEB. Jiu-jitsu will improve your life for those of you whom stay with it long enough. Blessings to all whom read this-in Christs name.

  4. My husband and I just helped Ox, Butter and her four puppies, over the weekend. They were traveling from Temecula to San Diego after attending a Jiu-Jitsu competition. I am proud to have had the opportunity to help Ox and his dogs and their friend Wayne. Good luck to both of you and I hope we will have a chance to meet again some day. Stay focused and good luck.

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