This post is a collection of quotes from the book - Breathe by Rickson Gracie. Breathe is an entertaining and magnified view of an enduring legacy as well as an inspiring tale of weathering life’s complexities and overcoming them with style and grace.

Breathe Quotes

A fighter who used technique, strategy, and intelligence could defeat a fighter who had only size and strength.

If your mind and will are not strong, you’ll spend your entire life getting carried away by your desires and weaknesses. You’ll spend your whole life paying for things you don’t want.

Sometimes it’s not about escaping but about finding whatever comfort you can in hell.

A good teacher taught the techniques well, but that a great teacher taught what each individual student needed to learn, in strife or in life.

Rio is like New York City and Bangkok combined. It is a turbulent, whatever-you-want-whenever-you-want-it mix of sex, crime, drugs, nature, and beach culture.

There are too many people searching for pharmaceutical solutions to basic human problems. Temporary depression is a natural human reaction to the loss of a loved one or other misfortunes in life. How can a pill change something like that?

Illegal drugs like black-market Fentanyl, as well as prescription opiates, are so powerful and addictive that to take them is to gamble with your life.

Curiosity coupled with courage allows you to go beyond your limits, venture into the unknown, and establish new limits that you never thought were possible.

Fear is a normal emotion that protects you, but sometimes you don’t need protection. There are times when you have to place fear on the shelf and take action without a moment’s hesitation.

My measure of a brave man, a true fighter, is not how many times he gets knocked down, but how many times he gets back up.

Everything I have earned today was at least partially a result of breathing—my best performance, my emotional control, my ability to endure. Breathing gave me all of this.

I realized at a very early age the value of interacting with people from all walks of life. I was always curious and interested in anyone who did something really well. Fishing, bull riding, painting, singing, art—it didn’t matter—I have always admired ability in all of its manifestations. I was never jealous or envious; in fact, sometimes I wish I could’ve spent more time learning different things.

My decision to fight or not to fight has never been based on money, prefight hype, or whom I was channeling my anger toward. I am guided by my personal code of honor.

Fighting is both an art and a science. It is artistic because it requires creativity, passion, and instinct. It is scientific because there are empirical aspects like technique, timing, strength, and endurance that also cannot be ignored.

Rationality has its limits; not everything can be explained on paper. Just look into the sky on a clear night. Where does the universe begin? Where does it end? Are we the only form of life in it? Is there life after death? Simple questions without easy answers.

With kids, you have to accept the fact that you are not in control of their outcomes. You plant the seeds and nurture them as best you can, but at a certain point, you have to let go. No matter how much knowledge, love, money, or advice you give them, they will fly once their own wings are strong enough. Then they will chart their own courses through life.

There is no tomorrow, because life can change forever in the blink of an eye. I needed to do my best every day because it might be my last.

Yes, Brazil is Brazil, and with it comes traffic, crime, and corruption. But Brazil is home. I needed the friends, the food, and the passion that, to me, represent it.

When money becomes more important than happiness, your life passes you by, because you can’t lower your guard and enjoy yourself. Money is a tricky thing: it can bring you freedom and happiness, but it can also bring pain and anxiety.

Those with humility and innocent curiosity are the easiest to teach, because their minds are open to new things.

Big egos and closed minds usually come hand in hand.

Our culture, the culture of Jiu Jitsu, is under siege. We have become the minority and our style is dying! Our system was designed for the weak to defend themselves against the strong. The guy with genetic gifts is not the one we developed it for. Pretty medals and fancy somersaults have no relationship to real life. If you don’t know self-defense, you don’t know Jiu Jitsu. You have to be ready to defend yourself from a punch, a headlock, or a bear hug. If you can’t do that, you’re just a tough guy with big ears and a good grip who’s depending on physicality for success. This is not Gracie Jiu Jitsu!”

If you see every moment in life as a unique opportunity, you live with much more intensity and precision because you are using 100 percent of your energy, your voice, and your senses. It is always important to remember that.

The mind has incredible potential, but you have to dig deep to discover it.