Rener Gracie is a 3rd-generation Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and martial artist. Along with his brother, Ryron, he helps lead an international network of Jiu Jitsu schools that teach his grandfather's approach of neutralizing larger opponents through leverage and grappling techinques. At 28 years old, the guy has been instructing law enforcement officers, military personnel, women, children, and everyone in-between for almost a decade.
The video below dives into one of his family's many projects, Gracie Bulleyproof. The project is awesome for many reasons (and its release happened to coincide with the tragic suicide death of Vancouver area teen and bully victim, Amanda Todd, last week). But something other than the subject matter jumped-out for me while watching this video.
I've seen videos of Rener and his brothers before, and I always feel like I'm listening to people who have a lot of wisdom at a relatively young age. It could just be that they're smart guys. Maybe they had a good upbringing. But I feel it has more to do with their mastery of their art.
Have you noticed that when someone masters something they often seem to express a lot of surprising wisdom. This doesn't just come with being good at something. I'm talking about mastery. It seems like by spending 10,000 hours or so in the real-life, battle-tested mastery of an art, we naturally come to earn a great deal of insight and understanding about life and the human condition - even if that's not something we originally set out to do.
On this website we've often celebrated the wisdom of great spiritual teachers, or philosophers, and even cultural critics. But we kind of expect it from these folks. What's interesting to me is that wisdom may not just come from a meditation cushion, library, or the experience of old age. It seems to also come from giving yourself over to a craft, and honing it (and yourself) through many years of toil. The people that actually do this - and many of us will never actually master anything at all - emerge from the process a different kind of person; one with wisdom beyond their years.