On Saturday morning, Ryron Gracie did what he's done his whole life - teach martial arts.
The 30-year-old fourth-degree black belt gave a pair of Brazilian jiu-jitsu seminars at the Minot ATA Black Belt Academy for 28 participants that focused on mounting, submissions, triangle chokes and escapes.
Gracie said he rarely competes anymore and that he gets more out of teaching the sport. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a form of martial arts founded by Ryron Gracie's grandfather Helio Gracie and his brother Carlos Gracie. Ryron Gracie, along with brothers Reylan, Rener and Ralek, teach the sport.
Ryron Gracie, left, teaches 14-year-old Trevor Johnson, right, some jiu-jitsu moves during a seminar at Minot’s ATA Black Belt Academy on Saturday.
Many of the top Ultimate Fighting Championship competitors have studied the Gracie family teachings. Hlio's son Royce is a UFC Hall of Famer.
"Teaching people to defend themselves and introducing them to a jiu-jitsu environment that is safe like this place right here and very friendly and just playful is a more valuable use of my time than me competing," Ryron Gracie said.
Tyrone Bess assisted Gracie for the sessions. Bess, 35, teaches Gracie jiu-jitsu at ATA three nights a week when it doesn't conflict with his schedule as an Air Force security forces officer.
Bess met Gracie while training in Arizona and became a certified instructor after getting to know the Gracie family.
"Our whole concept of jiu-jitsu is to manage the distance," Bess said. "Close the distance. Get the fight to the ground, exhaust your opponent and ultimately submit them if that's what it calls for."
The first seminar started with the students practing moves standing up. Later in the session, Gracie had the participants practice escaping after being mounted by their partner.
"I learned a lot of additional details from under the mount," said Mike Tavares, a trainer of jiu-jitsu in Winnipeg, Manitoba. "Different mindsets that you want to have. There's a lot of new stuff that you learn every time you see something, especially from one of the Gracie brothers. There's always something new that you're going to see."