(Kron & Rickson Gracie | Photo via Moskova)
By Elias Cepeda
How do you ask a grown man to talk about a time you saw him cry? It can’t be easy, and maybe it’s not even polite. Surely an interviewer can think of other questions to ask someone — especially a fighter.
Unfortunately, in the day or so before speaking with Kron Gracie, that was the main thing I could think to ask, and to ask first. To be clear, I saw Kron cry when he was still a child, and then only from a distance.
Maybe I was mistaken and he wasn’t even truly crying.
Yeah, maybe that’s how you ask a man to talk about it — tepidly and with plenty of qualification. Probably not, but that’s how I broached the subject with the man.
It was the summer of 2000. Rickson Gracie, the champion of his family, was hosting an international Jiu Jitsu invitational. There were tournaments for every experience and ability level, as well as famous champions competing in super matches as well as milling around the arena as a part of the crowd.
And then there was little Kron Gracie. He had to have been just eleven or twelve.
Kron presumably could have chosen to enjoy the whole event as a child — that is, running around with family and friends, playing. Instead, he was in a gi and on the mats.
Kron’s older sisters were pretty and did fun demonstrations with their father. Kron’s older brother, Rockson, walked around the tournament with his head shaved, tattooed and an air of seriousness, the obvious heir apparent to Rickson Gracie’s fighting legacy.
Whatever pressures his siblings surely felt, Kron was the one on the mats that day, competing.
Kron competed that day and, when I saw him, he had just lost.
It couldn’t have been easy, and Rickson’s youngest child was visibly upset. Losing is never fun but when everyone is watching you because your dad is the best fighter in fighting’s first family, it has to be miserable. Rickson, walked over to Kron, put his arms around him and consoled his young son.