About Us

The Clark Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy offers the best training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from beginners, to pro Mixed Martial Artists, and Law Enforcement.   At our Academies, we focus on the team; Meaning you, the student. Not everyone has the same reasons for training in the Martial Arts. Some enjoy the exercise, others want to learn self-defense, and some may wish to pursue a career in MMA or competition. The philosophy of this Team is to teach functional Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that you will keep with you for the rest of your life. You will not get watered down technique, or be taught how to win a tournament without knowing how to defend yourself on the street.  We will teach you to be comfortable anywhere, with or without strikes; on the feet, on the ground, off your back, how to control the situation, and how to have fun while learning it! Many of our students are Law Enforcement, Mixed Martial Artists and members of the Armed Forces.  People have diverse needs; that is why we have assembled equally diverse resources for the students at our school.

We are led by Black Belt Professor, Clark Gracie, who is the grandson of Carlos Gracie, the founder of this Martial Art.  Clark is the only Gracie family member living in San Diego who is teaching and still competing regularly. Also, professor Rafael Dallinha who is a 2nd Degree Black Belt from Brazil.

Carlos Gracie is the older brother and teacher of Helio Gracie. Between the two of them, they developed the most efficient fighting system ever created, Brazilian (Gracie) Jiu Jitsu.  They were able to defeat all different challengers, big and small of all other martial arts. Clark’s father, Carley Gracie, is known as the “Lion of the Gracie family” and earned his black belt from his father, Carlos Gracie.  Carley Gracie is the last of the Gracie fighters to be personally trained and coached by Carlos Gracie.  Carley Gracie is now an 9th Degree Red Belt.

Carlos taught the art of style, skill, thought and technique. His style and success was not developed through brute strength and aggressive power but rather, formulated from an almost scientific process of maneuvering, patience, flexibility, diet, strength of mind, strength of will, and self control.

Our instructors are hands-on teachers, often rolling with students of various ranks and skill levels. We teach philosophy, focusing on clearly explaining the principles of the techniques of Gracie Jiu Jitsu, in a way that people can understand.  We then incorporate drills that help students internalize those techniques in order to use them in live situations.

Class Descriptions

Lil Lions – Ages 4-7. A prepatory class for kids BJJ. Focusing on mat awareness; to include balance, coordination, agility. They will become part of the team, learning the rules, and behavior necessary to attend the Kids BJJ classes .

Jr. Lions – Ages 8-13. Our youth program is designed to introduce self defense, anti-bullying, and competitve martial arts to our communities youth, through techniques of Jiu jitsu, wrestling, and judo.

Fundamentals – Designed for students who want to sharpen their skills while focusing on fundamental postures, offensive/defensive positions, techniques, and the progression through the Clark Gracie Jiu Jitsu curriculum.

Intermediate – Using the CGJJ curriculum, the intermediate class is designed to create a seamless transition between the fundamental techniques, while integrating concepts and strategies of BJJ, to ensure a successful outcome in any situation.

Advanced – By applying the fundamental techniques with concepts and strategies of jiu jitsu, the advanced class is geared towards situational training, to include sparring for tournaments, or real life self defense.

Submission Grappling/NoGi – Using the fundamental techniques and strategies of BJJ, Wrestling, and Judo, without the kimono.

Drills / Specific training / Sparring – Drills and scenarios designed to incorporate the lessons of the week.

The History of Jiu-Jitsu

Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art focused on grappling or ground fighting. Although it can be traced back as far as the conquests of Alexander the Great in the form of wrestling, it’s more recent origins are rooted in Japan in the form of Kodokan judo (or Japanese jiu-jitsu) made up of ground fighting fundamentals founded by Kano Jigoro. Kano, wanting to spread his form of judo around the world, sent one of his students, Mitsuyo Maeda, abroad.

Maeda, after visiting several other countries, arrived in Brazil in 1914 where he started making presentations to share his techniques. One of the demonstrations was in the North of Brazil in the city of Belém, where Maeda ended up settling. Carlos Gracie, a young boy at the time, was fascinated by the techniques he saw and asked his father, Gastão Gracie, to arrange lessons for him. Since Maeda’s arrival, he had became friends with Gastão Gracie, a well-known local business man. Gracie obliged his son’s request and it was then that Carols began what would become several years of training judo with Maeda. Throughout his time training, Carols made a habit of sharing the strategies and moves he learned with his brothers.

The Gracie brothers eventually moved to Rio de Janeiro to teach the martial art, and youngest son, Hélio, followed shortly after. Hélio frequented his brother’s gym despite the fact that he was in frail condition and was unable to engage in trainings. When Hélio was 16 years-old, one of his brother’s students came for class and brother Carlos was not there. Hélio, having learned all of the techniques from watching the trainings for years, decided to start the class on his own. When the class was finishing, Carlos ran in, apologizing for his tardiness. The student didn’t make a fuss about it and began praising Hélio for his excellent class. The student asked if he could continue training with Hélio and bother, Carlos agreed, which marked the beginning of Hélio’s teaching career.

Hélio found most of the judo moves to be difficult due to his small, frail build. He began modifying the techniques that he had learned from Carlos to adapt to his physical capabilities, focusing on leverage and patience instead of pure strength. Through his experimenting, he began to develop a smoother, more efficient style of ground fighting that strategically allowed his smaller build and stature to submit opponents without requiring direct opposition to their strength. It was then that technical innovations of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) were born.

Hélio was eager to prove his new system’s effectiveness and began to challenge other well-known martial artists throughout Brazil. He took on a number of opponents among whom was the world number two ranked Judoka fighter, Kato. Hélio managed to choke him unconscious in six minutes, which earned him entry to fight the most acclaimed world champion ever produced in Japan, Masahiko Kimura. Although Hélio lost the fight, Kimora was so impressed with Hélio’s performance, he invited him to teach these never-before-seen techniques in Japan, recognizing his superior refinement of the martial art.

Throughout his life, Hélio Gracie continued to defend the efficiency of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu against various other forms of martial arts. He gained international acclaim for his determination to spread his “gentle art”, or “arte suave” as it is known in Portuguese, and is considered to be a modern-day legend for his dedication to the sport and the healthy lifestyle he maintained along with it.

The Gracie family has continued to carry on the teachings of Grand Master Hélio Gracie by dedicating their lives to sharing the practice of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Carlos and Hélio’s sons are responsible for the explosion of jiu-jitsu in the United States. They traveled to Southern California several times, before settling there in the 70’s and 80’s. They came with the mission to spread the techniques of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and began teaching students. Their classes became so popular they started opening up official jiu-jitsu academies. Although they gained much local popularity though their classes, Hélio’s eldest son, Rorion, realized that the best way to bring the art to the masses was though television. In 1993, Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC) was created as a means to show the world how BJJ techniques could defeat larger, stronger opponents with their specialized self-defense system. Subsequently, Royce, along with cousins Rickson, Renzo, Ralph, Royler, Ryan, Carley and more further refined jiu-jitsu as a superior method of combat.

Nowadays, the Gracie name and the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are wildly popular in households across the United States as well as worldwide known as an effective form of self-defense used in modern-day combat.

Sources:
Wikipedia, Brazilian jiu-jitsu


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