Head Instructor: Rafael Dallinha
Rafael, born in 1982, grew up on the Brazilian island of Florianópolis as an active surf competitor and soccer player. When he was 10 years-old, his school gave him two options for his physical fitness classes and Rafael opted for judo. This began his relationship with the martial arts. He practiced judo three times a week and enjoyed the outlet it provided for him.
Although he enjoyed his judo classes and continued to enter surf competitions, most of his friends were involved with Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes and they kept insisting that he give it a try. In 1999, Rafael surrendered to his friends’ persistence and started training BJJ at the local jiu-jitsu academy under Rafael Mello and Murillo Rupp. At that point, jiu-jitsu won him over and he decided to move on from judo and entering surf competitions.
Rafael, having a natural knack for jiu-jitsu, soon began competing in regional and state contests while still a white belt. Rupp, recognizing his skill and progression, gave him his blue belt and sent him off to the United States to train under Rodrigo Medeiros, in San Diego, California. Before making it to Rodrigo’s gym, Rafael entered in the IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation) Pan-American competition in Los Angeles in 2004. He fought 6 times during that tournament where he successfully tapped out 5 of his opponents, losing in the semi-finals and receiving a 3rd place metal.
Rafael further delayed his move to San Diego and decided to stay in Los Angeles for almost a year, training under Master Gerson Sanginitto. During his stay in LA, Sanginitto awarded him with his purple belt. Shortly after, Rafael finally made his way to his intended destination of San Diego to train under Master Rodrigo Medeiros.
Rafael became a fierce competitor while training under Medeiros and traveled to many competitions to defend his skills. In 2007, Rafael received his brown belt from Medeiros, which is when he also decided to take up jiu-jitsu as his vocation. He started teaching classes at Medeiros’ P.B. Fight Center helping with the kids jiu-jitsu classes and continued to refine his techniques.
In 2010, Rafael received his black belt from Medeiros. He continues to train at the P.B. Fight Center and has since received 2 stripes on his belt, meanwhile teaching at other affiliate gyms. He has since transitioned from being head instructor to also the owner of Clark Gracie La Jolla.
Since he was a purple belt, Rafael has been training along side Clark Gracie, son of Carley Gracie, one of the pioneers of Brazilian jiu-jitsu in the US. Clark and Rafael have traveled the world together for various competitions. In 2015, Clark invited Rafael to become the head instructor of his jiu-jitsu academy. Rafael has recently taken over the business and continues to teach as the head instructor at Clark Gracie La Jolla.
Rafael is very passionate about teaching his students to be champions and is a true believer that jiu-jitsu is the best fighting system in the world. His goal is to pass onto his students the knowledge and respect of jiu-jitsu as well as the confidence to be calm in difficult situations.
Rafael’s notable competitions results:
- IBJJF World’s Master Jiu Jitsu 3rd Place
- SJJIF World’s Championship 2nd Place
- IBJJF Houston Open 1st Place
- 2 x Hawaiian Triple Crown Superfight Champion
- 3 x IBJJF Pan Ams Jiu Jitsu Medalist
- 4 x IBJJF American National Champion
- IBJJF US OPEN Champion
- IBJJF NY OPEN Champion
- Brazilian South American Champion
In 2010 Clark Gracie was awarded his black belt under his father Grand Master Carley Gracie. Now he finds himself on top of podiums at worldwide events against some of the best competitors in the world.
Being the grandson of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu founder Carlos Gracie, Clark has had a large legacy to live up to. He does it with grace, fluidity and apparent ease. Over the course of his career he has used the skills taught to him by his family to develop a style all his own. This same style is setting the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world on fire. Under the tutelage of his father Carley Gracie, and his coach Rodrigo Medeiros, Clark has become the most active competing member of the Gracie family.
The majority of the year you will find Clark teaching at his San Diego academies, but also enjoys to travel abroad, mostly for tournaments and seminars, but also to taste the flavors of jiu-jitsu worldwide. With quite a nomadic childhood, this should not surprise anyone. His love of travel stems from growing up between San Francisco and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As much as Clark enjoys the sights abroad he is always happy to return to his Southern California home in San Diego, California. It is here that Clark teaches and practices the family values passed down to him from preceding generations.
I was born and raised in California. Surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding are the sports I grew up doing. The 70’s was the rise of Bruce Lee and “everyone was kung fu fighting”. Being a small surf-rat-punk kid, listening to the “Ramones” while watching Chinese kung fu movies all day, I was always getting into fights with the bigger bullies in the neighborhood. My family moved to North Chicago where I was soon to be humbled by the violent gangs and mayhem that surrounded me.
After three years of fending for my life in the worst streets of Chicago we moved back to San Diego. I wrestled in high school, studied Aikido, Goshin Jitsu (Japanese Karate), Muay Thai, and now am very passionate about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I was initiated as a Reiki Level III Master in 1996 and have always believed in… before knowing how to defeat your opponent by force, you must first learn how to heal them as well.
I have also studied Kundalini, Bikram and Ashtanga yoga. I am a firm believer in holistic living and happiness is my priority. My approach to teaching kids is to know that each child is unique, with different needs and they have their own personalities. I look for strengths in their character and reinforce them through positive discipline. My goal in teaching BJJ to kids, is to harness their individuality and incite their passion to become a better jiu-jitsu practitioner on their own free will thus creating a better quality of life as they grow.
Wanting to learn higher percentage techniques, asking questions about details, practicing on their own and ultimately wanting to compete and test themselves. This gives them discipline and responsibility. At the end of each kids class I strive to make it a goal… that every kid should walk away with a smile on their face and have a super fun time! Because of my childhood experiences I have a good understanding of what kids go through who get bullied in school. For young kids, Jiu-Jitsu builds confidence, respect, and the courage to defend oneself.
- 2nd Place IBJJF Las Vegas Spring International Open – Absolute
- 2nd Place IBJJF Las Vegas Spring International Open
- 1st Place IBJJF NoGi World Championships – World Champion
- 2nd Place IBJJF Nationals
- 3rd Place iGrap Championships