Jason Jelen Superfight Feb. 28th at the Toro Cup

Coach Jelen will be competing in a Black Belt Superfight Feb 28th in the Toro Cup. The event will be held at Triangle Jiu Jitsu in Durham. Please come out and support someone who has done so much for us!


Good luck to GR MMA Fighter David Grissom this weekend at the Bull City Brawl!



2014 IBJJF Worlds Highlights

Weight Lifting and BJJ


First off, don’t freak out.  We all know how much Brandon lifts and he will crush you.  That said, there are some practical needs for strength that need to be addressed.

90% of high level BJJ practitioners do some kind of weight training.  It might be low weight high repetitions or heavy.  Heavy without a lot of stretching will doom you in BJJ.  It doesn’t matter how strong you are, if a simple kimura gets you every time because you have no flexibility in your super sized shoulders.  If you are a complainer that cries foul when you get beat by a guy who is much stronger then maybe your technique needs more work.

Here are some recommended lifting practices that WILL help your BJJ.  

1.  Squats:  Take downs on anyone are much harder if you don’t have the legs for it.  Power generated by a take down comes from the strongest muscles you have……your legs.  Squats work your quads, butt, hamstrings, and even your back. If you do a squat and don’t feel like you’ve worked all of those muscle groups, you’re doing something wrong.

2.  Bench Press: It works the chest, triceps, anterior deltoids, and your back. All of these muscles are extremely important in grappling.  Change your grip on the bar to isolate muscle groups further.  No machines!  They don’t make you use all those other stabilizing muscles and these are hugely important in reaction to quick changes on the mats.

3.  Dead Lift:  A dead lift begins with you in a less advantageous position, lifting from the floor. It also works a variety of muscles that the squat leaves out, such as the shoulders and arms. If you want your legs to be strong, and improve your physical ability to work your guard, this is an excellent lift to start doing. It’s a full body-lift that carries over into all of your body motions while grappling.

4.  Bent Rowing:  Bent Rows strengthen the back a lot. They make the upper back muscles stronger and they also build up the shoulders around the rotator cuff. Healthy and strong rotator cuff’s is a must, as anyone who has been caught in a kimura is aware of.

If you have any questions about the proper technique of any of these exercises please talk to Brandon Garner.  If he is not available contact resident meat head Matt Gordon.  Matt is also available for hair product advice and general grooming issues. 





Gracie Raleigh Promo Trailer

Student and professional videographer Robert Kirk Wray is currently wrapping up shooting on a new Promo video for GR.  Here is a little taste:


The full video is set to be released 10/14/14!  Be on the lookout and thanks to Kirk for doing this!

Upcoming Grappling Events



10/18/14 IBJJF Miami International Open

10/18/14 2014 NAGA US National Championships (Alabama) 

11/01/14-11/02/14  IBJJF World Masters (California)

11/08/14 2014 NAGA North Carolina

11/15/14  2014 NAGA Mid South Grappling Championship (Tennessee)

11/15/14  Toro BJJ presents US Grappling Greensboro

12/13/14 US Grappling Submission Only Richmond (Virginia)


Top 10 Rules for Hygiene in the BJJ Gym (or any gym for that matter)

If you don’t want to become a breeding ground for bacteria and put your reputation for good hygiene in limbo, you will want to follow these simple yet effective tips:

1. Come to class in properly washed and dried gi – Putting on a gi that was not properly washed and dried is quite risky to you and your training partners. Aside from smelling funky, it is a sure carrier of bacteria. If you regularly roll in such gi, you may develop a staph infection, MRSA infection, or ringworm, which your training partners may also acquire.

2. Trim finger and toe nails regularly!!!!! – Before coming to class, make sure you trimmed your finger and toe nails short, regardless whether you’re a man or a woman. You can cut your partner’s skin and eyes with your long nails when you train. You may also injure yourself when they get caught up by your partner’s gi.

3. Do not roll when sick – There’s a big difference between being dedicated to your training and being a complete jerk. When sick, do your traning partners a favor: don’t come to class until fully recovered.

4. Freshen breath before coming to class – Your training partner doesn’t need to know that you had grilled garlic salmon for lunch or garlic chicken for dinner. Before putting your gi on, make sure you have brushed your teeth or used mouthwash.

5. Do not go the restroom barefooted – If going off the mats to go to the washroom,  you need to have your footwear on, most especially if you are going back to the mats. No matter how clean-looking your gym floor is, tons of bacteria are on it.

6. Take a shower after class – Taking a shower after class is important as it lessens chances of you incurring skin diseases, plus it prevents you from smelling like a gym rat.

7. Tie your hair back if it is long – Sporting a long hair is accepted in jiu-jitsu. Many women practitioners have long hair and some men as well. But if you have long hair, just make sure you tie it back so it will not go in your and partner’s way while sparring. If you can braid your hair and tie it back, that would be better.

8. Do not roll wearing jewelry – Before going to the mats, remove your ring, earrings, necklace, anklet or any other jewelry. Being fashionable will not award you points unless your are Matt Gordon. Wearing jewelry while training also puts you and your partners at risk as it could result in cuts.

9. Wear deodorant before coming to class – Your partner’s face will definitely be close to your armpit while rolling. Save your reputation for good personal hygiene, always wear deodorant before going to class.

10. Properly wrap any cuts with tape – If you have minor cuts, you can still go train but make sure to wrap them good with durable medical/athletic tape. You don’t want your cuts to get worse by getting infected with bacteria.

There are more items for this list, but the rule of the thumb is: be sensitive to your training partners. You have reasons why you are doing jiu-jitsu, and getting skin problems or injuries and getting your training partners infected should never be among them. It is never bad to take your jiu-jitsu hygiene seriously. Roll clean. Roll good.


The above article was excerpted from the web site bravestclothing.com.

GR Pro MMA Fighter Daniel Branch’s next fight is coming up!


Daniel ‘Head Case’ Branch will be fighting his second pro match at the USFFC in Morganton, NC on November 8th.  We wish him well after a very good performance in his last fight.


Advanced ticket purchases are available at


If you use the code ‘BRANCH21′ you will get a discount on your tickets!

We will post more details about location and directions as the event gets closer.  To check out the USFFC go to:  





2014 Pendergrass Classic Results

Great showing by Gracie Raleigh this weekend!  We are very proud!  ALL competitors won a medal this outing.  Great job!  Results are listed below.

No Gi

Intermediate 175.5 – 188.5
1st – David Grissom – Royce Gracie / Gracie Raleigh
2nd – Holden O’Neal – Royce Gracie / Forged Fitness
3rd – Josh Perina – Immortal BJJ

Novice 162.1 – 175.5
1st – Alan Chancellor – Royce Gracie / Gracie Raleigh
2nd – Winston Mclaughlin – Marshall’s MMA / Marshall’s MMA
3rd – Osmar Arce

Novice up to 149.1 – 162
1st – Jacob Coller – O’Malley Uprise MMA
2nd – Zach Daniel – Gustavo Machado / Warrior BJJ Augusta
3rd – Myong (Michael) Lee – Royce Gracie / Gracie Raleigh

30+ No Gi Division Results

Intermediate Absolute
1st – Rick Watson
2nd – Marcel Fucci – Brazil-021 / Combat Club
3rd – Kirk Wray – Royce Gracie / Gracie Raleigh

30+ No Gi Division Results

Intermediate 215.1 and up
1st – Kirk Wray – Royce Gracie / Gracie Raleigh
2nd – Jonathan Williams – Brazil-021 / Combat Club


Gi Division

Blue Belt 188.6 – 202
1st – Matt Gordon – Royce Gracie / Gracie Raleigh
2nd – Andrew Wissick – Team One / AMAA

Blue Belt 215.1 and up
1st – Emanuel Robles – Gustavo Machado / Pendergrass Academy
2nd – Kirk Wray – Royce Gracie / Gracie Raleigh
3rd – Kwame Hawkins – Gustavo Machado / Pendergrass Academy

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Lets all wish our GR friends well this weekend at the Pendergrass Classic!