Testimonials

Nicholas first started his training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at age 6 at Gracie Barra in Albuquerque, NM and he took to it quite naturally and showed a lot of promise. When an unexpected, but very welcome, opportunity presented itself to relocate us home to NC we were forced to find a new gym where Nicholas could continue his new passion. We initially joined a team in Garner that we were attracted to due to one of the senior members always wearing a Gracie Gi so we naturally assumed they taught the Gracie style with the rigorous and well-disciplined Gracie way. We were very wrong in that assumption and I had to watch my son's skills dissipate while bad habits (such as very poor form, improper and often dangerous techniques not corrected, etc.) quickly became the norm! Nicholas was soon wanting to quit BJJ altogether and was very bored and frustrated as he was not getting any better. I forced him to keep at it while I searched for a true Gracie facility in which to transfer to. Fortunately, I discovered Gracie Raleigh!! 😉

It has been a year now since we left the last gym and transferred to Gracie Raleigh and Nicholas has fallen back in love with the sport!! His instructors (Saul & Evan) have been FANTASTIC in explaining each move, how it is PROPERLY performed and most importantly WHY it is performed so that the young students can better grasp it. I have always believed that anyone can teach an adult as most adults can easily grasp the reason to do something but children are much harder as they do not know what an adult knows about the human dynamic and function, or abilities. Good instructors are measured by how well they can instruct a child in my opinion! Nicholas had many bad habits from the previous gym that Saul saw in all of the kids we brought over with us and has worked very hard to get them back on track with proper technique and competition speed. He takes the training period VERY seriously and truly makes them work hard the full hour they are there. This in turn, causes the children to also take him seriously and listen with disciplined ears and watchful eyes!! We are not paying for a romper room setting as some parents seemed to be ok with at the other gym. BJJ is a very serious sport at all levels and we are VERY happy to have found a facility with a kids instructor who believes that as well.

Nicholas has had two cases of bullying in the last year and in both cases he was able to properly defend himself without throwing a single punch or getting hit by the bully. He has also not been reprimanded or punished for his actions (both at school) as his defense was simply to sprawl (when one bully tried to tackle him) and take the bully's back and get away (when another tried to push/punch him). Nicholas is a super sweet kid with a HUGE heart and sometimes he is mistaken for an easy target I think. Now he has great confidence (as do I) that he is able to truly defend himself without getting into a fist fight at school. However, and probably more importantly, he doesn't get bullied any more as the only true way to stop a bully is to stand up to them!! 😉

Saul and Evan are AWESOME instructors and we HIGHLY recommend anyone we speak with who has kids interested in taking up a martial art to come to Gracie Raleigh!! 😉

Pat, Nicholas's Parent,

Since joining in February I have lost 10 lbs!!

It has been a great confidence booster. I started with no previous experience and stepped completely out of my comfort zone to start both. While I have a lot to learn and I am still very much a beginner, everyone has been so welcoming and helpful and wiling to be patient and offer help and advice. It is exciting to try a sport that is so physically demanding and technically complex with distinct levels and opportunity to always explore and keep learning. With the few months of practice I have I feel safer, stronger and more confident. The respect and integrity that the coaches and students have for each other and the sport is inspiring! Can't wait for next class, I graduated fundamental tonight!!

Mary, Student

I really appreciate everything the gym has been so far. Even if I haven't completely turned my life around yet, I believe I can say my interest in martial arts has been the main difference between me and the many kids who get stuck in small towns with no opportunity.

After the loss of close family, dropping out of school, developing a problem with alcohol, and putting together a pretty lame juvenile record, I was behaving like a loser. Backyard heavybag work and grappling matches with friends might have kept me from getting too pathetic but Gracie Raleigh has actually given me the hope and great environment that helps me feel like I'll be able create a healthy and happy life for myself, when I wasn't so sure before. I've also been to many different gyms usually doing free trial classes of some sort. From Evolution in Wilmington, NBS in Cary, and Krav Maga in Fuquay to Taekwondo in San Jose, El Nino in San Fran, and some open-house workouts at Anderson Silvas gym in L.A. The point is, the #1 reason I'm glad I chose Gracie Raleigh instead of finding some family in California is because I feel like it's a place where I can really become a part of a team and be respected instead of constantly trying to be accepted by some gym-clique that doesn't really see any potential in me.

I just want to say thank you to Brandon and all the coaches for everything. I look forward to hopefully putting together the lifestyle of a true martial artist.

Thomas, Student

I have spent three years in Gracie Raleigh’s jiu-jitsu and kickboxing programs. Having experienced many years of traditional martial arts training and having visited many jiu-jitsu academies, I can tell you without question that Gracie Raleigh provides an outstanding learning environment with top flight instruction and a fantastic facility.

The instructors' credentials speak for themselves. You’ll be learning from jiu-jitsu black, brown, and purple belts, as well as former and current MMA fighters and kickboxers. The school is populated with competitors who seek out opportunities to challenge the skills they have honed.

But just as important is the atmosphere fostered by those instructors and adopted by the students. For all the skill and ability present, you’ll find no bullies here. There’s no shame in being the “new guy” or the “new girl.” Or if competition isn’t really for you. All are welcome.

And in exchange for taking that first step through the doors, you’ll be rewarded with an opportunity for both fun and fitness that is hard to beat.

If you’re in the Raleigh area and interested in jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, or MMA, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t stop in at Gracie Raleigh to see what they offer.

Michael Henry,

2 years ago this time, I could not walk up a stair without assist or grabbing something for support due to bad knees. I also had high blood pressure of around 170 over 110 and was on 3 different medications. Running a restaurant with the stress and constant tasting of food for quality check had taken a toll on me.

After few months of rehab for the knees and some good old yoga, I finally dived in and started jiujitsu. It was tough. It was different. It was like no other martial art or sports I have done before. I was immediately hooked.

The first few months were definitely toughest. I used parts of muscles that I didn't know existed. My muscles and joints used to be very sore in the beginning. But as time passed, my musle endurance improved drastically and joints got stronger. Less bruises and quicker healing time. I could see my 6 pack for the first time in years! My wife definitely likes it ;). My stress level came down a lot along with my blood pressure to normal levels....and I'm off the meds!...all 3 of them! 10~13 hour work days seem much easier. More energy during the day and playing with my kids. It definitely is one of the best decisions I made in my life.

I saw many people come in and drop out like flies. It may not be for everyone. The results aren't visible until months pass by. Too many people drop out after the initial basics class. It wasn't easy at times, but I'm definitely glad I stuck with it. It is a lifestyle for me now and the results are fantastic. I think that is the case with anyone who practices Jiujitsu.

Thanks Gracie Raleigh!

Mike, Student