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,