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