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All my expectations were exceeded

June 22, 2012

Parent Feedback from Flint, Michigan

From June 11-15, 2012, Rener Gracie along with four other Gracie Academy Certified Instructors conducted a special Gracie Bullyproof summer camp for underprivileged children in Flint, Michigan. The camp was made possible by the Genesee County CMH, and turned out to be a huge success for everyone involved. Below is a testimonial from Mark Sementilli, a father of two boys who attended the camp.

My Kids and I could not have been more pleased with the Gracie Bullyproof camp in Flint. We feel extremely lucky to have been selected and allowed to participate in this camp. I had an awareness of this camp in California and always dreamed of bringing our kids one day to experience it, but coordinating the time off of work and travel to California has been difficult. We could not have been more pleased when we found out we could do it locally. I have to say that all my expectations have been exceeded. The Gracie instructors, the Genesee County CMH Staff and all the volunteers have made it a week that my kids and I will remember forever.

Already a week later, I have seen changes in my children. They have been involved in all sorts of sporting programs, past and present, including martial arts, but I have yet to see any other program transform and influence them as much and as quickly as this program has.

Along with the powerful self-defense skills, Rener spent ample time having critical discussions with the kids and it's been amazing to see how these talks have triggered noticeable transformations for my boys.

Bullying Talk - My eldest son saw an older and bigger kid than himself pushing and name calling a younger kid. He went over and told him to stop doing it. The kid backed off.

Respect Talk - Both my kids, although polite to begin with, seem to be going out of their way to be more polite and respectful to me and their mom.

Nutrition Talk - They have been on the biggest health kick I have ever seen in two young children. They have taken an active role in grocery shopping, packing their school lunches and have had input into what we are preparing in the home. I had no choice but to share with Rener that for Father's day they surprised me with a juicer so we could have juice for breakfast and they made me his famous "Renergy Sandwich."

Lastly was the Drug Defense talk - This seems to have had a big impact on Gabriel. Since Rener spoke of this, Gabriel approached me and wanted to talk about peer pressure and what he would do if his friends approached him. This really made him think of that possibility and now he seems much more prepared for the inevitable reality of being pressured by his peers.

The Gracie Bullyproof camp went far beyond just a few self-defense techniques in my opinion. This reinforced lessons that my wife and I have already been trying to share with them, sparked conversations in our home, taught them self-defense in very controlled way, and did it all in a fun setting. We as parents cannot help to think that this has kick started a lifestyle change that the whole family can benefit from. I am also grateful that the parents were allowed to stay as spectators. Since I was able to see the whole course being taught, I have since been able to discuss the various elements with my boys since then.

I think that this program can make a huge difference in any child's life. I pray that next year you open it up again to everyone. We will be the first in line!

You all did a tremendous job and I cannot thank you enough for allowing us to be part of it.

Mark Sementilli
Father of Gabriel and Joshua