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Gracie News

20 Years of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu

September 4, 2015

Congratulations Chet Schemahorn!

Professor Chet Schemahorn discovered Gracie Jiu-Jitsu by watching Royce fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He started training in May 1995 by studying the original Rorion and Royce instructional videos. In 1997, the Gracie Academy accepted him into the instructor training program and he began traveling to Torrance four times a year for weeklong training sessions. Chet opened his first school in LaGrange, Indiana later that year.

Whenever Grandmaster Helio Gracie visited the Academy in Torrance, Chet made the trip to share the mat with him. He sought every opportunity to learn Helio's techniques and philosophy. He often tells of the time he was in the Gracie Academy laundry room hurriedly folding towels so that he could finish in time for class. Helio entered the room and knocked over all of the towels because Chet had incorrectly folded them. As Helio went over the proper towel folding technique, Chet was trying to move quickly to get into class on time. Chet laughs it off now because he realizes Helio was simply teaching him to do it the right way the first time - a lesson about efficiency and patience that he never forgot.

In 2001, Chet filmed himself teaching the entire self-defense program as part of his instructor training. Helio & Rorion evaluated the videos, and then Helio personally tested his knowledge before designating him as an official Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy assistant instructor. Two years later, he earned his brown belt and became a Certified Instructor.

In December 2007, Chet was among the first six American students, including Ed O'Neill (aka "Al Bundy"), to earn black belts at the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Torrance under Grandmaster Helio, Rorion, Ryron, and Rener. He was the first black belt who did not train full-time at the Gracie Academy. Through hard work, dedication, demonstrated skill as an instructor, and numerous trips to Torrance, Chet earned the family's respect and promotion to black belt. Rorion and his sons promoted him to 1st degree five years later.

Today, Chet is a 2nd degree black belt. He owns and operates two schools in Indiana with over a hundred students. He has produced three black belts - Abram Bottles, Warren Acker, and Aram Bottles - an amazing accomplishment and major tribute to his ability to teach and inspire. Chet has always said that Gracie Jiu-Jitsu has made him a better person and motivated him to be patient and generous when dealing with others. His actions back his words as he and his students host an annual charity seminar to benefit the local food pantry and teach free seminars to local firefighters, emergency medical personnel, and SWAT team members.

Chet's students celebrated his twenty-year commitment to Gracie Jiu-Jitsu with a surprise party in his honor last weekend. Chet was left speechless when Ryron Gracie joined the celebration and presented him with a framed certificate acknowledging his twenty-year commitment to spreading the art of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Chet exemplifies the best in our Instructor Certification Program. The Gracie Academy is proud to count him among our family members and honor him for representing Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and the Academy at the highest level.

If you are interested in hosting Chet for a seminar, he can be reached at