Enter your E-mail address to join the Gracie Insider family! Get the Gracie Breakdowns, Gracie Diet Videos, seminar announcements, and contest notifications sent directly to your inbox - for free!

Please fill out the information below
Email Address*

Gracie News

Angeleno Magazine Features the Gracie Brothers

August 3, 2012

First Family of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Launches Boutique Martial Arts School in Beverly Hills

August 2012 Issue - By Andrew Meyers

In Beverly Hills, multigenerational family businesses usually involve entertainment or real estate. But for the Gracie family, the through line is the takedown, the build-up and the negotiation, aka the technique particular to the family's own brand of jiujitsu.

Gracie Jiu Jitsu was inaugurated with a kick, drop and roll in Brazil 85 years ago by the family patriarch, Grand Master Helio Gracie, a sports legend who both revolutionized and popularized jiu jitsu in his native land. Characterized by its celebration of human intelligence over brute strength, it has been studied, taught and adapted by three generations of Gracies and 40 family members.

But while there are 85 certified Gracie Jiu Jitsu training centers throughout the world, only two Gracie Academies are owned and operated by the Gracies themselves. The massive mother ship, where the mat alone is 4,000 square feet, was founded in 1989 in Torrance by Rorion Gracie, Helio's eldest son.

Then there's the brand-new second facility, a high flier on the second floor of a vintage building in downtown Beverly Hills. Launched in early June in a ceremony attended by Beverly Hills Mayor William Brien (a practitioner of martial arts in his youth) and my-biceps-are-tree-trunks actor Michael Clarke Duncan, the luxe locale sports bamboo floors, granite showers, a multimedia touch-screen informational kiosk that looks like a giant iPhone and a wall-long timeline tracing Gracie Jiu Jitsu's trajectory. "It's our boutique school," says Rener Gracie, who teaches at both academies along with his dad, Rorion, and six Brothers. "Classes will be no bigger than 20 people, and we'll offer private classes and classes in homes as well," he adds.

Those classes include a series of customized programs, such as Gracie Combatives, an introduction to self-defense techniques; Women Empowered, a women-only self-defense class; The Master Cycle, for blue belts and higher; and the newest, Gracie Bullyproof, which teaches kids verbal assertiveness and self-defense, and which has garnered the nod from the greatest guru of them all: Oprah.