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Gracie News

From Gracie Garage to Certified Training Center

March 16, 2012

Another Amazing Gracie University Success Story

Hi my name is Kris Ratte and I would like to share a story about how Timmins GJJ was created and how successful we have been thanks to the Instructor Certification Program.

I began training in martial arts many years ago in the art of Korean Taekwondo. I enjoyed it as a hobby, and as a bonus it helped me with my flexibility, confidence, and overall well being. Our Taekwondo club was invited to a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu seminar with a black belt instructor who owns a chain of schools under Renzo Gracie. Immediately, I was hooked. The techniques taught at this seminar were second to none and best of all; they were practical, and easy to do.

And so the journey begins. A group of friends and I kept training these techniques a few times per week, and invited this particular instructor back to our community for several seminars over the course of 2 years. We also travelled by car up to 10 hours to attend seminars with Renzo, Rolles, Gregor, and Igor Gracie. We were looking to expand our knowledge with hopes to share it with others in our community as there was nothing of the sort for hundreds of miles. This type of training became very costly not just for myself, but for my friends as well. We needed a cheaper alternative - This was when we found Gracie University and the Gracie Combatives program.

Click here to see a list of our Certified Training Centers

My friends and I purchased the lessons online as well as the DVD's. We began training Gracie Combatives multiple times per week and were astonished with the instruction and the format. We soon thereafter opened a Gracie Garage and told as many people as possible. We had over 75 people try out the lessons and the feedback was off the charts. We realized it was very difficult to have 50+ people training the linear format therefore we switched to the same format that is taught at the Gracie Academy and all CTC's around the world to accommodate our friends and training partners. This method helped student retention tremendously. I was not certified, however I realized that I truly enjoyed teaching and watching my training partners grow was very rewarding.

Then came my first visit to the Gracie Academy HQ in Torrance with my fiancee Jonelle. I was lucky enough to have a private lesson with Ryron Gracie, and needless to say the first few minutes I was "star struck" as this had been the guy I had seen on all the DVD's, YouTube videos, etc. Ryron was amazing and the atmosphere was very relaxed and it did not take long for me to feel at home. Soon after I tested with Ryron, and was awarded my blue belt which was one of the best feelings ever. During our visit, I expressed to Ryron how successful our Gracie Garage had been and how I was hoping to become a certified instructor and eventually open my own school. Ryron was more than willing to give feedback on what can be done and what steps should be taken to achieve this goal.

After our trip, I adopted all the feedback and teaching methods Ryron spoke to me about in the Gracie Garage with great success. The garage has created a total of 6 blue belts with no one scoring less than 92%. I also invited the adults to bring in their children to train with us and do the BullyProof curriculum as well. The parents loved it, the children loved it, and I loved it.

A few months later, my fiancee and I returned to Torrance for another vacation and more training with the world's best. My fiancee Jonelle tested for her blue belt and passed with an amazing score. We received more feedback and again brought it back to the Gracie Garage.

Then the Instructor Certification Program became available. I jumped in full speed already feeling ahead of the game in terms of being experienced since our Gracie Garage had so many enthusiasts. I successfully passed Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3. Now came the fun part, Phase 4 - live evaluation in Torrance, California.

This would be my 3rd visit to HQ. To make a long story short, I learned a ton; I met a huge group of passionate GJJ enthusiasts, and feel like I have expanded my family exponentially. I was overjoyed to pass the live evaluation and begin the journey.

Upon return, my fiancee and I moved to another community with a larger population. We purchased an old church which has a beautiful house attached. Using a very strong business plan, we sought government funding, and invested our life savings into the project. I left a very secure career as an I.T. professional for a large school board. My fiancee Jonelle was able to take a leave of absence from a government position in order to help me get things started and help manage the business. Our official opening date was September 17th, 2011.

Our grand opening was a huge success with an amazing turnout. We made a 1 year goal - reach 90 members. Our success story is that today is December 15th, 2011 and we have already reached that goal and we are still growing exponentially. Every week we have new members trying out the Gracie Bullyproof classes, or the Gracie Combatives classes. We are very pleased, and our lives could not be better. Who can argue with waking up in the morning, putting on your pyjamas (or your GI, they feel the same), and rolling out of bed onto the mats.

We've been lucky enough to have Ralek Gracie come teach a Bullyproof class and an amazing seminar for adults. Ralek had some great feedback for us and we hope to have him back as soon as possible.

We owe it all to the Gracie family, Victor Camacho-Guillot, and everyone involved in the ICP.

This success story shows that if you are dedicated, have a dream, and are passionate about GJJ, you can make it work (especially with the help of the Gracie family). We thank Helio Gracie for making it possible, Rorion Gracie for bringing GJJ to North America, Royce Gracie for showing the world the effectiveness of GJJ, and the Gracie Brothers for making GJJ available to the world through Gracie University. Thanks for our ever growing student family and above all, thanks to my fiancee Jonelle for believing in me and helping me reach my dream!

On a side note, our old Gracie Garage is still going strong and many of our original training partners train at our CTC on a regular basis. We will be attending the ICP live evaluation this upcoming January, 2012 and we look forward to meeting everyone!

Keep it real, keep it playful, and if you are ever in our area, look us up!

-Kris Ratte-