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Today, we have 225 Gracie Garages throughout the U.S. and abroad, and with this t-shirt we pay homage to the humble beginnings of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in America.
Upon arriving in the United States in 1978, Rorion Gracie's mission was to spread his family's system of self-defense to the world. He asked the head instructors at several martial arts schools if they would allow him to teach Gracie Jiu-Jitsu at their facility, but every one of them declined. The world did not yet understand the critical importance of ground fighting, and individual instructors were unwilling to allow an unknown martial artist to teach at their school.
Never one to quit, Rorion and a few of his friends rented a small house with a two-car garage in Hermosa Beach, California. He lined the floor of the garage with grappling mats and began teaching private classes to anyone and everyone he met. He offered one free private class to each new student, and solely by word of mouth, the number of students grew rapidly, and the demand necessitated additional instructors. So, in 1985, Rorion invited his brother Royce to help teach in the garage. By 1989, Rorion and Royce were instructing 130 active students in the garage and had 80 more wait-listed. It was at this point that Rorion and Royce decided to open the very first Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in the United States, based out of Torrance, California.
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