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Level 1: Blue Belt

A Level 1 Certified Training Center is authorized to teach you the complete Gracie Combatives® course and is capable of taking you from start to blue belt.

Level 2: Purple Belt

A Level 2 Certified Training Center is capable of teaching you the Master Cycle™ techniques required for promotion to purple belt.

Level 3: Brown Belt

A Level 3 Certified Training Center is capable of teaching you the Master Cycle™ techniques required for promotion to brown belt.

Level 4: Black Belt

A Level 4 Certified Training Center is capable of teaching you the Master Cycle™ techniques required for promotion to black belt. This is the highest level of certification.

Read more about the Levels of Certification...

Lexington, SC

Gracie Combatives

  • 08:00PM -
  • 08:00PM -

Reflex Development Class

  • 12:00PM -

The Master Cycle

  • 08:00PM -
  • 08:00PM -
  • 06:30PM -

Jr. Grapplers (Ages 8-13)

  • 06:15PM -
  • 05:45PM -

All Gracie Academy Certified Training Centers are independently owned and operated.
Class schedule subject to change. Additional notes below (if applicable).

Gracie Combatives$99/Month

Although Gracie Jiu-Jitsu consists of over 600 techniques, studies of the fights conducted by members of the Gracie Family have shown that 36 techniques have been used more often, and with greater success, than all the others combined. Originally developed for the U.S. Army, Gracie Combatives is the only course that entirely dedicated to the mastery of these 36 essential techniques. After students perfects all the Gracie Combatives techniques individually, they qualify to participate in weekly Reflex Development Classes were they learn how to execute them in various combinations. Once a student masters all the techniques in every combination, they qualify to be tested for promotion to blue belt.

More about Gracie Combatives

Reflex Development Class$Included w/GC

Once you complete each of the 23 Gracie Combatives lessons two times, you will qualify to participate in the Reflex Development Classes. In these lessons we use a revolutionary training process called Dynamic Reflex Development™ to build your reflexes in the execution of all 36 techniques in every possible combination and at various levels of intensity.

More about Reflex Development Class

The Master Cycle$109/Month

Beyond blue belt, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu consists of hundreds of advanced techniques, all of which have been organized into a clearly defined, systematic curriculum called the Master Cycle. In order to streamline the learning process, we have divided all the techniques in the Master Cycle into seven Positional Chapters: Mount, Side Mount, Guard, Half Guard, Back Mount, Leg Locks, and Standing. Several months are dedicated to the study of each chapter before moving on to the next. Each time a student recycles through the 7 chapters they have the chance to learn new techniques as well as strengthen and expand their foundation of existing skills. This cyclic process continues for several years until the student becomes a master in every position of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, one of several perquisites for promotion to black belt.

More about The Master Cycle

Jr. Grapplers (Ages 8-13)$89/Month

In the Jr. Grapplers program, we focus on 33 non-violent self-defense techniques that teach children to “neutralize and negotiate” with the bullies. Verbal assertiveness strategies are a major portion of this curriculum. A child needs absolutely no experience to start, and we guarantee a noticeable increase in your child’s confidence within a few weeks!

More about Jr. Grapplers (Ages 8-13)

Prices are subject to change.

John Carter

John Carter

John Carter, Owner and Head Instructor, has 28 years experience in martial arts and self-defense training. He is a Certified Black-Belt Instructor in the art of Nihon Goshin Aikido and a Certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Level 2 Instructor. Sensei Carter is a graduate of the July 2011 Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Instructor Certification Program. He graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and also earned the rank of Eagle Scout. In January of 1997, he established Carter's Academy of Self-Defense in Columbia, SC and his school is the first Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Certified Training Center in the state of South Carolina to be authorized by the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy Headquarters. His notable teaching experience includes training law enforcement officers from Richland & Lexington County Sheriff's Departments, SC Highway Patrol, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and SLED S.W.A.T. team members. In addition, Sensei Carter has over 10 years of experience working with Richland and Lexington County schools providing self-defense and anti-bullying courses. He has also worked with many women's groups and organizations in South Carolina to provide self-defense and personal protection courses, workshops and seminars. His full-time academy is headquartered in beautiful Lexington, SC where he teaches men, women and children valuable self-defense techniques in a professional, safe and non-competitive environment. He is a husband and father of three boy with values such as honor, respect, hard work and fair play found in his teaching methods.

Lauren Loftley

Lauren Loftley

Lauren Loftley is an Assistant Instructor at Carter’s Academy of Self-Defense in Lexington, SC. Ms. Loftley has trained in martial arts and self- defense since 1999. She holds a 1st degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and a 1st degree Black Belt in Danzan Ryu Jujitsu. Ms. Loftley also holds a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Japanese Jujitsu through the United States Judo Association (USJA). Ms. Loftley began training in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in August 2011 under Sensei Carter at Carter’s Academy of Self-Defense and earned her blue belt in August 2013. Ms. Loftley is a graduate of the July 2014 Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Instructor Certification Program from the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy Headquarters located in Torrance, California. Ms. Loftley is the 2nd instructor and the 1st female in the state of South Carolina to be authorized from the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy Headquarters to teach Gracie Jiu-Jitsu at a Certified Training Center. Ms. Loftley holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and a Bachelor’s Degree in French from the College of Charleston. She also has a Master’s Degree in Public Health in Health Education from the University of South Carolina. Ms. Loftley graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in 2006 and is currently a sworn law enforcement officer. She has experience as a road patrol officer, front line supervisor and training officer. Ms. Loftley is currently continuing her advanced training in the Master Cycle Program and in Women Empowered classes for future certifications.