Gracie Gym is the only place in Plano where you can learn the martial art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu straight from the source. Gracie Gym’s head instructor Alex Faria, an internationally recognized Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, spent 8 years training under and ultimately receiving his black belt from Roger Gracie, grandson of the founder of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Carlos Gracie.
The roots of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) can be traced back to 1925, when Carlos Gracie opened the first BJJ school, Academia Gracie de Jiu-Jitsu in Rio. Concerned with self-defense, Carlos Gracie altered traditional Japanese Jiu-Jitsu techniques, using leverage and balance instead of strength to allow a smaller person to manipulate a much larger, stronger person without striking, kicking or the use of weapons. Carlos also taught his concepts of natural nutrition, and became a pioneer in creating a special diet for athletes called the Gracie Diet. This transformed Jiu-Jitsu into a term synonymous with a healthy lifestyle.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is now an organized sport with competitors around the globe. The Brazilian National Federation (CBJJ) and the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) were created by the Gracie family in order to organize the competition rules and the belt system, and to grow the sport internationally.
Today, to train with a Gracie is to train with the best. Beginning his study of BJJ in Brazil in 1992, Alex then moved to London and trained 8 years under Roger Gracie, a 10-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion, at Roger Gracie Academy HQ in London, one of the top BJJ places to train in the world. Alex also had the added privilege of training under Roger’s father, one of the “Famous Five” legendary Gracie black belts.
Because Roger Gracie traveled often, he handpicked Alex to run his Academy. Alex was Roger’s personal training partner and also trained with UFC & World Champions such as Georges St-Pierre, Braulio Estima, Fabio Gurgel, Clark Gracie, Lucio ‘Lagarto’ Rodrigues, Luciano Cristovam, Lucio Sergio Dos Santos, Publio Caetano, Gustavo Pires ‘Siri’, Kywan Gracie, and many more greats. Many of Alex’s students have won medals at IBJJF world championships. Alex is also an accredited IBJJF referee, and as a coach believes this knowledge is extremely important to help those in competition.
While Alex devoted his time to teaching in London, he did not have many opportunities to compete. Since moving to the U.S. he has participated in several IBJJF competitions, and in 2015 is ranked #10 in the IBJJF worldwide. He won Gold in Houston in his division and Bronze in the absolute division, Gold in Boca Raton, and Silver in Boston. Alex has been featured several times in BJJ magazines alongside Roger Gracie. Due to his notoriety as a Roger Gracie head instructor and black belt, he has also taught seminars in Brazil, Spain and California, as well as London.
Founded in 2012 by Crolin and Kyvia Gracie, Gracie Gym in Plano believes that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu teaches you not only self-defense, but patience, respect for peers, confidence, self-control and self-worth. BJJ instructors emphasize a well-rounded lifestyle with a focus on exercise and healthy eating. Children as young as 3 may take lessons, and everyone from beginners to advanced belts are welcome. In the Gracie tradition, Gracie Gym members are treated as part of a big family within a relaxed atmosphere.
Members may choose from group classes or private lessons, and separate pricing is available for those who want to visit the gym every day versus those who only want to come twice a week. Every 4-6 weeks, Gracie Gym also offers a free self-defense seminar to the public, one aimed at adults and another aimed at parents and their kids. On these Saturdays, Plano Police give crime-prevention tips and an instructor teaches self-defense techniques.
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