Roy Dean: Creating Art Through Combat

At 16 years old, Roy Dean felt trapped in Anchorage, Alaska, so he left home for Japan as part of an exchange student program. When he arrived at his new high school, students were required to study one of the traditional Japanese arts, such as fencing (kendo), archery (kyudo), or floral arrangements (ikebana).

Steven Seagal was popular at that time,” Roy said. “I was interested in aikido because I wanted to be able to take on five guys in a pool hall.”

Aikido was not available at his Japanese high school, but judo was an available art option.

Initially, I wasn’t that pleased,” Roy said, “but judo changed the entire trajectory of my life.”

The judo program was conservative, so Roy was not allowed to wear a uniform until he first learned how to fall properly (ukemi).

Judo is very tough,” Roy said. “I did hundreds, if not thousands, of hard break falls and ended up with huge bruises on my shoulders.”

After six weeks of falling drills, Roy was finally allowed on the mats and given the opportunity to spar with the judo team captain.

No matter what I did, within seconds I was on the ground, looking up at the ceiling,” Roy said. “I would attack him again, and boom, like it was nothing. He must have thrown me at least 15 times in a couple of minutes.”

Roy was completely outclassed by the smaller and weaker team captain, but Roy was inspired.

It was electrifying,” Roy said. “He was small and not intimidating at all. If I could do what he just did to me, no one would be able to mess with me. I wanted that same power. It was mind‐blowing.”

A lot of Westerners romanticize martial arts in the East, but that experience taught Roy the secret behind the mysticism. Continue reading “Roy Dean: Creating Art Through Combat”

Chris Lovato: A Fighter & Entrepreneur Success Story Against All Odds

I paid 50 bucks for a self‐defense seminar,” Chris Lovato said, “and all I remember were the takedowns and the instructor doing this weird breathing thing.”

At the end of the seminar, the instructor lined the students up and each was given a chance to knock him down.

I’ve got this,” Chris thought because of his wrestling background. “I jumped to the front of the line and the next thing I knew I was looking up at the ceiling.”

Everyone was given one shot, but Chris snuck back in line to try again.

He got lucky,” Chris thought. “I didn’t know what the hell happened the second time, but I ended up on my back staring up at the ceiling again. I had no idea who he was, but he fucked me up.”

That was Chris’s introduction to Brazilian Jiu‐Jitsu, and the instructor—Rickson Gracie—was one of the best fighters of all time. Continue reading “Chris Lovato: A Fighter & Entrepreneur Success Story Against All Odds”

Nicolas Gregoriades: unlocking the root of all fears and neuroses

Nicolas Gregoriades left his home in South Africa and arrived in London with only a couple of hundred bucks in his pocket. After trying another gym, he eventually discovered Roger Gracie’s Jiu‐Jitsu academy.

When Nicolas knocked on the door, a tall but unassuming kid answered. “This guy doesn’t look tough at all,” Nicolas thought.

He looked like a regular dude,” Nicolas said. “He had that foppish haircut and was kind of pale. I thought these crazy fighters were supposed to be tan, Mediterranean‐looking guys.”

Nicolas had some no‐gi grappling experience and had been submitting a lot of guys at home with kneebars. One of his friends knew of Roger Gracie and heard Nicolas was visiting the academy.

If you kneebar that guy, I will call you ‘sir’ for the rest of your life,” his friend said.

My kneebars are amazing,” the overly confident, 20‐year‐old Nicolas said to his friend. “Jiu‐Jitsu guys don’t know kneebars.”

Roger was gracious and welcomed Nicolas into the gym during their lunchtime class.

I’ll never forget that day,” Nicolas said. “There were only four guys in class, so I asked if I could spar with him.” Continue reading “Nicolas Gregoriades: unlocking the root of all fears and neuroses”

Ryron Gracie: the secret to success in life and Jiu‐Jitsu

At 12 years old, Ryron Gracie cleaned the mats in between matches at UFC 1 where Royce Gracie submitted every one of his opponents.

That event changed history and radically transformed the martial arts community. UFC 1 showcased Gracie Jiu‐Jitsu to the world and planted the seeds for Brazilian Jiu‐Jitsu to spread internationally.

I had a pretty good idea how big the UFC was,” Ryron said. “Everybody at my school knew I was there and that my uncle was on TV.”

Twenty‐five years later, Ryron is routinely recognized by people who are anxious to share their story of watching the early UFC fights.

But it’s not about me,” Ryron emphasized. “It’s the name. Torrance is very much the city of the Gracie family.” Continue reading “Ryron Gracie: the secret to success in life and Jiu‐Jitsu”

Evandro Nunes – developing self‐confidence, dealing with bullies, and finding inner peace

Evandro Nunes is a trainer at the world‐famous Gracie Jiu‐Jitsu University and has earned several world championship Brazilian Jiu‐Jitsu medals.

His mindset toward fighting began forming while being raised by a tough Brazilian father who instilled strong, traditional values in him.

If you see injustice toward you, or someone else, you stand up for it,” Evandro’s father taught him. “If you’re wrong, you apologize, but if you’re right, you fight for it.”

Evandro was born with a firm sense of right and wrong, but it was his father’s lessons that reinforced those instincts.

It only made sense. If I’m right, I should win,” Evandro said. “The good guy wins and the bad guy loses, just like in the movies.”

That instinct led him into a lot of fights as a kid, many of which were with his brother, who was four years older.

My brother and I fought a lot,” Evandro said, “but I still remember the first time I won.”

In this fight, Evandro was only seven years old and thought he could not possibly defeat his much‐larger sibling.

He punched me in the shoulder, and I fell on the floor crying,” Evandro said.

Evandro’s brother pushed him down four more times and then demanded that he stay on the ground.

I remember feeling that I was right, so I should not lose,” Evandro said. “I was willing to go as far as it took to defend my ground.” Continue reading “Evandro Nunes – developing self‐confidence, dealing with bullies, and finding inner peace”