Tim Shears of Gracie Barra Vancouver (GBV) has had a very interesting and diverse martial arts career. He’s been training since 1992. He got involved in Jeet Kune Do (Bruce Lee’s martial arts concepts), which included BJJ, under Paul Vunak. Vunak told him about Master Rickson Gracie. Through Gracie, he was introduced to Professor Wellington “Megaton” Dias in 1994. That’s when Shears’ gi training started. He was with Megaton for seven years.
In 1997, Shears opened up his first JKD/BJJ school, “I was a Purple Belt in BJJ at the time, but after a couple of years, politics got in the way and I decided to leave the Megaton Team. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” After two weeks of having no professor at his school, a Brown Belt from GB came to Canada to learn English. He and Shears trained together every day for two months, until he went back to Rio.
Shortly after that, Shears met Marcio Feitosa and Marco Joca and the rest, as they say, is history. Shears became an associate of GB. Two years later, Shears got his Brown Belt. He’s now been with GB since 2002 and received his Black Belt in 2006 from Master Carlos Gracie Jr. “Over the years I have learned so much from GB that it has truly changed my life,” Shears says, “I started putting 100% effort into my BJJ development.”
GBV has close to 300 students now and he just promoted two more brown belts to black, which gives my school a total of nine black belts. Shears just opened up a new GBV school location and Professor Marcio Feitosa was there to “bless it.” The school is 6000 sq ft with two large matted areas and a big Strength and Conditioning area for people to work out, plus full shower/change rooms. Shears says, “I’m blessed to have so many great students and Professors on my mats everyday. The level is always growing. GBV has a good Competition Team that does very well in local and International Tournaments.”
However, Shears says his focus isn’t on competitions because only 10% of his students compete, “My school really caters to the everyday ‘Joe and Jane.’ They like to come into a safe environment to learn, sweat, and smile as they go through their paces.” Shears says watching his students train is his true reward, especially when he sees them perform moves they just learned in a training session.
He also loves how cohesive his school has become, “I see my students becoming such a close family. They seem to be going out together, making business contacts, and making it much more than just a gym to go train in. It’s an amazing feeling!”