Gracie Barra San Clemente and Gracie Barra Dana Point have made it their business to go to the Camp Pendleton Marine Base in Oceanside to train the Marines in Jiu-Jitsu. The marines love it so much, they’ve received approval to have them come on base regularly to teach classes as a part of their overall combat curriculum.
Recently, GB standouts, Kayron Gracie, Otavio Sousa, Fabiana Borges, Marcelo Lacerda Brandao, Rodrigo Simoes, Lucas Rocha, Ronis Gracie, and the rest of the GBSC/GBDP staff went to the base to present a Jiu-Jitsu class to the Marines. It was the first time these GB professors and coaches had been on a military base and they were excited about the opportunity. The Marines were blown away by the level of skill and precision these Jiu-Jitsu greats brought to their community.
Kayron Gracie led the class and had a great time doing it. “We got there in the morning at around 10:00,” he says, “Coach Felipe (Guedes) and Coach Charles (Gomes) put them through an hour of physical drills and conditioning,” he says, “Then Professor Otavio, Professor Marcelo, and I taught them some Jiu-Jitsu techniques that were geared more towards the type of self-defense situations they would normally be presented with during combat.”
At the end of the class, the professors and coaches sparred with the Marines. Then as a special surprise, the Marines taught the GB participants a little bit about their combat training. Ronis Gracie was awed by the Marines’ dedication and commitment to training. “I think the most impressive thing I saw was their focus and seriousness during training,” he says, “I can see why these guys are so important to the country and why the U.S. is the strongest country in the world.”
Black belt Fabiana Borges said it was amazing to see how hard the Marines trained and how disciplined they were in class, realizing that they do it to get ready for war. “The experience changed my life,” she says, “It made me want to go back to the mats and demand more of myself as a professor and an athlete. They inspired me to train harder and teach better. We were teaching them Jiu-Jitsu techniques so they can protect themselves while they’re protecting our country. That gave more value to my art and made me expect more from myself.”
At the end of the training session, the Marines gave the professors and coaches certificates as a gesture of respect and gratitude. Fabiana said she felt a lot of pride at that moment. “I was proud to see how they respected and admired our martial art. It was a good feeling knowing that they might be able to use a little bit of the Jiu-Jitsu we taught them to protect themselves while they are so fearlessly defending the country.”