Recently, the Marines celebrated their 235th anniversary and Gracie Barra San Clemente was there to honor them in military style. Over 30% of GBSC’s student population comes from Camp Pendleton, the local Marine base, and Professor Flavio Almeida wanted to show them how much they were appreciated, not only by the country but by his students as well.
“The Marines step up to be instructors; they help with our kids,” he said, “They have the training and discipline from being a Marine. We have to appreciate how they go to war to defend and fight for our views. It’s also important to do this through Jiu-Jitsu and they help us with that as well. The Marines and Jiu-Jitsu have a lot in common. We have the same attitude of respect and discipline.”
After Almeida thanked the Marines for their service to the country and his school, they exploded on the mats with their own hand-to-hand combat demonstration. It was a very exciting, multi-dimensional performance including weapons-based combat, a variety of martial arts and practices, including Jiu-Jitsu techniques, and their own combat style and type of fighting. Kids and adults alike were riveted to the scene they caused as their conflict situations continued to change and escalate on the mats in front of them.
Professor Marcelo Brandão, whose brother, Pedro, an Army Ranger and Gracie Barra black belt, recently passed away while on base in Georgia, assisted Almeida with the organizing and running of the event. Brandão had the children from the kid’s classes write letters to the Marines, thanking them for their service to our country. When the Marines finished their demonstration, Brandao called a few kids up from the line to read their letters to the Marines, who stood stoically in front of them listening to their heart-warming sentiments of thanks and gratitude.
GBSC Coach, Scott Pearson, an ex-Marine and current blue belt, addressed the children when they were done, “I was a Marine,” he said, “Now I’m a student here like you. Whenever something goes wrong in the world, we have these Marines. How they are used depends on the president in power. The U.S. owns the Marines. The Marines make everything better. That’s how we think and that’s how we’re trained.”
Each speech and demonstration was an attempt to teach the children in Southern California a little more about the Marines and how they affect their community and the world at large. Pearson said, “It’s part of the evolution for these kids. We live in San Clemente and the Marines are living and stationed right here with us.”
Almeida closed the ceremony by saying, “One of the reasons we have such a wonderful life is because of these Marines. They fight for our rights so we can live a free life. We all need to appreciate that.”