Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

by • June 27, 2015 • Cover Story, July 2015

By Jody Robinson

Self development. Discipline. Self defense. Character development. These are all traits any parent would want to instill in their children and the main reasons why my husband and I chose to enroll our children in Gracie Barra Jiu Jitsu in Dana Point.

Open since December 2009 in the Blue Lantern Plaza (at the corner of PCH and Blue Lantern), the Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu studio specializes in  self defense and Brazilian Jiu-JItsu for men, women and children of all ages.

In the four years since our now 8-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter started the program, they have both thrived in the encouraging, fun atmosphere and in interacting with their fellow students and the instructors. What is particularly nice is that there are several “coaches” on the mat throughout the 50-minute class, so each student receives individualized, personal attention. All of the instructors (a favorite is Professor Fernando who oversees the “Little Champs I and II programs) I’ve witnessed are incredibly patient, supportive and seem to have an affinity for teaching their art to children.

“I attribute the success of the business to date to our people,” says Flavio Almeida, executive director, Gracie Barra (GB) Association and professor, GB Dana Point and GB San Clemente. “Gracie Barra has been an amazing magnet, attracting good people. From the staff to the students, every individual has been very committed to the team and their training, as well as the growth of the school.”

Almeida, who has been practicing Jiu-Jitsu his entire life, says Gracie Barra has “transformed me and my family in so many ways and we are really motivated to expose as many people in our community to the amazing benefits of the practice – from improved confidence, strength and coordination to personal discipline. Our classes are run using curriculums and teaching methods developed by our founder Carlos Gracie Jr. and, most importantly, we have our students goals in mind all the time. Jiu-Jtsu is a tool for each team member to discover his or her own strengths and grow from their weaknesses and we are here to help them.”

Michelle Potter, whose 8-year-old son K.J. has been participating for the past two years says “our family has been very impressed with the level of instruction at Gracie Barra. Not only has my son learned techniques to defend himself if bullied, but he has also learned discipline and respect of others. Exercise, discipline, defense, respect, perseverance and excellent instruction are a winning combination.”

For more info, call (949) 388-8886, stop by the studio 34085 Pacific Coast Hwy in Dana Point (in the Blue Lantern Plaza) or visit

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