One of the biggest highlights of my summer trip to California was getting to train the the Gracie Academy again. Not only was I there to train, but I was also there to complete the Women Empowered Instructor Certification Program. However, before heading to Torrance, we spent some time in Beverly Hills — and since the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy Beverly Hills was right around the corner from us, we decided to check it out! Here are a few photos from our trip — as always, it was a terrific experience. I learned so much, and I left eager to keep working on my technique and building my confidence on the mats.

Gracie Academy – Beverly Hills

The Gracie Academy in Beverly Hills is much smaller than the one in Torrance. However, the friendly, welcoming atmosphere is just the same. We were warmly greeted at the reception and shown around. It felt cozy and at the same time kind of elegant. I have to say, the women’s locker room was by far the best locker room I had ever seen! It felt like a spa room – with nice, spacious lockers and different amenities. I know it may seem unimportant, but I assure you, as a woman who has checked out different Jiu-Jitsu schools in a few different countries, when you get to a training center and are led to some backroom that is hardly maintained and told that that is the women’s locker room, it feels like an afterthought – it feels like the women are unimportant. That definitely was not the case here!

There was a mini museum/Gracie family timeline, a viewers seating area near the mats, and of course the mat space. Although there is something grand about seeing a large mat full of people training, there is also something quite special and intimate about having the same sort of camaraderie and connection on the mats in a smaller setting. You can also get more individual attention from the head instructors, which is always a bonus!

It was a great experience – a big thank you to everyone for making us feel super welcome! I hope I get the opportunity to train there again.

Gracie Academy Beverly Hills1


Gracie Academy Beverly Hills – Museum Wall


Gracie Academy Beverly Hills2

Gracie Academy Beverly Hills – Mat Space


Daniel & I with our awesome instructors

Gracie Academy – Torrance

One of the best feelings was to be able to get in my car, get on I-405, and drive to the Gracie Academy Headquarters in Torrance and know exactly where I was going — entering the premises as if I had always been training there. When I first met Grand Master Rorion Gracie this past January and he said “Welcome Home. This is your home now”, that’s exactly what it felt like. It felt like home. For that, I give all credit to the instructors and students at the Academy who were beyond welcoming. It wasn’t just about welcoming you on the mats, but it was also about how they encouraged you to participate, train, and work towards improving your Jiu-Jitsu. Regardless of belt rank, there was never a focus on ‘I’m going to make you tap’, rather there really was a commitment to flow. Beyond the Jiu-Jitsu, that kind of camaraderie and support is what I loved best.

Needless to say, it was amazing to have had the opportunity to train at the Academy again this year. I never thought I’d get to go there once, let alone twice {thanks Daniel for making it possible!!}. Here are a few photos from my trip.


Gracie Academy GM Rorion teaching the MC

Grand Master Rorion Gracie teaching a Master Cycle class — What an honor to be able to attend his class and experience his teaching.


LA 2015 July Gracie Academy with Rorion

Daniel & I with Grand Master Rorion Gracie

Gracie Academy MC taught by Brian Ortega

Brian Ortega teaching a no-gi Master Cycle class


Gracie Academy Bullyproof Rener July 2015

Rener Gracie during Bullyproof class

Gracie Academy Combatives class July 2015

Packed mats during Combatives class

Gracie Academy WE class 2 July 2015

Women Empowered class at the Gracie Academy

LA 2015 July Gracie Academy D and I3

Daniel and I finally on the green mats at the Gracie Academy together.

We started our Jiu-Jitsu adventure training via Combatives DVDs with incredibly hard mats in the corner of our bedroom.

To have made it here to train at the Academy together was a priceless experience.

LA 2015 July Gracie Academy D and I with Rener Gracie

Thank you Rener for yet another amazing learning experience!