Gracie Barra Downers GroveGracie Barra Downers Grove

Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone

The journey of GB jiu jitsu with professor Carlos

Sometimes when I am away I find time to meditate and to reflect over life and situations , my inspiration to write this article came from a bakery I happened to visit and to the format of small businesses in EU.
Something that Europe re inspired me and help me to find the focus and the clarity to set back on track of how I want our school to grow is the “personalization ” of the service of our and all Gracie Barra schools.

Being here just made me realize how important it is to never loose the identity on our school! In the past I got criticized for creating a school that was about me and with too many rules, in reality this twisted perception could only come from the provincialism mentality, an ignorant and limited vision of some who never had a real jiu jitsu experience on its depth.

For them our service should be something superficial and disposable, life less and cold without, love and feelings not different from grabbing a burger on McDonalds or buying an industrialized and processed bread at Walmart, this mentally foster the engendered obsolesce of all segments of our lives, one like that can change their teacher or their school like one change a pair of old socks.

” Maybe I’m old but I’m from a time when if it’s broken we fix it and make it better and stronger ”

I saw that quote somewhere and I was really struck by it ” lucky I can say in CAP letters although we are always working endlessly to improve our school and offer the best to our guys, really there isn’t anything broken among us ”

The rules (GB always) and my initial vision were critical to create the environment and the uniqueness that each and everyone of the Gracie Barra well succeed schools can offer, right there in the heart of the Chicagoland.

” The experience ” that one can have training in one of our schools( GBs across the globe) is what makes Gracie Barra a such special organization ! We are organic not processed or industrialized !

Just like The very family owned bakeries that you can find in this part of the world with their unique family receipts passed from generation to generation…. They are the perfect analogy to what one can experience once training in a Gracie Barra school under one of our leaders!

That is in my opinion the most responsible and “humane” way to run our business, always focusing on the personal touch and the relationships created on the mats.

This is so important for all our schools !

What would you prefer to eat a Danish cake from which the yeast has survived for 150 years , the flour was milled from walking distance of the bakery, the berries of the jam collected on the bakers farm, harvested by his children and the custard prepared by his wife , baked on his family owned bakery’s oven

Or a processed “fake” version of Walmart made of artificial yeast , industrialized bleached flour milled a year prior to the Dough , stuffed with plastic colored apricot !
The personal touch is what make us so special and all our instructors and coaches have played a huge role in making our school a home for so many!

A robotic, plastic, life less program without feelings and relationships is everything I wouldn’t want in our school!

Take a look at the Gracie Family for instance , Jiu Jitsu as we know started in a “family” and this “family structure” was inherited and ingrained in the Gracie Barra schools! My master’s father taught his brothers, who taught his cousins, who taught and are teaching their kids and friends! In a way in a very close way, we are a branch of this family right there as part of this lineage to the cradle of Jiu Jitsu created by Master Carlos Gracie Jr’s dad.

For the ones looking for the ” industrialized version of Jiu Jitsu or the by product of our art, the one you sale to “the Gringos” my school and all Gracie Barra schools definitely aren’t the place for you!

One Day I want to be known by all my students that I played a big part on their life’s as an educator and friend!

This journey has it bumps, misinterpretations and even with the bitter taste of ungratefulness, but it’s the road I and so many GB leaders chose, although it’s the harder one and it may set limitations to whom will be training with us, once you truly impact someone’s life and expose them to the real philosophy and benefits of our Jiu Jitsu, that will last forever! And this is how I liked to be remembered one day. Soul Jiu Jitsu! with passion and love, caring for all of our members is the path I chose!
And that’s why we are changing and touching so many lives !






Prof Carlos Lemos Jr
































































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