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We are excited to annouce this year’s GB Downers Grove & GB East Naperville Summer Competition Training Camp for Kids & Teens
If your child is competing at the IBJJF Pan Kids or any other tournament this season, this camp is for you!
1st Session:
June 13th – 30th
2nd Session:
July 11th – 21st
📍Gracie Barra Downers Grove
152 Ogden Ave, Downers Grove, IL 60515
☆Free 👕 with your registration
Take advantage of our Early Bird pricing. Enroll now!

📱 (630) 964-1414


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Registration for the Compnet Chicago Summer Championship 2022 on June 11th is now open!

Sign up now at https://compnet.smoothcomp.com/en/event/7527
☆The first 75 competitors to register will receive our special Early Bird pricing☆

What’s new?

For Kids:

  • All competitors 15 and under will receive one complimentary spectator ticket per family.
  • Kids 8 and under will compete in a round-robin format.
  • Parents will now have the option to coach his/her child for the matches.

For Adults/Masters:

  • The Absolute division is now available to all gold and silver medalists with the rank of blue belt and above.
  • The first 20 female competitors (adult and master divisions) will receive 50% off their registration.

💻 Register now and spread the word!

We cannot wait to see you there!


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To celebrate Gracie Barra’s 36th year anniversary, new members that sign up in April and May will get their first month of training for $36. In addition, they will also receive a $36 credit that they can use at the Pro Shop. Also, all existing students can use the Legacy Referral Card to refer a friend and if they sign up, the referring student will receive a complimentary four weeks or tuition.
Take advantage of this limited time offer. Refer your friends today and take part in our legacy!
📱 (630) 964-1414

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Refer a friend your friend gets a month free (30 days) and you get a month free for every friend you bring!

In addition to that, we will have a contest for the students that bring the most number of new members to the schools (Downers or Naperville).

The prizes are:

  • 1st place ( full set GB wear premium gi, rash guard and short ) in addition to the free months per new student brought to the school;
  • 2nd place a private lesson with Professor a Carlos Lemos Jr in addition to the free months per new student brought to the school;
  • 3rd place a no-gi full set uniform GB wear rash guard and GB wear shorts.

Don’t miss out!


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Meet Prof. Carlos Lemos Jr., a 5th degree black belt under Master Carlos Gracie Jr.
Carlos is the head instructor and owner of Gracie Barra Downers Grove, Illinois.
“Once I started training Jiu-Jitsu I couldn’t stop. It became part of who I am. An essential part of my identity”
This week, Gracie Barra asks Prof. Carlos how he got started in Jiu-Jitsu and he shares his interesting and sometimes humorous story about how he first became interested in Jiu-Jitsu, his early motivation, and why he has lived the Jiu-Jitsu life for all of these years.
GB: Let’s start by introducing you to the GB Online readers. How did you start training Jiu-Jitsu and where is your home Gracie Barra school?
Prof. Carlos Lemos:
Hello guys! Thank you so much for the opportunity for this interview and to connect with all of you from GB Online.
My original school is the original Gracie Barra in Barra de Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, also known as Gracie Barra Matriz. The first Gracie Barra school of Master Carlos Gracie Jr.
I started training Jiu-Jitsu around 1992 – 93. I’ve always been training under Gracie Barra. Before Jiu-Jitsu I did Muay Thai, I did tae kwon do, also I did a bunch of judo when I was a kid. But once I started training Jiu-Jitsu I couldn’t stop. It became part of who I am. An essential part of my identity.
My beginning was a very interesting story. I grew up learning martial arts since I was a kid. My father first enrolled me in Tae Kwon Do when I was 3 or 4 years old. At the age of 10, I started doing judo. I did about 3 years of judo. A year of kickboxing Muay Thai. I thought that I knew how to fight. I thought that I didn’t need to learn any self-defense. I thought that I would never need that.
But a lot of the members of the Gracie family moved to my neighborhood. I started to see these guys all of a sudden running the show in our town. I started to see the students were doing everything together. They were running on the beach together, they were surfing together, running with their dogs on the beach.
I never really had that level of friendship before. I was looking at these guys saying… no no no. I don’t want to be part of this. This probably is cultish. They are all obsessed with this thing. I don’t want to have anything to do with that. They are too obsessed with this thing. I had friends that started training with them, affiliate schools of Gracie Barra. They said, let’s go there, but I never wanted to go.
One day I saw this guy who grew up training with us. Brazil, back in the day was not violent in the sense that there were guns everywhere. But there was a lot of freedom. I saw this 16 or 17-year-old kid..but a blue belt in Jiu-Jitsu. Not too big, maybe 65 kg. I saw him and a grown man squaring up for some reason. And all of the kids ran to this grass field to watch. I saw the much larger grown man swinging at his head. The kid ducked under, body locked the man, took the guys back, and the next thing I knew, the kid looked like a koala on a giant’s back. Like a little backpack on this man’s back. Next thing I know the man is collapsing on his knees and falling face down on the grass. The kid allowed him to turn over and breathe and the fight was over. That was really impressive!
I had not been converted to Jiu-Jitsu yet. I was about 14. My first girlfriend broke up with me. Then she started dating the Jiu-Jitsu kid. Man, I was devastated! And I said that I’m going to start training Jiu-Jitsu and become better than this guy! I was always a very active and competitive kid. Every sport that I engaged in I eventually became really good. I had a lot of persistence.
So I said, “I want to become better than this guy!”
Because one day I am going to be the one squaring up with him. I started training really hard. Six months passed and I wasn’t even close to this guy’s level. He was a local and state champion. But when I looked around the mats of the school, every single one of the people in that school…I realized that I was surrounded by a group of very positive, uplifting group of role models. They are people who are from all walks of life. None of them was involved with drugs, with alcohol, with bad habits. They were all virtuous individuals. I saw many demonstrations of humility, courage, kindness, sincerity.
Courage and loyalty are what I saw the most. I said “I won’t find better friends anywhere else in my life. I can’t live without these guys and I can’t live without this.”
Surfing has always been an important element in my life. Back at the same time, I was training Jiu-Jitsu, I was achieving a pro surfing level. I was actively competing. I started to surf when I was 4 years old. I became a great surfer…but never an extraordinary surfer. Not a world-class level. When I started to train Jiu-Jitsu hard, within a year, my surfing level went up to incredible heights.
It’s amazing how Jiu-Jitsu helped me improve as a surfer. I could definitely have had a career as a pro surfer. But although I love surfing to this day, the lifestyle of surfing wasn’t there. You know a lot of my surfing friends were messing around with drugs, alcohol. They were not the best type of people to be hanging around with.
And I had the complete opposite in Jiu-Jitsu. I had friends that would stand by my side no matter what, and I could count on them. That really moved me. I realized that I couldn’t live without that, without that community.
That’s how I started and that’s what kept me in Jiu-Jitsu.
GB Values: Jiu-Jitsu Culture
Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Asia

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“It’s exactly like a Jiu-Jitsu match. Your whole life is a Jiu-Jitsu match…”
Meet Prof. Carlos Lemos Jr., a 5th-degree black belt under Master Carlos Gracie Jr. and the head instructor and owner of Gracie Barra Downers Grove, Illinois.
This week, Gracie Barra talks with Prof. Carlos about how he was able to apply the lessons of jiu-jitsu on and off the mats during the time of the global pandemic.
GB: How have you been able to apply what you have learned in Jiu-Jitsu to your life outside of the mats (especially during the pandemic)?
Prof. Carlos: This is a great question. Especially how I am using what I learned in Jiu-Jitsu during the pandemic.
I definitely applied a lot of Jiu-Jitsu concepts.
A lot of my students say ‘Man, the way you talk, the way you interact with people, the way that you do things’… I hear that all of the time from my students.
It’s exactly like a Jiu-Jitsu match. Your whole life is a Jiu-Jitsu match! I heard that multiple times from my coaches, from my students. One can’t help but to transcend the mats with the Jiu-Jitsu knowledge.
Definitely, I saw a lot of people getting depressed. That reflected in the world economy. That reflects in the countries. That even reflected in the microcosm of the family. I saw friends becoming enemies. I saw students canceling memberships. I saw family members fighting each other. All because of the stress and the uncertainty of the pandemic.
But I didn’t see much of that in the active Jiu-Jitsu community. The pandemic was nothing but a tough fight for all of us. We got caught by surprise. That threw us, passed our guard, and got a knee on our belly.
What do you do now? Do you panic? Do you turn onto your belly and give up? Or…do you breathe, assess the situation, and start to patiently work for an escape?
This is exactly what we did and how we approach the whole situation. That approach enabled us to help so many of our students that are studying with us. To help so many people in our community, family members, people around us. Because we know that patience is the way of Jiu-Jitsu. You can’t panic. You can’t rush.
Of course, we are not in a comfortable spot. We worked more than ever. We offered virtual classes, every day. We did an “SOS” phone call to all of our students, a Gracie Barra hotline we could call that ?
To keep everybody positive and understanding that it was not the end for us. We would make it out of this.
To keep serving our students. Making sure that everyone was covered in any needs of theirs. Whether it be their financial, or mental support or any help of any sort.
We kept a positive approach. A Jiu-Jitsu fighter that doesn’t have a positive and enthusiastic approach to life doesn’t go anywhere. So that is what we kept. We helped many people during the months of the shutdown. We had a stay in the shelter order in our state where we could only leave the house for the essentials or emergencies. But that didn’t slow us down.
Now we are open again with several restrictions, but we can teach in-person classes. We are really happy with the lives that we reached out to and all of the people that we helped.
Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Asia

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Dear members of Gracie Barra Downers,

We all have been through tremendous changes these past few months due to the current pandemic, and we are grateful to be sailing through this storm with every one of you!

As you know, the admin and instructor team work hard on paying attention to the latest guidance from the GB headquarters as well as recommendations from the leading health and safety organizations. Our goal is to help all of us continue enjoying what we love in the safest and most hygienic approach possible. We recognize that it’s important to ensure your confidence in knowing that we not only safeguard you but also with your family’s health in mind.

While most of you started settling down to your own training schedule with familiar partners, we plan to start implementing the buddy system on Monday, August 10th. This safety measure aims to keep you with regular training partners in a small group of up to 4 people, to minimize your exposure to other circles. You have the freedom to train with any and all of the members within your small group during class time and helps you to always have a training partner on the mats.

Here is what we need from you:

Check-in with those who you have been training with the past few weeks agree to form a group of 2 to 4, then submit the name(s) to the admin team at 309-533-8339 (text only) before your next training day.

A few reminders: Please be sure to communicate with ALL of your group members to ensure everyone is on board forming the group before submitting the names. Once a group is locked in and finalized, we will not swap members with other groups unless if it’s deemed necessary by your head instructors. If you cannot find a group, the instructors can make suggestions based on who you have been training with, or who else has a similar training schedule that’s also seeking to add members to his/her group. Please note that groups are not finalized until reviewed by the instructors, and they may reach out to recommend changes based on safety and other considerations.

Please text us at 309-533-8339 if you have questions. We look forward to starting this new initiative with your support.

GB Downers Grove Team