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"Count Koma"

A member of the Judo Kodokan, Maeda was one of five of Judo's top groundwork experts that the founder Kano Jigoro sent overseas to demonstrate and spread the art to the world. Maeda left Japan in 1904 and visited a number of countries giving demonstrations and accepting challenges from wrestlers, boxers, savate fighters and various other martial artists before eventually arriving in Brazil on November 14, 1914. It was in Brazil where Maeda ultimately accepted Carlos Gracie as a student. Carlos, the eldest of the Gracie brothers, eventually passed his knowledge on to his younger brothers.




At age fourteen, Helio Gracie lived with his brothers who taught Jiu-Jitsu. Following a doctor's recommendations, Helio would spend the next few years limited to watching his brothers teach as he was naturally frail. He realized, however, that even though he knew the techniques theoretically, the moves required power and strength which did not suit his small stature. Consequently, he began adapting the Jiu-Jitsu techniques for his particular physical attributes and through trial and error learned to maximize leverage, thus minimizing the force that needed to be exerted to execute a technique. Using these new techniques, smaller and weaker practitioners gained the ability to defend themselves against much larger attackers. Today, the main differences between Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu® is the emphasis on self-defense opposed to sport and competition with a large commonality of techniques between the two.



Lexington, SC Head Instructor: John Carter

In 2007, our Head instructor, John Carter, began training in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu with Jack Walker (A Valente Brother's Jiu-Jitsu Black-Belt) in Columbia, South Carolina. On July 31, 2010 he received his Blue-Belt from Professor Pedro Valente and the following summer of 2011, he was accepted into the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy Instructor Certification Program under Rorion, Ryron and Rener Gracie. Upon his successful graduation, he established the first Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Certified Training Center® in South Carolina. On December 8th, 2016 he was promoted to Purple-Belt by Professor Rener Gracie and on January 26th, 2019 he was promoted to Brown-Belt by Professor Ryron Gracie. December 12th, 2022, John was promoted to Black-Belt by Professor Ryron and Rener Gracie. He is a Level 4 Certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Instructor under the Gracie Academy in Torrance, California.

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