Gracie Arizona Jiu Jitsu Academy
About Us

The school is run by Relson Gracie Black Belt Nathan Zigler. We pride ourselves on a friendly training atmosphere focused on the technical aspects of Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.  Whether you’re looking for self-defense, sport BJJ or just a great way to get fit while learning to defend yourself this  will be a good school for you. We are a club, not a commercial business.  Having operated as both, we much prefer the club atmosphere.  Our priority is to train productively and safely in a fun, friendly environment. As such, we keep a close eye on the make-up of our school and have in the past asked people to leave who have created a disharmonious atmosphere. Classes are friendly and non-competitive.  Our goal is to train and learn technique, not to pummel each other. However, do not mistake compassion for weakness; we have regular sparring matches as part of every class to test skills and provide aggressive training. We are not primarily a MMA school, although we have students who successfully compete in Mixed Martial Arts or No Holds Barred competitions.  Our club has local and federal law enforcement officers, business and medical professionals, athletes, and individuals from just about all other professional fields. Our reputation as a highly-technical and knowledgeable club is one we are proud of.  Our school has solid relationships with all of the other BJJ schools and view many of the other instructors in town as our colleagues and friends. Our club provides a low stress environment that puts a premium on technical mastery and improvement.  

What is the style you practice?
The style we practice is as close as you can get to the original source of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Relson Gracie is the second son of the famous Helio Gracie. Relson and his internationally renowned brothers -- Rorion, Rickson, Rolker, Royler, and Royce -- are responsible for introducing this incredible style of martial art from Brazil to the rest of the world. 

So what is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu?
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art that focuses on grappling and ground fighting techniques which can be used by a smaller person to defend against attacks by larger, stronger opponents. Specifically, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu refers to the style developed by Helio Gracie in the 1900s from a modified version of pre-World War II Judo including some techniques from Japanese Jujutsu. Because of Helio's slight build, he developed a fighting style using technique, leverage and timing allowing a practitioner to successfully defend themselves against a bigger, stronger adversary. Today, we train in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu for self-defense, sport grappling tournaments (gi and no-gi) and mixed martial arts (MMA) competition. One of the advantages of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is that sparring and live drilling are used extensively to successfully prepare the student for real-life self-defense encounters.

Who is Relson Gracie?
Relson (pronounced HEL-son) began learning jiu-jitsu at two-years-old and entered his first competition when he was only 10.  An adept student of his father Grand Master Helio Gracie, Relson was the Brazilian National Champion for 22 years straight, going undefeated for the entire period.  This incredible competitive feat earned him the nickname "Campeao" or "Champion" in Brazil. Relson moved from Brazil to Hawaii in 1988.


2109 E. McDowell Rd.
Phoenix AZ. 85006

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