Martial Arts ~ The Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Way

MMA ~ Women's Self Defense
Students ~ Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Certified Training Center
Students ~ Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Certified Training Center

There are very few things as impressive as Martial Arts; fluid movements that can be so graceful yet incredibly powerful, or fast paced jerk-like movements that can hit before your opponent has a chance to blink.  There are many forms of Martial Arts to participate in – so many that it’s almost mind boggling!

Pretty much every country has its own form of Martial Arts, and some countries even have multiple!  There is the ever popular Karate (made even more popular by a certain movie from the 80’s that we all know and love!), Muay Thai, Taekwondo and Jiu-Jitsu – just to name a few.  No matter which form of Martial Arts you choose to master, there is no better way to get great exercise while learning how to defend yourself.

The Art of The Gracie Way ~ MMA Owner/Instructor Adam Roberts
The Art of The Gracie Way ~ MMA Owner/Instructor Adam Roberts

When people think of Martial Arts, they almost always think of Bruce Lee.  He was a hero and inspiration to kids and adults alike.  Bruce Lee was considered by many to be one of the most influential Martial Artists of all time and has contributed to the Martial Arts community by founding his own practice called Jeet Kune Do.  Jeet Kune Do (or as it’s now known, ‘Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do’ after Bruce Lee’s Chinese given name – Jun Fan) is a fast paced Martial Arts system and philosophy of life. It uses minimal movements that have a maximum effect and has a system of moves that are categorized into different ranges: Kicking, punching, grappling and trapping. Each move is fluid and graceful – like swimming in water.  This is where the mantra “Be like water” came from.  Bruce Lee realized that Martial Arts moves looked too rigid and unrealistic.  He believed that Martial Artists should simply react to what is happening naturally and, you guessed it, be like water.  Therefore Jeet Kune Do isn’t just a set of moves to learn, but rather the practice of attacking when your opponent is about to attack, along with doing what comes naturally while in combat — and doing so without hesitation.

Group class ~ Mckenzie Martial Arts
Group class ~ Mckenzie Martial Arts

Another thing that almost automatically comes to mind is Jiu-Jitsu.  Ju-Jitsu originated in Japan and eventually made its way to Brazil in 1914.  Ju-Jitsu Master Mitsuyo Maeda opened up classes in order to earn money while staying in Brazil, and two if his students would later become well known for helping create a new style of Jiu-Jitsu.

Carlos Gracie and his father attended Mitsuyo Maeda’s class and brought the information home with them, piquing the interest of the youngest of the Gracie family – Helio Gracie.  Helio wanted to practice the moves of Jiu-Jitsu along with his older brother, but wasn’t allowed to learn until the age of 15.  Once he began, he found that the moves were too difficult and kept being defeated by his larger opponents. Instead of giving up, he spent time modifying the moves to make them easier for him. He decided to modify the moves in such a way that you depend on leverage instead of strength, as is usually do in traditional Ju-Jitsu.  Helio Gracie taught his newly created moves to his family members, and over time it became what is now known as Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.

Students ~ McKenzie Marital Arts
Students ~ McKenzie Marital Arts

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu has magnified since its creation and is one of the most popular forms of Brazilian Martial Arts.  The philosophy of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is much more than simply a series of moves or a mindset – it’s a way of life. Helio and Carlos Gracie were firm believers in patience, efficiency and control and believed that those three concepts were vital not just in Martial Arts, but in everyday life.  Efficiency allows you to get a better result in fighting without putting in too much effort.  It’s always assumed that your attacker will be bigger and more skilled than you, so the method taught is to exhaust your attacker instead of exhausting yourself.  Ways to utilize efficiency outside of fighting are by being respectful to others and yourself by eating nutrient rich foods, along with being an upstanding and honest person.

The other two principles of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu are Patience and Control. Patience is an important thing to practice in all areas of life.  Acting impulsively can get you in trouble – especially in Martial Arts.  The important thing to keep in mind about acting impulsively is it can potentially wear you out when fighting an opponent which is, as mentioned above, against what Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is about.  Being patient allows you to last longer in a fight.  You may not look like you’re doing much by taking your time, but in the end it’s the best way to be.  Your opponent will be tired, but you’re just getting started!  Your opponent won’t know what hit them (literally!).

Boys Work Out ~ MMA
Boys Work Out ~ MMA

Last but not least is control. Your goal is to control your opponent, and in order to do that you need to use patience and efficiency (see, there’s a method to all of this!).  You need to utilize timing and control your physical movements along with controlling your mental state. Staying calm and focused will help you take control over whoever you may be fighting with. Remember, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is about taking time and wearing out the other person so you can last longer and eventually take them out!

Filipino Kali is a style of martial arts that focuses on the ability to go from fighting with weapons to bare hands in a fluid motion, just in case you’re left without a weapon somehow. It’s not exactly certain how Filipino Kali started, but most people would guess that it started as a way for local tribes to defend themselves against one another, and eventually was used against the Spanish conquistadors in the 1500’s.  There are multiple forms of Kali that you can learn, and each form teaches elements of striking, grappling, weapons fighting, throwing and take downs.  When taking Filipino Kali lessons you will learn how to use your bare hands as if you were holding a weapon, though it’s considered mainly a weapons-based style of combat. Some practitioners can even turn household items into weapons.  That’s some powerful and useful knowledge!

Students in BULLYPROOF
Students in BULLYPROOF

At the Gracie Academy (McKenzie Martial Arts Family Center), there is a program for children called BULLYPROOF.  It is designed to help children learn defensive moves while also increasing their confidence and self-esteem.  Bullies tend to pick on other children that they know won’t fight back because they seem like they have a low level of confidence.  Children who participate in Martial Arts and especially take classes in the BULLYPROOF program are less likely to be the target of bullying and, interestingly enough, are less likely to start fights.  They have the confidence and don’t feel like they need to prove anything, so they go about their business with their heads held high and a smile on their face, knowing that they can defend themselves if they need to, but probably won’t since they’re so confident and likeable!

MMA ~ Women's Self Defense
MMA ~ Women’s Self Defense

Like the “bully-proofing” for children, self defense and self protection are an important priority for women.  As sad as it is, did you know that, on average, a woman of 21 years of age has a 25% chance of being the victim of a violent crime?  A lot of people view women as weak and easy targets that most likely won’t fight back and can be easily taken over.  This is unacceptable, and while it’s up to others to diminish any preconceived ideas of certain people, there is fortunately something women can do to protect themselves in the meantime.  Self-defense classes are widely available giving women the self-confidence needed to use techniques such as how to use everyday objects like backpacks and magazines to fight back if they are put in a threatening situation.

Readers Choice 2012 black

I recently visited the McKenzie Martial Arts (MMA) Family Fitness Center who teaches the
most practical martial art techniques ever known. You will not find a more effective or more complete self-defense program. McKENZIE MARTIAL ARTS (MMA) is proud to represent Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do Concepts (JKD) and the Progressive Fighting Systems (PFS).  These techniques have been taught to law enforcement officials and the US Military, including the Navy Seals.  MMA strive to keep the development of JKD alive by staying in the forefront of martial arts, fitness and personal safety for all ages.

MMA Family Fitness Center teaches everything you learn could potentially be used in a real self-defense situation. They cover self defense from realistic situations that happen every day. The instructors address all the “what if” questions students have such as: “What if I get grabbed from behind while jogging”, “What do I do if someone breaks into my bedroom”, “What if I get attacked while with my children”….Anything our students can come up with, MMA have a training method for it.

MMA Family Fitness Center is about families.  Their goal is to offer the cutting edge in self defense, combat sports, fitness, health and self discovery, to every type of person that walks through our door.  They appeal to all members of your family, not just the young athlete wanting the thrill of competition (yes we have training that you will love), but to professionals that work 40 hours a week and need a stress outlet… to the Mom who drops the kids off at school and wants a great work out… and to the martial artist who wants to follow in the footsteps of Bruce Lee and explore the world of martial arts, keeping the spirit of truth alive.

Boys MMAMMA instructors are part of an elite division of PFS: Descendants of the Masters (instructors Ryan & Rener Gracie are the grandsons of Heilo Gracie), and hold the highest ranks and certificates of Full/Senior Instructors under legendary fighter Paul Vunak. They are representing such arts as: Jeet Kune Do (street self-defense by Bruce Lee), Gracie Jiu-Jitsu (defend yourself while on the ground) and the Filipino Martial Arts (weapons training and multiple attackers) among others.  Sifu Vunak has been one of Guro Dan Inosanto’s (Bruce Lee’s training partner, best friend and protege) top students for 30 years.  Sifu Vunak was also one the first students of Rorion, Royce, Royler and Rickson Gracie in America (1985).

Whatever your reason for learning Martial Arts may be – whether it’s for self-defense, a way to make friends with like-minded individuals or you simply just want to be like your fast moving, Karate chopping hero – Martial Arts at the McKENZIE MARTIAL ARTS FAMILY FITNESS CENTER is a family friendly non traditional school which provides a non-intimidating atmosphere for everyone with no forms, no rituals, no uniforms and a no nonsense program that teaches discipline, coordination and humbleness; Traits that are needed both in the Dojo and everyday life.

Here’s The Gracie core principle ~ “Using no way as way, and no limitation as limitation.”


Simply ExtraOrdinary Coaching

#1 rated youth Brazilian Jiu Jitsu program in Oregon for 2010 & 2011. MMA earned 18 medals logos 006including 6 State Championships.

Phone: (541) 729-2455   Email: [email protected]

3666 W. 11th Ave Eugene, OR (Cross Street: Bailey Hill Rd.- Across from Lowes)

Serving Lane County for over 10 years

Dene is the Mom of two active children who are both sports enthusiasts. Dr Dene has been an educator and coached a variety of sports for various ages for over 30 years. She is an active volunteer Kidsports Coach here in Eugene and has served as an Executive Director for local day & overnight camps and mentoring programs for boys & girls. You can find her at or send an email to [email protected] ~ follow me on Twitter @DrSuccessCoach

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