I remember the first time I started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu , it was a different time, a different era for Jiu-Jitsu, as it was still in its infancy in Australia. Coming from a striking background, the new style of “ground fighting” was only introduced to me through the VHS tapes of early UFC tournaments. On a friend’s recommendation I went down to the the Maroubra Surf Life Saving Club, where I was met with a warm smile from a short stocky Brazilian named Bruno Panno, who left a long lasting impression on me. The first time I rolled on the mats I was immediately hooked, I knew BJJ was for me. The feeling I got before, during and after a roll was unexplainable but I felt alive. BJJ came into my life when I most needed it, as I was not in a good place, both mentally and emotionally at the time. One lesson BJJ has taught me and continues to, is to tough it out and not give up. It taught me character, discipline and gave me confidence and the power to believe and achieve. It is with these lessons and values that I now own my own Gracie Gym, which continues to uphold the principles I was taught and teach.
My Gracie BJJ family started as acquaintances and turned into friends. Friends into brothers and sisters and eventually became family, all from me entering Gracie Gym on that faithful day and the warm smile from my Coach, friend and brother Bruno Panno.