Warren Lee, right, practices jiu-jitsu moves with his 17-year-old son Carter in his Third Avenue academy. KARLY BLATS PHOTO

Warren Lee, right, practices jiu-jitsu moves with his 17-year-old son Carter in his Third Avenue academy. KARLY BLATS PHOTO

Alberni’s Warren Lee earns Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belt

Lee is one of only four people in Canada to have received a black belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu

Sixteen years of training paid off for Port Alberni martial artist Warren Lee who received his black belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in Miami, by the Legendary Royce Gracie earlier this year.

The honour makes Lee one of four Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belts in Canada. Lee now holds two black belts in two different disciplines: taekwondo and jiu-jitsu.

Lee said receiving his black belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu was “amazing.”

“It’s 16 years worth of work,” Lee said. “[Gracie Jiu-Jitsu] takes longer than any other martial arts to get a black belt in.”

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu was developed for the smaller and weaker to give them the ability to defend themselves using leverage over strength and power.

Lee was invited by Royce Gracie to come to Miami to take the black belt exam.

“I got invited to take my exam; you don’t just go. It’s up to Royce Gracie to say ‘okay, I think you’re ready, come to Miami,” Lee said. “What they look at is my skills and my confidence.”

Gracie comes to Port Alberni each year to teach a seminar at Lee’s Dragon Martial Arts Academy and during his last visit, Gracie saw that Lee had what was needed to take the exam.

Grading in the exam is “top secret.”

“They take you and put you in a back room with over 40 other black belts,” Lee said. “It’s not one person that grades you, everybody in that room critiques you and they decide as a group if you deserve a black belt, including Royce.”

Lee said Gracie Jiu Jitsu is not a competition system but rather a self-defence system.

“Martial arts were created for self-defence, not for sport, and that’s what they critique you on,” Lee said.

Lee said his exam took about 35 minutes and included performing many self-defence scenarios including grabs, takedowns, having a gun or knife pulled on you, chair attacks and chokes.

“You can’t screw up once,” Lee said. “If you pause at any time and have to think about it, you’re done. It was intense. Time went fast and when I came out of there I felt really good about it and I was excited. Coming out of this I feel more confident. ”

Lee said he’s had a relationship with Royce Gracie for 16 years. The two have trained groups together around the United States including a SWAT team, Navy Seals, members of the C.I.A and secret service.

Prior to the exam, Lee said he spent about eight months training and looks for help from his students.

“You have to have good training partners and that’s how I used [students],” Lee said. “I’m teaching them how to do [a skill] and they’re assisting me on how to do it. I’m a really detail-oriented person.”

Lee first became interested in martial arts when he was 13 years old from watching Bruce Lee films.

“I wasn’t interested in other sports or music but I just wanted to train marital arts and that’s how I got started,” he said. “Luckily I was good at it and I continued to grow with it. My ambition was never to be a fighter, my ambition was always self-defence.”

In 1980 he opened his academy where it remains today at 2984 Third Ave. in uptown Port Alberni. Lee’s focus is on self-defence and not tournaments.

“I think that we should teach the kids martial arts just to give them self-confidence. That’s why I do taekwondo and jiu-jitsu because I feel you need a complete part,” Lee said.

Looking to the future, Lee said receiving his black belt motivates him to go even further with marital arts. He now wants to work towards getting “degrees and a professorship.”

karly.blats@vancouverislandfreedaily.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Warren Lee, right, practices jiu-jitsu moves with his 17-year-old son Carter in his Third Avenue academy. KARLY BLATS PHOTO

Warren Lee, right, practices jiu-jitsu moves with his 17-year-old son Carter in his Third Avenue academy. KARLY BLATS PHOTO

Warren Lee, right, practices jiu-jitsu moves with his 17-year-old son Carter in his Third Avenue academy. KARLY BLATS PHOTO

Warren Lee, right, practices jiu-jitsu moves with his 17-year-old son Carter in his Third Avenue academy. KARLY BLATS PHOTO

Just Posted

Bulldogs forward Stephen Castagna chases down the puck during a game against the Surrey Eagles in 2019. ELENA RARDON PHOTO
BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs scoring leader commits to NCAA

Castagna is the sixth Bulldog to secure an NCAA Div. 1 scholarship this season

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map shows new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 11-17. (BCCDC image)
BCCDC says fresh COVID-19 cases down in most Island Health areas

Nanaimo sees its fewest new COVID-19 cases since mid January

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Monday, April 19, 2021. Younger Canadians in several provinces are now able to get the AstraZeneca vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
AstraZeneca vaccine appointments fill up fast on Vancouver Island

More pharmacies expected to be added as supply increases

The bulk carrier ‘Port Alberni’ is berthed at CentrePort in Wellington, New Zealand on Monday, April 12, 2021. The carrier is 174 metres long by 29 metres wide, flies under a Hong Kong flag and was carrying logs. (CHARMEAD SCHELLA/Special to the News)
Logging ship a trip down memory lane for transplanted Canadian

The 174-metre ‘Port Alberni’ is registered in Hong Kong

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
A little girl’s wish is answered as her cat came back

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

B.C.’s public health restrictions on non-essential travel are reinforced by orders effective April 23, 2021 to stay within your own regional health authority except for essential travel such as work and medical appointmens. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 non-essential travel ban takes effect, $575 fines approved

Checks on highways, ferries between Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, Interior

A plan flew over the Lower Mainland with a sign expressing some Canucks fans’ discontent with the team’s general manager. (Niqhil Velji - Twitter Screenshot)
#FireBenning movement gets off the ground

Canucks fans raise enough money to fly banner over Metro Vancouver asking for team GM to be canned

The Better Business Bureau is reminding people to do their research before starting any home improvement projects this spring. (Black Press Media file photo)
Don’t get scammed on home improvements, warns Better Business Bureau

Scams typically involve paying cash upfront for jobs that never get done, says BBB

The freed osprey keeps a wary eye on its rescuers after being deposited on its nest. (Photo credit: Greg Hiltz)
Hydro crew in Ashcroft gets osprey rescue call-out they won’t soon forget

Bird was tangled in baling wire hanging from a hydro pole, necessitating a tricky rescue

Auto thief in black balaclava trying to break into car with screwdriver. (Pixabay photo)
Island hikers and park users warned to keep valuables in vehicles out of sight

Spring weather draws more hikers out to rural parking lots, where thieves are at work

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth speaks to media at the Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday February 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to announce travel restrictions today to limit COVID-19 spread

Mike Farnworth is expected to give details of what the government views as essential travel

A downed power line has sparked a brush fire along Yellow Point Road south of Nanaimo. (Cole Schisler/Black Press)
Vancouver Islanders warned of fire risk caused by dry conditions

As dry spell poised to end, officials warn of risks involved with backyard burning

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read