Top martial artist Royce Gracie visits Port Alberni studio

Students and instructors at the annual Royce Gracie seminar at Dragon Martial Arts Academy in Port Alberni. FACEBOOK PHOTO

One of the world’s top martial artists was in Port Alberni in August to spread the art of jiu-jitsu to local students.

Royce Gracie is a professional mixed martial artist, a UFC hall of famer and a member of the famed Gracie family, known for their development of Brazilian or Gracie jiu-jitsu as a system of self-defence. He has been visiting Port Alberni annually since 2001 for the Royce Gracie seminar at Dragon Martial Arts Academy.

Dragon Martial Arts head instructor, Warren Lee, says that he and Gracie have been friends for many years.

“I attended a seminar just to see what jiu-jitsu was about,” explained Lee. “I didn’t even know that [Royce Gracie] was a UFC champion. Within minutes, I was hooked.”

Lee, whose background is in traditional taekwondo, says that jiu-jitsu is different from most martial arts because of the emphasis on ground fighting.

“Most martial arts…that are popular are all stand-up,” he said. “Jiu-jitsu takes it to another level with the ground fighting aspect. It completes the martial arts.”

In a real life altercation, says Lee, no one is keeping track of points. “It’s about controlling the situation, keeping everybody safe,” he added. “So you can survive without getting hurt.”

Gracie jiu-jitsu, says Lee, was developed for smaller opponents so that they have the ability to defend themselves using leverage, rather than strength and power. “It’s developed so anyone can learn it,” he said. “It’s based on leverage and timing, not strength.”

The annual seminar in Port Alberni is geared towards all genders and ages, from beginners to advanced fighters. This year’s seminar, which took place from Aug. 10-11, had more than 50 people on the mat, from Dragon Martial Arts Academy as well as its affiliate schools. People travelled from as far as Tacoma, Washington to participate.

“We start off with one technique, and then we progress,” said Lee. “We review it and add some more. It’s a very structured seminar.”

Dragon Martial Arts Academy offers classes three days a week for kids and adults, teaching taekwondo and jiu-jitsu. Lee, the only certified instructor under Royce Gracie in Canada, was also only the fourth person in Canada to receive a black belt in Gracie jiu-jitsu.

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

“It’s so important that we’re able to bring [Royce Gracie] here so that we can share such an important art,” said Lee. “My students get the benefit of learning from one of the greatest. Port Alberni is like family to him now.”



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Airforce search and rescue helicopter drops in at Cameron Lake for training

Distinctive yellow CH-149 Cormorant turns heads after using Island lake for impromptu hoist

QUINN’S QUIPS: What makes a building historically significant?

There’s a difference between heritage designation and a heritage register

Nominate a hero for BC Autism Awards

Quality Foods sponsoring the third annual awards

ACTIVE LIVING: Eating well builds a healthy immune system

Port Alberni registered dietitian Sandra Gentleman writes about health issues

ALBERNI GOLF: Golf club hosts mixed couples tournament

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tournament was limited to 48 players, members only

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Captive fawn seized from Island home

Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Most Read