My Gracie Jiu-Jitsu journey started 15 years ago. I had a large enough ego to make myself believe I could handle myself in any altercation physically and emotionally charged. I truly believed this until the day came that I lost physically but more importantly emotionally. A close family friend said he knew a guy, that lives next to a guy that has a jiu-jitsu gym. That he was trained by Royce Gracie in California. My first question was "Does that stuff work?". My friend said this guy weighed about 155 lbs. and could take anyone on. To my disbelief I said I was going to check this out.
I had so many questions running through my mind. Is this going to be like Karate? Do I have to break boards? Do I have to call another man master? To this day I still remember my first class. Walking into Urban Jungle for the first time. The first knot Tony Torres-Aponte tied in my white belt. Since that day with hard work and dedication, my life has changed on and off the mats for the better.
Years later Tony asked if I was ready to go to Miami to test in front of a panel of the worlds best Black Belts of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. I replied that my Gi was already packed. In December of 2016, I went to Miami to test and wasn't awarded my black belt. Through the next year I sharpened my mind and attempted the test again in December of 2017. I was given the nod and received my black belt from Royce Gracie in North Miami at Valente Brothers World HQ. My journey to black belt would be fulfilled when my coach Tony Torres-Aponte belted me here in Houston. I know that my personal training and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu journey past black belt will continue through Urban Jungle and the Royce Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Network.
My goal holds true as Tony's promise to me, to deliver the highest quality of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu that he possibly can. As we grow I promise to maintain the same high quality our students have received since the beginning.
My wife Jamie and I decided to convert our garage into a home gym. We started to train our four children. Before we knew it we ran out of space to accommodate all the students we gained. As we started growing we became aware that the Deer Park community we love so much, needed and wanted a high quality, family oriented place to train self-defense. As a native to Deer Park we decided to get a storefront in the heart of Deer Park, The Birthplace of Texas. Jamie quit her job to get our dream up and running, and run the academy.
"To teach those who do not know,
To remind those who do know,
To correct those who think they know"
-Grand Master Helio Gracie
Respect, Rectitude, Honesty, Honor, Loyalty, Courage, Benevolence
Exercise, Nutrition, Rest, Hygiene, Positivity
Awareness (Zanshin), Emotional Balance (Fudoshin), Clear Mind (Mushin)