About Us

Luiz Palhares

Master Luiz Palhares

  

  • "I was born in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on January 19, 1959. I started training in Rio De Janeiro in 1977 at the age of 18 under Rolls Gracie and continued to train with him until Rolls died in 1982 in a hang-gliding accident. After Rolls passing, I continued my training under Rolls’s brother, Rickson Gracie. After 7 years of practicing BJJ I was awarded the black belt in 1984 by Rickson Gracie together with Grand Master Helio Gracie. Currently I am 8th degree White and Red belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I received my White and Red belt in 2018 by Grand Master Carlos Robson Gracie, Red Belt 9th Degree (President of the Jiu-Jitsu Federation of Rio de Janeiro). In 1999, then a 6th degree black belt, I was asked to move from Brazil to come to the United States to teach at Rickson Gracie’s Academy in Los Angeles. After teaching there for almost 8 years, in 2007, I opened my own Academy “Jacksonville Gracie Jiu Jitsu” in Jacksonville FL, where I currently reside.
  • As a competitor I have won the Rio de Janeiro championships several times and in 1998 was the Brazilian National Champion in the heavy weight senior division and open. In 2002 I took 3rd place in Masters and Seniors International. I have also won the Pan American Champion super heavy weight senior division and open in 2000, 2003, and 2004.
  • During my teaching career I have been involved with introducing BJJ techniques into combative training in the military and with law-enforcement in the United States as well as Europe. I am a certified Army Combative instructor and have initiated the development of an on-going Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu based Combative training program inside the US Navy SEALS compound in Dam Neck, Virginia Beach, VA. In 2010, in preparation for their deployment to Afghanistan, the 3rd Battalion 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) invited me to conduct a five month long training program at Camp Blanding. In addition to teaching BJJ in the army, I also provide BJJ instruction to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO).
  • In 2006, I released two instructional DVDs featuring Closed Guard Attacks, as well as techniques for progressing from White to Blue Belt. I have also founded the BJJ GRAND PRIX (www.bjjgrandprix.com) website since 2008 and in conjunction with the Florida National Guard started conducting two tournaments every year at the National Guard Armory in Jacksonville, FL, to promote BJJ in the NE Florida area. One in the spring called the JAX BJJ OPEN, and one in the fall called the SUNSHINE STATE BJJ OPEN." 

Luiz Palhares

  • "I was born in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on January 19, 1959. I started training in Rio De Janeiro in 1977 at the age of 18 under Rolls Gracie and continued to train with him until Rolls died in 1982 in a hang-gliding accident. After Rolls passing, I continued my training under Rolls’s brother, Rickson Gracie. After 7 years of practicing BJJ I was awarded the black belt in 1984 by Rickson Gracie together with Grand Master Helio Gracie. Currently I am 8th degree White and Red belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I received my White and Red belt in 2018 by Grand Master Carlos Robson Gracie, Red Belt 9th Degree (President of the Jiu-Jitsu Federation of Rio de Janeiro). In 1999, then a 6th degree black belt, I was asked to move from Brazil to come to the United States to teach at Rickson Gracie’s Academy in Los Angeles. After teaching there for almost 8 years, in 2007, I opened my own Academy “Jacksonville Gracie Jiu Jitsu” in Jacksonville FL, where I currently reside.
  • As a competitor I have won the Rio de Janeiro championships several times and in 1998 was the Brazilian National Champion in the heavy weight senior division and open. In 2002 I took 3rd place in Masters and Seniors International. I have also won the Pan American Champion super heavy weight senior division and open in 2000, 2003, and 2004.
  • During my teaching career I have been involved with introducing BJJ techniques into combative training in the military and with law-enforcement in the United States as well as Europe. I am a certified Army Combative instructor and have initiated the development of an on-going Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu based Combative training program inside the US Navy SEALS compound in Dam Neck, Virginia Beach, VA. In 2010, in preparation for their deployment to Afghanistan, the 3rd Battalion 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) invited me to conduct a five month long training program at Camp Blanding. In addition to teaching BJJ in the army, I also provide BJJ instruction to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO).
  • In 2006, I released two instructional DVDs featuring Closed Guard Attacks, as well as techniques for progressing from White to Blue Belt. I have also founded the BJJ GRAND PRIX (www.bjjgrandprix.com) website since 2008 and in conjunction with the Florida National Guard started conducting two tournaments every year at the National Guard Armory in Jacksonville, FL, to promote BJJ in the NE Florida area. One in the spring called the JAX BJJ OPEN, and one in the fall called the SUNSHINE STATE BJJ OPEN." 
  • Jacksonville Gracie Jiu Jitsu is led by Master Luiz Palhares, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor and instructor for over 35 years. Master Palhares was presented his 7th degree black and red belt by the President of the Jiu-Jitsu Federation of Rio de Janeiro, Grand Master Carlos Robson Gracie, in 2010. Grand Master Gracie presented Master Palhares his 8th degree red and white belt in 2018. Master Palhares spent over 23 years being trained directly by the Gracie family, first under Rolls Gracie until his tragic and fatal hang gliding accident in 1982, then later under Master Rickson Gracie. He was awarded his black belt in 1984 by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu co-founder Grand Master Helio Gracie and Master Rickson Gracie.
  • During his lifetime Palhares won a number of world-class competitive victories. Luiz won the Senior Heavyweight and Open weight divisions at the 1998 Brazilian National Jiu Jitsu Championship. Luiz also won his weight division and the Open weight division at the IBJJF Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championships in 2000, 2003, and 2004. In addition, Luiz won podium finishes at the IBJJF Masters Jiu-Jitsu Championship as a Super Heavyweight in 2002 and 2003.
  • As an instructor Master Palhares has taught throughout the US and Europe. He teaches seminars and conducts private lessons around the globe. As a certified Army Combative instructor, he developed a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Combative program for the US Navy SEALs at Dam Neck, Virginia. At Camp Blanding, Florida in 2010, Palhares taught a five month long Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program for the 3rd Battalion 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) prior to their deployment to Afghanistan. He has taught Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu seminars for the US Marines in Tennessee, and at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Palhares also enjoys a long-standing relationship with the Jacksonville Florida Sheriff's Office (JSO) to provide instruction. 

What We Do

  

  • Welcome to Jacksonville Gracie Jiu Jitsu, the neighborhood gym with the most advanced Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instruction you will find anywhere in the World. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned jiu jitsu practitioner, our helpful instructors are trained to assist you in effectively reaching your goals. Jacksonville Gracie Jiu Jitsu provides the most effective, tried and true Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques.
  • Jacksonville Gracie Jiu Jitsu students experience results that go beyond gains in strength, flexibility, fitness or self-defense skills. By remaining truthful to the lessons learned in practice and applying them off the mats, Gracie Jiu jitsu students experience an overall improvement in their focus, energy and general well-being.
  • Luiz Palhares teaches the principles of effective fighting to individuals like you. His class structure condenses Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu into core fundamental moves combined intelligently and safely to optimize your learning.
  • Master Luiz Palhares has been providing friendly, personal attention to his students since 1984, helping them stay fit, active and healthy by learning Gracie Jiu Jitsu. All of the staff at Luiz Palhares Gracie Jiu Jitsu are here to help you reach all of your fitness goals. Whether you've ever set foot in a gym before or not, our instructors will listen to your needs and develop a customized workout for you to achieve your goals safely.​



               The main lessons that I learned from Helio, Rolls and Rickson Gracie? How was it training under such distinguished martial artists?




  • There wasn’t any specific lesson that I could even explain, because Jiu Jitsu is like a chess game. You need to understand the body mechanics, mixed with the techniques and timing. At the same time we have to use the opponent’s technique against themselves to gain the advantage. Regarding the training with my masters, it was tough and gratifying because they were always ahead of my moves. The biggest lesson was that they never satisfied with their own game and were always making improvements.
    One of the special experiences while training alongside Rolls and Rickson was that they were competing at the same tournaments as I was. It was a very rare experience to have my instructors be co-competitors and team mates. Most of the instructors nowadays do not compete for a lot of different reasons. Seeing you instructors put their butt on the line, risking their reputation and always competing forces you to follow their philosophy.
    Besides jiu jitsu tournaments we had a lot of opportunity to prove that jiu jitsu is the best martial art, by challenging different martial arts to compete against us in vale tudo (everthing goes), which is now called MMA. From Grand Master Helio Gracie I learned the most valuable lesson that the most effective submission is a choke, simply because a guy with a broken bone can still fight. With a choke, our opponents only have two choices: tap or sleep.


Pedro Palhares

  

  • Professor Pedro Palhares is Luiz's second oldest son and like his father, an accomplished black belt competitor and instructor in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. "Pedrinho" is an active competitor on the worldwide IBJJF competition circuit, having won and medaled at numerous local, national and international tournaments. Pedro's list of accolades is far too long to list, but since becoming a black belt, he has won championships in the United States and Europe. Pedro and his father conduct a series of seminars across Europe every year. In 2018, amidst all the travelling and teaching, Pedro walked into the IBJJF Zurich International Open and won at his weight class and the open class in both gi and no-gi division - that's 4 Gold medals to add to his collection back in Florida. Pedro accompanies Master Luiz for a week every year to teach jiu jitsu at the Chokchai Muay Thai School in Phuket, Thailand, a residential camp for professional muay thai fighters. . Pedro lives to be a proud representation of his father's teachings. Pedro works hard every day to improve as a competitor and teacher, carrying on Master Palhares' proud tradition!

  

  • Pedro started training jiu jitsu as a young boy, training under his father's instruction alongside all of the greatest legends in the sport! Professor Pedro was awarded his black belt by his own father, Master Luiz Palhares, in 2014.
  • Pedro's father, Luiz Palhares, was awarded his black belt in 1984 by Grand Master Helio Gracie and Master Rickson Gracie. Master Luiz continued his training and ultimately was awarded his white and red belt in 2018 from Grand Master Carlos Robson Gracie. It goes without saying that in the meantime his youngest son, Pedro, was born and bred on the mats and has had direct access to some of the purest Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu on the planet.
  • Pedro and his father have dedicated their lives to being ambassadors of the art and have done more than their fair share to spread their knowledge all over the planet. Today, Pedro and his father have affiliations all over the United States, as well as Europe and Asia. They regularly teach seminars and conduct private lessons worldwide. At Camp Blanding, Florida in 2010, Palhares taught a five month long Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program for the 3rd Battalion 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) prior to their deployment to Afghanistan. They have also taught Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu seminars to the United States Marines in Tennessee and at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. 
  • Today, Professor Pedro and Master Luis dedicate the bulk of their time to their headquarters which is located on 9825 San Jose Blvd in Jacksonville, Florida. There they offer specific classes for children, women, Fundamentals, and advanced competition style jiu jitsu. The father-son duo also have a long-standing relationship with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office where they regularly teach the city's police officers the magic of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. **Friendly Tip**: If you ever find yourself stopped by a police officer in Jacksonville, FL, be aware that there is a high probability that civil servant has trained jiu jitsu, and there are several brown and black belt practitioners among their ranks… so just #becool J.