Head Instructor Professor Derek "Thundercat" Richardson has been training in the martial arts for over 26 years. He has accumulated Black Belts in several styles and traveled the world training with many of the top martial artists in MMA, Judo and BJJ. Derek is a one stripe black belt directly under Master Renzo Gracie.
The Son of Graham is an accomplished grappler and kickboxer with decades of experience. Despite his talent and rugged good looks, he enjoys working with students of all levels. When not training at Renzo Gracie Charlotte, he operates his own gym in Gastonia where our members are also welcome anytime.
Professor John-Paul, an incredible wrestler, grappler and life long martial artist is dominant in both gi and no-gi grappling. Both his teaching and his technique will sweep you off your feet.
Renzo Gracie Charlotte is an affiliate under the Legendary Master Renzo Gracie. He is the grandson of Gracie Jiu Jitsu founder Carlos Gracie and son of 9th Dan BJJ black belt Robson Gracie, brother to Ralph and Ryan Gracie. Like most men in the Gracie family, Renzo started training Jiu Jitsu as an infant. He had formal instructor from many of the Gracie patriarchs, but to of his biggest influences were the legendary Rolls Gracie and Carlos Gracie Jr (the man who later awarded him his black belt).
Renzo has won numerous competitions the most prestigious being the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) in which he is a 2x Champion. Renzo has fought all over the world for organizations such as Pride FC in its heyday and the UFC. He pioneered Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in America in the 1990’s when he founded Renzo Gracie Academy in New York City, one of the cornerstones of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in America.
He is established as one of the best teachers and mentors in the sport.
“We are not in the business of martial arts. We are in the business of building confidence. Confidence not only to defend yourself—we help build the confidence required to face life.”
~ Master Renzo Gracie
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