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My wife and I were looking for a friendly, family oriented MMA classes for our son (10) and daughter (12). They love martial arts and have been doing it for years, in an after school program (TKD). Well, after looking around, we joined Gracie PAC MMA. Let me tell you, this place is perfect. Their staff and coaches are incredible; friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and experience on everything MMA. Professor Cris Rodriguez is great with kids, amazing teacher. We are extremely happy with Gracie MMA, their staff is great, they are very organize and their curriculum (bjj, muay thai, kick boxing, etc....) has everything we were looking for. Great place for the entire family.

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Come train with the BEST! This is NOT your normal after school karate class. We were amazed at the amount of technique even the youngest students pick up after just a few classes. Coach Cris is awesome with the kids. She expects more then just good fighting from them. She stays involved with how they are doing in school and at home, giving her students the incentive to be the best at everything they do.

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I can't say enough about how much I love this place! My son is learning so much and he LOVES going to class. There's something so rewarding in watching your child learn and grow so quickly :) Coach Chris, Coach Dan and Coach Rich have all been amazing! I couldn't ask for a better environment for my son. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and so much of yourself - we truly appreciate it!

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Heard thru word of mouth. Then checked it out and noticed great character in their students and the attentive staff. The coach had noticeable rapport with the kids in the class. My daughter loved it. She can't wait to get back. She even cleaned her room! Huge plus.

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Gracie PAC MMA has been one of, if not the best, mixed martial arts gym I have been a part of. The kids program/instruction is second to none, and offers world class BJJ instruction for adults as well as one of the most promising striking programs in the US, Bang Muay Thai. Countless kids and adults have competed at the highest level under the GPAC banner, with even more discovering what martial arts can do for them. Whether you want to compete or get in great shape, this facility has the program for you

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Our family has been coming to Gracie PAC Tampa for nearly two years. We began sending our son first. Our main goals were for him to experience the physical and mental benefits derived from regular physical exercise. Instantly we realized how special this place is, and how amazing Coach Cris is with the kids, as well as adults. She is fair but firm, and as she commands respect, she encourages these kids to rise to their full potential, also providing valuable discussions on character, sportsmanship, and leadership, as part of her curriculum.

My husband takes some of the adult jiu jitsu and kickboxing classes, from which he has benefitted greatly, and I truly enjoy being a member of the ladies' bootcamp group. These ladies represent a wide range of fitness levels and ages. Each class, we all get together to kick butt, do our best, and encourage each other in a true team environment. I never leave this class disappointed.
Gracie PAC Tampa MMA - best place EVER for your anyone in your family to train at.

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Well it's about time I write a review! My boys joined Gracie PAC as little Ninjas about 4 months ago. They absolutely love it! Professor Cris is an amazing teacher! She's very enthusiastic about teaching and she is very patient. My boys love going to class. They are 4 &7 . They never want to miss a class. They have learned so much and continue to learn with each class. They love earning strips on their belt. This is a really great positive atmosphere for kids and families. I'm very satisfied with our experience.

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I took Jiu Jitsu a few years back at another facility and decided to give this one a try. I took my first lesson last night and could not believe the content. Very structured and professional. Easy to learn and everyone was eager to assist me being the new guy. Other places teach you a couple of moves. Each involving many steps and you still won't understand it. Garcia PAC teaches you a technique and teaches you other techniques that involve some of the same steps. It made me confident that if I try something and am not able to secure the submission, then I can roll into another technique just as easy and It gives you options and makes you think. I liked that approach rather than what I was given in the past. A+ school and is 100% legit. I am confident this time around I will take it all the way with my training. When you find a place like this you take advantage of the opportunity to train there.

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We love it at Gracie PAC! They focus on fitness, strength, form, and most importantly they work hard every lesson to help teach my children how to effectively defend themselves against bullies and other attacks. It's easy to see this group of educators clearly loves kids and have a passion for sharing their vast knowledge with their students! Best MMA in the Bay for kids!

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I took my first class tonight. As soon as you enter, you are greeted by smiling faces who are just as excited to have you there as you are to be there. The coaches there were phenomenal. They were so incredibly encouraging and patient, it was a breeze picking it up because there was no pressure. Great job at creating such an inviting atmosphere.

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Why Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is Great for Women

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is one of the most popular combat sports, growing in popularity across the globe with gyms opening on every corner. It has become well known mostly because of its participation in Mixed Martial Arts and promoting practical self-defense for any individual to learn. This is one of the many reasons BJJ is becoming more popular with the female student!

The sport was an innovation from Judo, then Jiu Jitsu- a Japanese style of martial arts, which were first introduced in Brazil to the Gracie Family among others. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has been designed to focus more on skill, technique, and leverage rather than brute strength in ground fighting. This is the main reason why there is a growth in women practicing BJJ, specifically in the younger age brackets.

BJJ being offered to the younger generation has become an especially important niche in the growth of the sport in recent years. It teaches children not only how to defend themselves but to instill in them self-confidence through continuous interaction with their teammates. But the benefits of BJJ are of value regardless of the practitioners’ age. Here are the top 10 reasons why women of all ages should start training BJJ.

1) Learn to protect yourself.

Most women discover BJJ because they are interested in protecting themselves. The skills you learn in BJJ are designed to enable a smaller person to defend themselves against a larger, more powerful attacker.

Not all martial arts are made the same. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has been applied in Mixed Martial Arts which means that it is a current combat-tested martial art.

Contrary to what some may think, it doesn’t require someone to be strong and athletic to apply the techniques. BJJ can be used by any individual regardless of weight and height. This is the main reason why a lot of women can practice the art and become excellent at it.

You do not need to be fast, strong, or explosive to perform BJJ techniques. Through superior leverage, fluid movements, and body positioning, you can use BJJ to control and even defeat a physically superior attacker.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu focuses on self-preservation of the smaller person versus a larger attacker. This principle has clear benefits where the female practitioner is concerned. BJJ training emphasizes the importance of technique over force. 

While smaller practitioners may struggle for success early on in their training, because smaller individuals must also make the technique work to progress, they can often develop an impressive level of technique. In turn, this technical ability can be used to neutralize the strength advantage of a larger untrained attacker.

2) Gain confidence.

As you train BJJ and gain experience dealing with its physical and mental challenges, it is common to feel more composed and in control of stressful situations on and off the mats. BJJ teaches you to control your breathing, suppress your fight-or-flight instinct, and calm your emotions before acting.

These same skills can be transferred to a stressful day at work, school, or home – allowing you to keep your cool under pressure. What’s a simple job interview or a nagging co-worker compared to a BJJ sparring session? Life’s challenges come into better perspective after you’ve been on the BJJ mats.

3) Improve Mental Health.

Jiu-jitsu isn’t just self-defense. It’s a healthy discipline that sharpens the mind and therefore the soul. It’s also a game of troublesome chess played with physical body parts and training partners. You’ll want to utilize plenty of strategies and techniques to overcome your training partners.

Just because the training is physical, it should not be assumed that there is no intellectual component to training. On the one hand, BJJ, as a physical discipline, is quite demanding, and the physical challenges you’ll face on your journey are best met with a strong mind. On the other hand, where you may lack ‘mental toughness’, training in BJJ can help you to build a steely resolve and limber mind. 

As you overcome the challenges of training and the challenges your training partner puts in front of you, you’ll start to see your confidence grow and mental toughness increase. After facing the obstacles on the mat, the challenges life throws at you seem less challenging than your training partner trying to submit you.

4) Get Some Stress Relief.

Ever had a crappy day that made you feel like choking someone? During your BJJ class, that’s encouraged! All the time, I have students tell me that they were having a bad day until they got on the mats. After learning new techniques, training with some friends, and breaking a sweat, they went home happy.

The benefits go beyond that. Scientific researchers have even found that moderate-to-intense exercises, especially when lead by an instructor who makes sure you see it through to completion, has many mental benefits, including reducing or even protecting against depression. Many individuals have used BJJ to help themselves deal with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health problems.

So after a tough day there’s nothing like releasing your tensions with a tough session on the mats. You’ll soon forget what your boss was nagging you about as you slap hands with your training partner and get into action. The leaky sink, the moody boss, the traffic jams will all be distant memories as you relax into a class.

5) Get in shape and stay healthy.

Many people get into BJJ because they are looking for a way to get in shape without doing a boring workout, like running on a treadmill. A BJJ class is a full body workout that provides a full body burn – meaning you’ll be burning tons of calories while building functional strength, dexterity, and flexibility! Once you get into live training, you will learn to use your body in ways that most people can hardly dream of. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is truly the Art in Martial Arts!

No matter how un-athletic or uncoordinated you think you are, we have teaching and training methods that will allow you learn and improve in your BJJ journey. The beauty of Jiu Jitsu is the skills are so varied that they can be applied to any body shape or size. This allows anyone to learn BJJ and build a stronger and healthier physique. It will improve your weight, muscle tone and you’ll gain a healthy glow from the regular exercise and the best part is you’ll have fun doing it.

Even though BJJ can help you build a stronger, healthier body it will also help you appreciate what your body is capable of regardless where you are starting from. Because BJJ doesn’t rely on physical attributes to be successful, just the application of skill with leverage. You’ll be enjoying your workouts long before you reach your physical goals. This will help build your motivation to keep working towards your goals as you learn to use you’re the body that you have now.

6) BJJ Smashes Gender Stereotypes!

On the mats, everyone is equal; there is no gender, just training partners. You will get your butt handed to you just as much as the men do, and you’ll also dish out a fair bit of butt-handing yourself. You’ll be judged by the work you put in on the mats and not the outfit that you wore coming to the gym.

A bonus is most of the men you will meet in jiu-jitsu are also all about gender equality. Some of the newer guys might be weird about rolling with women, but those who have been around for a while will generally be good about treating you just as they would any training partner your size. They will treat with respect and the treatment will be based on the belt you wear around your waist and not what is under it.

Gender equality should be something that we work towards all over the world. And luckily, jiu-jitsu is something that is practiced all over the world in such a manner.

7) Size and Strength Aren’t Requirements.

Yes, there are lots of women who are stronger, heavier, or taller than lots of men, but the majority of women are not. It can be really intimidating to walk into a martial arts gym and see really fit dudes beating up each other, but jiu-jitsu allows anyone to beat up anyone else regardless of who you are. Isn’t that beautiful?

As a woman you’ll one day be able to submit people who are literally twice your size, because jiu-jitsu is all about technique overcoming strength. You don’t need to be a former champion wrestler or a beefed-up brawler to dominate your opponent. 

While that’s certainly beneficial from a self-defense viewpoint, it’s also great for those who have lived their lives thinking that only large, muscly dudes can be successful in combat sports. Jiu Jitsu is a combat sport that can (and should) be done by anyone of any age, weight, or sex. It is built around the principles of technical application of your physical attributes against a resisting opponent. BJJ takes what you have and allows you to make the most of it!

8) You Can Be Yourself.

For once at least, there is no need to dress to impress. In BJJ, no one cares about your looks; it is not a fashion show. Remember that you joined a martial arts school, not a health club. People come here to learn and practice, not to show off and look cool like in a fitness gym. You won’t get weirdos harassing you for a phone number either, but they may harass you to find out where you got that cool rash guard that you’re wearing!

Jiu Jitsu also allows you to express yourself in many different ways. You can express yourself in the way you apply your Jiu Jitsu as there are many different skills and styles. You can be a Guard Player, a Guard Passer or maybe a Leg Lock Specialist. You can focus on traditional BJJ in the Gi or you could be a No Gi Grappler. You can wear your standard gi or rash guard or get a cool customized uniform. You can stand out or you can join the crowd. It’s your personality and in BJJ you get to decide how you express it!

9) Make Friends and Join a Community!

Studying Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu provides a supportive community for all who participate. In fact, a lot of women decide to stay in BJJ because of the fun, friendly, supportive atmosphere that they encounter.

In the BJJ community, we have what’s called “living the jiu-jitsu lifestyle.” To build your life around jiu-jitsu means to constantly seek to improve your body, mind, and spirit. When you enter the BJJ community, you are instantly surrounded by friends who share your goals of living better and helping others.

BJJ has a special way of creating bonds of friendship that last a lifetime. When you’re practicing Jiu Jitsu, you begin you’ll realize that it’s an activity that is done with people that you trust and respect. 

Every time you train, you and your training partners are placing your body and safety in each other’s hands. This builds a special bond and friendship that is rarely seen outside of combat sports. Click here to sign up for a class today and experience what the BJJ lifestyle has to offer you.

10) You’ll Be a Great Role Model.

Throughout her childhood, a little girl will encounter all kinds of women that she will potentially look up to. When you’re a woman who does jiu-jitsu, you’re providing her with a role model who practices healthy habits, is disciplined, and can look after herself.

Jiu jitsu comes with plenty of benefits, and when you have a daughter, a niece, or any other young lady who wants to be you when she grows up. You can pass on a lot of those benefits to her just by showing her what you do. You can give that little girl a head start on building her confidence and making friends who genuinely care about her well-being.

Who knows? You might even convince her to get an early start on training! If you have been training long enough you may even get the chance to be a hands on role model and coach her on her journey.

While all of these are also great reasons for men to train BJJ as well, I know how intimidating it can for a girl to take her first jiu-jitsu class surrounded by a bunch of tough dudes.

If you’re a woman facing the same situation, don’t back out due to fear. Jiu-jitsu will make you a better, more confident, and healthy human being. It will make you more capable of facing the challenges that women are subjected daily.

Whether you’re motivated by self-defense, fitness, health, or something completely different, it’s never a bad idea to put on that Gi and take your first steps on an unforgettable journey that may also help influence someone else to make positive changes.