We Defy

Gracie Humaita Columbia is a We Defy Approved Training Facility.

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Monday:All Belts 10:30AM-12PM, Lil' Champions 5:30PM-6:15PM, Youth/Teens 6:15PM-7:15PM, All Belts 7:15PM-8:30PM;Tuesday: All Belts 10:30AM-12PM, Lil' Champions 5:00PM-5:45PM, Women Only 5:45PM-6:45PM, Fundamentals 6:45PM-8PM; Wednesday:All Belts 10:30AM-12PM, Lil Champions 5:30PM-6:15PM, Youth/Teens 6:15PM-7:15PM, All Belts 7:15PM-8:30PM;Thursday: All Belts 10:30AM-12PM, All Belts 2PM-3:15PM,Lil Champions 5PM-5:45PM, Youth/Teens 5:45PM-6:45PM, Fundamentals 6:45PM-8PM;Friday:  All Belts 10:30AM-12PM, Womens Only 5:45PM-6:30PM, No Gi 7pm-8pm; Saturday: Advanced Youth 9AM-10AM, Fundamentals 10AM-11:30AM; Sunday: Competition Class 2:15PM-3:45PM


Hear From Our Students


Scott Hamilton

Purple Belt

I was one of Shawn's first students when he first started teaching in Columbia. This was quite by accident - I didn't know anything about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at the time, but his new class was bumping the timeslot of the kickboxing class I was taking, so I figured I would give it a shot. I had taken taekwondo and karate classes before, but I had never done anything on the ground, which is where most fights end up. I think BJJ is a much better martial art for self-defense than anything I've seen before. I started my sons in BJJ because, frankly, they are slight of build and I wanted them to develop confidence and not fall victims to bullying at school. I enjoy Bjj so much that I encouraged my wife to join.


Donna Hamilton

White Belt

When I first started BJJ, I didn't know if I would like it, or if I would be any good at it as I had done only done dance or cardio or running for exercise previously. But I was looking for a class or activity that would provide a good workout and something new to explore. After 5 months of classes, I now know that BJJ is not about brute strength, but about technique and strategic thinking - like physical chess (and it is a great workout and a lot of fun). I like that you don't have to be big or strong to grapple with an opponent or ward off an attack. If you know what to do and how to do it, size no longer matters. I've really enjoyed the challenge of learning a new skill and appreciate being part of a community that offers support and encouragement, especially to those of us who are just beginning. Shawn has done a wonderful job of creating an environment of respectful comradery in his classes. I would definitely recommend BJJ to anyone - especially women - because it's not what you think it is - it's a lot more!


Rachel Brown

Purple Belt

I'd done martial arts before - japanese jujitsu and taekwondo - but a long time ago. I had decided I was probably too old to do anything that strenuous again, and then my daughter handed me a paper flier she picked up in roly poly and said, 'didn't you do that once?'. I emailed Shawn with all my doubts (too old, too unfit, female, non athletic, undeserving, etc) and got the same response that I've had from Shawn ever since. He said, 'everyone's welcome'. He's always said that, and I've always really felt that he meant it. Even when I've been the only woman in class, and, at times, the only woman who came regularly to the school, he's always created an environment where I felt respected and encouraged. Class is tough, but it's fun. He's said (and meant it) that you're measured against yourself in assessing your progress - thankfully, because there's no way I'm keeping up with those superfit guys in their twenties. Shawn's patience, positiveness and his belief that I can actually learn it makes all the difference to me believing that eventually I'll get it together, and that I'm not a complete idiot for continuing to try.


Derek Herbert

Blue Belt

After watching Royce Grace dominate the early UFC's in the 90's I wanted to train in Gracie Jiu Jitsu but there were no schools available at that time. 20 years later my son saw Shawn's school and wanted to join. I figured at my age I might be a bit too old but decided to give it a try with the kids. Gracie Jiu Jitsu far exceeded my expectations. Unlike many martial arts, Gracie Jiu Jitsu allows you to practice the techniques against resisting opponents at every class. You get to find out if a technique works, and if it doesn't, Shawn will help you figure out what was wrong. The school is very laid back and informal which was a welcome change from the Karate I took as a kid. At first it was hard physically but I kept going and it became easier with time. I had to leave my ego at the door because at first you will get beat a lot, and by smaller, sometime much smaller opponents. Now I find it the most fun and challenging sport/martial art I've ever done. There are an endless number of sweeps, submissions, and counter moves. All of this is done in a safe, family friendly environment with men, women, and kids of all ages and size.

Kids Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Learning Self Defense and Values

If your child really wants to try out martial arts and you are afraid that they may punch or kick someone at school or home then this is the perfect place for you! Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a self-defense system that enables the people who practice it to defend themselves by using leverage to submit opponents. This is done without throwing punches or kicks. Using our proven techniques your child will be able to defend themselves from bullies even though we do not teach them how to strike. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a fantastic way to promote an active and healthy lifestyle for kids of any ages. Parents of our students often find that their children gain self-esteem through athletic achievement and learn how to carry themselves better in situations that require them to deal with pressure. If your son or daughter is acting overly aggressive in school, lacks focus and or discipline then we at Gracie Columbia recommend you start them out with a private lesson to introduce them to the sport and class structure. They will learn that Commitment, Respect, Focus, Self-Discipline and effort always make a rewarding experience and bring positive results.

Besides self defense skills that will give children a high degree of self confidence. Our Kids and Juniors programs will also work on:
  • Developing listening, obedience and focusing skills;
  • Improving social skills;
  • Improving self-control, respect and discipline;
  • Increasing physical attributes such as hand-eye coordination, strength, agility and flexibility.

What makes Gracie Jiu-Jitsu so effective for kids is the fact that instead of learning moves through katas or prearranged set of movements carried out on a cooperative training partner, they will learn how to apply grappling techniques on a resisting training partner who's not cooperating and is counteracting with his own moves, much like as what you'd see on the streets.

Frequently Asked Questions

You have questions, We have answers

What is Brazilian jiu-jitsu?

Jiu-Jitsu, which literally means the gentle art, is a famous form of self-defense that does no rely on physical strength and power., Using techniques of strikes, holds, locks, chokes, throws, and evasions, it employs mechanics though leverage and knowledge of human anatomy to overcome any attacker with minimal effort and strength. Jiu-Jitsu teaches self-confidence, improves self-esteem, relieves stress, and increases the ability to focus.

What are the benefits that I may get from Gracie jiu-jitsu?

Including the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu to your routine can help you get in shape, gain confidence, and release stress, all while forming a network of like-minded people sure to motivate and inspire you. The Gracie San Diego Academy not only excel in this great martial art, but offer a safe, friendly, and family-style atmosphere that many of our students consider their second home.

What makes Gracie jiu-jitsu different from other martial arts?

While other martial arts rely heavily on strength and speed, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu relies on superior technique and leverage.

Do I need to be in shape to start?

Any fitness level is welcome to the classes. What we emphasize in our classes are hard work; therefore, everyone is welcome and we will make our best to accommodate you. As lessons progress so will your fitness and lessons will become easier. Our team will ensure a progressive and gradual plan to help you acclimate to our programs while achieving your fitness goals.

Am I too old to train?

We have students of all ages, each with different goals in mind. Whether you are 7 or 89, our classes and programs are designed to provide results at any age and are enjoyed by both younger and older students.

What's a typical class like?

We begin class with some light calisthenics and stretching. Following our warm-up we then begin drilling technique. These drills when done over and over help form muscle memory and help our students retain technique. After our drilling is completed then we begin to spar (or roll). Rolling is when students are able to put their techniques to the test with training partners who can resist and counter just as they would in an actual fight, providing valuable real-world experience should the techniques ever need to be applied in an actual fight.

Will i be expected to compete?

Competition is encouraged for those who wish to do so but it is NOT a requirement. While there are many positive reasons for competing in tournaments, you will never be forced. However, over the years we have noticed that students who compete make huge improvements in their BJJ.

What is the learning environment like?

In classes we have a positive atmosphere and a level of mutual respect. Classes are fun and friendly but still cultivate a positive learning atmosphere.

Can women do it?

Women are welcome to take part in any of the classes we run.

What's the deal with belts and promotions?

Belts go as follows: White, Blue, Purple, Brown, and Black. One of the main differences between BJJ and other martial arts is that it is hard to get promoted. At a blue belt level, you can almost be considered a lethal force. It will take commitment because we are committed to producing students with real ability. We do have a curriculum we go by to help you and once you exhibit competency in the techniques acquired you may qualify for a promotion.

Why train with the gi?

The gi game obviously has a lot more to it. Everything that can be done without the gi can be done with it, making it a more complex game. Additionally, taking away the gi allows physical attributes such as size strength and slipperiness to come to play with greater effect due to the lack of levers and friction. Working with the gi is generally considered more of a thinking man's game. Not that no-gi isn't, it's just that the gi removes many physical advantages and ads more techniques. For now, you should view your kimono as a set of training wheels. As you develop a higher level of proficiency, you will learn to perform Jiu-jitsu techniques both with and without a kimono. For now, the kimono will add a level of sophistication to your game that will result in you as a student becoming a more advanced and technical fighter.

Self Defense

Effective Techniques for Real-life Scenarios


If sport Jiu-jitsu and advancement within a traditional belt system are not things you are interested in but you still want to know how to defend yourself then this is the program for you! Gracie Self Defense focuses on the self defense aspects of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu so that you learn the most effective techniques to protect yourself and your family in real-life scenarios. Taking the Self defense Course will enable you to feel in control of potentially threatening situations and make your self confidence grow! We will help you to build up your self-confidence, technique, strength and conditioning so that you reach all of the goals you have set for yourself. The self-defense course is a great introduction to the principles of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, upon completion most students transition to our group classes to continue their training. We invite you to do the same, learn techniques that can save your life one day and if you love it like we know you will continue on with a sport that will have a long lasting positive impression on your life.


Find Out What's Happening


Our Experienced Lead Trainer


Shawn Woods

Head Instructor

Shawn Woods is a black belt under J. W. Wright, he is one of the most decorated competitors in the area traveling nationally and internationally to learn and compete. People say his attention to detail is what makes him such a great instructor.

"Jiujitsu is more than a hobby, it is a way of life" - Shawn Woods

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