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The City Journals

South Jordan opens Gracie Jiu Jitsu training center

Sep 13, 2021 11:35AM ● By Rachel Aubrey

Head trainer Ryan Greer teaches children as young as 5 and as old as 12 at the Daybreak Community Center. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Greer.)

By Rachel Aubrey| [email protected]

Gracie Jiu Jitsu South Jordan opened it training doors on July 6 offering classes to men, women and children. Head trainer and Daybreak resident Ryan Greer opened a certified training center to teach others how to become more empowered through the art of submissions and ground fighting. 

“We are not trying to beat people up,” Greer said. “It’s learning to apply the technique you learned against pressure.”

Originally from Taylorsville, Greer has spent a lifetime in pursuit of knowledge in the martial arts. A current black belt in Hapkido, a Korean-based martial artform which focuses on tactical self-defense and combat, Greer wanted to improve his ground fighting techniques. After a little online research, Greer began his individual training with the Gracie Jiu Jitsu program in October of 2018, enrolling in the programs’ online training classes which allow for at-home training with a partner. He completed the training in April of 2019.

“The Gracie philosophy is to train people on the basics,” Greer said. 

Different than other martial art formats, Gracie Jiu Jitsu or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was refined by the Gracie family in the early 1920s in Brazil. This martial arts style is based on submissions and ground fighting. It became more popularized in the late 1970s. There is little to no punching or kicking involved in jiu jitsu, rather besting an opponent by taking him or her to the ground and gaining a dominant position. Gracie Jiu Jitsu has certified training centers worldwide; its headquarters are located in Southern California. 

It was while training in Hapkido, that Greer met fellow black belt and South Jordan resident Megan Wiesen. Both Wiesen and Greer studied under master instructor Gordon Summers. Upon recognizing her skills in Hapkido, Greer mentioned the Gracie Jiu Jitsu Women Empowered program to Wiesen and gained her interest in becoming certified to teach the course.

“I am always looking for something to challenge myself and add more skills to my toolbelt,” Wiesen said. 

Before the opening of the South Jordan location, there were only two locations in the Salt Lake Valley, in Sandy with head instructor George Dew, and Salt Lake City with head instructor Ryan Mitchell. Currently the Women Empowerment class is only available in Salt Lake City. Realizing he wanted to teach these techniques closer to his home base, Greer he went through a stringent and rigorous training to become certified to teach Gracie Jiu Jitsu. 

The standards to become certified to teach others were, and continue to be very high. Greer was required to score 95% or higher on his test. In March of 2020, he tested and scored 97%. Needing one year of teaching experience, Greer spent time at the Salt Lake City training center as was permitted by the county due to COVID restrictions.

The Daybreak area was secured and sessions are currently being held at the Daybreak Community Center. The following sessions are being taught on Tuesdays and Saturdays: Gracie Combatives for beginner adults, Junior Grapplers for ages 8–12 and Little Champs for ages 5–7. Greer and Wiesen expect to begin offering Women Empowerment in South Jordan by July of 2022.

“We do very controlled grappling [for the young students],” Greer said. 

South Jordan resident Laura Bickmore started bringing her two sons Eli,7, and Aaron, 4, to Gracie Jiu Jitsu to help them burn some energy, learn some wholesome values and build some confidence. 

“My hope is that they learn to defend themselves but also learn to deescalate situations before they happen,” Bickmore said.

According to the Gracie website, children can learn to use verbal assertiveness to deter bullies and several non-violent self-defense techniques to stay safe is physically assaulted. As many children have reentered the classroom this school year, the opportunity for a bullying scenario has increased.

“The idea is if your child is being at school, a couple things can happen,” Greer said. “A child could hit the bully back, and it doesn’t affect the bully; a child could be in more danger; or if a child hits a bully, there could be legal consequences if the bully then becomes hurt.” 

For more information about pricing and schedules, visit www.gracieuniversity.com/southjordan.