January 12, 2022

“I think the biggest mistake is to not try.” Prof. Lemos
Many Gracie Barra students start jiu-jitsu and begin to become interested in the idea of competition. It’s a great way to motivate your training and test your skills in a live situation.
Along with the decision to enter a competition, there are many questions that come up for the novice competitor. This week we have Prof. Carlos Lemos to answer some of these questions for you.
IG: Prof. Carlos Lemos
Have you checked out the GB Online Instagram account?
GB: For newer students to Gracie Barra, how does a student know when they are ready for competition? Is it time training? A level of physical fitness? Knowing a certain number of techniques?
Prof. Lemos: Normally I advise my students to not compete unless they reach the 3rd stripe on their white belt. The GB Method and Curriculum allows our students to start live sparring at the third stripe. Before that, they are really doing only set / specific sparring and practicing drills or techniques. Live sparring starts at the third stripe. Therefore live sparring is the closest experience to a competition before they start to compete.
Once they start doing live sparring, and you start to see a better level of fitness and condition. I start to detect an improvement, the dedication. Then I start little by little talking to them about competition and the benefits of winning or the learning that competition can bring to somebody. And to jump-start the jiu-jitsu development of each new student.
GB: For a first-time competitor, what should be their mindset looking at that first tournament experience? Dead serious about winning or look at it as having fun?
Prof. Lemos: That’s a really good question. I strongly advise my students to compete with the mindset of winning and learning. Because if they come with that approach of winning or learning – regardless of the outcome of the competition there will always be room for growth. When they perceive the competition as an opportunity for growth. So I never send them over there with the mindset that ‘win…or it’s the end of the world”. I think that is the worst thing that somebody can do to the students.
But more of an open mind that ‘Okay, we are going to train and do everything that we can to win’, but it’s only in the competition that our weakness or mistakes can be exposed. Therefore if we can see what we need to work on to improve, that is always a win-win opportunity for the competitor.
GB: What to focus on in training for that last month before the tournament?
Prof. Lemos: Focus on the last month before the competition is essentially work on your best moves is to set up a game plan that you are going to be using. Workaround the situations and the possibilities of that game.
I normally like to have a few guard moves, a few passes, a throw, and a transition to the guard. That’s how I normally work. And of course, from a few spots, you can always capitalize on your favorite submission depending on what game you are setting up for your competition. So it’s really working exclusively on your favorite moves and working the possibilities around those moves. That’s how I normally train for a competition.
GB: What is the biggest mistake novice competitors make?
Prof. Lemos: You are allowed to commit mistakes. I don’t think ‘what is the biggest mistake?’
I think the biggest mistake is to not try. To stay in the comfort zone of your Gracie Barra academy and only train with your buddies that you are used to. I think that is the biggest mistake.
Coming down to competition I think that the novice – the earlier belts are the best ones for you to get out there and try and learn from it. When you can afford to commit mistakes. Rather than in higher belt levels where when you are a brown or especially a black belt one mistake can cost you the tournament.
So I think the time to commit mistakes is really when you are a beginner. I think the biggest mistake is to not try.
GB: The most common question we get at Gracie Barra’s blog is “I feel really nervous before a tournament match. Is this normal? How do I deal with the nerves?”
Prof. Lemos: The most common question is of course natural. Everybody feels nervous when they get out there. You know the possibility of an injury, the shame of losing in the first round, of not being able to perform, and the list goes on. The disappointed friends and family.
But what I normally tell my students is: ‘You see the person on the other side. He is feeling everything that you are!” And the one that is going to come out of this on top is whoever can control these emotions. There is a famous saying of Napoleon Bonaparte, the French emperor, and dictator which was like ‘The coward and the hero, they fear the same way. The difference is what they do with their fear. That is what defines them.’
GB: What advice can you share with the new competitor?
Prof. Lemos: My advice for the new competitor would be don’t be afraid to try. Don’t be afraid to fail. Leave all that you have out there. Don’t bring anything back home. And whatever happens, you will feel fulfilled and that you achieved something.
Most important to not give up. I have a saying which is ‘Hard to beat… impossible to break!’ That’s the mindset and the spirit.
See also on GB Blog: GB Inspiration: Prof. Flavio Almeida on overcoming struggles
Writer: Mark Mullen, Gracie Barra Black Belt

November 17, 2021

📢 Don’t miss the biggest event of the year! 🚨

GB Chicagoland 2021 End of the Year Party, Seminar & Belt Grading Ceremony

Hosted by Professors Carlos Lemos Jr.,
Marcos Barros and Cristiano Ribeiro

Featuring special international guest Professor Salvatore Pace
all the way from Gracie Barra Bath in the UK

Saturday 12/11 3PM-10PM
at the Megaplex Sports Center in Homer Glen, IL

Book your spot now!
For members: https://www.cognitoforms.com/GracieBarra/EndOfYearCelebration12112021

For friends & family: https://www.cognitoforms.com/GracieBarra/EndOfYearCelebrationnonmembers12112021

💻 gbdownersgrove.com
📱 (630) 964-1414

#gbillnois #jiujitsuforeveryone
#gbchIcagoland #graciebarra
#antibullying #jiujitsu #bjj #brazilianjiujitsu #martialartsforkids #womensselfdefense #selfdefense #downersgrove #naperville

October 28, 2021

Hundreds of competitors from GB Schools all over the state have signed up to participate in the first-ever Compnet Carlos Gracie Jr. Cup – Illinois

The inaugural event will be held on Saturday, October 30 at the Megaplex Sports Complex in Homer Glen, IL.

Registrations for the tournament closed within one week of its initial announcement with over 80 athletes representing GB Downers Grove and GB East Naperville.

Come support our athletes and the GB Illinois community.
You do not want to miss this historic event!

Visit CompNet.Link/Illinois for more information.

Both GB East Naperville and Downers Grove will be closed on Saturday due to this event.

June 16, 2021

The first session of our GB Chicagoland Competition Training took place on June 12 at GB Downers Grove to kick off our 2021 GB Ambassadors Program of Illinois fundraising campaign.

The event was packed with members from different GB academies in the Chicagoland area and beyond who showed up in droves to participate in 2 hours of fast-paced, high-intensity simulated competition drills, strategic analysis, set sparring, and strength and conditioning exercises.

The session was facilitated by some of the most decorated GB Black Belts in the Midwest including Professor Carlos Lemos Jr., Andre Oliveira, Pedroca Tello, Marcos Barros, Cristiano Ribeiro, Evandro Campelo Jr., Josh Cadenbach, and more.

We would like to thank all of you who made this event a huge success. Special thanks to Denise Andrews for her work with the GB Ambassadors Program of Illinois and for the beautiful pictures.

The second session will take place on June 26th
12-2 PM at GB Downers Grove
⚠️Regular classes are canceled on this date⚠️

A minimum donation of $25 per session is required. All proceeds will be donated to the GB Ambassadors Program of Illinois

*Donation must be in the form of a check payable to GB Ambassadors Program of Illinois*

See you there!

For more information call/text or email us at:
???? (630) 964-1414
???? info@gbdownersgrove.com

June 15, 2021

GB Ambassadors od Arizona Seminar and Belt Grading Ceremony

We are really excited to announce Gracie Barra Black Belt Ambassadors of Arizona Seminar and Belt Grading Ceremony featuring Professor Flavio Almeida. 
July 9, 6-8PM
at GB Downers Grove 
Doors open at 5:30PM
Open to all GB schools in the Chicagoland area and Illinois. If you have students that you would like to be graded during this event, please send us a list of their  names. Your students’ & school’s names will be called and your school’s professor will grade them accordingly.
* Confirmed participants on the list will receive a bracelet at the door
** There will be no sponsored spots for this event – All the participants are required to donate a minimum amount of $40
Limited spots available. Sign up today at http://gbarizona.link/ambassadors
GB AZ will close the registration as soon as the target is met.
Thank you
???? (630) 964-1414
????????Book your classes online!

June 4, 2021

Attention members of GB Chicagoland Area!

Do you want to be part of the Official 2021 GB Chicagoland Competition Team?

You can apply here: https://www.cognitoforms.com/GracieBarra/_2021GBChicagolandCompetitionTeamApplicationAdult

Open to all active members of any GB location with the approval of their home school.

The first meeting will be on June 8 at Gracie Barra Downers Grove.

For more information call/text or email us at:
???? (630) 964-1414
???? info@gbdownersgrove.com

June 3, 2021

Dive into the unique world of Jiu-Jitsu at Gracie Barra and enjoy your best summer ever.

My son has been training here for about 3 years and absolutely loves it! Prof.Wang is very professional, he reaches a personal level with the students and takes the time getting to know each of them. Definitely recommend.

Join the team now, and Gracie Barra pays your tuition until August 31st. Just purchase your Gracie Barra uniform and jump right into an incredible summer.

Let’s get started! Contact us at
???? +1 (630)-964-1414

Visit gbeastnaperville.com to learn more about Gracie Barra’s unique philosophy and our world-class training structure taught in over 800 Jiu-Jitsu schools worldwide.

*Offer good from June 15 – July 31, 2021. New students must buy uniforms to qualify for this promotion. This promotion cannot be added with any other Gracie Barrie discounts or promotions.*
* Limited to 20 spots only
* Start-up costs apply

November 18, 2020

Congratulations to the #gbchicagoland team on another Gracie Barra premium school in Illinois!
It is with great pride and excitement that we announce that Gracie Barra East Naperville has officially achieved GB Premium status!
Being a GB Premium School means that the school consistently meets all the requirements set by the Gracie Barra leadership to ensure that schools are aligned with Master Carlos Gracie Jr.’s philosophy and instruction standards. These include having a safe training environment for everyone, a clean, quality facility, and highly qualified GB certified instructors.

October 30, 2020

Meet Prof. Carlos Lemos Jr., a 5th-degree black belt under Master Carlos Gracie Jr.
Carlos is the head instructor and owner of Gracie Barra Downers Grove, Illinois.
“Once I started training Jiu-Jitsu I couldn’t stop. It became part of who I am. An essential part of my identity”
This week, Gracie Barra asks Prof. Carlos how he got started in Jiu-Jitsu and he shares his interesting and sometimes humorous story about how he first became interested in Jiu-Jitsu, his early motivation, and why he has lived the Jiu-Jitsu life for all of these years.
GB: Let’s start by introducing you to the GB Online readers. How did you start training Jiu-Jitsu and where is your home Gracie Barra school?
Prof. Carlos Lemos:
Hello guys! Thank you so much for the opportunity for this interview and to connect with all of you from GB Online.
My original school is the original Gracie Barra in Barra de Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, also known as Gracie Barra Matriz. The first Gracie Barra school of Master Carlos Gracie Jr.
I started training Jiu-Jitsu around 1992 – 93. I’ve always been training under Gracie Barra. Before Jiu-Jitsu I did Muay Thai, I did tae kwon do, also I did a bunch of judo when I was a kid. But once I started training Jiu-Jitsu I couldn’t stop. It became part of who I am. An essential part of my identity.
My beginning was a very interesting story. I grew up learning martial arts since I was a kid. My father first enrolled me in Tae Kwon Do when I was 3 or 4 years old. At the age of 10, I started doing judo. I did about 3 years of judo. A year of kickboxing Muay Thai. I thought that I knew how to fight. I thought that I didn’t need to learn any self-defense. I thought that I would never need that.
But a lot of the members of the Gracie family moved to my neighborhood. I started to see these guys all of a sudden running the show in our town. I started to see the students were doing everything together. They were running on the beach together, they were surfing together, running with their dogs on the beach.
I never really had that level of friendship before. I was looking at these guys saying… no no no. I don’t want to be part of this. This probably is cultish. They are all obsessed with this thing. I don’t want to have anything to do with that. They are too obsessed with this thing. I had friends that started training with them, affiliate schools of Gracie Barra. They said, let’s go there, but I never wanted to go.
One day I saw this guy who grew up training with us. Brazil, back in the day was not violent in the sense that there were guns everywhere. But there was a lot of freedom. I saw this 16 or 17-year-old kid..but a blue belt in Jiu-Jitsu. Not too big, maybe 65 kg. I saw him and a grown man squaring up for some reason. And all of the kids ran to this grass field to watch. I saw the much larger grown man swinging at his head. The kid ducked under, body locked the man, took the guys back, and the next thing I knew, the kid looked like a koala on a giant’s back. Like a little backpack on this man’s back. Next thing I know the man is collapsing on his knees and falling face down on the grass. The kid allowed him to turn over and breathe and the fight was over. That was really impressive!
I had not been converted to Jiu-Jitsu yet. I was about 14. My first girlfriend broke up with me. Then she started dating the Jiu-Jitsu kid. Man, I was devastated! And I said that I’m going to start training Jiu-Jitsu and become better than this guy! I was always a very active and competitive kid. Every sport that I engaged in I eventually became really good. I had a lot of persistence.
So I said, “I want to become better than this guy!”
Because one day I am going to be the one squaring up with him. I started training really hard. Six months passed and I wasn’t even close to this guy’s level. He was a local and state champion. But when I looked around the mats of the school, every single one of the people in that school…I realized that I was surrounded by a group of very positive, uplifting group of role models. They are people who are from all walks of life. None of them was involved with drugs, with alcohol, with bad habits. They were all virtuous individuals. I saw many demonstrations of humility, courage, kindness, sincerity.
Courage and loyalty are what I saw the most. I said “I won’t find better friends anywhere else in my life. I can’t live without these guys and I can’t live without this.”
Surfing has always been an important element in my life. Back at the same time, I was training Jiu-Jitsu, I was achieving a pro surfing level. I was actively competing. I started to surf when I was 4 years old. I became a great surfer…but never an extraordinary surfer. Not a world-class level. When I started to train Jiu-Jitsu hard, within a year, my surfing level went up to incredible heights.
It’s amazing how Jiu-Jitsu helped me improve as a surfer. I could definitely have had a career as a pro surfer. But although I love surfing to this day, the lifestyle of surfing wasn’t there. You know a lot of my surfing friends were messing around with drugs, alcohol. They were not the best type of people to be hanging around with.
And I had the complete opposite in Jiu-Jitsu. I had friends that would stand by my side no matter what, and I could count on them. That really moved me. I realized that I couldn’t live without that, without that community.
That’s how I started and that’s what kept me in Jiu-Jitsu.
GB Values: Jiu-Jitsu Culture
Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Asia