About Us

About Gracie Barra Alaska

Gracie Barra is Alaska’s premier Jiu Jitsu and mixed martial arts academy. We are part of the Gracie Jiu Jitsu family, pioneers in developing modern Brazilian Jiu Jitsu into the martial art it is today. Gracie Barra is the largest organization of its kind in the world, with hundreds of academies in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Gracie Barra is led by Carlos Gracie, Jr., son of the legendary Carlos Gracie and nephew of the esteemed Helio Gracie.

Gracie Jiu Jitsu is an extraordinarily effective combat art, but it is our mission to make this self defense system available to all, including those who may not be naturally inclined towards martial arts. It is, after all, those not so gifted or inclined that may benefit the most from learning and training the principals of Gracie Jiu Jitsu. Our academy is focused on all levels of competency, with special attention offered to the beginner. It is our goal to provide the beginning student with the solid foundation upon which their development in Jiu Jitsu will be built.

The focus of our academy on building the student’s understanding of Jiu Jitsu has resulted in our students capturing gold, silver and bronze medals at some of the most prestigious Jiu Jitsu tournaments in the world, including the U.S. Open, the Pan Americans, Worlds, Naga, the New York Open, the Gracie United, and the U.S. Nationals, among others. Our MMA program has produced many champions and our academy currently displays many of the title belts held in the state of Alaska, as well as belts from competitions elsewhere.

We are proud of our winning record, but even more important to us and our mission is the personal growth and character development that accompanies training Gracie Jiu Jitsu. The hard work, the struggle to master a new skill, the camaraderie built between training partners, the respect gained towards others, the humility and calm self-assurance gained through training….these are the true measures of a student’s progress.

Please explore our website. Class descriptions and schedules are located here, as well as biographies of our instructors and tuition information. You will also find photo galleries which we hope that you find interesting and that will give you an idea of the friendly and helpful atmosphere that prevails at our academy.

We extend you a cordial invitation to visit our academy and participate in or observe a class. We love Jiu Jitsu. We love sharing the art. We hope that you will join us as we travel the path.

Master 5th degree Black Belt Nelson Montiero

Robert Grunder co-founded Gracie Barra Alaska in 2004, under Nelson

Professor Nelson Monteiro was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, the birthplace of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He started training when he was 13 years old under the direct tutelage of Master Carlos Gracie Jr. at the world-renowned Gracie Barra Academy. With unrivalled dedication, Professor Monteiro trained diligently until he was awarded the black belt in 1989; and in the same year, he received a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Gama Filho University.

Professor Monteiro is one of the original pioneers of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the United States. After receiving his black belt and graduating from college, Professor Monteiro moved to San Diego in 1990 and began teaching Jiu-Jitsu out of his garage in Encinitas. After steady growth in enrollment, Professor Monteiro moved to a larger space in Del Mar, where the academy continued to prosper. After the 1993 debut of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu experienced a meteoric rise in popularity. The world had now witnessed the effectiveness of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as the unassuming Royce Gracie used leverage and technique to defeat his larger and stronger opponents. People from all walks of life began to search for qualified instructors. As a result, the academy experienced even greater growth.

In 1995, a new student arrived at the academy. This new student would soon have a profound effect not only on Professor Monteiro but also on the future of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The new arrival was Sheik Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nayan, a prince of the United Arab Emirates. Bin, as his friends would call him, became a dedicated private student of Professor Monteiro. After training for 8 months, the prince invited Professor Monteiro to come to the UAE to become his private Jiu-Jitsu instructor. Professor Monteiro accepted.

While training the prince and other enthusiasts in the UAE, Professor Monteiro helped to form the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC), which would evolve into the most prestigious grappling tournament in the world, the Abu Dhabi Submission Wrestling Championships. During this four-year period, Professor Monteiro also trained many champions in Vale-Tudo, MMA, and sport Jiu-Jitsu. With many accomplishments resulting form his stay in the UAE, Professor Monteiro decided to make his way back to Brazil.

In 2000, he and his family moved back to Rio de Janeiro. While living back in Brazil, Professor Monteiro opened a health club and continued his education in the field of sport physiology. In addition, Professor Monteiro continued his efforts in spreading Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by traveling around the world conducting seminars. After four years in Brazil, Professor Monteiro and his family decided to come back to San Diego.

In 2006, Professor Monteiro opened Gracie Barra Encinitas. Since its grand opening, the academy has become one of the most respected Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu schools in the San Diego area. Professor Monteiro’s positive attitude, charismatic personality, and passion for Jiu-Jitsu have been an integral part of the academy’s success.

Professor Monteiro is still an active athlete, competing in many of the major Brazilian Jiu-jitsu tournaments worldwide. With over 25 years of experience, Professor Monteiro is one of the most knowledgeable instructors teaching today.