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Royce Gracie to teach BJJ class at Cortez Martial Arts
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Royce Gracie is arguably the most influential figure in the advancement of mixed-martial arts.
Manteca resident Jason Cortez credits the Ultimate Fighting Championship legend out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for changing his own philosophy as a martial artist.
“I’ve been practicing Kenpo for 33 years, a standup art,” said Cortez, the head instructor of Cortez Martial Arts Academy. “At first, I didn’t like (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu), but after I watched Royce Gracie in UFC 1 he changed my mind. If it wasn’t for Royce the UFC might have went under. He set the (standard) for UFC and mixed-martial arts.
“Now, everyone in MMA has to know Jiu-Jitsu, because 80 percent of fighting ends up on the floor. Royce Gracie really opened my mind.”
Cortez hopes to inspire others to give it a try, and Gracie himself will be there to help him do so.
On Monday, UFC’s first-ever Hall of Fame inductee is conducting a two-hour seminar starting at 6 p.m. at Cortez’s gym located on 127 West Louise Avenue in Manteca. Cost to register is $60. Cortez said the class will max out at around 70 students, who are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. He encourages anyone interested to register in advance. They can do so by visiting the gym tonight, calling (209) 823-2662, or emailing cortezbjj@gmail.com.
“It’ll be fun,” Cortez said. “It’s something that both basic and advanced people can learn from. So far I have people coming from Benicia, San Leandro, Fresno and Vallejo, but I would like to target Manteca residents because this is my hometown.”
Cortez Martial Arts is an affiliate school of Charles Gracie Academy in Tracy. Charles Gracie, a first cousin of Royce’s, has been Cortez’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor since 2005.
Royce Gracie has been in Northern California for over a week holding similar seminars. Cortez saw it as an opportunity to welcome the grappling great to Manteca.
“It was real quick notice, but when I found out that he was in Fremont late last week I told Charles I’d like for Royce to come out here,” Cortez said. “It’s an honor being part of Gracie Academy. My wife (Lillie) and I wanted to bring something different to the community, and now we’re going to have Royce Gracie, a living legend, teach a class. It’s a great honor.”