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Meet The Instructors

Finding Inspiration in Every Turn

For three generations, the primary mission of the Gracie Family has been to make the invaluable benefits of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu available to people everywhere. To accomplish this, we created the Gracie University Instructor Certification Program (ICP), through which dedicated practitioners from around the world will have the opportunity and resources to become remarkable instructors and join us in preserving and perpetuating the gentle art.

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  Elle Darling 

 Instructor 

   Blue Belt / Pink Belt

Elle's love of solo travel brought her to learn martial arts. She started training with the Gracie family in 2019. As her love of jiu jitsu grew, so did her passion to train other women in the art. Excited to bring the Woman Empowered program to her school, she and other friends of hers who trained together, learned the program as a team and got certified to teach in July of 2023. Elle looks forward to making life-long friends and empowering women to feel confident and learn techniques to protect themselves. 

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Ann Ching

Instructor

Purple Belt / Pink Belt

Ann Ching is an Army veteran and jiu-jitsu enthusiast from Tempe, Arizona. Ann started training in 2014 and became a Women Empowered certified instructor in 2023. Although Ann has competed in both gi and nogi tournaments, her passion lies in teaching and coaching. Ann especially enjoys introducing other women to the many benefits of jiu-jitsu for self-defense, fitness, and building self-confidence.

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Lusando Brown
Instructor
Black Belt

Born on the Navajo reservation in Jeddito, Arizona. Lusando attended school at Coronado High and later graduated from Scottsdale Community College in Arts of General Studies.

The journey with Jiu-Jitsu started when he was 16 years old. After getting into trouble, his mom took him to attend a Jiu-Jitsu class. At first he was apprehensive but after a couple of days he started to fall in love with the art and never looked back.
   Lusando appreciates Jiu-Jitsu and the skills he has acquired over the years. Still, to this day he hones those skills while learning new ones. Lusando is known for being patient and fun while sharing his knowledge with students.  Lusando says, "Jiu-Jitsu is saving my life, because it’s making my life better". I appreciate my teacher, my peers, students, and friends, along with the support they provide. "I am always looking forward to training with everyone" - Lusando.

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Jimi Clayton
Instructor
Brown Belt

Jimi has been a practitioner of Jiu Jitsu since 2010 and was one of the original students at Gracie Scottsdale where he practiced under Gracie black belt, Chris Bailey. Ryron Gracie awarded Jimi his purple belt in 2018; shortly after Jimi became a certified instructor where he heads the CTC operations at Gracie Jiu Jitsu® West Mesa. As a father himself, Jimi prides himself on teaching the kids classes and has made it his mission to bully proof as many kids as possible by using a “teaching through fun” approach. In addition to teaching, Jimi is pursuing more knowledge with the completion of all current Master cycle lessons. His desire is to represent Gracie Jiu Jitsu® on and off the mat by living a strong and healthy lifestyle, based on the Philosophy of the Grand Master, Helio Gracie.

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Chris Bailey
Professor
Black Belt

Chris has been training in the martial arts his entire adult life, covering a span of over 40 years. He has been teaching for the last 30 years. Chris is a Black Belt graduate of the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy and also holds a 3rd degree Black Belt in traditional Jiu Jutsu. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Health Psychology from N.A.U., in 1988.

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