Copyright. Luiz Palhares. All Rights Reserved.

    I was born in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on January 19, 1959. I started training in Rio De Janeiro in 1977 at the age of 18 under Rolls Gracie and continued to train with him until Rolls died in 1982 in a hang-gliding accident. After Rolls passing, I continued my training under Rolls’s brother, Rickson Gracie. After 7 years of practicing BJJ I was awarded the black belt in 1984 by Rickson Gracie together with Grand Master Helio Gracie. Currently I am a 7th degree Coral Belt (Black and Red belt) in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I received my Coral belt in 2010 by Grand Master Carlos Robson Gracie, Red Belt 9th Degree (President of the Jiu-Jitsu Federation of Rio de Janeiro). In 1999, then a 6th degree black belt, I was asked to move from Brazil to come to the United States to teach at Rickson Gracie’s Academy in Los Angeles. After teaching there for almost 8 years, in 2007, I opened my own Academy “Jacksonville Gracie Jiu Jitsu” in Jacksonville FL, where I currently reside.
As a competitor I have won the Rio de Janeiro championships several times and in 1998 was the Brazilian National Champion in the heavy weight senior division and open. In 2002 I took 3rd place in Masters and Seniors International. I have also won the Pan American Champion super heavy weight senior division and open in 2000, 2003, and 2004.
During my teaching career I have been involved with introducing BJJ techniques into combative training in the military and with law-enforcement in the United States as well as Europe. I am a certified Army Combative instructor and have initiated the development of an on-going Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu based Combative training program inside the US Navy SEALS compound in Dam Neck, Virginia Beach, VA. In 2010, in preparation for their deployment to Afghanistan, the 3rd Battalion 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) invited me to conduct a five month long training program at Camp Blanding. In addition to teaching BJJ in the army, I also provide BJJ instruction to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO).
In 2006, I released two instructional DVDs featuring Closed Guard Attacks, as well as techniques for progressing from White to Blue Belt. I have also founded the BJJ GRAND PRIX ( website since 2008 and in conjunction with the Florida National Guard started conducting two tournaments every year at the National Guard Armory in Jacksonville, FL, to promote BJJ in the NE Florida area. One in the spring called the JAX BJJ OPEN, and one in the fall called the SUNSHINE STATE BJJ OPEN.

Get to Know Us

Pedro Palhares is Luiz's second oldest son and a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Pedro teaches the Adult BJJ and Kid's BJJ classes. Pedro is one of the top Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitors in the world today and he has won and medaled at numerous local, national and international tournaments..

Jacksonville Gracie Jiu Jitsu is led by Luiz Palhares who is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor and instructor. Palhares was presented his 7th degree black and red belt by the President of the Jiu-Jitsu Federation of Rio de Janeiro, Carlos Robson Gracie, in 2010. Palhares spent over 23 years being trained directly by the Gracie family, first under Rolls Gracie until his tragic Hang Gliding accident, then later under Rickson Gracie. He was awarded his black belt in 1984 by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu co-founder Helio Gracie and Rickson Gracie.

During his lifetime Palhares has also accumulated a number of world-class competitive victories. Beginning in 1998, he won both senior heavy weight and open divisions of the Brazilian National Jiu-Jitsu Championships. Later, in 2000, 2003, and 2004, again in both the senior heavy weight and open divisions, he took 1st place at the Pan-American Championship. In 2002, Palhares also claimed 3rd place at the Masters and Seniors International championship.

As an instructor Palhares has taught throughout the US and Europe. He teaches seminars and conducts private lessons around the globe. As a certified Army Combatives instructor he developed a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Combatives program for the US Navy SEALs at Dam Neck, Virginia. At Camp Blanding, Florida in 2010, Palhares taught a five month long Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program for the 3rd Battalion 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) prior to their deployment to Afghanistan. He has taught Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu seminars for the US Marines in Tennessee and at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Palhares also enjoys a long standing relationship with the Jacksonville Florida Sheriff's Office (JSO) to provide instruction.

     Welcome to Jacksonville Gracie Jiu Jitsu, the neighborhood gym with the most advanced Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instruction you will find anywhere in the World. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned jiu jitsu practitioner, our helpful instructors are trained to assist you in effectively reaching your goals. Jacksonville Gracie Jiu Jitsu provides the most effective tried and true Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques.
Jacksonville Gracie Jiu Jitsu students experience results that go beyond gains in strength, flexibility, fitness or self-defense skills. By remaining truthful to the lessons learned in practice and applying them off the mats, Gracie Jiu jitsu students experience an overall improvement in their focus, energy and general well-being.
Luiz Palhares teaches the basic principles of effective fighting to individuals like you. His class structure condenses an immense diversity of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu into core fundamental moves combined intelligently and safely to optimize your learning.
For over 35 years, Luiz Palhares has been providing friendly, personal attention to his members, helping them stay fit, active and healthy by learning Gracie Jiu Jitsu. We are here to help you reach all of your fitness goals. Regardless of whether you've ever set foot in a gym before, our instructors will listen to your needs and develop a customized workout for you to achieve your goals.​

What We Do