Jiu-Jitsu team prepares for competition while supporting a great cause.
Anyone familiar with the world of martial arts is likely familiar with the Gracie name.
A legendary family of competitors and instructors in the world of jiu-jitsu, the Gracie Family revolutionized the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as we know it. And nestled inside a gym right in the heart of downtown Plant City, people can experience a part of that lineage at Carlson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
Led by owner and active jiu-jitsu competitor Samuel Kimmel, along with other qualified instructors in Cory West and Jerad Gonsalves, Carlson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu found its home in Plant City four years ago, has over 100 active students and holds classes Monday through Friday for all skill levels and age groups.
The gym also provides after-school programs and a kids summer camp that will run through Aug. 6.
“It’s all about self-defense,” Kimmel said. “We make sure that everybody knows how to defend themselves and we’re very family-oriented, but we’re also really big on competition teams. So we go hard, in a safe environment.”
So while Carlson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu provides a safe learning environment for those as young as three years old, the gym also breeds high-level competitors. Shad Simmons most recently took home a tournament belt in the expert division of the North American Grappling Association this past January while fighting out of Plant City.
But as Kimmel’s 24-person competition team prepares for their upcoming tournament, the competition also comes with the added benefit of raising money for a good cause. The Central Florida BJJ Open — to be held at the AdventHealth Fieldhouse in Orlando on Saturday, Sep. 18 — will be hosted by Tap Cancer Out. The organization raised over $870,000 toward cancer research in 2019, with Carlson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu turning out as the top fundraising team at Orlando’s event two years ago.
Kimmel’s gym has already began raising funds for the tournament and you can help through donations, purchasing bracelets from the gym or by visiting one of the numerous car washes that will be held throughout the coming months.
Upcoming car washes will take place on June 26 and July 10 at O’Reilly Auto Parts, 1704 James L Redman Pkwy.