Our children (ages 11, 8 and 8) started taking Jiu Jitsu classes with Coach Tony in August 2014. We knew that it would be good exercise and would teach them to respect themselves and others. What we didn't understand was what a profound effect it would have on their self-confidence. Our oldest had been bullied in the past and chose to blend in instead of being herself. Jiu Jitsu has given her the confidence to stand out and she has recently competed in her first tournament. We didn't know if our youngest would ever be able to be involved in a sport. He has Autism and with that comes behavioral and physical issues. He took to Coach Tony right away. The way Coach Tony runs the class is perfect for a child like our son. They start with a game and then do warm ups, etc. It is very structured and kids know what to expect. On top of everything else, Coach Tony truly cares about the kids on and off the mat. He cares about how they are doing in school and how their behavior is at home. He wants these kids to succeed. After a year of training with Coach Tony, I can't imagine taking my kids anywhere else.
Kelly and Peter
Leon, Lena, and Ally with coaches
When we started at Gracie two years ago, my son was nine years old. He was shy and there wasn’t anything he was interested in. Now as an eleven year old, he not only is he incredibly excited to be a part of a team, he serves as a mentor to younger children just starting out, and is so much more outgoing. He went from hating school to giving his best and making honor roll. This improvement and growth is due in large part to the environment and people at Gracie Palm Harbor. I am very appreciative about the life lessons and values that Coach Tony has taught him and continues to teach him.
Michael Peticca and Lena helping teach a lesson at a local school