We offer Law Enforcement, Fire, EMT, and Military discounts.

We offer Law Enforcement, Fire, EMT, and Military discounts.


Mitsuyo Maeda

Mitsuyo Maeda was a Judo expert known as Count Combat or Conde Koma, a nickname he established in Spain during the year 1908. Maeda, along with a man by the name of Antonio Soishiro Satake, brought judo to countries including Brazil and the United Kingdom.

In 1916, Carlos Gracie, the 14-year old son of Gastão Gracie (a business partner of the American Circus) saw Maeda perform and was immediately interested in learning judo. Maeda took Carlos on as a student and little did he know, had started the institution of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

In addition to his martial arts teachings, Maeda was a driving force and promoter of Japanese emigration to Brazil, won more than 2,000 professional fights during his active career, and is known to current students as “the father of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu” and “the toughest man who ever lived”.

Carlos Gracie

After becoming a student of Mitsuyo Maeda, Carlos and his brothers went on to found Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Along with his brothers, he opened the first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy in 1925, thus beginning the art.

On top of his significant contributions to and foundation of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Carlos Gracie also created the nutritional regimen called the Gracie Diet. This system follows the phrase, “Let your food be your remedy”. The Gracie Diet is aimed at preventing illness on competition days by keeping blood pH levels neutral. This is accomplished by eating only compatible nutrients during each meal. The diet prohibits consumption of pork, alcohol, tobacco, and similar products.

Helio Gracie

In conjunction with his brother Carlos Gracie, Helio founded the art of Gracie Jiu Jitsu, also known internationally as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Until his death in 2009, Helio was the only individual to rank as a 10th degree grand master and was considered one the first sports heroes in Brazil. One of his many accolades includes being named Black Belt magazine’s Man of the Year in 1997. Helio was the father of Royler Gracie, Royce Gracie, Relson Gracie, and Rorion Gracie (who went on to co-found the Ultimate Fighting Championship).

Rolls Gracie

Born to Carlos Gracie and raised under his uncle Hélio’s tutelage, Rolls Gracie trained extensively in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu throughout his life. Throughout his career, Rolls trained and competed in multiple martial art styles including wrestling and sambo. His friendship with Bob Anderson, a member of FILA whom Rolls met in 1978, was leveraged to grow Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu into the worldwide martial art it is today. The blend of wrestling and jiu jitsu transformed BJJ into the techniques and teaching methods it is known for today.
Although Rolls died in a hang gliding accident in 1982, he promoted six individuals to black belts before his death:

  • Marcio Stambowsky
  • Mauricio Motta Gomes
  • Romero Cavalcanti
  • Romero Cavalcanti
  • Nicin Azulay
  • Nicin Azulay

Rolls had other notable students including Carlos Valente, Luiz Palhares, Alvaro Romano, and Fabio Santos.

Rickson Gracie

Rickson Gracie is an 8th degree black and red belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and retired mixed martial artist. He began his competitive BJJ career at the age of 6 and began teaching at just 15 years old. At the age of 20 and the rank of black belt, Rickson defeated the infamous Brazilian fighter, Rei Zulu. This win pronounced Rickson as the top freestyle fighter. A rematch was declared five years later, and Rickson still came out victorious. Other career wins include the defeats of Japanese wrestlers, Nobuhiko Takada and Masakatsu Funaki.

Now retired, Rickson teaches Jiu Jitsu seminars in order to spread Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as his father Hélio saw it. Rickson was the focus of a 1998 documentary titled, “Choke”. He also had a small role as Bruce Banner’s martial arts instructor in “The Incredible Hulk”.

Luiz Palhares

As an original Rolls Gracie student, Luiz Palhares trained and received his blue and purple belt under the direction of Rolls. After Rolls’ death, he began training with Hélio and Rickson Gracie, where he then achieved the rank of brown and black belts under their watch. Luiz’s extensive training career includes instruction from renowned martial artists including Carlos Gracie Jr., Romero "Jacare" Cavalcanti, Mauricio Gomes, Rolker Gracie, Royler Gracie and Royce Gracie.

Luiz is a very patient and thorough instructor. If you have the chance to train with Luiz, the entire team at Jiu Jitsu Nation recommends you do yourself a favor and do it.

Professor Cliff Fonseca — Owner of Jiu Jitsu Nation in Smyrna, Tennessee

Professor Cliff Fonseca is one of the first two Americans to go from white belt to black belt under the instruction of Master Luiz Palhares. In addition to his already impressive competitive career, Professor Cliff continues to compete at the highest levels and ranks amongst world class competitors in order to keep his abilities and skills sharp. These competitive opportunities allow Professor Cliff to provide students in Rutherford County and across the nation with the highest level of quality Jiu Jitsu instruction.

Professor Cliff’s goal is to make a difference in the lives of families in our community by empowering them with self confidence and perspective through the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu/Gracie Jiu Jitsu. Professor Cliff leverages his experiences in life and competition to help students achieve their goals on and off the mats and to cope with the difficult times in life.

Professor Cliff has achieved the following awards and more throughout his extensive Brazilian Jiu Jitsu/Gracie Jiu Jitsu career:

  • 2015 - Kumite Invitational Gold Medalist
  • 2015 - IBJJ Atlanta International Open absolute silver medalist
  • 2013 - Kumite Invitational silver medalist
  • 2008 - IBJJ Pan Am Gold medalist
  • 2008 - E.G.O Pro Invite absolute champion
  • 2005 - Gracie National Pro Circuit Gold medalist
  • 2005 - Gracie National Pro Circuit Absolute Gold medalist
  • 2003 - IBJJ Pan Am bronze medalist

Jeovany Ortiz (Coach Tony) — Kids Instructor at Jiu Jitsu Nation

In 2007, Jeovany Ortiz (Coach Tony) began studying the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with his two brothers and his father. He is now currently teaching children and living the dream of being a competitor. Coach Tony enjoys teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, especially to children, because of the opportunity to share his knowledge with others and see growth in the student.

In 2014, Jeovany Ortiz made a trip to Irvine, California to compete in the Pan American Championships tournament and placed Silver. Today, he is still on the road to accomplishing his dream to becoming a world champion. Coach Tony’s accomplishment include:

  • 2015 — Silver Medalist at the Atlanta International Open Absolute No Gi Division
  • 2015 — Bronze Medalist at the Atlanta International Open Gi Division
  • 2015 — Bronze Medalist at the Atlanta International Open Gi Division
  • 2014 — Silver at the Pan American Championship

Visit Our Instructors and Start Training Today

To learn more about Jiu Jitsu Nation, visit our academy today!

(615) 459-5248
10364 Old Nashville Hwy Suite 200 Smyrna TN, 37167