THE HISTORY OF GRACIE JIUJITSU & BRAZILIAN JIU-JITSU MIXED MARTIAL ARTS/MUAY THAI KICK BOXING IN TYLER, TEXAS
On June 1st, 2003 a seasoned Deputy U.S. Marshal/Federal Criminal Investigator came to Tyler, TX to live and work. His name was Drew Arthur. Before his arrival in East Texas, he had already served 15 years as a Deputy U.S. Marshal. He had worked the mean streets of Miami, Honolulu, and Las Vegas as a Fugitive Warrants Investigator serving High Threat Warrants, and served on Task/Strike Teams.
After the many threats and attempted shootings, and killings of federal judges and their families throughout the nation Drew was selected and sent to East Texas to insure the safety of the federal judiciary. He was also tasked with insuring the physical security of the US federal Courthouses, and federal buildings. After Arthurs arrival in East Texas he set out to insure the safety of the federal judges, and US Courthouses in Tyler, Beaumont, Plano, Sherman, Marshall, Lufkin, and Texarkana.
In 1995 a female plaintiff involved in a custody battle was shot down on the Tyler County Courthouse steps by her estranged husband. Immediately after this tragic event Deputy US Marshal Drew Arthur was called upon, and assigned to help Smith County Court, and State Appellate Court Systems, and the Smith County Sheriffs Department to conduct building site physical security surveys, and to devise a better safety plan. Drew was sent as a Physical Security Expert and Consultant to conduct building site security assessments for the Cotton Belt Building, Smith County Court House, and the 200 Ferguson County Administration facilities, and the Smith County Employees office facility.
Drew had studied many different martial arts since he was a young child, and had continued to train in, and instruct in those pragrams, and to utilize these life saving defensive tactics & techniques, while he was a street police officer in South Florida during the Miami Vice/Cocaine Wars era. He also utilized these self defense systems in the military as a military police officer/infantryman, and during high threat fugitive warrant apprehension arrest as a Deputy U.S. Marshal. Drew carried these skills with him also as a Department of Justice/U.S. Marshals Service Senior Judicial Security Inspector. Drew was in charge of many high threat federal trials, high threat air, land prisoner movements, and assigned to protect U.S. Supreme Court Justices, and federal witnesses. During his 20 years of service, Drew was called upon to instruct life saving reality based self defense combative techniques to Con- Air, mixed law enforcement and elite military agencies/services from Guam, Hawaii, Oklahoma, to Miami, and every where in-between. Drew was sent to some of the countries best S.W.A.T. academies, and to elite military, and elite law enforcement agencies to attend their defensive tactics instructor training.
WHY THE GRAND MASTER HELIO GRACIE FAMILY/WHY MASTER RELSON GRACIE?
Drew had trained under the legendary Iron Dragon Richard Bustillio every time Grand Master Bustillio would come to South Florida to instruct a seminar. At that time, Grand Master Bustillio was a reserve law enforcement officer from Los Angeles California. He was also one of the late Bruce Lees first and original students. At a Jeet Kune Do/Kali /Thai Kick Boxing seminar in 1988 Drew heard master Bustillo speaking of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Drew was training in Japanese Jujutsu. He could not believe the stories he heard. On August 5 and 6, 1989 (four years before the first UFC and introduction of the octagon) the Gracie family would be coming to Orlando, Florida for their first East Coast Seminar. Drew decided to go and attend the event, in order to find out about this system of combat and this fighting family.
MASTER RORION GRACIE, GRAND MASTER HELIO GRACIE, AND ROYCE GRACIE, AND DREW ARTHUR.
Upon arrival at the hotel, to attend the first East Coast Gracie JiuJitsu Seminar Drew found there were some judo, aikido, hapkido, and karate participants. There were only approximately 12 participants, including Drew at this first east coast Gracie JiuJitsu event in Orlando. Drew received a sheet of paper with the Gracie Diet on it, from Rorion. It spoke about food combining, etc. After the introductions the event which would change Drew’s life forever started.
Grand Master Helio Gracie, Master Rorion Gracie, and a young Royce Gracie were present at this event. The first techniques Drew were shown was closing the distance, clinch, and a rear takedown, standing in base, escape from a head lock, building an “A” Frame, the guard, passing the guard, and the mount, and more during the two day program.
The participants were paired up on mats. Drew was paired up with an older gentlemen. Drew would later understand that he was in the presence of martial arts royalty and greatness.. The older gentleman was Grand Master Helio Gracie. Drew tried with all his might, and explosiveness to get Grand Master Helio Gracie off of him, and to escape the mount. But, Grand Master Helio Gracie just smiled, and in a relaxed manner did simple swimming, movements inline of Drews arms. Drew failed in his attempts to escape Grand Master Helio Gracies mount. Then with a change of partners, a young Royce Gracie continued to frustrate Drew, and caught Drew easily in a choke hold. Even though Drew was frustrated and trying to comprehend what was happening to him, he knew he was in the presence of martial arts genius and greatness. Drew had seen and trained under great martial arts legends/instructors such Grand Master Richard Bustillio, and Drew understood this family was ahead of their time, just like Bruce Lee had been ahead of his time.
Jump ahead to Nov 11th, 1993, and the first UFC event. A young 175 pound Royce Gracie easily defeated grapplers, and strikers from other martial arts disciplines from around the world. Drew knew from his first encounter four years earlier with this martial art (Gracie JiuJitsu) and this innovating Gracie family that Royce was destined to win, and win.
ENTER RELSON GRACIE:
Drew continued to practice the techniques he had learned from the Gracies and combined them along with his Japanese Jujutsu. In early Dec. 1995 Drew was transferred from the US Marshal Miami field office to the US Marshals Service Honolulu, Hawaii field office. Drew knew that the second oldest son of Grand Master Helio Gracie was living in, and teaching Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in Honolulu. With his busy schedule (working seven days a week) as a Deputy US Marshal, catching fugitives during the week, and then flying and dropping the inmates off and picking them up, and transporting them every weekend to San Francisco, and Los Angeles, made training time tuff, Drew still managed to train. Drew was training when he could. Sometimes he trained in the morning, and sometimes evening. Drew would take morning classes under one of Relsons first black belts in the USA, Scott Divine, when Scott was a purple belt (now a black belt instructor).
Drew would fight hus schedule and catch Relson Gracie’s instruction often, Drew would train when he could, but he was assigned to a position where he often worked 7 days a week. He would catch fugitives during the week, and transport on commercial air lines, federal inmates back and forth from Hawaii and San Francisco, and Los Angeles, and Guam.
After 911 Drew was assigned to Las Vegas, and then to Tyler TX.
ARRIVAL OF GRACIE JIUJITSU, BJJ/MMA IN TYLER TX:
Upon arrival into Tyler, Texas, Deputy U.S. Marshal Drew Arthur observed that there was no Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), no Gracie JiuJitsu, in Tyler TX, no Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), and no Muay Thai Kick Boxing in Tyler, Texas. Drew had a true passion for martial arts all his life. He had practiced many different systems of combat since he was a child, and onward as a U.S. Marine Infantryman/Military Policeman, South Florida Police Officer, and as a Deputy U.S. Marshal. He started to instruct pro-bono (Free) in Tyler, Texas. He started instructing children, women, and members of a church. Drew continued doing this for several years, giving back to his adopted home. Drew established the program as a Christian based outreach to help the community. This was the beginning of Tyler Texas 1st BJJ/MMA/Muay Thai Kick Boxing, and the first Gracie Based Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Tyler, TX. Drew became the founder, father and keeper of (BJJ), and Gracie Based Jiu-Jitsu in Tyler, TX. Relson Gracie JiuJitsu/Lone Star MMA Academy produced the first MMA Champ, and first Jiu-Jitsu Championship Team out of Tyler TX.
The first major BJJ Tournament was held in Tyler TX January 6th, 2011, it was the East Texas Gracie Regional Tournament. Many teams entered and Team Relson Gracie won 1st Place. The tournament was so well received that on January 7th, 2012 the Gracie Grappling Cup will be held in Tyler TX, with 8th Degree Red/Black belt Master Relson Gracie, and his son and international BJJ competitor Black Belt Instructor and Champion Rhalan Gracie are some of the notable Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Team Icons at the tournament.
The Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy of Tyler, TX kids, teens, adults, men and women have traveled all over Texas, and have won many medals in competition. More times than not, they usually come back with more hardware, than the amount of competitors they go with. Team Relson Gracie is the Tyler TX Champions.
Later the program moved on to its current location Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu/Lone Star MMA, and Martial Arts Academy, 3508-B Westway Street, Tyler TX. 75703. (9030-509-1MMA-1662, www.gracietyler.com, www.lonestarmmagym.com. When Drew and his wife Hong moved into the new academy he brought over the good folks from alocal judo program. Drew knew that Judo as well as wrestling would go hand in hand and compliment, supplement each other and work in grappling synergy. Drew brought in wrestling, and judo to help assist in the mma and jiujitsu program.
Some of the instructors who had been at the original academy moved on to start up other schools (not Relson Gracie Academies), or assist traditional martial arts schools. The seed was sewn, and the programs at the original and still only Relson Gracie Academy in East Texas grew, and it all came from Drew and Hongs love for martial arts, and the vision they had, which was along the pathway that Bruce Lee set out. That is to train in many different martial arts and use and absorb and keep what work for you, and to discard what is useless. In keeping with this practical philosophy the academy has taught many different courses in reality based self defense, combative sports, and traditional martial, arts.
The first classes taught in Tyler were Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, MMA, Thai Kick Boxing (Drew was a student underfamed Master of Thai Kick Boxing: Enn Fairtex). Currently some of the courses being taught are Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Japanese Judo, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), USA Wrestling, Muay Thai & American Style Kick Boxing, and Boxing, Russian Systema, Israeli Krav Maga, and Jeet Kune Do.