Royce Gracie is the sixth son of Grand Master Helio Gracie. He received his blue belt at age 16 and was promoted to black belt in less than two years. Royce moved to the United States at age 18 to live with his brother, Rorion, and quickly adapted to the schedule of teaching private classes out of their garage, sometimes for more than ten hours a day. In 1989, Rorion, Royce, Rickson, and Royler established the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Torrance, California.
In 1993, Royce was chosen to represent the family. At 6’1” and only 178 lbs., he was the smallest fighter in the tournament. However, Royce shocked the world by defeating three opponents in the same night to become the first ever UFC champion. His victory proved, once and for all, that leverage and technique can overcome size and strength.
Always outweighed by his opponents, Royce went on to win three UFC titles. Until today, he is the only man in the no-holds-barred fighting world to have successfully defeated four opponents in one night.
His largest opponent to date was Sumo Grand Champion Akebono at 6'8" tall and weighing 486lbs. In the main event of the K-1 Premium Dynamite New Years Eve show on December 31, 2008, Royce defeated the giant in 2 minutes and 13 seconds with a shoulder lock. Royce's success opened the eyes of the few remaining disbelievers to the effectiveness of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu against larger opponents. In November 2003, Royce Gracie was the first fighter to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame along with fellow UFC veteran Ken Shamrock.
Royce is Jared's mentor and instructs annually at the academy. His presence inspires and we are blessed to be learning directly from the source.
Founder/CEO of iQ
Jared began his dedication to the martial arts in April of 1995. Since 1996, he has traveled and studied extensively with the Gracies. In 1996, Jessup attended a Royce Gracie seminar and was blown away with what he learned. In 1997, he spent a week with Helio, Roroin and Royce Gracie in the Poconos mountains of Pennsylvania. In 1998 & 1999 he spent a month out of each year living and training in California at the Gracie Academy. While there he attended all possible classes and made the most he could out of the gratifying experience.
Throughout the years Jessup has had the honor of training with grand master Helio Gracie on numerous occasions as well as receiving his honorary private instruction. Jessup is blessed with having Royce Gracie as his professor and friend since 1996, a rare privilege and honor. He has also had the benefit of training with many of the greats such as Rickson, Reylson, Rorion, Royler, Ryron, Rener, Ralek, and Rodrigo Gracie; Pedro Sauer; Pedro Valente senior, Pedro and Gui Valente; Carlos “Caique” Elias; Carlson Gracie Jr.; Carlos Machado; Matt Hughes; Mike Pyle; Greg Thompson (H2H); Dan Inosanto and many more. Jessup is continuously learning and searching for new growth opportunities. His classes focus on street self defense with references to sport and MMA.
Jiu-jitsu is far more than knowledge of techniques. It is a process, a focusing of all of our faculties with the purpose of bringing them harmoniously together. It’s in finding this balanced state that mastery of the art is achieved. By finding the principles of human movement and learning to cooperate with them, the struggle of a fresh Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, given time, consistency and dedication, will blossom into the art of a seasoned disciple of Jiu-Jitsu.
For this reason, a practitioner may study thousands of techniques and only scratch the surface of Jiu-Jitsu. Rather than training in numerous varieties of complex techniques, my class goal is to discover the underlying principles which govern all Jiu-Jitsu techniques and theories. This is accomplished by unpacking techniques in a manner which gives the practitioner the fundamental building blocks of the art. The idea is to first understand simple things deeply. When these essential principals are properly understood, it becomes relatively easy to pick up any technique and even create your own.
This necessary understanding of the principles is what allows the Jiu-Jitsu to creatively flow out of the practitioner. A flower cannot be forced to unfold, but when placed in fertile ground will blossom of its own accord. Likewise, rather than force a technique to fit into a ridged frame work of steps, we cultivate it to achieve the essence from which each technique is derived. This by nature produces a well rounded practitioner that is rooted with a practical and solid foundation. As the principles of the art unfold there is often a shift in how the practitioner perceives and relates to life situations. Through teaching Jared strives to equip his students with an understanding that when applied properly produces sound Jiu-Jitsu, and on a deeper level sound living. All lasting growth must come from a good base and solid foundation.
University of Kentucky Bachelor of Arts, Psychology
Royce Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Professor - Black Belt
G.R.A.C.I.E. Certified Law Enforcement Instructor since 2007
Gracie Survival Tactics Certified Law Enforcement Instructor in 2014
Two Time Gracie National Jiu-Jitsu Champion
Black Belt (Shodan) in classical ju-jitsu
Founder of IQ Jiu-Jitsu
ACE Certified Personal Trainer 2006
IKFF Certified Kettlebell Teacher
Served on the Black Belt Council for Black Belt promotion at Royce Gracie Valente Brothers Network in 2015
EJ’s earlier years were a battle. Subject to various forms of physical and emotional bullying throughout his childhood, he struggled with self esteem and confidence.
When he was 11 years old, he watched UFC 1, and witnessed Royce Gracie defeat the larger, very athletic Ken Shamrock. Inspired by this event, EJ started wrestling with friends, boxing with his father, and imitating Jiu-Jitsu on his coffee table. At 18 years old, he began training MMA near his home in West Frankfort, taking amateur fights every chance he could.
After changing gyms several times, EJ found iQ Jiu-Jitsu. He was so impressed by Jessup’s quality of instruction and execution of technique that he signed up and began attending classes daily.
After earning his blue belt in 2013, he dedicated himself to the Instructor Program, and now teaches full-time.
“I feel like all the moments in my earlier life - the bullying, the boxing and wrestling, schooling, MMA fights - were all drawing me to iQ. I have learned more life lessons from Jared than I have in all my years of school and college. Jiu-Jitsu has given me a purpose, a reason to improve myself.
I truly believe that we can create a better world through the next generation, and Jiu-Jitsu is my contribution to the future. I teach so that no child need feel powerless or alone. I have dedicated my life to the enhancement of each and every student I have the privilege of instructing.”
When he is not teaching, EJ enjoys films and computer programming. He also dedicates much of his time to self study, particularly psychology and philosophy, and maintains a rigorous exercise regimen five days a week.
4-1-1 MMA Record
Spencer began training at the age of 12, and quickly distinguished himself through consistency and diligence. "At the time," he says, "I had no idea that I would one day be teaching the classes I enjoyed so much."
Jiu-jitsu has influenced Spencer's life in an enormous way. Formerly seeking a living in the music industry, he now aspires for a future in instructing. The longer he trained, the more he realized the meaningful impact iQ and Gracie Jiu-jitsu were having on him. "It was much more than just self defense - it became a lifestyle. It has changed my perspective on many aspects of life, from my personal relationships to how I handle day to day situations."
Outside of iQ, Spencer is a gifted musician and enjoys playing the guitar and trumpet.
His help and dedication at the academy is much appreciated.
Bob has been a dedicated student and helping hand around the academy since it began. Whether helping with the kids classes, schooling the adults, or cleaning up around the academy, the man is hard-bodied and soft hearted. He is humble, consistent, compassionate, loved and respected by everyone. The academy would not be what it is without Bob's aid. He has a heart for the art and embodies the modern day samurai.
CFO of iQ
Misty Cat is the magic in the machine. She keeps track of the unseen so each client has a smooth, simple, and pleasant iQ experience. As an organizational guru, she leads company meetings, plans and schedules seminars and public events, keeps up with stock inventory and purchase orders as well as payment processing and class tracking. Misty is diligent whether composing one of hundreds of emails or orchestrating the iQ Newsletters. Her attention to detail does not go unnoticed. She is outstanding at generating creative systems and auditing processes that keep the academy running smoothly. Public relations and an eye for advertising are her talents. But overall, Misty is thoughtful as she continues to take good care of us all…and Jared loves her.
To best serve our community, we are dedicated to setting the standard for teaching excellence.
Every instructor is a diligent student of the Art, constantly continuing their own education. Each of our trainers undergo a thorough and enriching Instructor Program designed to teach the science of teaching.
Through hours of mentored observation, note-taking, and hands-on experience, prospective instructors hone their skills under the watchful tutelage of experienced teachers. This Program is a set of techniques, methods and principles that equip a trainer to draw out a student's maximum potential.
Each level within the Program denotes hundreds of hours of work, and significant responsibility.
Through this rigorous and rewarding journey, every candidate contributes uniquely to the Academy and the Art
Minimum of 250 hours dedicated to becoming a better teacher
Minimum of 600 hours dedicated to becoming a better teacher
Minimum of 1,425 hours dedicated to becoming a better teacher.
Minimum of 2,500 hours dedicated to becoming a better teacher
Minimum of 4,500 hours dedicated to becoming a better teacher
Minimum of 10,000 hours dedicated to becoming a better teacher
NOTE: The completion of Instructor Program Requirements does not guarantee certification.
Certification will be awarded when deemed appropriate by the Instructor Counsel.