A brief walk down Jiu Jitsu memory lane...


Here is a brief walk down my Jiu Jitsu memory lane:

• September 1988 - I was first told about "These amazing Brazilians who could take you to the ground and choke you out, no matter what you did." At the time, I found the statement "curious", but I wasn't interested in learning any of that ground stuff - cuz I hated the ground! I loved close quarter work with a blade.


• January 1991 - After three years of "coaching" from fellow students and instructors, I finally started training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu because it was recommended to me by my instructors. I hated the ground, but yet I followed the guidance of my Jeet Kune Do and Filipino Martial Arts instructors. Professor Royler Gracie was my first instructor. I had a lot of fun training with him!


• April 1991 - I was promoted to blue belt by Professor Royler Gracie.


• April 1994 - I was promoted to purple belt by Professor Moreira.


• August 1996 - I was promoted to brown belt by Professor Moreira.


• January 1998 - I was promoted to 1st degree black belt by Professor Joe Moreira.


• February 1998 - I began teaching seminars internationally, thanks to the help of Jeet Kune Do Exponent Sifu Paul Vunak. My first series of seminars were in Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Poland.


• July 1998 - I had my epic Jiu Jitsu match with Professor Jean Jacques Machado. I was a six month old black belt at the time. Even though I lost by points, there were some very interesting moments in that match. Plus, the comments made afterwards by Professor MoreiraProfessor Rigan Machado and Mr. Howard Liu (HCK) were enlightening and memorable!


• August 1998 - I became the first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt to distribute instructional videos "online."


• 2001 - I was promoted to 2nd degree black belt by Professor Joe Moreira.



• 2004 - I was promoted to 3rd degree black belt by Professor Joe Moreira.

• 2004 - I promoted my first student, Mr. Matt Stansell, to black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

• 2007 - I was promoted to 4th degree black belt by Professor Joe Moreira. The ceremony did not take place until 2008.

• December 2011 - As of this date, I had promoted 20 of my students (14 out of the 20 were long distance students) to black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

• December 2012 - As of this date, I have taught a total of 428 seminars in 25 countries around the world. Whew…..I've been a busy boy !!!

• December 9, 2012 - As of this date, I will have been promoted to 5th degree black belt by Professor Moreira. Many of my friends, students and instructors will be on hand to pay tribute. Brazilian TV and Black Belt magazine will be covering the event. Plus, I will get the chance to watch Grandmaster Carley Gracie receive his promotion to 9th degree black belt! It is going to be a memorable day !!

Thank you for allowing me to share this with you!

Roy Harris


Good post Roy!

Congratulations Roy!


Its great to see someone's journey through martial arts over the years especially when I have enjoyed my own two years in BJJ and MMA so much. Phone Post

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Nice! I am adding you to my list of guys not to fuck with. Your even going to get an asteriks beside your name :-P


• July 1998 - I had my epic Jiu Jitsu match with Professor Jean Jacques Machado. I was a six month old black belt at the time. Even though I lost by points, there were some very interesting moments in that match. Plus, the comments made afterwards by Professor Moreira, Professor Rigan Machado and Mr. Howard Liu (HCK) were enlightening and memorable!

I would love to hear more details about this match...
I started around 97 and remember hearing about it and being amazed that someone not only lasted the distance with JJM but nearly arm locked him...

Huge congrats on the promotion.

Warmest congratulations and respect.

Thank you!

Roy Harris, i haven't seen you post here in a longgggg time. Glad to see you back. I have to tell you I think you are a really good instructor and wish i can attend a seminar or even class with you. Your instructions on your DVD is TOP notch!!

Congrats! Phone Post

Congratulations man!
Great story, you never liked the ground and now your a master of it! Phone Post

that was an interesting time

great post!
thanks for sharing it!!!!!

Awesome to see a legend post here again. Phone Post

TTT Phone Post

Possible fake black... NO JUST KIDDING!!!

Thank you for all of your kind words!

It has been quite the journey :-)



Somone recently asked me what insights have I learned along this journey. Here was my response:


Here are a few of my thoughts / insights:

#1 - Jiu Jitsu is a sport and a hobby. It is supposed to be fun - even when things don't go your way. Unfortunately, too many students lose sight of this fact. What's even worse is that too many instructors lose sight of this fact. 

Yes, it is important to learn, grow and progress. However, once the tap becomes the most important thing on your mind, Jiu Jitsu is no longer a hobby and can quickly turn into a self-centered pursuit - where the practitioner no longer cares about the community that surrounds them or the instructors that helped them obtain the skill sets they currently own. So, keep it real but keep it fun!

#2 - Focus on your basics! Try not to become enamored with the Rubber guard or the Tornado guard or the Godzilla guard or the Watermelon guard or flying omo plata as a white belt. These methods - while good in certain instances - are not designed for longevity. Whereas your basics are! Besides, everybody returns to their basics - EVERYBODY!

#3 - While you develop your skill sets in Jiu Jitsu, develop your friendships as well. Why? Because some of these friendships will outlast your skill sets in Jiu Jitsu. Yes, yes. I know some of you THINK you will be doing Jiu Jitsu for the rest of your days, but trust me when I say this: 

Life has many changes in store for you. AND, your current feelings are no indicator of how things are going to turn out in your life! 

So, work on those friendships - because some of them will take you farther than your Jiu Jitsu!

#4 - Learn to set limits, as well as say "No" at times. Here are a few examples:

A. When that new wrestler asks to spar with you - the one who hurts everyone because he doesn't have as much control over his body as he thinks he does - politely tell him, "No thanks."

B. When you have an important presentation at work tomorrow, don't try out the new MMA class and take the chance on getting hurt - or worse, getting a black eye. Wait awhile before trying out the new class. Put what pays the bills ahead of what sounds fun!

C. It's Thursdsay evening. Tomorrow night, you and your girl are going out on a special date. Don't take a chance with sparring. Learn the techniques your instructor taught and then politely remove yourself from class. Don't take the chance of getting hurt - or getting one of those VISUAL injuries (one that she will have to look at all night. or worse, one that she might have to explain to friends or family members).

I hope these four insights will help many of you enjoy more of your time with Jiu Jitsu!


Roy Harris