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By Vellore Caballero
Getting Back to Our Gracie Roots
I believe that there is a substantial value in taking the kids on trips for competitions and training, and I also believe that taking a trip to the home school is super important. It is always good to know your roots. On our most recent trip we were able to check off both of these boxes by traveling to Renzo Gracie Academy in Manhattan. Our goal was to see the home academy and meet some of the black belts that came up through the ranks with our head instructor, Professor Amal Easton. We were also excited to learn some ninja skills from one of the best instructors in the game right now, Professor John Danaher.
Centennial Kids in the Big Apple
On the trip with me were three of our competitive teenagers: Cameron Mellott, Avery Harter, and Maddi Klayer. We were missing a couple of the other teens that usually make it out with us, but we soldiered on without them. The three of us stayed in an AirBNB near Central Park, and we rode the subway and public transit pretty much everywhere. Being in the city and having to use the public transit was quite the experience for these kids from Highlands Ranch. They really loved the change of pace and seeing all of the different people in New York.
Training Amidst Greatness
The training in the basement was everything we expected…John Danaher teaching flawless technique, and talented training partners all over the place. The academy was technically closed as it was the week after Christmas, but Professor Danaher taught every day at noon for his students who remained in town. The dedicated competitors that train under Danaher, affectionately known as the Danaher Death Squad, were all in attendance daily. Guys like Jake Shields, Garry Tonon, Nicky Ryan, and Gordon Ryan. I was even able to roll back-to-back with several of them on our last day.
All in all, the trip was a huge success. The kids can’t wait to go back again, and they all made friends and fans of everyone they came across. They got to see many of the tourist sites in the city, even if only for a few minutes due to it being so cold. Even with the below-freezing temperatures, it was one of our favorite trips, and one we won’t soon forget!
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