Carlson Gracie London was founded by Wilson Junior and Luca Menagacci. The Carlson Gracie method of Jiu-Jitsu eventually landed on English soil in 2000 when Luca Menagacci returned from training at the Carlson Gracie school in Rio De Janeiro. Luca was struck by the warm, supportive atmosphere at the classes in Rio and the passion with which the students trained. Like so many other of the U.K’s top BJJ and MMA fighters Luca and Wilson Junior met while training at the ‘The Budokwai’ in Chelsea, London. Wilson who grew up in Rio had gone travelling and ended up in London where he wanted to carry on his training in Brasilian Jiu Jitsu. Wilson had trained and competed in BJJ and wrestling with the Carlson Gracie Team in Rio De Janeiro Brazil since he was a young boy.
Upon Luca’s return to the U.K. from Brasil he saw a familair Kimono (Gi) at ‘The Budokwai’ and recognised it as one he had seen while he was training at Carlson Gracie Rio. The wearer of that Gi was Wilson Junior who had borrowed the Kimono from his cousin, who had looked after Luca at the club in Rio. Luca approached Wilson asking him about the familiar Kimono and they immediately struck up a friendship, one year later Carlson Gracie London was born. At the Carlson Gracie Academy in Rio, training would start at 6.30am and continue onwards with various classes until 8.30pm. Some of the students would train in each and every class, such was the drive and commitment. The training and camaraderie had such an impact on Luca he felt he had to embrace this hardcore work ethic; “I couldn’t forget the training in Rio and felt I had to do something in London to keep the tradition alive”. It was with Carlson’s hard training ethos that Wilson and Luca started Carlson Gracie London. They wanted to bring the hardcore style of training that Carlson taught in Rio to London. Rather than water the art down for the English, as some instructors were doing as they taught Brasilian Jiu Jitsu outside of Brasil, they both strived to keep the training exactly the same as the training at Carlsons Academy in Rio that has taught so many world BJJ champions and MMA fighters how to win.
The first Carlson London academy finally opened in January 2002 in The Albany Hotel in Earls Court London. Wilson’s instructor, Carlson Gracie Black Belt Nelson Solari arrived in the U.K to instruct alongside Wilson and help run the team. The Dojo was in the basement of the Hotel in a disused Nightclub that was painted and matted. Many up and coming fighters trained there when word got around about the tough sparring and superb teaching skills of Nelson and Wilson. The founding members of The Carlson Gracie London Team were Walid Tadjouri, Rob Lawlor, Alain Pozo, Simon Hayes, Dickie Martin and Dennis Kelly. Some time later in 2003 the dojo moved to another location in Torquay Street for several years then on to Hammersmith. The team is now located at 89 Richford Street. London, W6 7HJ. The team still train there seven days a week and pride themselves on the fact the Dojo is open fulltime for practice and sparring for monthly members.
The team have welcomed many Blackbelts to the dojo to stay and train with them, teach classes and give seminars. Most notable visitors include Amaury Bittetti, Rodrigo Medeiros, Ricardo De da Riva and Carlson Gracie Junior who all fought for the famous Carlson Gracie Arrebentacao Team alongside such greats as Murillo Bustamante, Andre Pederneiras, Vitor Belfort, Mario Sperry, Whalid Ismail, Carlao Barretto, Paul Dantas and Ricardo Liberio. The Carlson Gracie London Team have proved themselves to be extremely tough competitors in the European BJJ scene most notably with these prestigous results among the many Gold Medals their fighters have won in competiton-Gracie European Invitational Seni 2004 – The Team Sent a 5 man squad who won 5 Gold Medals. Winners of The 1st London Open BJJ Competition. Winners of Numerous European Championship Gold Medals at all belts including Black Belt and second placed team at the IBJJF Europeans in 2011. Dickie Martin, one of Wilson’s first black belts held British, European and World BJJ titles simultaneously at Black belt, further confirming the club’s status as one of the top BJJ academies in Europe. Carlson Gracie Team have also been national team champions in 2009, 2010 and 2011 at the English Open BJJ Championships, Southern England’s largest competition.
In addition to successes in the BJJ arena the MMA Team originally led by Dennis Kelly and now Ryan Robinson have proved again and again that the Carlson Gracie Style is a formidable skill to take into the cage. Dennis Kelly’s performances quickly established him as a first round submission specialist in MMA /Vale Tudo while Ryan Robinson was one of the the Heavyweight title holders for Cage Rage.
Carlson Gracie London Team train with Master Carlson Gracies teachings in mind. The Instructors and Team teach and understand the importance of the Carlson style and how it differs from other forms of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Carlson’s style is all about fighting for a dominant position, a position that in a real street fight or MMA match will keep you out of harms way. Fight from the top and finish the fight with a submission. It is with this ethos that the Carlson Gracie London Team fight in BJJ and MMA competitons.
In 2007 Carlson Gracie London proudly joined Rodrigo Medeiros and Julio ‘Foca’ Fernadez’s BJJ Revolution Team and became part of their worldwide network of Carlson Gracie clubs. Rodrigo travels to the UK to conduct seminars as one of Carlson’s highest ranking Instructors. In later years the London Team has grown, with new affiliate academies joining the Carlson Gracie Revolution Team, first in Tonbridge Kent in 2006 and then Camberley Surrey and Suffolk,with Head Instructor Wilson Junior travelling to each academy on a weekly basis. One of Carlson Gracie London’s founding members, Walid Tadjouri has also created his own ‘Carlson Gracie Mataleao’ schools in Luton and Stratford, East London, as well as continuing to teach and train at the London club. In 2008 we were honoured that U.K. BJJ Black Belt Steve Haydock joined Carlson Gracie Revolution Team with his highly successful A.F.S. team based in Caterham Surrey. Steve’s lineage is Carlson Gracie through Professor Roberto Atalla and Professor Sergio ‘Bolau’ Souza and so the Carlson ethos and tradition was already alive and well at his club. In November 2008 a historic event took place when Carlson Gracie Revolution Team organised ‘THE KENT BJJ OPEN’ which was the first U.K BJJ competition to feature a repecharge system allowing all fighters to gain valuable experience with more than one fight,even if they lost their opening round. This is a system used in International Judo and continues the ethos of giving students the best training available. With more than 100 CARLSON GRACIE WARRIORS fighting in the 450 fighter competition,Carlson Gracie Team demolished the competition,and it was an appropriate time to say “THE CARLSON GRACIE REVOLUTION HAS BEGUN…………………. “
Since 2008 the club has gone from strength to strength with team victory at the English Open BJJ Championships in 2009, 2010 and 2011
As well as these overall Team victories there are notable individual Championship wins at all levels. British, European and World championships at black belt as well as numerous British and European Champions at all belt levels. The club now has around 50 classes per week with classes for everyone from complete beginners to professional athletes.