Professor John Sylvester – First Degree Black Belt
John Sylvester started his training back in 1995, at that time Jiu Jitsu was still in its infancy in the Northwest. He received his blue belt from Bob Bass (Machado Black Belt) in 1997. A year later he began to train with Lotus Club black belts, Juliano Prado, Giva Santana and then a Cia Paulista brown belt, Alex Candido Puertas. He also trained with Ralph Gracie Brown Belt, Sergio Silva, during his time in the Northwest. He enjoyed some early successes competing locally, In Vancouver B.C., and Oregon, but also began to realize the benefits that Jiu Jitsu carries off the mat. Marcio “Mamazinho” Laudier Vilamor moved to Seattle and became his professor and friend. His introduction to Gracie Barra was life changing. “I already made many life long friends through Jiu Jitsu, but it was at this time where I realized that we were a family. We were the people that stuck around through the fragments of three different disbanded schools, and that bonded together to be the foundation of what is Gracie Barra Washington”. He received his purple and brown belts from Mamazinho, under the close instruction of Micah Reyes and Rodrigo Lopes, and in 2009 a black belt was tied around his waist by Professor Marcio Feitosa. “Mamazinho went back to Brazil, but Micah and Rodrigo (two of my oldest friends in Jiu Jitsu) brought the head of Gracie Barra America up to promote us, a gift so great I can’t relate in words what it means to me”. John’s teachings focus on the importance of fundamental technique, conditioning, repetition in drilling, and will often correlate the benefits of Jiu Jitsu to “real life”.
Professor Griff Sombke – Black Belt
Griff Sombke has been training BJJ under the Gracie Barra banner since 2005. He was immediately hooked, and has trained constantly since then. He has competed successfully at the Pan Ams, Copa Northwest, The Northwest Championships, The Houston Open, The BC Provincial Championships, The UGF Washington State Championships, GSubX, and most recently the 2012 IBJJF No-Gi Worlds in Long Beach, where he won his division. He is also a skilled referee, and has worked at almost every tournament in the Seattle area, including The Revolution, the ADCC trials, the Subleague, the Seattle Open, the Emerald City Kids Grappling Championships, and the Winter Cup. Since he began his training, it has always been a dream of his to run an academy and show people the benefits of Jiu-Jitsu, both on and off the mat. He recently received his Black Belt from Professor Rodrigo Lopes
Coach Vern Beach
Bio coming soon!