Testimonials

  • The best MMA/ Jiu-Jitsu gym in all of North County San Diego! I don't say that lightly. I've tried others and none compare to what Nick & Staci Stefan, along with their other instructors, have done for me. Their classes are intense, and fun, and the environment is that of a tight-knit family. Nick's passion for the arts truly comes out in his teachings of adult and kids classes alike. This gym is an absolute gem! Whether you're a veteran or a 'newbie' Gracie Carlsbad/ Faction MMA is the place to be!

    Marisa B.
  • I have been training for almost a month and I love this place. Andy is my Muay Thai trainer and he is fantastic, as are all the other instructors there. I'm still learning more than I thought possible and loving every minute of it. They take the time to show you the proper way to perform all the moves, and in a class setting still make sure they help each and every student to get it. You rarely see that kind of 1 on 1 interaction in a group setting, so I'm impressed every time I go. Everyone here is very professional, welcoming, friendly, are amazing instructors/trainers, and care about the people they train. It's a fantastic place for any and everybody (all ages, all skills levels) to learn Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai or MMA. It's also an amazing workout...better than any you can get in a gym or exercise class, and it's much more fun! ūüėČ

    Stacie G.
  • If your searching for legit training, this is it. I started with the legendary Rickson Gracie and stopped when he moved to Brazil. I started training again with another school locally but after much politics and procedures I was not satisfied so I stopped. When the itch to train returned, I researched and found this place. I immediately felt comfortable with the gym and never looked back. This is definitely a family oriented place, but don't let that fool you. During competition season it's on! That being said, the environment is very accommodating. No one is out to kill as in most mma places. 95% of the time it is Nick, the owner and black belt, who teaches and supervises the classes. Great for kids and adults to get their training in a nice clean setting with an ocean view.

    Rick H.
  • I'm now coming up on one year at Gracie Carlsbad and my previous review stands a great as ever. Professor Nick Steffen and Instructor Charlie Gardner are the best. Here you can learn "real" martial arts whether is Street or Competition Jiu Jitsu, there is no better place to learn than Gracie Carlsbad! they also offer Muay Thai and self defense. Before signing up with any other Jiu Jitsu Try Gracie Carlsbad!!!!!!!

    Drew C.
  • Simply the best place to train! People are very welcoming and willing to teach, close team environment, supportive, and excellent trainers/instructors! There's a lot of talent in this gym, guys who practiced many different forms of martial arts, coming together and sharing what they know. Can't beat this workout! Great way to keep in shape

    For U.
  • This gym has helped make life complete. An amazing group of instructors in BJJ and Muay Thai, there isn't a class I wouldn't go to. Even my son trains now that daddy has been going for some time. Professor Nick and Professor Charlie teach a solid foundation of the art of Jiu Jitsu and keep you challenged with the advanced techniques. Andy Scott is a genius at Muay Thai and is a patient and thoughtful coach. If you have been thinking of trying BJJ or Muay Thai check out this gym. And if you aren't close they opened up a new space in San Marcos as well.

    Travis S.
  • Ridiculously good!! Great instructors that care, wonderful kids program, and real good women's program!! What more could you ask for!!

    Julian S.
  • I recently started training Brazilian jiu-jitsu at the Gracie Carlsbad studio. ¬†I am 49 now and have been training in martial arts for over 30 years. ¬†I have blackbelts in Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido. ¬†I highly recommend this school, it is the "real deal". ¬†Nick Stefan is a great instructor., a 3rd degree black belt. ¬†He explains things well, egoless, often with humor, and he teaches almost all of the classes. ¬†This approach carries thru with the students, and they have all been very open, ¬†supportive and helpful to me in my training. ¬†If you are looking to train in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, this is simply one of the best schools.

    Benjamin C.
  • If your searching for legit training, this is it. I started with the legendary Rickson Gracie ¬†and stopped when he moved to Brazil. I started training again with another school locally but after much politics and procedures I was not satisfied so I stopped. When the itch to train returned, I researched and found this place. I immediately felt comfortable with the gym and never looked back. This is definitely a family oriented place, but don't let that fool you. During competition season it's on! That being said, the environment is very accommodating. No one is out to kill as in most mma places. 95% of the time it is Nick, the owner and black belt, who teaches and supervises the classes. Great for kids and adults to get their training in a nice clean setting with an ocean view.

    Rick H.
  • Stopped by this place to check it out with my son and husband and waited about 5 minutes at the front desk and no one on staff (who saw us) acknowledged us, gave us a wave to say 'wait a minute I am busy right now", or came over to talk to us. So left and won't be returning. ¬†Too bad since you have great reviews for what you teach!

    Stacey M.
  • My wife and I have trained with Staci and Nick for 8 years. My 2 year old will be training there in a year. We wouldn't go anywhere else. Great family environment with world class training and instruction.

    Zachary K.
  • I tried at least six other gyms before I found Gracie Carlsbad and knew this was the right place. Where I lived before my team was like my family, and we all took care of each other and trained hard on the mat, the cage, and in competition. My first day I was warmly welcomed by everyone there, and Nick Stefan has amazing technique that is not only easy to understand, but he is very patient and helpful to everyone to make sure you are doing it correctly and understand it. ¬†The other instructors like Charles, Staci, and Chong are all exceptional coaches and motivators. ¬†The team is awesome--good training partners and good people all around. ¬†There's no egos or pride here, just good solid technique and good people. ¬†They have a great schedule of classes--morning, afternoon, evening, muay thai, womens strength and conditioning, and more. ¬†Best place by far that I've found in every way and once you go there, you'll definitely want to sign up and come back. ¬†Plus they just opened up a new location in San Marcos and have GREAT signup deals right now.

    Emily F.
  • I took my daughter to 3 different schools before choosing Gracie Carlsbad. ¬†I can say with no hesitation that Nick and Charlie were head and shoulders above the other trainers. My 8 year old is becoming more and more confident and she's enjoying the exercise and the challenge. ¬†Incredibly happy to have chosen this school for her!

    Javier V.
  • We have been coming here for almost two years and can't imagine not being a part of this gym. ¬†Both my boys are enrolled in the Jiu Jitsu program and my 6 year old also practices kickboxing here as well. He absolutely loves both. ¬†Nick and Stacy Stefan and Charlie are all so incredible with the kids. ¬†They treat each child with individual attention and really make sure that everyone gets the training they need and are patient as well as push the kids to excel beyond their comfort zone. ¬†Nick and Charlie show a commitment to their students like you won't find anywhere else. ¬†Whether you want your child to learn strength and discipline, or to build their confidence, or to fight competitively , or all of the above! Nick Stefan and his team of instructors treat their students like family and all the families that are a part of this gym look out for each other and treat each other like family too. ¬†Couldn't be happier with our experience so far and plan on coming here for many years to come!

    Nicole M.
  • This place is awesome. The instructors are great. Everyone is very humble. ¬†I only wish I was able to go more often. I recommend this place to all my friends .

    alfredo s.
  • Had the opportunity to drive down (2-hours) for an Open Mat. So impressed! ¬†Was met by an owner immediately upon entering and shown about. VERY clean, large mat, MMA gear, foam rollers, kettles, changing room (with shower), large restroom, excellent staffing, and FRIENDLY folk of all ages. If you're in the area and looking for a place to learn in a great environment, this is the place. If you get a chance to check out an Open Mat, it's worth the travel.

    Probie-One Five
  • I walked into Gracie Humaita Carlsbad a little over a month ago and it was the smartest thing I did that month and hopefully one of the smartest life choices I have made as well. Nick is an awesome instructor and everyone there is always willing to help and give me pointers. All in all if 6 stars was available it would be getting that but til than 5 will do. Seriously, if you haven't done so, walk in and give it a try, you owe it to yourself.

    Nam D.
  • This is the place to train in this area. Nick is a cool dude and offers top notch BJJ instruction. You'll have a variety of training partners of all skill levels and they do a good job of instilling a sense of team and family in everything they do. They also have a killer little ninjas program for the kids. I highly recommend this place for all your Cbad/Oceanside/Encinitas BJJ/MMA needs. Visit their website for their schedule and I think they offer 30 days for free, so there's really no reason not to give it a shot if you're even a little bit interested in training.

    Zac B.
  • As student of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and submission grappling since 2003 I've had the opportunity to work with many great instructors. ¬†I've been with Nick Stefan since 2007 for the simple reason that he is the best instructor I've ever had. ¬† The one thing that sticks out in my mind is that Nick has the ability to teach the subtle nuances of BJJ technique that make a world of difference when executing a technique. ¬†It's these small but powerful details that determine success or failure of a technique when training live (sparing) and MOST IMPORTANTLY IN ANY REAL WORLD SELF-DEFENSE SITUATION. Another HUGE plus is Gracie Carlsbad is a Gracie Humait√° affiliate school which of course was founded by Grandmaster Helio Gracie and son Royler Gracie. ¬†So it would be an understatement to say that this school is well respected in the Jiu-Jitsu community. ¬†I mean this is where it all started right? Bottom line... if you're looking for Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, submission grappling, MMA, Muay Thai kick boxing, kids classes, women's classes, self-defense, or just want to get fit and have fun GRACIE CARLSBAD IS THE PLACE!

    Jeff K.
  • I came in from Out of town to visit my Mom. ¬†I traind before at Gracie Del Mar and had an awesome experience so I wanted to check out the gym in Carlsbad. ¬†When I arrived, Nick (the head BJJ coach) was outside playing with his kids. ¬†He greeted me and welcomed me to his gym. The class: The warm up before class was about 15 minutes long and was an enjoyable challenge. ¬†For the next 30 minutes we drilled technique. ¬†As other reviewers have me tied, Nick has a great eye for details and is able to verbalize them in a way that anyone can understandl. ¬†We then did 15 minutes of positional sparring, and then 30 minutes of live sparring. The people: to me this gym had the perfect balance of a laid back environment where people could laugh and crack jokes while staying focused on learning. ¬†All of the students were friendly and seemed very happy to be there. ¬†Sparring was great because no one tried to smash me or prove that they were better than me. ¬†Rolling at this gym really did seem to be about learning and improving your game instead of proving yourself. ¬†The students were skilled and I had the pleasure of rolling with Nick who kicked my @$$ in the nicest way possible. ¬†The sparring was safe and conducive to learning and expanding ones game. Overall: this is an awesome gym. ¬†I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to have a good time while receiving top shelf instruction. Oss.

    Luca R.
  • Nick runs a first-rate gym with quality instructions and students. You wouldn't think the composition of students would matter, but it does. With the rising popularity of MMA, you can find a lot of ego and posers at gyms. Instructors are either too lazy or too greedy to sort out the riff raff with people who want to learn something new and stay in shape. With Nick, that isn't a problem at all. He is a teacher with an eye for detail and has built a community at the gym that compose of high character individuals with a desire to train. By having good people, Nick has built up a gym that has a healthy competitive and learning atmosphere. Andy the Muay Thai instructor, like Nick, cares about the classes he teaches. He knows the students and, based on the level of experience, knows how to adjust his class based on who is there. I was brand new to the two disciplines (muay thai and BJJ) and I am always learning. The two of them are always teaching and trying to add something new even with beginners. Other gyms treat beginners like sparring fodder or feed them a repetitive and lazy training cycle that stagnates. If you're in the area and want a gym with a solid community and instruction, Gracie Jiu Jitsu is it.

    Jonathan C.
  • The best MMA/ Jiu-Jitsu gym in all of North County San Diego! I don't say that lightly. I've tried others and none compare to what Nick & Staci Stefan, along with their other instructors, have done for me. Their classes are intense, and fun, and the environment is that of a tight-knit family. Nick's passion for the arts truly comes out in his teachings of adult and kids classes alike. This gym is an absolute gem! Whether you're a veteran or a 'newbie' Gracie Carlsbad/ Faction MMA is the place to be!

    Marisa B.
  • Absolutely love training here. Simply cannot beat the atmosphere and the coaching. Professor Nick and Charlie 1st class all the way. Lots of great people to train with. Fun and friendly environment to learn jiu jitsu.

    Josh Stokes
  • Gracie San marcos and Carlsbad are amazing. Great instructors and a family environment. All levels are supported. Great place for the kids as well

    Travis Sevilla
  • I am new to Jiu jitsu and in my 40's. Professor Nick and is team have made me feel really comfortable and welcome. Even the students participating made me feel as if we have known each other for a long time. I know because of this, Jiu jitsu is something that is going to be apart of my life forever. Thank you Gracie San Marcos. Till we role again.

    Glen N Denie Vivas