MEET THE TEAM
At Gracie San Marcos, our highly trained and skilled professionals are ready to get you started on your Martial Arts journey! We are all passionate about what we do and would love to help you reach your goals. Whether you’re looking to get into the best shape of your life, learn how to protect yourself or train for competition, we have what it takes to get you there!
Professor Nick Stefan
An Early Start
Nick’s first experience with martial arts was at the age of 10, when he started taking Tae Kwon Do. Nick then started training in Muay Thai and Kempo Karate at the age of 15. While studying boxing at El Camino College, Nick was introduced to Gracie Jiu Jitsu.
Shortly after falling in love with the Art, Nick signed up at Rickson Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy in West Los Angeles. At Rickson’s academy, Nick used to watch Royler Gracie get ready for his Pride FC fights.
Deeper Into the Art
Nick found the Machado brothers Jiu Jitsu academy in Redondo Beach, and after a few years decided to join and learn under the Machado brothers, who at the time had the number one competition team in the USA. The Machado brothers studied under the Gracies and came to the US with them.
In 2006 Nick was presented his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from Rigan Machado in the presence of John, Roger, Jean Jaques, and Carlos Machado.
Finding a New Family
Nick later re-met Master Royler Gracie and decided to compete and train directly under him and the Gracie Humaita Flag. Royler promoted Nick to his 4th Degree Black Belt. Nick takes pride in representing the Gracie Humaita family and strives to be the best instructor to every student who comes into the academy.
Coach Ian Cole
Coach Ian C. Began training in Shoriji-Ryu Karate and Japanese Jiu Jitsu in 1998. This included numerous competitions for regional organizations and the AAU as well as competitions in Japan. Throughout his Karate experience he was called upon to teach and developed a passion for instruction. His love of Brazilian Jiu jitsu was re-kindled when he began training under Professor Luis “Limao” Heredia on Maui, Hawaii. After being awarded his blue belt by Professor Luis he moved to San Diego and began training with Professor Nick. He’s been a regular fixture to the coaching team at Gracie Carlsbad for years and is excited to be working with the students at Gracie San Marcos.
Professor Dave Ruiz
Dave Ruiz holds the rank of 4th degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Rigan Machado. However Dave started his training at the Gracie Academy in Torrance, Ca under Royce Gracie. Dave trained with the source of Grand Master Helio Gracie. Helio visited and taught at the Academy most often as Dave got to benefit from his legendary teachings. Not just in the way jiu jitsu is applied but how its lived, breathed, and thought about on a daily basis. Dave and Nick met as they crossed the same path with the Machado Brother jiu Jitsu RCJ Machado. Dave competed through all the ranks doing very well in competition and most importantly Dave can teach the self defense the way Grand Master Helio passed down to his sons and Grandsons. Come take one of Dave’s classes and learn jiu jitsu the way it was supposed to be taught!
Coach Rio M.
Coach Rio M. began his martial arts journey in Kempo at age 4 and continued until he received his Black Belt in at age 16. Next he began training and competing in Limalama earning his 3rd degree black belt. In the early 2000s he began training in Boxing and Muay Thai and has recently added Brazilian Jiu JItsu to his martial arts training.