Our Instructors

Each certified instructor is an extension of the Gracie Family and a representative of Gracie University. Certified instructors have all been law enforcement background checked. All Instructors must personify discipline, integrity, and honor. They must be healthy in mind and body, and, most importantly, they must have a passion for empowering others. WARNING: Not all Jiu-Jitsu is the same. If you are looking for authentic Gracie Jiu-Jitsu you have come to the right place. Professor Tony Debelak has learned to perform the techniques of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu against uncooperative, fully resisting opponents and proven it multiple times.
Tony Debelak
Professor, GJJ Black Belt – Head Instructor Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Aurora
Professor Tony Debelak

Prof. Tony’s Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Story

Tony began his journey in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in November 1993 after watching Royce Gracie in UFC 1 defeat all opponents in various fighting disciplines using only Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Witnessing the results, Tony began training with his dad and fellow wrestlers in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. When he was not in wrestling season during high school and college, he was learning Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.

After college he entered the US Army. Tony was eager to learn Army Combatives since it was derived from Gracie Jiu-Jitsu with a collaboration of the Gracie Academy and the US Army Rangers. As an enlisted Infantryman Tony learned Army Combatives and later showed his newly acquired skills while at Officer Candidate School during unit competition. After becoming a Commissioned Officer 2003, he continued pursuing the knowledge and became a US Army Combatives Instructor while stationed at FT Benning, GA. During his time in the US Army he pursued competing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).

During his time coming up through the ranks Tony had the opportunity to train directly with members of the Gracie family such as Rorion, Royce, Ralek and Rylan Gracie. After his military career he continued his study of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and took many trips to the Gracie Academy Headquarters in Torrance, California and eventually became a certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Instructor. Tony is now a Black Belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu under Master Ryron Gracie, and Master Rener Gracie, the grandsons of the Grandmaster and creator of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu – Helio Gracie.

He received his Black Belt December 2018. Tony completed the Gracie Academy Instructor Certification Program (ICP) 2014, Gracie Women Empowered ICP 2015, Gracie Survival Tactics (GST) Level I 2015 for military and law enforcement, GST Level II 2017, (Recertification GST I & II 2021) for military and law enforcement, Women Empowered Pink Belt, BBS 1 – 4 , PBS 1 Qualified.

Tony holds a Bachelor of Science from Adams State University (class of 2001), Masters Certicate from New Mexico State University (2008) and a Master of Science from American Military University (class of 2010). Additionally, Tony earned a Black Belt in ITF Tae Kwon Do in 2011.

He is first and foremost dedicated to teaching GJJ as a complete self-defense system. Tony has competed in many sport BJJ tournaments under many organizations and has competed professionally under Metamoris and Fight 2 Win Pro. Here are some of Tony’s highest sport accomplishments in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Lineage:

Helio Gracie : Rorion Gracie : Ryron and Rener Gracie : Tony Debelak

Sport Achievements:

2021 SJJIF World Championship NOGI Black Belt Heavy Silver Medalist

2019 SJJIF World Championship NOGI Black Belt Super Heavy Bronze Medalist

2018 Gracie Worlds Submission Only NOGI Silver Medalist

2018 NAGA Denver NOGI Silver Medalist

2017 IBJJF World Championship NOGI Silver Medalist

2017 Grappling Industries Denver NOGI Silver Medalist

2017 Grappling Industries Denver GI Silver Medalist

2016 SJJIF World Championship NOGI Gold Medalist

2016 SJJIF World Championship GI Gold Medalist

2016 Fight 2 Win Colorado State Championship NOGI Bronze Medalist

2015 Fight 2 Win Colorado State Championship NOGI Gold Medalist

2015 Fight 2 Win Colorado State Championship GI Bronze Medalist

2014 IBJJF World Championship NOGI Bronze Medalist

2014 Fight 2 Win Colorado State Championship NOGI Silver Medalist

2014 Fight 2 Win Colorado State Championship GI Silver Medalist

2013 Fight 2 Win Colorado State Championship NOGI Bronze Medalist

2012 IBJJF World Championship NOGI Bronze Medalist

2012 United Grappling Federation NM State Championship GI Gold Medalist

2012 United Grappling Federation NM State Championship NOGI Gold Medalist

2012 United Grappling Federation NM State Championship NOGI Absolute Silver Medalist

2011 Fight 2 Win Colorado State Championship NOGI Bronze Medalist

Photos of Prof. Tony Debelak:

Ethan Debelak

GJJ Purple Belt (PBS2) – Assistant Kids Instructor Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Aurora

Coach Ethan Debelak
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Coach Ethan Debelak
Coach Ethan’s Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Story
Ethan has been doing Gracie Jiu-Jitsu since he was born. He excelled through the children’s program learning the Gracie games in the Gracie Bully Proof program and the Junior Combatives program. By the time Ethan turned 14 he achieved his Green Belt and passed the Adult Gracie Combatives test. He has been working his way through all the Gracie University stripe courses as they have been released with his father, Head Instructor Tony Debelak.

He enjoys teaching, coaching and training Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and has made it a way of life. Ethan is first and foremost dedicated to teaching GJJ as a complete self-defense system. Ethan has competed in many sport BJJ tournaments under many organizations.

Ethan is a Purple Belt Stripe 2 in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu under Professor Tony Debelak, Master Ryron Gracie, and Master Rener Gracie, the grandsons of the Grandmaster and creator of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu – Helio Gracie. Women Empowered Pink Belt, BBS 1 – 4 Qualified.

Lineage:

Helio Gracie : Rorion Gracie : Ryron and Rener Gracie : Tony Debelak : Ethan Debelak

Sport Achievements:

2019 SJJIF World Championship NOGI Blue Belt Juvenile Medium Bronze Medalist

2019 Fight 2 Win Tournament of Champions 22 GI Teen Green Belt Gold Medalist

2018 Fight 2 Win Colorado State Championship NOGI Silver Medalist Men’s Blue Belt 18-30 years old at 15 years old

2018 Fight 2 Win Colorado State Championship GI Silver Medalist Men’s Blue Belt 18-30 years old at 15 years old

2016 SJJIF World Championship GI Silver Medalist

2016 SJJIF World Championship NOGI Bronze Medalist

2016 Fight 2 Win Colorado State Championship NOGI Gold Medalist

2015 Fight 2 Win Colorado State Championship NOGI Gold Medalist

2012 United Grappling Federation NM State Championship NOGI Gold Medalist

2012 United Grappling Federation NM State Championship GI Gold Medalist

Photos of Coach Ethan:

Catherine Swelha

GJJ Blue Belt – Women Empowered Instructor Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Aurora

Coach Catherine Swehla
catherine gracie aurora women empowered
Coach Catherine’s Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Story

Catherine is one of our WE instructors. She works alongside Professor Tony, Coach Tonya, and Coach Lucy to empower women and help ladies achieve mastery of the Gracie Jiu Jitsu principles of self-defense. While Women Empowered is her main focus, she enjoys continuing her pursuit of Jiu Jitsu by training in the Master Cycle.

Catherine began her Jiu Jitsu journey as a WE student in 2019. She was looking for a comprehensive self-defense class for women for herself and her teen daughters, and quickly became intrigued by this martial art. In Catherine’s words, “I joined to learn self-defense and then stayed because of the safe and friendly environment.” She then joined the Combatives class and earned her Combatives belt before progressing to the Master Cycle and earning her blue belt.

Catherine has spent the last 15 years teaching in one capacity or another. She began by teaching her own children, then tutoring and teaching for a classical education community, and most recently as a severe-needs paraeducator for middle school students. She recently completed the Gracie Academy Women Empowered Instructor Certification Program in January of 2022. She is dedicated to helping women by teaching them life-saving and empowering techniques and principles.

Lineage:

Helio Gracie : Rorion Gracie : Ryron and Rener Gracie : Tony Debelak : Catherine Swehla


Cora Howell
GJJ Blue Belt (BBS4) – Assistant Instructor Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Aurora
Coach Cora Howell
Coach Cora’s Gracie Jiu Jitsu Story

Cora became interested in the women’s self-defense program and empowering other women through Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Though she has two years of experience in karate, she wanted to be able to defend herself from someone that is larger and stronger. Cora is focused on self-defense first and empowering others. Cora earned her GJJ Blue Belt in November 2018.

She enjoys teaching, coaching and and training Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and has made it her way of life. Cora is first and foremost dedicated to teaching GJJ as a complete self-defense system. She completed the Gracie Academy Instructor Certification Program (ICP) 2021, is a Blue Belt Stripe 4, and BBS1 Qualified.

Lineage:

Helio Gracie : Rorion Gracie : Ryron and Rener Gracie : Tony Debelak : Cora Howell

Photos of Coach Cora:

Tanya Debelak

GJJ Blue Belt (BBS4) – Assistant Instructor Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Aurora

Coach Tanya Debelak
Coach Tanya’s Gracie Jiu Jitsu Story

Tanya is our Women Empowered Coach. She works alongside Professor Tony to Empower Ladies and has helped multiple ladies achieve their Pink Belt in this program. Although Women Empowered is her specialty, she has continued to progress in her Jiu-Jitsu journey and is now a Blue Belt Stripe 4. She has also works closely with our Bully Proof kids, assist Combatives/Master Cycle and manages all of the Administrative Operations for Gracie Jiu Jitsu Colorado.

Tanya also holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Texas A&M University (class of 2007) and a Certificate of Business Management from Pueblo Community College (class of 2003). She is Blue Belt Stripe 4, BBS1 Qualified and completed the Gracie Academy Women Empowered Instructor Certification Program (ICP) in 2017, and completed the Women Empowered 2.0 ICP in 2021. 

Lineage:

Helio Gracie : Rorion Gracie : Ryron and Rener Gracie : Tony Debelak : Tanya Debelak


Nate Amado

GJJ Purple Belt (PBS2) – Assistant Instructor Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Aurora

Coach Nate Amado
Coach Nate's Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Story

In addition to being a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Purple Belt and certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Instructor, Coach Nate also enjoys being a MovNat Master Trainer, a Primal Health Coach, a MeatRx Animal-Based Nutrition Coach, and a Scout of The Human Path. In his practice he integrates what he’s learned from years of studying and practicing Art Du Déplacement/Parkour, the Wim Hof Method, Nutritious Movement, Invisible & Hidden Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, Muy Thai, Boxing, MMA, Capoeira, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and meditation. Nate is a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Purple Belt Stripe 2 and completed the Gracie Academy Instructor Certification Program (ICP) 2021,


Lucinda Franze

GJJ Blue Belt – Women Empowered Instructor Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Aurora

Coach Lucinda Franze
lucy-gracie-aurora-women-empowered
Coach Lucinda' Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Story

Lucinda Franze is one of our Women Empowered Instructors who work alongside Professor Tony and Coach Tanya, empowering and guiding women on their self-defense journey. Her passion is teaching Jiu- Jitsu to women and children. She is also a Blue Belt and a Master Cycle student. Her devotion to teaching Jiu-Jitsu is unmistakable in her dedication to assisting her children and fellow GJJA students in achieving their training and self-defense goals.

Lucinda's four children have trained at GJJA for nearly seven years. After she recovered from a traumatic back injury and spine surgeries, she finally felt ready to join her children on the mat in September 2019. She enjoys helping others become empowered through their Jiu-Jitsu practice.

Lucinda is a former EMT and currently a Health Liaison for the Cherry Creek School District. She earned her ECE111: Infant and Toddler Theory and Practice certificate through Red Rocks Community College. She is CPR certified and completed the Gracie University Women Empowered Instructor Certification Program in January 2022.

Lineage:

Helio Gracie : Rorion Gracie : Ryron and Rener Gracie : Tony Debelak : Lucinda Franze


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