Martial Arts & Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Instructors
Sam Marcellini began his training at the age of five in “kyokushin kaikan” – a highly disciplined, full-contact style of karate that is rarely found inthe United States. This rigorous and true-to-life training became the groundwork upon which he built his future vision, which eventually culminated into a more serious and effective approach to martial arts. Sam Marcellini later trained with Grandmaster Gene Brigham. Some of the greatest teachings the Grandmaster passed on were the spiritual and philosophical side of martial arts; this sparked a passion in him that led to decades of research on eastern philosophies and the mental growth developed through martial arts, providing him with a balance that gives him a definite advantage as an educator and instructor.
At the age of 19 Sam already had years of experience and was teaching martial arts. It was at this point that he decided to make martial arts his career with the mission to train in the most effective styles and with the best martial artists in the world. Early in 1994 Sam went on to train at the Gracie Academy in Torrance, California. From the early 20s till the late 90s, the Gracie Academy was undefeated in no-holds-barred matches with some of the toughest matches that the civilized world had ever seen. Over the years the school has trained Marines, Navy Seals, Secret Service, and many law enforcement agencies. It even started the UFC! Sam’s instructors were Royce Gracie & Royce’s father, Grandmaster Helio Gracie – the cofounder and mastermind behind Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which is now the fastest growing martial art in the world. Royce was teaching most of the group lessons at that time and his father Grandmaster Helio would teach in the summertime. Sam spent a great deal of time training at the academy as well as taking some private lessons from Grandmaster Helio Gracie throughout the years.
Around 2002 Royce left the Gracie Academy and Sam continued his extensive training with Royce on a one-on-one basis through 2012. Sam trained with Royce Gracie on a regular basis for 18 years and to this day he continues to train with Royce (just not as extensively). Sam was also Royce’s sparring partner for a couple of Royce’s most historic fights. Sam received his blue belt from Royce in 1994 and was the second person ever to receive a black belt from Royce Gracie in California. Sam was an undefeated Mixed Martial Arts competitor representing the Gracie Academy in the late 90’s. Sam also spent years training with Royler Gracie, Rener Gracie and Rodrigo Gracie on a one-on-one basis.
In addition to getting some of the best grappling training in the world, Sam sought out the world’s most efficient striking system. In 2003 although he had already earned 4 different black belts in the striking arts and had some Muay-Thai experience, Sam began training a kickboxing style that was recognized by many experts as one of the best striking systems in the world: Mejiro Gym’s style of Muay Thai Kickboxing. The original Mejiro gym was founded in Japan and another was opened later in Holland – this school has produced some of the best fighters in the striking arts such as Toshio Fujiwara (the first non-Thai Stadium champion in Thailand) and Rob Kaman (a Nine-Time World Muay Thai Kickboxing Champion). These fighters are considered by many experts to be some of the greatest Muay Thai Kickboxers of all time. Sam spent many years training and sparring with Rob Kaman three times a week on a one-on-one basis. In fact,
Sam was the first person ever to become certified instructor under Rob Kaman in the US, and according to Kaman was one of his best students.
At a very young age, Sam Marcellini dedicated his career to teaching martial arts because he realized the positive effect martial arts have can change people’s lives. Sam’s students have been known to commute from far away locations throughout the Inland Empire, Orange County and San Diego to train with him. His student body mostly consists of everyday people and children but also includes other professional instructors, competitors, martial arts school owners, and law enforcement. Sam specializes in training everyday people, and prides himself on his ability to teach anyone regardless of age, size and fitness level. Sam Marcellini is known for being a very well-rounded instructor, a high-level martial artist that has been trained by true legends in the martial arts.
With close to thirty years of teaching experience in martial arts and black belts in five different disciplines, Sam has helped to develop many elite martial artists. Because of his diverse knowledge and instructional ability, Sam is highly sought after by many knowledgeable people who have a good understanding of effective martial arts training. Sam has dedicated himself to providing the most practical martial arts programs in the world in a very safe and healthy environment. Sam brings his knowledge and ability to safely and effectively advance his students from beginners to experts. He’s an educator that is passionate about utilizing the mental and personal aspects of martial arts to develop positive character traits in his students including confidence, patience, self-control, and self-awareness.
2nd degree Black Belt & Professor in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu (The 2nd person ever to receive a black belt from Royce Gracie in California)
Certified Muay Thai Kickboxing instructor (The first certified instructor under Rob Kaman in the U.S.)
3rd Degree Black Belt & Certified Instructor in Shorin Kung Fu
3rd Degree Black Belt & Certified Instructor in GB Jiu-Jitsu
Black Belt in Shorin-Ryu Karate
Black Belt in Chinese Boxing
Royce Gracie moved to Torrance, California at the age of 18 and started teaching with his brother Rorion Gracie. Years later in 1990 they opened the Gracie Academy in Torrance, where the brothers and their father Grandmaster Helio Gracie would teach the classes. Royce left the Gracie Academy in 2002 to do seminars, train elite martial artists and continue his fighting career.
Royce’s reputable career as a fighter began in 1993 after defeating three opponents in the first Ultimate Fighting Championship. This was a historic time in the UFC when there were no weight divisions, no time limits, and almost no rules. Discipline after discipline was defeated by the slight 6’1”, 180 pound Royce Gracie.
His opponents consistently outweighed him by more than 50 pounds. He went on to win 3 UFC titles and today is the only man in the history of no holds barred matches to successfully defeat four opponents in one night.
Royce Gracie had many other memorable fights including the longest MMA match in history (90 min) against Japanese Superstar Kazushi Sakuraba in PRIDE Grand PRIX 2000, and total domination of the Olympic Judo Gold Medalist Hidehiko Yoshida in PRIDE Shockwave 2003.
His largest opponent yet was Sumo Grand Champion Akebono, 6′ 8″ 486lbs. Royce Gracie vs. Akebono was the main event of K-1 Premium Dynamite New Years Eve show on 12/31/2004. Royce Gracie defeated the giant in just 2min and 13sec with a shoulder lock. Royce’s success has opened the eyes of many disbelievers to the importance of leverage and technique in grappling. In November of 2003, Royce Gracie was the first fighter to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
His list of students is enormous. Royce Gracie has taught many celebrities including: Chuck Norris, Ed O’Neal, Guy Ritchie and Nicholas Cage. He has also been very active with the CIA, FBI, DEA, Secret Service, Army Rangers, Army Special Forces, Navy Seals and many sheriff and police departments. Royce Gracie teaches here at Marcellini’s Martial Arts Academy on a regular basis. Sam Marcellini is one of the very few guys who has spent a lot of time training with Royce Gracie personally.
Since we opened on March 1st of 2000, Royce Gracie has taught classes at this academy at least twice a year & has presented all of our adult Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu students with their belts.