Magno Gama

Magno Gama

Magno is the first person I met when I walked into Renzo Gracie Academy in NYC. He is the first person to teach me jiu-jitsu and has been an ever present and essential part of my journey. Magno came directly under legendary teacher and fighter Renzo Gracie’s wing when he was 17 and he is the last person to go from white to black belt under Renzo. Magno is now a black belt of the third degree. Renzo saw Magno’s gift as a practitioner and teacher early on and Magno became a teacher as a blue belt. Magno started and ran the highly regarded kids program at Renzo’s for 18 years before starting his own successful academy in Astoria. He has taken students from children to multiple time world champions. More importantly, Magno has positively impacted so many lives through his teaching and the sharing of his huge heart. I have had many great jiu-jitsu professors but none have had as much of a positive influence on me as Magno. We are incredibly fortunate to have such a high level instructor in our area.

Magno Gama

Daniel Medina

I started jiu-jitsu in my early 50s searching for a way to manage stress and get some exercise. Our oldest son was going away to college and I was starting to feel anxious. I was always interested in sports and exercise, but I had never had any interest in martial arts despite having lived in Japan for 3 years in my early 30s. I walked into Renzo Gracie Academy in NYC; met Magno; started training jiu-jitsu; and, as they say, the rest is history. I was familiar with jiu-jitsu and grappling in general, but my impression of what jiu jitsu actually was could not have been more different. Jiu-jitsu is a martial art and it will teach you how to protect yourself in a physical altercation, but for me it was the best therapy I had ever experienced. Jiu-jitsu taught me to frame problems and develop techniques to address those problems. This changed my life. It made me a happier and more productive person. A better father and husband. The bonding that occurs at a good jiu-jitsu school fills a sense of community that is hard to have especially in a large urban setting.

Magno Gama & Renzo Gracie

Daniel Medina & His Son (Henry Medina)

5 years ago my special needs son, Henry was preparing to attend the College Experience Program at The College of St Rose in Albany. I was overwhelmed with anxiety at the idea of having Henry away from home for the first time. Henry is a beautiful sweet boy who was diagnosed with autism at 18 months and had attended special needs schools and self contained classrooms his entire life. If there was a surgery to attach him to my hip I would have considered it. I knew I needed an outlet to deal with my anxiety and I found jiu jitsu.

I was a 52 year old former college athlete and a weekend warrior with no martial arts or wrestling experience. I was immediately hooked. Learning to put problems into proper perspective and knowing that through solid technique I could resolve most issues was one of the most liberating and valuable experiences of my life. Last night Henry received an award for being Employee of the Year from The Living Resources for the job he has done for Pioneer Bank. Henry is living a fully independent, productive life in Albany NY and I have found a passion that I will pursue for the rest of my life.

I would like to thank all of the wonderful people at The College Experience Program, the College of St Rose, Living Resources and Pioneer Bank. Your kindness and sense of community is truly amazing. I would also like to thank all of my Jiu Jitsu people. I was blessed to have walked into Renzo Gracie Academy that first day and everyday since. I have always had the absolute best instruction from some of the most kind and knowledgeable people I have ever known . I am constantly amazed by the acumen and generosity of my instructors. Jiu jitsu will always hold a special place in my heart. Jiu Jitsu helped save this life.