Brian Rago


Black belt, 1st Degree

Head Instructor


Brian has practiced martial arts throughout his life, with considerable experience in Kung Fu, Japanese Jiu Jitsu, and Aikido before finding his place in Gracie/Brazilian Jiu­Jitsu in his mid thirties. Hard work, dedication, an open mind, and many hours on the mat lead him to achieve the rank of black belt in 4 and 1/2 years(the average in Jiu­-Jitsu is more than double that time) all while competing successfully at the highest levels. In addition to competition training and coaching, Brian focuses much of his time teaching Gracie Self Defense in classes, public seminars, and private sessions.

Partial Competition Record

2014 World Championship (masters), 3rd Place Black Belt

2011 World Championship (masters), 1st Place Black Belt

2009 World Championship (masters), 3rd Place

2008 World Championship (masters), 1st Place

2008 Pan Am Championship (masters), 1st Place Middleweight and Absolute

2007 World Championship, 3rd Place

2007 World Championship (masters), 1st Place

Zak Maxwell


Black belt



Zak Maxwell has trained Jiu-Jitsu for most of his life.

Partial Competition Record

2013 and 2014 Metamoris competitor

San Diego Abu Dhabi Pro Trials: 1st Place Black Belt
2012 IBJJF Las Vegas International Open: 1st Place Black Belt
2012 IBJJF Long Beach International Open: 1st Place Black Belt
2011 West Coast Abu Dhabi Pro Trials: 1st Place Black Belt
2010 Pan Am Championship: 1st Place Light, 1st place Absolute
2010 Nationals: 2nd Place Light, 1st Place Absolute
2010 Gracie Nationals: 1st place
2009 World Championship: 1st Place
2009 Pan Am Championship: 1st Place
2008 World Championship: 3rd Place
2008 Pan Am Championship: 1st Place
2007 World Championship: 2nd Place
2007 Pan Am Championship: 3rd Place

Tim Sylvester



Black belt



Tim Sylvester is an MMA fighter and experienced bouncer as well as a seasoned Jiu-Jitsu competitor. Tim is our main tournament coach, often accompanying students to events far and wide.

Partial Competition Record

Coming soon.

Samantha Faulhaber



Black belt

Kids Instructor


Samantha started Jiu-Jitsu in Maryland when her father wanted her to learn self defense in 2002 or 2003. Many years and tournaments later she loves her home at Gracie Academy Philadelphia.

Partial Competition Record

2015 Pan American Championship/brown/featherweight – gold

2013 No Gi Pan Ams/brown/featherweight and open class– gold

2013 Worlds/brown/featherweight – silver

2013 Abu Dhabi Pro Trials NYC (purple/brown/black) – lightweight silver brown)

2011 Worlds/purple/light feather – silver

2011 Pan Ams/purple/featherweight – silver

2011 Abu Dhabi Pro Trials San Diego (purple/brown/black) – lightweight silver
2011 Abu Dhabi Pro Trials San Diego – light open Champion (purple/brown/black)

2010 Pan Ams/purple/light feather – silver

2009 Grappler’s Quest Northeast Championships/No-Gi Advanced/Champion

2009 Worlds/blue/light feather – silver

2008 Worlds/blue/light feather – gold

2008 Pan Ams/blue/featherweight – bronze


Regis Lebre

Black belt, 3rd degree

Technical director/visiting instructor


Born: Fortaleza, Brazil

Currently residing and teaching in San Diego, CA

Partial Competition Record

Rio de Janeiro State Championship Titles
1st place – 1998, 1999, 2000

Brazilian Nationals Championship Titles
3rd place – 1998, 1999, 2000

World Championship Titles
1st place – 2007, 2013 (Master Division)
2nd place – 2008
3rd place – 1999

Gracie World Championship (Columbus-OH)
1st place – 2007

Brazilian Nationals Team Championship
2nd place – 1999

Brazilian Regional North and Northeast Championship
1st Place – 1997, 1998

Pan American Championship
1st place – 2009, 2013
2nd place – 2007 (Open Class);
3rd Place – 2005, 2007