Testimonials from our Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Judo students

"When I started training with Nick Tissue and Stu Ramos at Team Maryland BJJ, I weighed 300 lbs., had no discipline, work ethic, or confidence. Less than two years later, I lost 115 lbs. because of the technique and encouragement. I went from a 50 inch waste to a 34 and from XXL to Small in shirts. Now, I actively compete in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts. Nick and Stu have helped me complete a lifestyle change. I now eat healthy and have a strict workout schedule. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu literally helped save my life. Thank you for everything."

- Brian S.

"I first learned of the Maryland Judo & Jiu-Jitsu Academy when I thought my very active son might enjoy a martial art. The kids' Gracie jiu jitsu classes helped him to focus his energy, build his confidence, respect his teammates, and make many friends.

After a year of seeing how much fun my son was having, I decided to join. I was a bit concerned about being one of only a few women in the class, and being much smaller than everyone else, but I was readily accepted and welcomed by the team. I feel stronger, more fit, and I have learned many valuable self-defense techniques.

Now, my son and I have joined the judo classes as well, and we are having an incredible time. Team Maryland BJJ offers high-level instruction, an amazing competition judo team, and a family-like atmosphere. Team members truly care about one another and want to help each other improve and succeed."

- Jennifer D.

"I started training at Team Maryland BJJ with Stu as a junior in high school. At the time I was overweight at 265 pounds, very out of shape, and generally lacking confidence overall. Since then, I've lost 120 pounds through training Jiu-Jitsu and changes to my diet. Jiu-Jitsu made it incredibly easy for me to lose weight. You're having so much fun rolling and focusing on technique that you don't realize how hard your body is actually working.

Everyone at Team Maryland is very friendly and welcoming. Every time I walk into the dojo I feel like I'm at my second home. It's awesome to have a team of training partners who are all working toward the same goals, just trying to help each other get better. Stuart Ramos's attention to detail is what makes him such an incredible coach. Stu breaks down positions better than anyone I've trained with. Stu also really cares about his students and their progression. It's very clear how much he enjoys watching his students improve and grow.

Jiu-Jitsu has completely changed my life. Today I actively compete in Jiu-Jitsu as well as Mixed Martial Arts. The best part of my day is when I’m finally able to get on the mats. No matter how bad my day has been, by the time I leave practice everything is better. I’ve been able to reach so many of my goals over the past few years, and it’s all thanks to Team Maryland BJJ."


- Austin R.

"When I came to Team Maryland I was home on a medical withdrawal from a high-stress college experience. I was going through a period of intense anxiety and depression, and I wanted to try something new that could be both exercise and a hobby. But the instruction, the family, and the change in lifestyle that this school has given me was so much more than I could have expected.

I had experienced some concussion problems in the past so I was unsure if Jiu-Jitsu was the right sport for me. I’ve never been especially strong or big and didn’t roughhouse much as a kid, so I was almost sure my body wouldn’t be able to handle 'rolling,' or that it might reopen me to my experiences of post-concussion syndrome. This particular anxiety was almost completely relieved in the first week; I felt more than welcome to stick to what I was comfortable with, and every partner I had was 100% accommodating. Probably because of this welcoming atmosphere, I soon felt comfortable pushing myself more and more and I learned that my body and mind were much more resilient than I had thought. Everyone should have an opportunity to learn about their bodies in so warm an environment.

Another thing I learned as I got to know the place a bit better: Stuart’s instruction in both Judo and Jiu-Jitsu is seriously world-class. He has a simple, efficient style, and an unbelievably intricate knowledge of the little mechanics behind the fundamental positions, sweeps, and submissions that makes everything you learn incredibly useful both in self-defense and sport-Jiu-Jitsu. He’s also a very warm personality (not to mention hilarious) so he makes the learning atmosphere even more fun than Jiu-Jitsu already is.

Though I ran cross country in high school and was doing a pretty standard weights workout in college, the kind of exercise I get from Jiu-Jitsu is completely different (and in my opinion, much better). When I’m rolling, it just feels like I’m having a good time, and concentrating on my body and game-plan—and only afterwards do I realize how hard I’ve been working. While running it's hard to forget the pain, and while lifting weights it’s hard to forget how bored you are, but Jiu-Jitsu engages your intellect and your interest as well as pretty much your entire body. I’m in the best shape of my life, and Jiu-Jitsu was a massive help in pulling me out of the fog of anxiety and depression in a way that any other work-out simply could not have done. This is the best sport and the best place and people to do it with."

- Theo E.

"Training Gracie jiu-jitsu and Kodokan Judo with Stuart Ramos is tremendously rewarding. It keeps your body fit, your mind sharp, and your spirits high. As an unarmed self-defense system it is practical and effective--but it allows for total control of the force one applies. In other systems, it is very rare for a small individual to physically dominate a bigger, stronger, and more athletic opponent through proper technique; at our dojo, it happens every day!

At Team Maryland, the level friendship and camaraderie within the team is extremely high. I try to come to class every day not just for the world-class instruction, but also for the motivation and support my training partners give me. Everyone comes to have a good time as well as kick butt, and the smiles are infectious!"

- Anthony G.

"The Maryland Judo & Jiu-Jitsu Academy has forever changed my life for the better. The quality instructors, the friendly training partners, and the exercise and peace of mind from training has had a significant positive impact on my life.

I have a background in another martial art — kickboxing — which primarily focuses on the stand-up aspect of fighting. However, seeing that the majority of altercations end up on the ground, it was imperative that I find a martial art that covered that area. Initially, I reached out to another dojo, but they never responded to my inquiries — and I am glad they didn’t. I would have passed up becoming a member of the Maryland Judo & Jiu-Jitsu Academy, with its top-notch instructors and training partners. Stu’s ability to thoroughly analyze and break-down every technique is simply priceless.

In addition to a tremendous facility and its instructors, the friendliness and helpfulness of fellow training partners allows you to push your physical and mental boundaries beyond your imagination. The personal development can be seen both on and off the mat. The Academy has provided me with a new sense of self-confidence and I am excited to continue on this life-long journey."

- Jeff G.

"I am in my 40's and joined Team Maryland Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu because I needed a regular exercise routine to benefit my health. Before coming to Team Maryland BJJ it had been very hard to stay at a gym, as I get bored pretty quickly and it has been almost impossible to work out at home. Balancing work and family and exercise regularly has been very hard and working out has always felt like an obligation.

Team Maryland Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu offered regular training schedule, flexible class times, excellent training methods and very friendly atmosphere. The level of teaching is very high. In fact, amongst the 5 schools I have been in the past, this is the best martial arts school. The instructors and students are very friendly and it is a pleasure to work out and spend time in the gym.

My initial expectation was that I would stop attending after a month, as it always happens with most busy people. Surprisingly, I was able to make it a routine. I have hardly missed a class and I am looking forward to each one. My endurance and strength have increased way beyond my expectations, my muscles became very firm, I dropped a size and I don't get as tired anymore. My weight is the same no matter how much I eat, my blood pressure and pulse are better the normal, I sleep well, I feel like an athlete, and the skills I am learning are real. From a jellyfish that was facing medication therapy, Team Maryland Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu turned me into a fit person with better lifestyle without sacrificing anything, and I am having fun doing it.

I strongly recommend Team Maryland Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to anyone - couch potatos, competitors or anyone who wants something positive and beneficial in their life. Team Maryland Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the right place."

- Alex T.

"My brother and I own a martial arts school in Maryland. About a year ago, we began looking for a way to improve our grappling skills. Like many people we heard of the many benefits of brazilian jiu-jitsu. We tried out a few BJJ lessons at various schools before finding the right fit with Stu and Nick. Being a school owner myself, I am very critical when it comes to my own personal training. I have over 21 years of martial arts experience and have black belts in multiple disciplines. I can honestly say the training we receive at Relson Gracie MD is like nothing I have ever experienced.

We found everything we were looking for and more. Stuart Ramos is without question the BEST instructor I have ever trained under. The teaching style is dynamic and the curriculum is amazing. Nick and Stu teach a perfect balance of Judo, BJJ, and the most practical self-defense tactics I've learned. I take pride in being a student at Relson Gracie MD. I learn so much in every class and I have made life-long friendships with many of the other students.

This is the best gym in Maryland hands down. I drive an hour to see Stu and Nick. Even if it was 2 hours away I would still make the drive. Thank guys for taking out training to new levels!"

-Mike Stewart Jr.

"My friend took me for a trial BJJ class at Team Maryland.... If it were up to me, I would have never thought of even trying any mixed martial art. Two and half years later, here I am: a hardcore BJJ fan and a proud Gracie BJJ Blue Belt, going to practice twice a week -- a lifestyle.

I feel like I can start another day right after practice is over, and after 'the usual' rumble rounds with 'the guys' – it is fun, it is a great workout, it keeps me in shape, and yeah, I sure can defend myself on the streets.

Thanks Stu and Nick for your knowledge and experience, and willingness to share it all with your students."

- Ivan S.

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