LIMA — Jeremy Harris has accomplished some big things in his sport. One of the most impressive things about Harris is that he is a fourth generation jiu jitzu.
“The lineage starts with Helio Gracie, then Royler Gracie, Saulo Ribeiro and then myself,” Harris said. “It is a high honor for me. It is a tough sport and takes a long time to reach a high level. They don’t just give out the belts.”
At the Arnold Classic on March 2, 2013, Harris defeated Dave Freetag of Grove City to win a gold medal.
“At the Arnold, we had a Black Belt Super Fight and they announced us in front of everybody,” Harris said. “So that was pretty cool and I was able to win 4-2 with 3 advantages.”
Harris has not only competed at the Arnold, he has also competed and won at the Pan Am Championships.
“I won the Pan Am Championships in 2011 and went to defend my title in 2012 and lost my match by two points,” Harris said. “We’re going back on March 22 and hope to win again.”
On March 9, Harris will be coaching some of his students at the Chicago Winter International Open Championship.
“Anthony Crites, Adam Wieser, Daniel Sawmiller and Steven Oen will all be competing in Chicago,” Harris said. “Anthony (Crites) was also invited to an eight man invitation in Columbus. This just goes to show you that we compete at the highest level in jiu jitzu.”
Harris was not always winning championships and competing at the highest level of jiu jitzu.
He started out with a goal in mind like everybody else.
“Back in 1993 when the first Ultimate Fighting Championship came out, Forrest Griffin beat everybody without actually hitting anybody,” Harris said. “That got me interested and started.”
In July of 1994 Harris was able to earn a blue belt from the Gracie family. Whatever he learned while training up in Toledo, he brought back to Lima and started teaching people.
In 2000 the Lima Brazilian Jiu Jitzu moved over to Family Fitness Center behind Toys R Us.
“From 1995-2005 I was a blue belt and I couldn’t advance to the next belt because nobody could teach me around here,” Harris said. “In 2003 Saulo Ribeiro promoted me to a purple belt and he made my school a Saulo Ribeiro school. I earned my brown belt in 2006 and in 2009 I was a black belt. In 2012 I became a First Degree Black Belt.”
A unique feature that Harris’ school offers is the Gracie Jiu Jitzu Bully Proof class.
“We are a family oriented school,” Harris said. “This gives kids good motivation and self confidence. Parents can even play and interact with them. It is great because they are playing games but learning at the same time.