Lovvorn learns jiu-jitsu from MMA legend

Published 6:24 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2016

GPD captain Justin Lovvorn (left) stands with Ryron Gracie, nephew of legendary martial artist  Ryron Gracie and instructor of the Gracie survival tactics course.

GPD captain Justin Lovvorn (left) stands with Ryron Gracie, nephew of legendary martial artist Ryron Gracie and instructor of the Gracie survival tactics course.

Greenville Police Department captain Justin Lovvorn recently received world-class martial arts instruction from some world-class martial artists, courtesy of the legendary Gracie family.

Lovvorn attended the Gracie Survival Tactics Instructor course with the hopes of achieving certification so that he could pass on what he’s learned to others.

Lovvorn had already been practicing jiu-jitsu and other mixed martial artist for several years, including a stint with the Montgomery-based Guerrilla Fitness organization and a trip to California four years ago to study under Eddie Bravo, a popular mixed martial artist and inventor of specific jiu-jitsu techniques.

But Lovvorn said that, given the situations that police officers could find themselves in, jiu-jitsu was a particularly important skill to develop.

“I wanted to improve my ground game,” Lovvorn said.

“I’ve already been through as much as you can do with my stand-up game, but I had never really worked on scenarios where I was on the ground in a scuffle.  Jiu-jitsu is what that caters to—being able to maneuver and come out in a winning position.  I started focusing on that long before this class came up, so when it did I knew that was the class I wanted; it would basically take everything I’d learned and organize it.”

And few instructors are more capable of teaching the class than the Gracies.  Rorion Gracie and his brothers first opened the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in 1989 in Torrance, Calif., bringing their Brazilian style to the United States and popularizing it in the process.

Gracie would go on to become one of the founders of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 1993 in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of his style versus other types of martial arts.

Royce Gracie, the younger brother, was chosen to represent the family in the first UFC fights to prove a point, even with his smaller stature, that technique trumps size.

“I couldn’t think of any better name to work under to get my certification,” Lovvorn said.

“Anyone who has actually been involved in mixed martial arts knows about the Gracies.

The five-day course took place at Fort Benning Army Base in Columbus, Ga., and was taught by Ryron Gracie, nephew of Royce Gracie.

The course focused on 23 of the most effective Gracie fighting style techniques, and also required participants to pass a teaching portion where each person must demonstrate portions of the lesson in front of the class.

Lovvorn is seeking to take what he learned and host his own Gracie Survival Tactics class for local law enforcement within the next few months.

“It’s strictly for law enforcement, and it considers gun retention and being aware of the equipment that we would normally wear,” Lovvorn said.

“It deals with not only protecting you, but your gun from possibly being taken from you, and how to fight someone on the ground when you have to consider those options.”

Lovvorn said that he would be looking to begin the course in either late October or early November.