Ray Griffin first started training in GRACIE JIU JITSU in the spring of 1999. He quickly fell in love with the martial art and spent many hours each day training, learning and absorbing as much as possible from Pedro Sauer. Later he moved back to Pennsylvania, where is family was living, and started the first Pedro Sauer association affiliation in the state of PA where he was teaching BJJ to a small group of students at a karate school. Traveling back frequently to Utah and bringing professor Sauer out for seminars, he continued to teach, learn and train. During this time he also had the opportunity to learn from many experts in Jiu Jitsu such as Relson Gracie, Rorion Gracie, Kid Peligro, Carlos Valente, Andre Galvao, Luis Heredia, Royler Gracie and MANY others. He also continue to teach Jiu Jitsu wherever he could and would frequently train local and federal law enforcement offers including agents from the DEA and FBI as well as Secret Service agents. When he joined the Army in 2009 he had been a Purple belt for nearly seven years and quickly excelled through the Modern Army Combatives Program and continues to spend the majority of his time in uniform on the mat training and preparing Soldiers. This also started his more formalized teaching of defensive tactics for local, county and state law enforcement groups as well as tailored Combatives programs for military groups such as combat medics and the 19th Special Forces Group. (Currently he is the Master Combatives training for his unit, Special Operations Command Korea). Fast forwarding a few years, around the time he earned his Black belt in 2014 from Master Pedro Sauer, Ray started teaching Jiu Jitsu out of his garage to his kids, neighbors, friends and police officers that would come and train. Over time this grew and he was offered a space to begin teaching by one of his private lesson students in a back room at a large karate school. This began to grow and at the first of the year, 2022, a long-time dream was realized and Griffin Jiu Jitsu Academy was opened as a stand-along GRACIE JIU JITSU school where classes are held nearly daily for kids, youth, adults, law enforcement and many other courses.
Pedro Sauer is an 8th degree Coral Belt (Red/Black) and a close friend and student of the legendary Rickson Gracie. Pedro Sauer is revered as one of the pioneers of Gracie Jiu Jitsu in the United States, having moved to the US in the early 1990’s. Since arriving, Master Sauer has captured a legion of followers through lectures and workshops as well as for his skill as an instructor, having developed dozens of high level black belts of his own.
Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Helio/Rickson Gracie > Pedro Sauer
Pedro Sauer Biography
Pedro Sauer was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, having started his combat sports training through boxing at the age of 5. Sauer also added judo and taekwondo to his expertise at a later stage. At age fifteen, his friend Rickson Gracie, invited him to come and train Jiu-Jitsu with his younger brother, Royler Gracie, who was only nine years old. The outcome of this experience convinced Pedro that jiu-jitsu was the most effective of all the martial arts, and he began grappling at the Gracie academy the very next day.
Pedro Sauer graduated in Economics and Business Administration in college, and took post graduation course. He worked in Brazil as a stockbroker while training and received his black belt in 1985 from the hands of his friend Rickson Gracie and the late Grandmaster Helio Gracie. He dipped his toes into jiu jitsu coaching for the first time at the Academia Corpo Quatro in Rio de Janeiro, a historical academy where big names have taught such as Sergio Bolao and Alvaro Barretto.
In 1990, Sauer decided to quit his life as a stockbroker and moved to California following the original wave of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructors who traveled to America to teach BJJ. He lived in California with Rickson Gracie and trained daily with the Gracie brothers Rickson, Rorion, and Royce.
On December 1990, he moved to Utah where remained for a long period, pioneering jiu jitsu in the American Northwest. He is one of the most highly sought after instructors in the U.S. (of any martial discipline) and has presented hundreds of public seminars around the nation. In 2005, Pedro Sauer was named “Best of the Best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructor” in a worldwide poll conducted by the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) website. Currently Pedro resides in Georgia where he oversees the Pedro Sauer Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Association. He has dozens of highly skilled black belts running over a hundred affiliate schools across the USA and internationally.