EL PASO, Texas (KTSM)- El Paso Brazilian jiu-jitsu academy, Gracie Barra East El Paso, will be celebrating its one-year anniversary with an Open House and a Black Belt Promotion Ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 20 at 12025 Rojas Drive, Suite H.

The academy owners, Jeff Vigil and Rachel Lopez decided to expand to the east side of the city after operating successfully on the west side for over a decade.

The east side academy opened in April 2022 with at least 75 students. The first year has seen steady growth in both the adult and children’s classes.

Three students will receive their black belts at the ceremony, including:

  • Brett Fleming:
    -Locally employed.
    -Occasionally serves as an instructor at Gracie Barra West.
  • Fred Rodriguez:
    -Veteran who served in the U.S. Coast Guard.
    -Instructor at Graci Barra West.
  • Myriah Acuna:
    -First woman to earn a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu in El Paso.
    -She earned a PhD in biology from UTEP in May of 2022.
    -Instructor at Gracie Barra East.