Ryan Swinford, Army Captain

“If you live in the Tavares, Eustis, Mt Dora area and are interested in adult, teen, or child instruction in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, or Judo I cannot recommend IBJJF Black Belt  enough…absolutely the best instructor for all ages and skill levels in the area!!!  I looked around for quite a while searching for a place that trained kids. Most didn’t start until the kids are 12, but Brian started them at less than half that age! What I found at Grappling Mastery was not only a place where my seven year old son had a blast, learned an incredible amount about the sport of BJJ and self-defense, and made lots of friends, but a place where I could do the same. Brian promotes an atmosphere that is friendly while st the same time allowing for competition and hard rolling if desired. The one thing I thought my son would miss not being involved in traditional team sports is the team…I was very wrong. Grappling Mastery is an outstanding team and I would not train anywhere else!!!”

Dennis Ela, SWAT Sniper & Sergeant at Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Brown Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

  “I have known Brian for over seven years. Brian is a skilled, knowledgeable, and friendly trainer. He is a black belt and trainer in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and additionally a high level wrestler. He is an excellent and patient instructor who continues to enhance my abilities.”

Mike Staton

“We are so pleased to find an instructor that has the patience, time, skill, great with kids, and all around passion to teach. It is great to learn from a Black belt instructor with Gracie lineage. My child was new to Jiu Jitsu and fell in love with the sport, he has progressed quickly thanks to great instruction. The best part about the school is the team atmosphere. Everyone helps everyone, what a great family and team we have become part of. It has been a long time since I have found an instructor with patience, solid character, actual experience, and respectable training. We definitely found a great instructor at Grappling Mastery. We have been in martial arts and the fight game for a long time and it is finally great to see someone that works so well with kids as well as adults.”

Jorge “The Animal” Rodriguez

“I been training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for the past three and half years. I started in NY City and upon my move to Florida I started my search for a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school that was welcoming and offered quality instructions with a variety and flexible schedule. During my search I came across many schools and I visited them all. Finally I came across Brian and Grappling Mastery, here I found a home. A school and an instructor with fundamentals and tons of knowledge. I did not only found a home for myself and my unorthodox ground game but I also found a coach that was willing to take me under his wings and show me everything he knows with out restrictions. He offers the same drive, passion and unrestricted knowledge to everyone that walks trough the door and his love for teaching and the art makes him exceptional and above anyone I have known. It was Brian’s passion and drive that made me take the next step and make the decision to fight MMA. Brian devoted quality time to my personalized training and ensured and re- assured I was ready in all aspects, physically and mentally. Because of his great coaching and care and the support of all members of the team, my first MMA victory is attributed to Brian and the Grappling Mastery team. I am proud to represent and be part of such an awesome school and have such an awesome coach like Brian Ruscio. ” It doesn’t get any better than this.””

Eric Hertel

“Awesome!!! Just Awesome!!! From the instructor, Brian Ruscio, to the teammates I train with! Doesn’t get any better.  I have studied jiu jitsu since 09, and have been out of the game for the last year. Until now, meeting Brian and now training at his new school is great. He is patient and explains the techniques in detail. He is great with the kids as well as us adults. If your looking for a jiu jitsu school in Lake County Brian and Grappling Mastery is the place to go! I began training with Brian about a month ago. The first thing I noticed is he is patient and explains the techniques in detail for all in the class to understand. Kids to adults. I have been studying jiu jitsu since 2009 and was forced to stop training when I moved to Lake Co. But now that I found Brian and Grappling Mastery I’m training again. His classes are fun and informative. And if your unable to do a technique a certain way do to a limitation, he will explain and show you a variation that will work. If you have wanted to train in jiu jitsu in the past now there is a place in Lake County to train. Grappling Mastery is the name.”

Fernando Reyero

I have the great pleasure to Know Brian for over 11 years, and seen him learn and become the incredible athlete he is today. One thing that has always separated him from the crowd was his love for teaching and his ability to teach. His whole life has been around wrestling, fitness, Jiu Jitsu and Mixed Martial arts. I know of his dream of having his own school since early 2005 at least, and seeing this dream fulfilled with Grappling Mastery, makes me so proud of my friend and trainer. Anyone who would want to learn properly and reach the next step in their training should train with Brian, since he won’t only teach you martial arts but also help you develop as a better person. The devotion and focus to develop himself and others that I have seen in Brian, is something that makes him and His School Grappling Mastery very unique. So if you want to learn proper MMA, sportsmanship and train with someone that has devoted all his life to be a great athlete and teacher and NEVER give up, you need to train with Brian Ruscio and his team at Grappling Mastery.

Tina Miller-Jones

“This training is one of the best things we have done for Johnny! Brian Ruscio is by far the most patient, caring, happy go lucky instructors out there. Johnny loves learning from him and he’s doing very well at it. My Lake county friends…this is the guy for you if you want your kids to learn from the best!”

Jeremy Miller

I finally got the opportunity to train at Grappling Mastery last night and was honestly impressed. He was very welcoming and had plenty of time for all of his students. The class was filled with enthusiasm and students were having a good time. Don’t miss your chance to train under a legitimate Gracie Barra black belt!

Tim “Patterson” Dodson, retired Professional Wrestler

“I have known, and trained with Brian for almost 6 years. Not only is Brian a great trainer, but he also offers a unique approach since he was experienced in freestyle wrestling before becoming a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This creates a training curriculum you just won’t find anywhere else. Whether you are an experienced grappler or just testing the waters to see if you will enjoy training, Brian will be able to help you.”

Chuck Pivetz, Blue Belt and Business Owner

“You wont find a better instructor than Brian. As a practitioner he is accomplished having won Pan Ams in the expert adult black belt division. As an instructor his experience shows in his patience with the young ones and the new students also. He teaches for self defense and competition. I am proud to say my lineage begins with Brian on my own journey to black belt.”

Lucas Martineau

“Outstanding instruction! Definitely an awesome learning environment and it feels like one big family! Brian and Rita genuinely care about your progress and growth in Jiu Jitsu! No one is out to prove anything which creates a very comfortable and welcoming class setting. The physical benefits are amazing and you learn a skill. Give it a try… you’ll be addicted!”

Tracie Eckert Valdes, Event Coordinator Harley Davidson

“We have so much fun coming to train, very honored and proud to be a part of the Grappling Mastery Team!! It has been a life changing experience.”

Jason Weber, Business Owner

“Along with my wife I brought my boys to this gym a year ago. They have come a long way through diligent practice and focus on training lead by the amazing coaches at Grappling Mastery. I can’t begin to explain how proud I am of not only their results in competition but also the discipline and sportsmanship that is impressed upon them during their training. I couldn’t be more proud of them or happier in the choice of gyms and coaches than I am with Grappling Mastery. There is simply no better an instructor than Brian, He is a great teacher with adults and children. He teaches patience and honor along with attention to technical practice. I am proud to say he is my coach and will be as long as long as he is teaching.”

Jay Pagan

“Unique training. Multifaceted … and flexible, the coaching and staff really know how to teach BJJ to anyone, of any capability, and special needs. Talented group. After a few classes the knowledge you have can be applied immediately as a matter of protection or competition. Exhilarating … And a great way to stay fit physically and emotionally.”

Jamie Asmus

“I’m very pro-active and women (and men) need to know how to defend themselves. You offer a great free program and it would behoove a lot of people, women and girls especially to get some sort of at least a basic self defense course. Don’t become a victim, learn how to think defensively and avoid a situation that could be dangerous.”

Aron J Bland, Army Staff Sergeant & MMA Fighter

“Great Class for all levels!  As a professional fighter I have worked with many talented coaches and many great gyms.  However, I can honestly say I have found my home here.  The level of knowledge and professionalism is bar none the best I have ever experienced.”

Gustavo De la Rosa

“This is really a great place. Best in town. Stop on by and learn the top of the line jiu jitsu.”

Sean Michael, Self Employed

“Since I was 8 yrs old(BloodSport release) I had wanted to train in Martial Arts. Do to circumstances in my life and growing up I was unable to. I was in and out a couple of times, nothing consistently. 25yrs later(still following it, dissecting it and just in general never lost my love for the concept, understanding and mentality of true martial arts), I can say w/ absolute certainty that all the things in my life led me to where I find myself now @ GM. I’ve been fortunate that my wife has fallen in love w/ MMA/BJJ and understanding of the benefits of MA in general. We had been looking at schools on and off for a little while. To say this place is what you’d expect to find at the end of a rainbow would be a disservice. We met Brian Ruscio about 2 months ago after checking out another local school. Unless you are dead inside you will notice instantly that he carries the heart and characteristics of a True Martial Artist, he truly loves what does, all of it. What himself and Rita are in the process of building deserves endless praise. Both my wife and I in our short time can already say, we feel blessed that we get to not only witness something as incredible like what’s being built, but to be a part of it can not be overstated. Thank you Brian and Rita for all your patience and wisdom we appreciate it tremendously.”

Michael Guido, Operations Manager

  “Brian is an amazing instructor, with an incredible nack for not only showing me proper techniques in my training but also taking the time to explain the do’s and don’ts in detail. he is extremely professional, knowledgeable and patient. He has not only taught me in the school, he has given me diet regiments and coached me in my workouts for me to excel with my brazilian jiu jitsu. I would recommend him to know one a million times over!!! Not only has jiu jitsu changed my life, but Brian plays the other half of the change in my life!”

Julie Tytler, Mother

“Coach Brian not only knows what he is doing, but is a fantastic coach!  He is great with kids… and adults too.”

Kai Staton

“Great coach, Brian is helping me learn BJJ to make me a better MMA fighter. I really like the way he teaches and helping me learn the ground game.”

Margie Bou, Mother

“I train here with my daughter. It’s perfect not just in learning self-defense, but it gets us moving. Brian was also very accommodating to my schedule, which usually prevents me from participating in group classes. Brian is awesome, even in a group class he takes the time to review each move with you. As a beginner this is a plus. The Grappling Mastery group is like a family.”

 Allison Folgore, Mother

“I cannot explain how excited my son is to go to class everyday! He loves it! The staff are hands on and extremely patient, but stern in the choice to teach the kids. My son knew nothing about BJJ before, but loves it. Practices all the time. If you are looking for a place that is kid/family friendly, growing with potential, and run by all around good people, this is the place :) (Mom to one extremely active, stubborn, and outgoing 6 year old.)”

Ken Roberts

“I enjoyed the class immensely. Being a little familiar w different types of disciplines and instructors through the years, I can honestly say that Brian has the demeanor of a true martial artist. No matter what your level of training, Brian will be patient and helpful in his instruction. I highly recommend Grappling Mastery, to anyone with a teachable attitude! Brian Ruscio is one of the most patient people I’ve ever met. It was one of the first things I noticed about him. After attending his classes and getting to know him better, I can also unequivocally say he is a man of integrity. If he tells you he’s going to do something he does it. A very rare thing nowadays.These two traits along with his knowledge, skill, expertise and experience, make him quite a force. He immediately earns your respect. As a father, I greatly appreciate the example he sets for my children as well as others. You simply will not find a better martial arts academy in Lake County than Grappling Mastery, period. Don’t even waste your time looking elsewhere. Just take my word for it.”

Walter Swaney

“A great place that teaches with a passion for Martial Arts and care for students.”

Heather Brooks, Mother

“Awesome instructor. Brian (and Rita) are very patient with my son when he needs help. He’s a beginner and they are excellent with him even in a group setting.”

Brian Dickerman, Radio Host & Online Content Coordinator at Clear Channel Radio

  “Brian is one of the most dedicated athletes I’ve ever trained with and is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to better themselves physically.”

Don Johnson

“Great classes! Brian really takes the time to work with you and show techniques in depth. I look forward to continue training with him at each and every class.”

Kevin Martincowski, Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

“Brian Ruscio was one of my instructors for 3 years, and I can tell you he’s a great one! He is extremely friendly and never too busy to help. Genuinely cares about his students, and will spend however much time you need to comprehend a technique or position.”

Harriet Medrozo, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Brian a few years back when I trained at my local Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy. He is very personable, professional, and knowledgeable about the sport. Brian’s integrity and commitment to the sport projects what all students of this sport need to also display. He is patient, and works with the students not only on good, solid technique, but also on varieties for those who need to modify their style. I appreciate his excellent customer service and willingness to work with the community as well. As a former teacher for Orange County Public Schools, I’ve asked Brian to participate in the annual Teach-In event in which professionals from the community give back and come to schools to inform students about different career opportunities and such. Brian was to speak about the importance of self-confidence and motivation in life to students grades 4-5.  I recommend Brian Ruscio for his excellent personality, professionalism, expertise on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and high integrity.”

Jennifer Hovestadt

“I had the opportunity to train under Brian Ruscio for about 2 years.  As a woman I did a lot of research on what to expect prior to attending my first class.  In spite of that, I still couldn’t help feeling a little “out of place” at times.  Brian had a way of putting everyone at ease though and I always learned a lot when he was training the class.  I was often able to drill and train directly with Brian, and he would always explain how to execute certain moves in a way that made sense to me.  I feel I got the most out of class when training with Brian.  I still remember learning the Scissor Sweep and getting it right for the first time while training with him!  Brian never made me, or anyone for that matter, feel out of place or like we were wasting his time.  He is a very friendly, patient and knowledgeable teacher.  If you are thinking about training with him, do yourself a favor and just do it!  You will not regret it.”

Mauricio Furia, Owner of Furia Jiu Jitsu Sports and BJJ Purple Belt

“Great Place to Training , Legit BJJ Osss FURIA”

Shariq Khan, Director Product Yield Managment at Wyndham Vacation Ownership, Purple Belt in BJJ

 “I have known Brian since 2006; he has demonstrated many attributes which make him a success. He is extremely personable which enables him to work well with others. He has always demonstrated a high degree of integrity which makes clients trust and respect him. He has in-depth knowledge of ju-jitsu and personal training which makes him an ideal coach and trainer.”

Hector Cordova Sr., Owner & President at HXC Consulting, LLC

 “I met Brian Ruscio at Gracie Barra Orlando when he was working his way up to Black Belt in BJJ. He has always been very friendly and helpful. Brian is very patient and detailed-oriented, has never taken advantage of his skill level and has always toned down his training to the level of the individual. He works with a diverse group, from kids to teens, and seniors some in their 50’s or higher. From the student to the professional Brian always seems to be able to deliver a great experience every time. You always come out learning something new.”

Malin Hess, Co-founder and CEO at Luxury’s Finest

  “I studied under Brian for over a year learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. His knowledge of the art is immense and work ethic is second to none. If you train with Brian, you will see results… period.”

Fredrick Whorton, Senior Software Engineer at Riptide Software, Inc.

   “Brian is a skilled personal trainer. I worked with him for the past three years and he modifies his training methods to always keep things interesting. He deciphers a person’s skill level and can immediately adjust his training methods to accomplish their goals.”

Joey Green, Software Engineer at Sagewire Research LLC

  “Brian does a great job of managing one of the most popular Brazilian Jiu Jitsu schools in Central Florida and the World. (Gracie Barra) Brian always takes his time with instruction and is always patient with students of every level.”

Reginald Nelson, Sales Manager at Diamond Resorts International

“Brian puts his heart into his work. The commitment necessary to obtain a black belt in Jiu Jitsu demonstrates his commitment to excellence.”

Jamie Hoover

“Excellent training.. omg, this place is awesome, and they work with you and show you the correct way.. they are very patient even for an old guy like me. The boys love it here. They are always eager to come. A huge thanks to the excellent trainers that have the patience to teach my boys something new.  You can look and look, but I promise you, you will never find another instructor like Brian. He is patient, knowledgeable, and dedicated in teaching BJJ. As soon as you walk in the doors and meet Coach Brian, you can see how much he loves the sport. I would highly highly recommend anyone wether your new and just want to see what it’s like or you have been practicing and rolling for years, to just go and speak with coach.. you will not regret it. Such a great coach, and guy.”

Armando Rodriguez, Technical Manager at Sealoflex Waterproofing

“Brian has been all about fitness, since I met him in high school. This is his life and it shows in his work. I would recommend Brian to anyone who would like to get in shape.”

Ralph Dozier, Retired

“Brian is a highly motivated, detail orientated professional. Brian has worked extremely hard to rise to the top of his profession, while also maintaining a very diverse background.”

Sarah J Matheson

“Excellent Instructions!  I watched Brian come into the sport and manage a (Gracie Barra Jiu Jitsu) school while earning his way to a black belt. As he progressed Brian was always polite, welcoming, helpful, fair and professional. I watched Brian work with kids, including his own son, and adults with patience and understanding. If you’re considering training somewhere it would be a good place to train. He has a good wrestling and martial arts background, as well as an overall knowledge and understanding of physical fitness as it relates to sports. I have known Brian for many years. I have seen him come into Gracie as a blue belt and work his way up to a black belt. He was the manager at Gracie for years where he learned how to deal with customers. He has great skills with kids. He teaches in a way that is safe, fun and effective. Motivation and encouragement is a primary force behind his methodology. I would suggest this school for anyone ranging from child to seasoned fighter.”

Leslie McQuilkin, Tae Kwon Do Black Belt

“Fun, great exercise… tiring. Wonderful instruction. From Brazillian Jiujitsu! wrestling,! Boxing! Muay Thai! Tae Kwondo! and MMA competitors you have a perfect mix. fun, super affordable, friendly, and professional. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.”

Alexander Scopino, Real Estate Agent

“Great teacher, great folks. Brian knows how to break the moves down so even beginners can understand how and WHY they work.”

Christopher Gerkin

“The best place for martial arts I’ve beer been to.  The atmosphere is relaxed enough to enjoy learning but has the intensity to make you strive for achievement .”

Christina Noel

“I Got to try a class out recently and it kicked my butt!! Awesome trainers and a great group of people to be in class with.”

Camillo Mogollon, Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

“Master different arts!  Grappling Mastery offers you not one but many different Martial Arts to choose from in the Tavares area. I have known Head Instructor, Brian Ruscio for many years and I know the quality and dedication he has towards his students and love for the Martial Arts.”

Jose Andres

“He’s a good teacher! Will take his time to teach you the right way, with all his heart into it! And also very fun to do!”

Jason Cuatchon, Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

“Brian Ruscio is an excellent Black Belt Bjj instructor. Very technical and motivating. His wrestling background is an added bonus. Try out the free class, you’ll see what I mean.”

Jason Henry

“Great Gracie Barra Black Belt”

Wes Smith

“I haven’t been in the bjj world very long but felt right at home at Grappling Mastery. Brain is a great instructor, in so many ways.”


2 comments on “Reviews and Testimonials

  1. Grappling Mastery is more than just a great bjj and MMA academy, it is a growing community. We not only help and learn from each other, we communicate and hang out with each other outside of class, too. We’ve helped each other move, gone bowling, been to each other’s homes and are kids have socialized and played together outside of class. That’s the kind of camaraderie you’ll find at Grappling Mastery. You’ll not only learn great self-defense defense, you’ll meet some great people as well.

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