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Frequently Asked Questions


Don't see your question listed here? Feel free to contact us and we will be happy to answer your questions.

  • Who are your instructors?
    Our academy Head Professor is Max McGarr, who spent 16 years directly under Master Renzo Gracie and John Danaher in New York City, where he earned his black belt. He is a second degree black belt and has spent over 10 years teaching classes and developing world champion athletes at Renzo Gracie Academy NYC. You can read more about Max here. Professor Max teaches the majority of Fundamentals and Advanced classes. Our other black belt instructors teach and co-teach classes with Prof. Max to add variety while maintaining consistency in technique. All our academy coaches are world-class athletes and instructors, well-loved by our students: Coach Tim Principe is a Renzo Gracie black belt under our head professor, Max McGarr. Tim is a UNR alumni, where he studied anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology. He is a two-time Fight2Win Pro Champion and Submission ProTour Sacramento Advanced Division Winner. Tim is a patient instructor with a strong focus on self-defense and Fundamentals. He teaches adults class Friday evenings, kids and teens class on Saturdays, and directs our law enforcement training program for active LEOs. Coach Damon Ramos is a Renzo Gracie brown belt under our head professor, Max McGarr. Damon is a 2022 ADCC +99 veteran, 2x ADCC trials finalist (2021, 2023), 2x IBJJF Worlds brown belt ultra heavyweight medalist, Submission Pro Tour no-gi heavyweight champion, and is 4-0 in Fight2Win. He teaches our early morning adult classes at 5:30am and 6:00am, and our kids and teens classes on weekdays. Damon is a methodical, detail-oriented instructor that specializes in takedowns, leg locks, and body lock passing. Coach Andy McKennie is a Renzo Gracie black belt under our head professor, Max McGarr. Andy is an IBJJF Pan No-Gi 2022 gold medalist and IBJJF International Open 2022 gold medalist. He teaches adults class on Wednesday evenings and competition class on Sundays. Andy is a very detailed instructor with excellent lesson plans, often focusing on Z-guard, arm saddle, and guard retention. Coach Dario Cuevas is a Renzo Gracie purple belt under our head professor, Max McGarr. He is one of the favorite coaches in our kids and teens program. We regularly host seminars with world-renowed instructors and world-champion athletes, such as Renzo Gracie, John Danaher, Tom DeBlass, and Georges St-Pierre.
  • Do you have classes for beginners?
    Yes. We have a distinct and separate program for beginning students. Your first class is always free to try. If you've never taken a jiu-jitsu class before, we offer an introductory session and Fundamentals class for free. Click here to get started with a free intro and trial class.
  • Are there rules or etiquette to follow in class?
    We have some basic etiquette guidelines. Please take a look at our etiquette guide.
  • Do I need to be in shape for class?
    People of all fitness levels and capabilities practice jiu-jitsu. You don't have to be in peak condition – you will notice your conditioning, endurance, and flexibility all increase naturally as a side effect of regular class attendance. During class, if you feel that you need to stop and take a break, you can. Just let your instructor know and take a few minutes on the mats to catch your breath. Some students do other forms of exercise in addition to jiu-jitsu, such as weight lifting, Crossfit, running, or yoga. Some students do jiu-jitsu as their only form of exercise. It's entirely up to you and your goals.
  • What are the cost of classes?
    That depends on the program you are in – Fundamentals, Advanced, or Kids + Teens. Click here to view academy pricing.
  • Do you allow drop-ins?
    Out-of-town students from affiliated and non-affiliated academies can contact us for drop-in information.
  • Do you have testing or ceremony fees?
    No. There are never any ceremony, testing, or promotion fees.
  • Are you an official Renzo Gracie school?
    Yes, we are a direct extension of our main academy in NYC. We are not a franchise. You can click here to read more about our academy's Head Professor Max McGarr. Max and his wife opened Renzo Gracie Reno in February 2018. We are proud and fortunate to have cultivated a supportive community of incredible people, and a great reputation of top-tier education in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and no-gi submission grappling. The academy was voted the #1 Best Gym in Reno in 2018, 2022, 2023, and 2024 by Reno Gazette Journal Community Choice Awards, and has amazing reviews from students on Facebook, Yelp, and Google. Come in and see for yourself – try a class for free and see if you want to join the family. See what Renzo Gracie has to say about Max and Renzo Gracie Academy Reno. See what John Danaher has to say about Max and Renzo Gracie Reno.
  • Do students have to compete?
    No, you are not required to compete at all.
  • Do you support people who want to compete?
    Definitely. You will have the support you need if you decide to compete. Our Head Professor and Coaches are all champion athletes, so you will have world-class competition prep from instructors who know what it's like to be out there competing. We have focused sessions specifically for competition preparation, and our coaches make themselves available to corner our competitors. We have traveled to corner and support our competitors as a team, at Grappling X, NAGA, ADCC, and IBJJF competitions both regionally and nationally.
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