INSTRUCTORS

Instructors at Gracie Barra Upland Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, San Bernardino County

Gracie Barra has many Instructors that teach classes and others that take key roles that are essential to the success of our organization. To insure our students understand the titles, we have listed the hierarchy and responsibilities associated with them. Click here to find out more.

ANA LAURA CORDEIRO

Head Instructor - Black Belt 3rd Degree

Professor Ana Cordeiro’s journey in Jiu Jitsu is the epitome of the ultimate dream. Her love and dedication to Jiu Jitsu began as a teenager in the small city of Unai in Brazil. She had the privilege to learn under Master Carlos Jr. and quickly mastered the foundations and skills

necessary to become successful in the sport. Encouraged by her successes, Ana realized that

more opportunities awaited her in the US and so she moved here with her now husband, Rafael.

Ana soon became one of the most accomplished women in Jiu Jitsu history. She has won countless tournaments. They include:

 World Champion Double Gold in every belt

 3x Black Belt

 3x Black Belt Pan Champion

 1x Open Class Pan Champion

 2x No-Gi Black Belt Champion

 2x No-Gi Black Belt Open Weight

ADCC Gold Medalist

Most recently, Ana was honored with the Resilience Award from Gracie Barra in Australia. Ana and Rafael are the proud owners of Gracie Barra Upland. Her main focus is to make the school the best Martial Arts school in the region where everyone is part of the Jiu Jitsu community. She teaches both kids and adult classes. She takes pride in teaching the next generation of competitors and recognizes how great of a responsibility she has to share her passion for Jiu Jitsu. She is honored to do so. When Ana isn’t teaching, she loves spending time with her husband Professor Rafael, their friends, family and daughter Claire. Watch out for Claire… She’s growing up on the mat and is learning from the best!

RAFAEL NOVAIS

Black Belt 2nd Degree

Professor Rafael Novais' passion for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu emerged early on in his life. At the age of 17, he began training at Gracie Barra Brasilia under the guidance of Professor Eliezer Dutra, a 4th degree black belt. His initial interests were in self defense and fitness, but he quickly developed the desire to compete. Professor Rafael dreamed of opening his own school and so he moved to the U.S. in 2008 from Unai, Minas Gerais, Brazil. While leaving his family was the hardest decision of his life, their support encouraged him to pursue his dreams. Just two years later, in 2010, Professor Rafael's dream of owning his own school became a reality and he, along with his wife Ana Laura, opened GBUpland. In 2011 he earned his black belt under Master Carlos Gracie Jr. Professor Rafael has gone on to win..... Professor Rafael is dedicated to teaching his students BJJ techniques and philosophies. He strives to nurture their love of the sport and to make it a way of life. He particularly enjoys teaching the children's classes. Watching them develop into confident, disciplined individuals is what he says BJJ is all about.

CODY YANEZ

Coach 

Coach Cody Yanez has been training in Jiu Jitsu since 2012. He is a Double Gold No Gi World Champion. He earned second place at the Worlds in 2018 and second place in the Pan Ams in 2017. His favorite thing about Gracie Barra Upland is the positive learning environment for both kids and adults alike. Everyone is encouraged to learn and to share their own Jiu Jitsu skills. He has coached the kid’s classes since he was a young teenager and now at 18, he teaches the Kids Program. Cody shares: “Having the chance to teach the kids is awesome especially because I used to be in those classes myself. I believe it’s much easier to help kids of all ages with Jiu-Jitsu especially since I have been in their shoes. I love to train and compete all the time. I have been competing ever since I was 11 years old. Outside of Jiu-Jitsu I like to explore nature, hang out with my friends, and play video games”.

JASON DOWNSER

Coach

Coach Jason Dowser has been training1 at Gracie Barra Upland since 2012 and teaching for about a year now. Jason first started training in the GB Kids Program and quickly fell in love with the sport. The encouraging atmosphere and positive energy are what he feels make Gracie Barra Upland so unique. He started competing in tournaments when he was 14 and is an accomplished competitor. Jason won the Pan American Championships and 2 gold medals at the No-Gi World Championships in 2018. In addition to competing, Jason found a love for teaching and shares the positive affects Jiu Jitsu has had on his life. He explained: “They say teaching is the greatest learning experience, and I couldn't agree more. Even now, my Professors and students inspire me every day to become a better version of myself. Gracie Barra Upland gave me a happy, friendly, and empowering environment as a kid and it's such a blessing to be able to bring that to a whole new generation!”

PAULO MERLIN

Coach

As a well-known athlete in the field of Jiu-Jitsu, Coach Paulo is currently ranked as the best Adult Purple Belt in the World by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation. His story starts back in Sertaozinho, small town on the state of Sao Paulo-Brazil, when young Paulo Merlin, with the help of a social program that was launched in the city, joins a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class at the age of 9. Little did he know that he had just begun this bright journey bringing him to the position of one who is an elite athlete and one of the best Jiu-Jitsu competitors in the world. In September of 2018 Paulo was given the opportunity to come to the United States and teach classes while representing the Red Shield by Professor Ana Cordeiro & Rafael Novais. He is now one of our Kids Coaches and Adults Instructor at Gracie Barra Upland. Paulo has won many important tournaments and is now Brazilian, South American and European Champion. His biggest achievement was in December of 2019 when he became the IBJJF NO-GI Open Weight World Champion.  

RICHARD ORTIZ 

 Coach

We can say Coach Richard is our most experienced coach when it comes to parenting. With 5 kids on the mat, Richard manages to find time to teach the sport he fell in love with not too long ago at the age of 32. Even though he started Jiu-Jitsu later in life, he is passionate and dedicated to teaching the art that has had an impact in his life thereby fulfilling the vision of Master Carlos Gracie Jr. of doing for others what Jiu-Jitsu has done for him. Owen, Nayeli, Caleb and the twins, Jonah and Maxwell are his 5 lovely children who are all Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in our Kids Program at GBUpland. Richard has found that being on the mat and mentoring others provides a profound sense of purpose and fulfillment.