Chet Schemahorn, 3rd Degree Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt
Professor Chet Schemahorn started his training in May of 1995 watching VHS instructional tapes release by Rorion & Royce Gracie, after witnessing Royce revolutionize martial arts in the early UFC’s. After 3 months Chet was able to attend a 2-day Royce Gracie seminar in Columbus, Ohio, which only fueled his desire to learn and hopefully teach one day. In late July of 1996, he made his first week long trip to the Gracie Academy in Torrance, California and was able to train with Rorion Gracie - eldest son of Grand Master Helio Gracie. At the end of the week Chet was awarded his blue belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, again fueling his desire to learn more and become a certified instructor.
Due to financial limitations, Chet could only go to the Gracie Academy for 1 week visits 4 times a year. Chet would take what he learned each time and show his close friends, always correcting mistakes and adding new techniques. In February of 2001, after teaching 2 of his students the entire stand up self-defense program and filming them performing the moves for Rorion Gracie and Helio Gracie to review - and after a vigorous private session where Grand Master Helio Gracie pointed out some needed corrections, Chet was promoted to assistant instructor of the Gracie Academy.
In August of 2000, after losing in the finals of his weight division to high level competitor Kenny Bond, Chet was awarded his purple belt from Rorion and Royce Gracie. Still traveling 4 times a year to headquarters, Chet's teaching skills started to become apparent as at least a dozen or more of his students were promoted to blue belt by Royce during seminars. In February of 2003, Rorion Gracie hosted a tournament with a grand prize “Trip of a Lifetime” 9-days all expense paid trip to stay with Grandmaster Helio Gracie at his home in the mountains outside of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After a hard fought tournament, Chet submitted all of his opponents in the purple belt division winning the “Trip of a Lifetime” along with 9 other competitors. Ryron and Rener Gracie were promoted to black belt by their grandfather, Grand Master Helio Gracie, and from then on would become Chet’s instructors with Rorion overseeing his instructor training.
In November of 2003, Chet was awarded his brown belt and more importantly was promoted to certified instructor of the Gracie Academy. In December of 2007, Chet and 6 others (including Ed O’Neill“Al Bundy”) were the first group of American students promoted to black belt at the Gracie Academy under Rorion Gracie and his sons, Ryron and Rener Gracie. Then in July of 2010, Chet took Abram Bottles to test for his black belt. After a week long test at the Gracie Academy, Abram was promoted to black belt - making him the 2nd person (after Chet) to receive a black belt and not train full time at Gracie Academy.
Chet has since taken two other students to the Gracie Academy to receive their black belts, Warren Acker (who was 55 yrs old at the time) and Abram's younger brother, Aram Bottles. Then again, on a historic occasion, Chet was the first ever certified instructor to promote 3 students, Ted Davis, Mark Kern, and Thayne Grove to the rank of black belt without having to travel again to the Academy in Torrance, Ca. That ceremony was held in August 2016 at Chet's other school in LaGrange, In.
Chet currently holds the rank of 3rd Degree Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, which he received in July of 2017. Though his trips to the Gracie Academy in Torrance have lessened in frequency, his dedication to the technique and principles of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu remain a priority.