Jerel first became interested in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu after watching the Ultimate Fighting Championships. After finding out that Royce Gracie’s brother lived and taught in Hawaii, he signed up for classes and started his journey in January of 1996 under Relson Gracie.
Through the years, Jerel has been fortunate to train under Renato ‘Charuto’ Verissimo, Mark Laimon, John Lewis, Michael Jen, Terry and Davin Maxwell, and finally Eliot Kelly where he has found his home at El Dorado Hills BJJ and received his black belt in September, 2017.
Although it was BJJ’s application to ‘No-Holds-Barred’ fighting that initially attracted him to the art, Jerel has also found enjoyment in the sport aspect of Jiu-Jitsu. He has found a true passion for the entire process of competing in Jiu-Jitsu tournaments, from the preparation leading up to the competition, to the performance on tournament day, and finally the reflection on what worked well and what can be improved after it is over. Jerel’s most treasured competition memory was when he was able to participate in the US Open alongside his wife Aiza and three children Angelo, Ethan, and Ryan.