Todd Jones is a Black Belt at El Dorado Hills Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. His excitement for Jiu-Jitsu began in 1993 when he was reading an article in “Black Belt Magazine” about UFC 1. After spending 3 years in law school, he was looking for a new hobby that didn’t involve reading a book: He ordered UFC 2 on pay-per-view shortly thereafter, and was blown away by what Royce Gracie did. He said, “THAT’s what I want to do!”
Places to practice Jiu-Jitsu were scarce at the time and through a friend’s invitation he was finally allowed to start learning Jiu-Jitsu at Carlie Gracie’s gym in San Francisco. It was a 90 minute one way commute from where he was living at the time.
About a year later he moved to Fresno and found a gym to continue with his training. He moved back to the Bay Area about 2 years after that to open his own law practice. He found Ceasar and Ralph Gracie’s dojo in Mt. View and resumed his training. David Camarillo, BJ Penn, and Cameron Earl were there, and just starting as white belts.
Sustaining an injury, he was sidelined for several months, and even began to think he might be too old for the sport. “I really missed it. Jiu-Jitsu was one of the most fun & meaningful things I had done as an adult and I wanted to keep training.” That’s when, in about 1998 he found Claudio Franca’s gym in San Jose, where he eventually earned his blue, purple and brown belts. He felt like he had found the perfect school. Todd really thrived at Claudio Franca’s Academy, and recalls how he’s “met some really good people because of Jiu-Jitsu.” In 2005 Todd had the opportunity to spend one week with Master Mansor in New York. “This was a life changing experience for me. I experienced a different perspective while I was out there and really saw the AUTHENTIC HUMAN ROOTS of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I realized that Jiu Jitsu was all about Hard Work and Dedication, Not Magic.”
Todd has made a strong contribution on the legal front to the Sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the State ofCalifornia. When the CA Athletic Commission tried to place sanctions on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournaments organized by Joe Moreira, Claudio Franca, and Rickson Gracie, Todd grappled (legally) with the commission to protect Jiu-Jitsu tournaments from the commission and its demand for licensing fees and control of the sport. Subsequently, events like the Pan American Championships, the biggest Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Tournament in the World has been held in California for the last several years.
“There is something beautiful about jiu-jitsu and the movements of the human body. It’s really fun to see how it all flows together, and how it principals apply to other areas in life. Especially when it comes to leaving your ego at the door. As an instructor I would like to convey this sense of beauty and help people make that connection from the mat to their own lives.”
Some Notable Moments in Todd’s Jiu-Jitsu Career:
1995: Royce Gracie Seminar
2002: Pan American Championships Silver Medalist Master’s Division
2004: Rickson Gracie Seminar
2005: “A Week with Master Mansor”
2006: Promotion to Brown Belt
2010: Discovered EDHBJJ
2011: US OPEN Champion