We strive to empower every person and help you unleash your potential

At Gracie Barra Henderson, we prioritize creating a friendly and safe environment for students of all ages. We embody the core values of brotherhood, expansion and integrity, as espoused by the legendary Master Carlos Gracie Jr. His lifelong dedication to the growth and development of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has shaped our culture and created a community united by these principles. As Master Carlos Gracie Jr. stated, “My goal was simply to build a brotherhood to lead the expansion of Jiu-Jitsu while respecting the essence of our art.”

  • Brotherhood
  • Integrity
  • Development
  • At Gracie Barra, we are driven by Master Carlos Gracie Jr.’s vision of making Jiu-Jitsu accessible to everyone. With a legacy spanning over three decades, we have been dedicated to providing adults from diverse backgrounds and skill levels with the opportunity to learn and excel in the art of Jiu-Jitsu.
meet the owners

Welcome to Gracie Barra Henderson, the premier destination for Martial Arts and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Henderson, NV! 

Nathan’s story began in two Brazilian cities: Recife, where he was born, and Rio de Janeiro, where he spent his formative years. In 2010, Nathan’s health took a worrisome turn when he discovered that he had blood pressure issues and was carrying excess weight for his age. Following his doctor’s advice, he embarked on a journey to improve his physical well-being and to pursue a deeper understanding of physical education. The first step along this journey, Nathan found himself trying the martial art of Jiu-Jitsu. From the first moment he stepped onto the mat, he knew he had discovered something extraordinary.

Within a few short months of training, Nathan’s dedication and newfound talent propelled him into the realm of competitive Jiu-Jitsu. His skills flourished, and he participated in many tournaments where he could display his prowess. As the journey progressed, he achieved the significant milestone of being promoted to the esteemed rank of blue belt, and his drive to be a specialist in everything physical grew. Nathan ended up conquering the Rio de Janeiro State Championship and cemented his position as the top-ranked competitor within his division. Undeterred by obstacles, he continued on the path of BJJ and physical education, eventually attaining a Physical Education Degree in 2017.

Driven by a thirst for growth and new experiences, Nathan ventured out beyond the shores of Brazil to Canada, where he embraced the role of both teacher and practitioner of Jiu-Jitsu. In 2018, the call of competition led him to the United States. Within the vibrant city of Las Vegas, Nevada, he showcased his skills on the global stage at the esteemed World Championships. Impressed by his talent, the Jiu-Jitsu community in the city of lights extended an invitation for Nathan to share his knowledge and passion by becoming an instructor. In 2019, he reached the pinnacle of his Jiu-Jitsu journey, attaining the highly coveted Black Belt. From that moment forward, now Professor Nathan, has dedicated himself to helping the next generation of BJJ practitioners from all walks of life, and continues to leave an everlasting impact on all of his aspiring students.

Nathan Barreto

Nathan Barreto

Co-Owner & Head Professor

Gracie Barra Henderson is one of Southern Nevada’s fastest growing BJJ studios

Rafaela Schmitz

Co-Owner & Female Coach

Rafaela’s story starts in the bustling city of Curitiba, located just within the southern region of Brazil. She had a promising career as a professional Handball athlete until a severe knee injury disrupted her path. Determined to turn things around, she temporarily set aside her athletic pursuits and pursued a Marketing degree. However, her passion for sports remained deeply ingrained. During this transitional period, a coworker extended an invitation for her to try Jiu-Jitsu. From the very first class onward, she felt an undeniable connection to the art.

Embracing Jiu-Jitsu wholeheartedly, Rafaela embarked on a remarkable journey. Even in her inaugural year of training, she fearlessly entered competitions, motivated by her unwavering dedication. As a white belt, her talent and determination propelled her to the pinnacle of her state’s ranking. Undeterred by previous knee challenges, Rafaela continued her competition journey as a blue belt, venturing into larger tournaments. Her hard work paid off when she emerged victorious at the prestigious IBJJF Brazilian Nationals and IBJJF Europeans, earning her a well-deserved promotion to the coveted rank of Purple Belt. Notably, as a purple belt, she displayed remarkable skill and resilience. She even secured a commendable third place in Abu Dhabi as a heavy underdog, given she was competing against the black belts. During this time, female competitors from the purple, brown, and black belt divisions were all placed together in the same bracket.

In pursuit of new horizons, Rafaela made a significant move to Lisbon, Portugal, where she dedicated herself to her training and teaching Jiu-Jitsu. In 2017, she was presented with a remarkable opportunity: an invitation to relocate to the United States and become an instructor at GB Henderson. During this new chapter of her life, Rafaela attained the esteemed rank of brown belt, marking her continuous evolution. Since then, she has been proud to call the United States her home, nurturing her passion for Jiu-Jitsu and specializing in helping female students or those who want to enter the world of BJJ tournaments.

Rafaela Schmitz

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gracie barra – henderson, nv

Our Team

We learn from our past to educate the future, ensuring the legacy remains alive and vibrant. At Gracie Barra Henderson, these are the people we call family who help make it all happen.

Professor Nathan


Coach Rafaela


Coach Leandro




Our partners