Instructors & Staff

Gracie Humaitá San Diego Jiu Jitsu
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Professor Regis Lebre

Black Belt 4th Degree

Professor Regis was born in Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil, taking up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at the age of 17 under Professor Eduardo Rocha. As a Purple Belt, Regis decided to move to Rio de Janeiro to continue his training at the Gracie Academy, where he was ultimately promoted to Black Belts by Master Royler Gracie, in only 5 years of training.  As a Black Belt, Profesor Regis has been a prolific competitor, amassing Pan American, Gracie Worlds, and Master & Senior championship titles as a Black Belt.  

Regis is the heart and soul of Gracie San Diego, priding himself on his ability to get the best out of his students. His experience, enthusiasm, and attention to details during teaching are second to none.

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Aaron Hernandez

Black Belt 3rd Degree

Professor Aaron is a San Diego Native who has been training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for more than 20 years. He was awarded his Black Belt by Fabio Santos in 2008 and has been teaching at Gracie San Diego since 2014. Aaron is currently a third degree Black Belt.

He enjoys surfing, spending time with his family, and competing in Jiu-Jitsu.

Janaina Lebre

Black Belt

Professor Janaina started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2013 in Brazil. In 2018, she decided to move to the United States to continue her studies under Profess Regis Lebre at Gracie Humaita San Diego. She’s one of our most consistent competitors, recently fighting on a Fight 2 Win competition and medaling at multiple IBJJF competitions.

Professor Janaina was awarded her Black Belt from Professor Regis in 2019 and is the main instructor of our Jr’s Program. Janaina’s passion for teaching is easily visible in how she teaches and cares for our students. She’s incredibly patient and understanding.

Professor Janaina enjoys crossfit, running, and shopping.

Mike Trasso

Black Belt

Michael Trasso was born raised in Lyndhurst, NJ. He started his martial arts journey in Freestyle Jiu-Jitsu/Catch Wrestling in 1995 when he was five years old. What started as a recreational hobby to break Michael’s shyness as a young boy, turned into a passion. He quickly progressed through the ranks and began competing around the age of 9. In middle school, Michael began wrestling which continued on through High School, he was later recruited to wrestle for Rhode Island College in Providence, RI.

Michael began his BJJ journey as an early teen in New Jersey and continued his training in Rhode Island during his college years. In 2016, Michael was given a work opportunity to move to San Diego, where as a Brown Belt, Michael made the move to San Diego and joined Gracie San Diego. Shortly after his move, Michael began teaching at the academy and started his own IT Staffing Company in San Diego, where he spends most of his time outside Gracie San Diego.

On July 11th, 2018 Michael was promoted to Black Belt by Professor Regis Lebre. Michael has been a competitive Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu & Wrestling athlete since an early age. He has learned, trained, and grappled with some of the top players in the game and competed on some of the biggest stages. With over two decades on the mats, he has developed a very unique hybrid style of grappling, which he loves sharing with other students and instructors.

Outside of Jiu-Jitsu, Michael is a bit of a music buff. He grew up on Classic Rock, 80s and other oldies and a big passion of his is studying, listening, and exploring music. He also enjoys running, lifting, and good humor.

Erik Arnett

Black Belt

Arnett is a San Diego native, who started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2006 under Master Fábio Santo, receiving his Blue Belt in 2007. Shortly after switched teams, he starting studying under Master Regis Lebre at Gracie Humaita San Diego. Arnett spent the next ten years getting destroyed and learning the gentle art, and receiving his Black Belt under Professor Regis in 2016.

Arnett currently owns and operates Arnett’s Plumbing. Other hobbies include Motocross Racing, MT bike, and teaching BJJ.

Billy Crafton

Black Belt

Billy Crafton was born and raised in San Diego, California. He’s been involved in athletics all his life, playing multiple sports at Pt. Loma High School and playing football in college.  He started training in Jiu-Jitsu in 2009 with Regis Lebre at Gracie Humaita.  He earned his black belt in 2017.

Billy is an active competitor. He has won NAGA, Grappler’s Quest and Grappler’s X tournaments, as well as over 50 IBJJF tournaments, including a World Championship, multiple American National gi and no-gi championships, and multiple Pan-American gi and no-gi championships.  He also won the UFC Fight Week No-Gi Grappling Tournament Advanced Division in 2015.  His only athletic regret is that he didn’t’ start training in Jiu-Jitsu earlier in his life.

Outside of Jiu-Jitsu, Billy is married with three children.  His older daughter has been training in Jiu-Jitsu for years and his twin son and daughter have begun training recently. He enjoys surfing, reading and spending time with his family.

Zimitro Perez

Brown Belt

Zimi’s journey into the martial arts began in March of 2013, consisting of a year in Judo before switching and completely focusing his time on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Gracie Humaita San Diego. Zimi has been an instructor in our Kid’s program since 2017, and received his Brown Belt by Professor Regis in 2018.

Zimi is a constant competitor, gracing Five Grappling’s stage, and competing at several IBJJF competitions during his Jiu-Jitsu career. He’s a passionate instructor and coach, often making himself available to mentor others after class, and coaching fellow students at competitions.  

“Teamwork and friendship are accompanied by dedication and hard work. We hope to make this place an educational and empowering environment. From competition training to self-defense, and a great kids program; Gracie Humaita serves many different aspects of Jiu-Jitsu for people from all walks of life.”

David Figueroa-Martinez

Brown Belt

David started training Jiu-Jitsu in 2011 through UC San Diego’s Recreational Sports Program. Later transitioning to the Roy Harris Academy and earning his Blue Belt under Professor Jeff Baldwin. In 2014, David started training at Gracie Humaita San Diego, ultimately earning his Purple and Brown Belts under Professor Regis Lebre. David has been an instructor in our kid’s program since 2017. He’s a passionate and dedicated instructor and teammate.

Some of David’s hobbies include reading, writing, video games, and going to the movies.

“Find your purpose or you're wasting air..”

Todd Cuffaro

Brown Belt

Todd started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2012 under Professor Aaron Hernandez, after being introduced to the sport by a friend. He made the move to Gracie San Diego as a Blue Belt in order to train under Professor Regis Lebre and Aaron, whose school was closing. Over the next several years Todd received his Purple and Brown Belts under Professors Regis and Aaron jointly.

He enjoys the positive benefits that Jiu-Jitsu provides, such as having close lifelong friendships, strong mental and physical wellness, and that it’s simply fun to do.

Aside from training and teaching, Todd’s interests include business, motocross and surfing.

Kellen “Kelly” Conlon

Kellen was born and raised in San Diego, California. At the age of 19, he took his first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class, while studying at San Diego State University. He was immediately hooked and the martial art has been a part of his life since. Kellen earned his Blue Belt in 2014 under Jason Bukich, and his Purple Belt under Professor Regis Lebre in 2018.

Kellen grew up surfing and still gets out in the ocean every day. The Jiu-Jitsu and Surfing lifestyles go hand in hand for him. They both encourage you to take care of your body, eat well, and teach you a lot about patience and persistence. Kellen also loves to travel all over the world to surf and train.

“Jiu-Jitsu has given me so many great things and has shaped who I am today. My goal now, is to share the art with whomever is willing to learn.”

Stan Pogrebinsky

Stan is originally from Ukraine. Thanks to a good friend, Stan was introduced to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2013, fell in love with the martial art, and never looked back. Stan was awarded his Purple Belt in 2017 by Professor Regis Lebre, and has been an instructor in our Fundamentals Program since 2018, bringing with him a love and drive for making people better. Stan’s positive attitude dedication to the fundamental program are infectious.

He’s looking forward to spreading the love of the art.