arts for fitness BJJ



Arts For Fitness’ Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy is the premiere destination for anyone interested in learning the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. We have worked, and continue to work hard, to make certain that you will be proud to become a part of our Jiu Jitsu Academy. Arts For Fitness has brought to the South the highest level of training and understanding of Martial Arts. Our students range from all life backgrounds but on the mat everyone becomes part of the same extended Jiu-jitsu family.

Arts For Fitness is dedicated to embodying the tradition and quality of the arts in the State of South Carolina. We are dedicated to providing a fun, safe environment for students of all ages.

What separates our Academies from others is that we select directors who are highly qualified and internationally recognized in their respective fields. We emphasize proper technique and procedures in a warm, friendly environment where all students are encouraged to reach their full potential and, most importantly, develop confidence, skills, and tools that will help them succeed on and off the mat.

Every student is important and we are fully committed to providing extraordinary instruction with an emphasis on safety, technical proficiency, and a focus on developing a constructive and positive attitude.

Our classes are structured to accommodate everyone-Not just the athlete or fighter; but all those who are seeking to get mentally and physically in better shape!

Representing Rigan Machado in the State of South Carolina. Master Rigan Machado is an internationally known martial artist who holds the very prestigious rank of 8th Degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu and has remained a popular instructor and competitor on the world Jiu Jitsu scene for over 25 years. He started training with his legendary cousins the Gracie family in his home town of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1982.Rigan won the World Championships every year and every belt division, amassing a record of 365 wins and no losses in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition. He also created a record by having 19 matches in one day and finishing all of them by submission. He remains unbeaten in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in more than 13 years of competition.

Mr. Machado owns and operates academies throughout the country, as well as trains top Hollywood actors such as Ashton Kutcher, Paul Walker, and Ryan Phillepe. He has had numerous publications and has been on over twenty magazine covers as well as television and film presence. The numerous victories of the Machado brothers are amplified by the success of their students. The Machado team has won more medals than any other American-based team. The Rigan Machado/Arts For Fitness team in South Carolina continues to have a big impact in all arenas of competition.  Rigan has called Charleston a second home and looks forward to visiting the South while bringing to his students cutting edge training and unmatched seminars for the beginners or advanced

“Come on Brothers and Sisters join the fun and I will see you soon on the Mat” !

Arts For Fitness Head Instructor Gilson Fernandes 4th Degree Black Belt

Arts For Fitness Head Instructor
Gilson Fernandes 4th Degree Black Belt

GILSON FERNANDES Professor Gilson (pronounced Ju’Son) Fernandes is an internationally known martial artist who holds the highest rank in the state of South Carolina. A fourth (4th)  Degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu from Carlson Gracie Club. He is Registered with IBJJF / CBJJ, FJJ-RIO, FJJO, FJJD-RIO, LERJJI, CBJJO, CBJJE. Professor Gilson is an Internationally certified Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Referee for the past twelve years. Some of the countries he Refereed in are : Brazil, United States, Canada, Italy, Switzerland, England and Jordan. He is the main thought after instructor of self-defense and hand-hand combat in many organizations for over a decade:

-Unit Special Operation – BOPE
-Group Special Actions – GAE
-Department of Special Operations NOE-PRF
-Divers of Combat- Navy of Brazil
-Security Special Group-GES Security Federal Justice
-Modern Army Combatives Level I &II Program – Department of the Army

Besides his prestigious qualifications, professor Fernandes started the first BJJ youth program inside BOPE under the Brazilian government. After much success in changing the lives of so many children and creating a lot of champions, this program grew to accommodate over a thousand children in the past few years. Professor Gilson is a Champion on and off the mat who leads by example. Besides his love to the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, professor Gilson is a world traveler and an animal advocate. His vision is simple ” want to teach my students all that I have learned from the biggest masters in the world of BJJ with accuracy, honor and creating a world class Charleston competition team .

Fred moved to Charleston SC in 1989 a day before Hugo. Fred’s continuous thirst for learning has made him join forces with Rigan Machado and bringing to Charleston the art of BJJ back to its roots and in the hands of its founders.

His clear instructions, keen eye and decade of experience is a rare find. Fred is an adjunct instructor at the Citadel College since 1990 and  founded their martial arts club. He currently instructs the BJJ curriculum at the Citadel and is a sub instructor at the West Ashley Arts For Fitness facility. Fred achieved the rank of Brown Belt.

Besides his passion for the Martial Arts, Fred is an inventor and creator. He loves all types of water activities and above all helping and empowering his students to find the light in their lives.