On Saturday Oct 11th, 2014 Mestre Royler Gracie conducted another great seminar at Gracie Humaita North Carolina in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina. Prof. Armando Basulto had over 40 Jiu Jitsu devotees on the mats to learn from the master himself on his annual visit.
Among the promotions that Mestre Royler presided over that day was a very special one. Christine Basulto, Prof. Armando’s wife and student of over 15yrs, was awarded her Black Belt in front of all present. This makes her the only Gracie Humaita Female Black Belt in the state of North Carolina and one of the few women Black Belts in the world who were promoted directly by Mestre Royler Gracie.
Royler Gracie addressed the assembled students to comment on Christine’s long-time commitment through the years and challenges. Christine had maintained her training and discipline through the birth of twin boys, graduate school degrees, work-related responsibilities and all while administrating the Basulto Academy of Defense full-time.
It is said that the Thousand Mile Journey begins with one step. Christine began training with Prof. Basulto not long after they met and married 20 years ago. As a NYC inner-city schoolteacher who had to travel late-night alone through-out the city, she was motivated to learn an effective martial art. At the original Basulto Academy of Defense in New Jersey, she was the only woman on the mats for many of her formative Jiu Jitsu years.
Christine was a Silver Medalist at the 1999 Royler Gracie Championships and was also a competitive kick boxer, being a member of the 2002 USA Savate Team to fight in Belgium (coached by Prof. Armando). When the couple moved to North Carolina to raise their newborn twins, she continued to train as often as she could while the new academy was established.
Today at Gracie Humaita North Carolina, Christine has assumed a leadership role, helping to develop women’s participation in the “arte suave” and organizing Women’s Self-Defense Seminars and running specialized “Women’s Training Nights” at the academy. Now the academy boasts a range of women fighters ranging from yellow belts to purple belts, all taking their first steps on their personal Thousand Mile Journey.