Our Story

Family owned and operated since 1999



Gabrieles Martial Arts is the heart and soul of Salvatore and Olinda Gabriele. Both immigrants from Italy, they met when they were just kids and married soon after graduating high school.

Sal worked at Electric Boat for a number of years but during a period of downsizing, he decided to change careers, becoming a program director and karate instructor at a martial arts school in Westerly.

It was around that same time the Groton Sub Base was looking for someone to run a cardio kickboxing program on site. Enter Sal and Olinda. In 1996 they launched their program and it quickly grew in popularity. Starting with classes just two days a week, it soon expand to five days with around 100 students.

But over time the Sub Base decided they wanted to expand their offerings, opting to cut the kickboxing program to make way for others. Sal and Olinda’s huge following of students wanted a place to continue their classes, and many suggested the couple open their own space.

So in 1999, they did just that. With a blessing from the Westerly dojo owner, Hanshi Cheech Luzzi, they found a location in Groton. Taking a leap of faith, Sal and Olinda found a way to self finance their new venture.

In 2003, Gabrieles opened a second location in the Benny’s Shopping Plaza in Waterford. Within a few years they outgrew that space and began the search for a new home. In 2006 they purchased and renovated the old Post Office building — their current location. They soon decided to merge both dojos and form one school to serve the greater area.

During this time, Sal and Olinda’s son Jason joined forces with his parents, making Gabrieles a true family venture.  It was Jason’s vision that spearheaded another major renovation in 2020. The result is a stunning, state of the art school that provides an optimal environment for students to learn the ancient wisdom of martial arts.

Having a place where they can share their passion and work alongside each other under one roof is truly the ultimate family dream. The Gabriele family welcomes you to their home away from home and to join them on their journey of transformation and growth.

Olinda Gabriele


As the co-founder and chief instructor at Gabrieles Martial Arts, Olinda Gabriele is a testament to strength and determination. Born in Italy, Olinda learned at a young age from her parents that giving up is never an option.

At age 10, her family moved to the United States in pursuit of a better life. They arrived with little to their names but through hard work, thrived in their new country. Olinda’s father worked in a number of local factories, like the American Velvet Company in Stonington, and achieved his ultimate dream of owning a family home — a place his children, grandchildren and relatives could live in for generations.

With a strong upbringing, Olinda has always pursued both work and passions with vigor. Since 1985 she has trained in the Shōrin-ryū discipline of karate under Hanshi Cheech Luzzi. She has also practiced under the reputable Sensei Perry, Sensei Hargrove and Grand Master Shūgorō Nakazato, one of the most influential living karate Grand Masters in the world.

More than 25 years ago, Olinda had the honor of receiving her Kobudo Shodan rank under Grand Master Shūgorō Nakazato. She also performed in Okinawa to celebrate his birthday, along with her son Jason and Hanshi Luzzi.

Olinda fell in love with the world of martial arts competition while watching her young son Jason compete. Over the years, she has traveled to countless states to showcase her skills and has even gone undefeated for five years in weapons and Kata. Olinda has also earned world titles under the Krane and Naska circuits.

Her extensive experience in the competition circuit has deepened Olinda’s knowledge of martial arts and in turn helped her students reach their highest potentials. In 2015, Olinda’s hard work earned her the title of Kyoshi or master teacher.

Olinda is well rounded in the world of martial arts. Not only is she an expert in karate, but she has also trained in Krav Maga, a style of self defense developed for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Olinda also holds a purple belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and is a certified personal trainer with the Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), continuing to stay certified in all levels.

Broadening her scope even further, Olinda is a published children’s book author of “Princess and the Castle,” which is available on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

As witnessed by her children’s success both personally and professionally, Olinda believes martial arts can set the foundation for a positive life. She encourages all parents who are looking to instill strength, respect and courage in their children to consider enrolling them in a martial arts school.

Jason Gabriele


Jason Gabriele’s passion for martial arts ignited in 1984 when he was just four years old. Two years later, he stepped into the karate competition circuit, continuing to compete for more than a decade.

Like his mother Olinda, Jason trained under Sensei Cheech Luzzi and continues to do so today. Jason and Sensei Luzzi have traveled the world together attending various competitions and even appearing on ESPN.

Jason experienced many highlights during his competition years. He was ranked as New England’s top competitor by the coveted KRANE Ratings and in 1994 he was invited to join Team Paul Mitchell Karate as one of just 14 junior competitors selected from across the United States. In 1998, during his final full year of competition, Jason competed as an adult and received the North American Sport Karate Association’s (NASKA) Overall Competitor Award for black belts aged 18 to 29 years old.

As Jason’s competitive success grew, his passion for teaching martial arts also began to flourish. So when his time in the competition world wound down, Jason knew the next phase of his martial arts journey would involve sharing his love of the art with the next generation. To him, teaching is the greatest gift you can give.

After earning a degree at Providence College, Jason spent time in southern California. There he learned Krav Maga and competed in kickboxing, holding a 2-0 record. Jason has helped many fighters over the years earn regional and national titles.

In 2005, Jason returned to his roots in Connecticut, ready to join forces with his parents at the family dojo. The following year he started training in Gracie jiu-jitsu, which has since played a significant role in his life. In 2016, Jason earned his black belt from world champion Master Royler Gracie, the son of the co-founder of Gracie jiu-jitsu, Helio Gracie. Today, Gabrieles Martial Arts is the only dojo in Connecticut to offer Gracie jiu-jitsu classes under Royler Gracie.

Jason is never far from Gabrieles Martial Arts. You can usually find him alongside his mother and father, teaching karate and helping many achieve the coveted black belt. To Jason, a black belt is simply a white belt who never quit. It’s that mindset that has kept Jason moving forward throughout his life and inspiring others to do the same.


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Explore how Gabriele Martial Arts has helped transform lives through authentic testimonials from our dedicated community. Real people share their real results—capturing the essence of achievement, growth and empowerment. Join our thriving community and witness firsthand the positive impact martial arts training at Gabrieles has on individuals and families. Your journey to success starts with the stories of those who have walked the path before you.


I’ve been attending classes and private sessions for 3 years and recently enrolled my son in the jujutsu juniors program. I could speak in depth about my experience as I absolutely love it, but I cannot say enough about what it’s done for my son! A huge boost in self confidence, improved motor function, and something he truly enjoys! World class instruction, quality facility, and great atmosphere!

Christopher Jones


"Joining GMA about a year ago has been one of the greatest decisions. The Kickboxing classes are not only a great workout but a great self-confidence boost! Everyone is very welcoming, supportive, and truly encourages each other to be their best selves. Highly recommend GMA!"

Amanda Rollinson


"This dojo has had a huge impact on my life for the better. There are so many different classes anyone can take, there’s something for everyone, and the teachers guide you every step of the way. Gabrieles Martial Arts is the best part of my day. I always look forward to going to my next class. Everyone is kind and welcoming, and there’s always something new to learn."

Jordan Bostick

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Contact Information

169 Boston Post Rd, Waterford, CT



Mon: 8 AM–12 PM, 3–9 PM
Tue: 8:30–11:30 AM, 3–9 PM
Wed: 8 AM–12 PM, 3–9 PM
Thu: 8–11:30 AM, 3–9 PM
Fri: 9 AM–12 PM, 3–7 PM
Sat: 7:30 AM–2:30 PM
Sun: Closed

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Begin your transformative journey in self defense and discipline. Connect with Gabrieles Martial Arts below for questions, class details and more. We’re ready to help you embark on a path of personal empowerment and family unity.