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Aaron Brasuell

Instructor

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When I started Jiu-Jitsu I was absolutely terrible at it and would go home from training every day feeling completely destroyed, questioning if I should continue training or not.  Many days I wanted to quit but thanks to good leadership from a great coach and having some wise training partners to look up to, I stuck it out and began to develop a somewhat functional understanding of Jiu-Jitsu.

I competed at my first NAGA tournament  in early 2012 - scared to death but wanting to feel what it’s like to put yourself on the line, I won my first match and actually landed an (ugly)  Anaconda choke on my opponent on the way to a bronze medal finish.

I think that first competition really solidified Jiu-jitsu’s place in my life. I would continue to compete through blue belt, and while I don’t have a perfect record; I am indeed proud of my accomplishments.

I was promoted to purple belt in December of 2015 from Professor Juan Guevara, currently a 3rd degree black belt. Shortly after my promotion I moved across the country on a personal journey and started to build my coaching experience, learning how to be an effective coach for children and youth students. [Aaron was promoted to brown belt in December 2020!]

A year later I moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan where I honed my no-gi game and leglock skills. I also built my own “Beginner’s Jiu-Jitsu” program at the personal training gym I was working at, and am very grateful to have had the opportunity to teach effective self-defense techniques and fundamental grappling skills to law enforcement officers as well as other students.  

Jiu-Jitsu is the most important activity in my life and coaching is my biggest passion; I am always grateful for the opportunity to encourage, empower, and enlighten my fellow practitioners.

Craig Econopouly

Judo Instructor

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I began studying Judo in 1965 when I was 10 years old. I studied under Joe Turchiano (8th Dan) and now deceased Jimmy Zaubantes (5th Dan) at The Black Belt Academy in Hicksville Long Island. Joe Sensei has direct lineage to Kano by training under his two next in line Otaki & Kotani, Kodokan Professors.

I placed 2nd in the AAU (now junior Olympics) in the Juvenile division and attained my Sankyu at the age of 13 and Nikkyu at the age of 15. Later on in life I studied at Sandia Judo in Albuquerque, NM under Jesse Ballou Sensei (7th Dan) where I earned my Ikkyu and trained with many world Champions in Master division. I competed until the age of 35 in some prestigious tournaments such as The Ladder Tournaments.

I moved to Florida and after not finding any dojos available after several years, I opened Gurizuri Judo & BJJ Dojo around 2010 (still in operation) and taught both children and adults.

I am a plumber by trade and businessman. I also taught in post secondary education for five years, which helped me in teaching others Judo and its studies. I presently hold the rank of Sandan (3rd Dan) in judo and a blue belt in Japanese ju jitsu. Judo has made me so many life-long friends and taught me so much about life and dealing with others. It was very helpful in making my businesses successful and lucrative. I am very glad I was able to find such a great dojo so close to me here in Asheville and enjoy working with the other students and staff.

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OSBJJ

INSTRUCTORS

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Kris Shaw

  • Part of the original Dirty Dozen Female Black Belts, the first female grapplers outside of Brazil to achieve the rank of black belt

  • Received her Black Belt from Leka Vieira making her one of the first and few women to have been promoted to black belt by a female

  • Founder of BJJ Legends Magazine

  • Mother of four daughters

  • Originally from Texas and a University of Texas graduate

  • Hobbies: bee-keeping, motorcycles, working on cars, sewing, football (go Cowboys!)

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Heather Raftery

  • Black belt awarded by Andre Galvao in June 2017

  • 2x IBJJF No-Gi Worlds Silver Medalist

  • 2x ADCC U.S. Trials medalist

  • IBJJF World Master Silver Medalist

  • Used to live in her 1970 VW bus

  • Undiagnosed Napoleon complex, especially when running competition class

  • BA in Anthropology and Journalism, MA in International Development

  • Amateur potter, lifelong knowledge seeker, world traveler 

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Rich Sab (AKA Dominick R. Sabatino)

  • BJJ Black Belt 1st Degree (Team Combat Base)(Team Edge)

  • Personal Fitness Trainer and Nutritional Coach

  • Certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapist

  • Professional Actor, Musician, and all around swell guy

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Mary Holmes

  • Black belt awarded by Royce Gracie

  • Started training in 2008

  • 2018 Pan Am Master 2 Lightweight and Absolute Silver Medalist

  • 2017 Brown Belt World Master 2 Lightweight Gold Medalist

  • 2016 Master World Brown Belt Master 2 Lightweight Silver Medalist and Absolute Gold Medalist

  • 2016 Pan Ams Purple Belt Master 1, Light weight and Absolute Gold Medalist [this was prior to expanding the female masters division, so there was only Adult and Master 1]

  • Pisces, lover of puppies, good food, and true crime podcasts

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Brad Wolfson

Brad is the owner of Soulcraft Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and BJJ in Paradise retreats and the first American black belt promoted under Coral Belt Marcio Stambowsky in 2011. His love affair with jiu jitsu began in the late 90’s and has brought him to more than 45 countries around the world to share the art. As  a frequent teacher at BJJ Globetrotters camps, Brad loves to explore new places and use jiu jitsu as a way to make friends and build community.

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Greg Wood

  • From Connecticut, USA

  • BJJ Black Belt Under Pedro Sauer

  • International BJJ Globetrotter Instructor

  • Anonymous Viral BJJ Video Star

  • Dog & Peanut Butter Lover