Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, 9th Degree Red Belt, under Helio Gracie.
Grand Master Relson Gracie
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, 9th Degree Red Belt, under Helio Gracie.
Relson Gracie, the 2nd oldest son of Helio Gracie, began learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at age 2 and entered his first competition at the age of 10. Relson was the Brazilian National Champion for 22 years straight and during this period he went undefeated.  Relson  became so popular that he attained the nickname "Campeao" or "Champion" among his friends and fans.  Relson Gracie along with his brothers Rorion, Rickson, Royler, and Rolker helped prepare their younger brother Royce Gracie for the first several Ultimate Fighting Championships.  This no-holds-barred competition was formed by Rorion Gracie to showcase the brilliant fighting and self-defense style of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu to the world. What had already been developed and tested in real life self-defense, competition and fighting since the 1920’s in Brazil has now changed main stream martial arts in the U.S. and the rest of the world forever.  Relson Gracie in his early years was known for his many street fights and the brutal and unpredictable style in which he engaged those fights.  Now many years retired from competition Relson Gracie’s philosophy reflects his late father’s, which is to train for self defense and personal advancement.  Relson Gracie currently holds the rank of 9th degree red belt under the direct Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lineage of his father Helio Gracie.  Relson Gracie's main Jiu-Jitsu academy is in Hawaii, were he resides, but he travels regularly to visit his Training Academies / Association to conduct group seminars, demonstrations, and private lessons.  Relson Gracie is one of only a few living Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners to achieve the rank of 9th Degree Red Belt.  The Calvert MMA Academy - Lineage BJJ is honored to offer direct lineage under Master Relson Gracie in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.  Calvert MMA Academy is Team Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Maryland - Lineage BJJ.
Professor Jim Thrift
Self-Defense / Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Coach / Academy Co-Owner and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu 2nd Degree Black Belt, under Grand Master Relson Gracie.
Professor Jim Thrift (2nd Degree Black Belt) is a Self-Defense / Gracie Jiu-Jitsu instructor and a co-owner of the Calvert MMA Academy (Lineage BJJ & T.A.G. Muay Thai).  Professor Jim's passion for the martial arts dates back to the early 80’s when he started training in Moo Duk Kwan / Tang Soo Do / Hapkido / Tae Kwon Do, under the lineage / coaching of Ki Wang Kim, Mike Warren, and Amos Johnson.  After earning his black belt, Jim Thrift began training in Japanese Kempo, Judo, and Aikido to expand his martial arts skills.  From 1984 - 1998, Jim often competed in local, state, and national fighting competitions to include point fighting tournaments, full contact kick boxing, USTU, AAU, and Judo tournaments.  In the mid 90’s at the recommendation of one of his co-workers at the United States Secret Service, Jim took his first Gracie Jiu-Jitsu class and he has been hooked ever since.  Jim Thrift is a graduate of the Gracie Academy's G.R.A.P.L.E.® course (in 1999) which is now referred to as "Gracie Survival Tactics (GST)"® for Law Enforcement by the Gracie Academy in Torrance, California.  Jim Thrift is also certified by the Maryland Police Training Commission (MPTC) as a law enforcement Defensive Tactics Instructor.  Jim Thrift is a 2nd degree black belt professor in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu directly under Grand Master Relson Gracie.  Jim Thrift recently retired (March 31, 2018) from a career in law enforcement that spanned over 25 years with the U.S. Secret Service.  During his time with the U.S. Secret Service, Jim Thrift was a member of approximately 250 protective advance teams around the globe.  While traveling as a member of these protective advance teams, Jim was able to train with some of the best martial artist in the world, to include Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Sambo, Aikido, Judo, and Taewondo practitioners.  Jim Thrift is also a veteran of the U.S. Navy and a graduate of the University of Maryland. 
Kru Chris Aboy
Muay Thai Kru - Black Armban Certified by the World Thai Boxing Association
Kru Christopher M. Aboy CHIEF MUAY THAI INSTRUCTOR Kru Christopher M. Aboy is owner and chief instructor at T.A.G. Muay Thai in Sterling, VA. Kru Chris and his coaches have teamed up with Lineage BJJ – Team Relson Gracie at Calvert MMA Academy to offer weekly Muay Thai instruction for Muay Thai beginners and intermediate students in Calvert County, Prince George’s County, Anne Arundel County, St. Mary's County and Charles County Maryland. Kru Chris works in a high-profile protective role for the U.S. Federal Government by day and trains police officers, special agents, and his own students in Muay Thai by night. As a Hand-to-Hand Combat subject matter expert (SME), Kru Chris’s instruction emphasizes “real world” application through authentic Thai Boxing practices. Kru Chris coaches Muay Thai students in principles of body movement, stand-up grappling, take downs, ground survival, realistic striking for sport (ring and cage) and self-defense. Kru Chris lives and breathes Muay Thai. Whether you want to learn Muay Thai for fitness, self-defense or sport – join a class every Monday at Calvert MMA from 6:50 PM – 7:50 PM. About Kru Chris Aboy:
  • Black Armband Certified Instructor
  • World Thai Boxing Association (WTBA) Accredited
  • Global Combat Alliance (GCA) Accredited MMA & Muay Thai Referee
  • 25-Year Martial Arts Career: Muay Thai, American Kickboxing, Jiu-Jitsu, Tae Kwon Do, Lima Lama, and Wrestling.
  • Hand-to-Hand Combat Subject Matter Expert (SME)
  • Police Tactics Subject Matter Expert (SME)
Professor Mike Tran
Bullyproof / Kids BJJ / Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Coach and Black Belt Professor, under Grand Master Relson Gracie.
Coach Mike Tran is a PhD Scientist, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu instructor and the program director for our Youth Bully Prevention and Kids BJJ classes at the Calvert MMA Academy - Lineage BJJ in Sunderland, Maryland.  Coach Mike Tran (Black Belt Professor) has been training Gracie Jiu-Jitsu since 1995 and previously was the head instructor of the youth program at the Gracie Colorado Academy in Boulder before moving to Maryland.  Coach Mike Tran's is a favorite among the parents and children in our youth program.  Coach Mike Trans unique style of of teaching while implementing Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Judo games keeps the children interested and engaged in the class while learning effective, non-violent self-defense techniques.
Coach Seth Caron
Strength and Conditioning Coach/ BJJ Instructor/ and 3rd Degree Brown Belt, under Grand Master Relson Gracie.
Coach Seth Caron has been training Gracie Jiu-Jitsu since 2005 and is one of Calvert MMA’s - Lineage BJJ's jiu-jitsu instructors and the captain of our competition team . In addition to Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Coach Seth Caron has always had a passion for fitness from boxing to lifting weights with his father as a young man. In high school Coach Seth Caron helped to start the weight lifting team where he went on to set school records in all categories (bench, squat, and dead lift). Coach Seth Caron is a veteran of the U.S.  Air Force stationed who served at Joint Base Andrews (JBA) in Camp Springs, MD and was deployed to Iraq.  Coach Seth Caron is a physical fitness trainer and is also a certified personal trainer through ISSA and CrossFit.  Coach Seth is also the owner and founder of Sculpted Fitness Studio, a personal training studio located within the Calvert MMA Academy, that gives people a private training environment that helps people from all walks of life achieve their fitness goals. Seth Caron's Achievements Gracie Jiu-Jitsu 3rd Degree Brown belt 2015 New Breed Baltimore Classic Gold Gi and NOGI US Grappling 2015 Silver medal heavy weight Gi / Bronze medal NOGI US Grappling 2012 Gold medal heavy weight NOGI Certifications Personal training Certification CrossFit Certification Level 1 Exercise Therapy Certification Fitness Nutrition Certification Strength and Conditioning Certification Youth Fitness Certification Contact Twitter @Sculpted_fit  
Alexis Livingston
Nutrition Coach
Alexis Livingston is working her way towards completing a bachelors degree in nutrition.  As a mother, Alexis became very concerned about the large amounts of processed foods in the American diet and has dedicated much of her time studying homeopathic nutrition.  Thought her studies, Alexis has changed lives teaching people how to correct their eating habits by incorporating natural, organic foods in their diet to include healthy fats.  Alexis diet plans have helped members of the Calvert MMA Academy, her friends, family and clients lose weight, gain lean muscle mass, increase endurance and cure aliments naturally, such as heartburn, tendonitis, insomnia, and other health issues.  Please check out our Blog for nutrition articles posted by Alexis.  If you have any nutritional questions or would like to consult with Alexis you can contact her directly at
Military Alumni Instructor - Luis Morales
NoGi BJJ Coach and 2 Stripe Blue Belt, under Grand Master Relson Gracie.
Luis Morales began training Gracie Jiu-Jitsu while being stationed in Germany with the U.S. Air Force.  Upon his transfer back to the United States, Luis was assigned to Joint Base Andrews (JBA) in Camp Springs Maryland.  Before unpacking, Luis Morales became a member of the Relson Gracie team at Calvert MMA - Lineage BJJ.  Within a year of Luis Morales training at Calvert MMA - Lineage BJJ, the Academy training schedule expanded to five days a week and Luis began teaching our new NoGi class.  Luis Morales was a vital part in of the growth of the Calvert MMA Academy - Lineage BJJ.  In 2010 Luis Morales was transferred and we lost a great instructor and friend from our coaching lineup.  Luis Morales has made many deployments in harms way since his transfer.  Luis Morales is currently stationed in South Carolina with his family and we look forward to him make a road trips up to Maryland to visit us. Photo collage: Top - Luis Morales last class before transferring, received appreciation plague, Bottom Left - UFC Cutman Stitch Duran making a repair to Luis belt while he was deployed.  Bottom Right - Close up of the stripe repair on the belt by Stitch Duran.
Military Alumni Instructor - Josiah Sojot
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Youth Program Coach and Brown Belt, under Grand Master Relson Gracie.
Josiah Sojot (Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Brown Belt) began his Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Training while being station with the U.S. Air Force in Germany with Luis Morales.  Like Luis, Josiah Sojot was transferred to Joint Base Andrews (JBA) in Camp Springs, MD.  After settling from his transfer back to the USA, Josiah became a dedicated student of Relson Gracie's style of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  Josiah trained daily to include drilling when the academy was closed.  The Kids BJJ program at the Calvert MMA Academy is one of the most popular youth self-defense classes in Southern Maryland.  From it's inception to his transfer in 2012, Josiah Sojot was the leading force behind the classes success.  Josiah Sojot is currently back in Germany with the U.S. Air Force after spending two years in Lajes Azores where he started a Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu club - Training Group Lajes Field.  Josiah Sojot is currently a brown belt under Grand Master Relson Gracie and represents Team Relson Gracie with his Gracie Jiu-Jitsu club on Ramstein Air Base / Lineage BJJ - Germany. Photo Collage:  Left Photo - Joe's promotion to 3 Degree Purple.  Right Photo - Josiah Sojot with Grand Master Relson Gracie on his last visit to Calvert MMA.  Not shown here, but Josiah Sojot actually received two appreciation plaques from the Calvert MMA Academy.  The first appreciation plaque had Josiah Sojot's original transfer date inscribed on it, we got lucky and the U.S. Air Force delayed his transfer, so we had to make a new plaque with a corrected date. P.S.  Josiah Sojot's favorite food is "Hawaiian Pizza"! :-)
Military Alumni Instructor - Andre Villanueva
NoGi BJJ Instructor/ Thai Boxing Assistant Coach / Level 3 Thai Boxer and 3 Stripe Purple Belt, under Grand Master Relson Gracie.
Andre Villanueva, an active duty Marine began his Gracie Jiu-Jitsu training in California and was a blue belt when he joined the Calvert MMA Academy - Lineage BJJ & White Lotus Thai Boxing in 2010.  Andre Villanueva, at the time was stationed at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River (PAX River) in St. Marys County, was a black belt instructor in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program know as MCMAP.  Andre Villanueva, took over Calvert MMA's  NoGi BJJ class when fellow military alumni instructor Luis Morales was transferred by the the U.S. Air Force.  Andre Villanueva also had a studied Thai Boxing while in California.  When Carlos Lopez took over as the head Thai Boxing coach at the Calvert MMA, Andre Villanueva became an assistant coach in our White Lotus Muay Thai class.  Andre Villanueva and his family now live in Arizona where he plans to open his own Carlos Lopez White Lotus Thai Boxing and Lineage BJJ - Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu association soon.   Andre Villanueva is currently patched as a level three Thai Boxing fighter under Kru Carlos Lopez and Disciple MMA, our Thai Boxing sister school in Dulles, VA.  Andre Villanueva holds a 3rd degree purple belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu under Grand Master Relson Gracie.  
Professor Toney Waldecker
Self-Defense / Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu / MMA Coach and 4th Degree Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, under Grand Master Relson Gracie.
Professor Toney Waldecker (4th degree black belt) is an alumni Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu / MMA instructor of the Calvert MMA Academy - Relson Gracie Maryland Training Academy.  Toney Waldecker, along with Matt Almborg and Jim Thrift are the three original coaches of the Calvert MMA Academy.  Toney Waldecker currently is the Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach for the MMA team at Kaizen MMA in Virginia.  Professor Toney Waldecker also teaches Wednesday evenings at Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Maryland in Clarksville, MD.  Toney Waldecker began studying Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in the mid nineties and was promoted to Black Belt in April of 2008. Toney Waldecker has a long history of grappling competition wins to his name, including a 1998 Sambo Nationals Bronze, 1999 Sambo Nationals Gold, 2003 Budweiser Jiu-Jitsu World Cup shared Gold Medal with fellow teammate, 2001 Gracie Nationals Silver, and 2004 Arnold Gracie World Submission Championships Gold (Purple Open). In 2005, Toney Waldecker took silver at the Gracie Nationals as a brown belt in the open division. Recently, Toney Waldecker stepped up to the pro ranks and he currently holds a 2-0 record.In a professional Muay Thai fight in Thailand, Toney won with an impressive knock-out victory.In his MMA match, Toney submitted his opponent 45 seconds into the first round.  Professor Toney Waldecker is a veteran of the USMC and is a certified level 2 Army combatives instructor.
Coach Matt Almborg
Professor Matt Almborg
Jiu-Jitsu Coach and Black Belt Professor, under Grand Master Relson Gracie.
Matt Almborg is an alumni Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor of the Calvert MMA Academy - Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Maryland Training Academy.  Along with Toney Waldecker and Jim Thrift; Matt Almborg was an original Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor of the Calvert MMA Academy when it first opened in the fall of 2007.   Matt Almborg began studying Gracie Jiu Jitsu in early 2000 and was promoted to a brown belt in spring of 2009.  In addition to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu,  Matt also has a strong Judo and Wrestling  background.  Matt Almborg currently co-owns Gracie Combat Jiu-Jitsu Academy, located in Ashburn, VA with Relson Gracie Black Belt Dave Patton.  Matt Almborg was the Team Captain of the "Fight Works Competition Team" at Relson Gracie's Academy out of the Fight Works Jiu-Jitsu Academy before it moved from Sterling, VA to Greenville, SC in 2013.  Matt is an avid competitor and has consistently done well in competitions in many grappling arenas.  Matt routinely competes in Gi and No-Gi tournaments along with Judo competitions in an effort to keep his skills sharp.  Some of Matt's  accomplishments include winning 3 divisions at the Copa Nova.  Matt won the Advanced No-Gi, Advanced Masters No-Gi, and the purple belt Gi division.  Matt won all but one of those matches by submission.  As a blue belt Matt won the Gi division of the Gracie Worlds.  As a white belt Matt placed second in the 50 man white belt absolute tournament, which was one of the first Absolute Gi divisions held by Grapplers Quest.
Coach Zach Nottingham
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Youth Coach and Purple Belt, under Grand Master Relson Gracie.
Zach Nottingham is an alumni instructor of Calvert MMA's - Lineage BJJ's, Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program.  Zach Nottingham began his training at the Calvert MMA Academy at the young age of 13 back in 2007 and was the first person under the age of 18 allowed to join the academy.  By the age of 15, Zach Nottingham was tapping out adults twice his age and twice his weight, to include visiting black belts in Southern Maryland from other styles of martial arts, former college athletes, active members of the military and police swat teams.  For our academy, young Zach Nottingham was proof that technique could defeat size and strength.  Coach Zach Nottingham is a 2012 graduate of Northern High School in Calvert County, earned an associate of arts degree from the College of Southern Maryland and a bachelors of science degree from the University of Maryland College Park.  Upon graduation, Coach Zach Nottingham was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy.
Professor Scott Devine
Professor Scott Devine
Friend / Mentor and 3rd Degree Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, under Grand Master Relson Gracie.
Professor Scott DeVine A special “Thank You” goes to Professor Scott Devine, 3rd Degree Black Belt under Master Relson Gracie.  Professor Devine began training with Master Relson Gracie at his Hawaii Academy back in 1988 and was awarded his black belt during a ceremony at the 2003 Gracie Nationals.  Professor Scott Devine is one of Master Relson Gracie's original black belts and his first black belt who studied directly under him from white to black belt.  Professor Scott Devine has extensive experience as a uniformed law enforcement officer and as a law enforcement control tactics instructor.  Professor Scott Devine is also a multiple time Pan American Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Gold Medalist.  Without Professor Scott Devine’s friendship, support, and coaching over the years, Calvert MMA Academy - Lineage BJJ program wouldn’t have been possible.  Professor Scott Devine currently resides in Georgia with his family and is the head Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor of Devine Jiu-Jitsu in Brunswick, GA.  When Professor Scott Devine visits the Maryland/Virgina/DC area, he often conducts seminars at Calvert MMA - Lineage BJJ and is a student favorite with his teaching style, BJJ technique, and sense of humor. Please check out Professor DeVine's website for additional locations of his academies.