"Phenomenal quality of instruction. Toney Waldecker is an instructor worth traveling far for. He is uncompromising in the care and attention he gives to his students, and he builds us all up, from the most naturally gifted, to the least. Of course, as a second degree Relson Gracie black belt, his knowledge of jiu jitsu is awesome, and the efficiency with which he applies it intimidating. Toughest nice guy I've ever met. Nicest tough guy I've ever met. Great group instructor, even better one-on-one, and worth every penny. Calvert MMA, as a facility, is great. Jim Thrift does a great job fostering an inclusive, welcoming atmosphere among the students, and he keeps the place microscopically clean. As a result of Jim's and Toney's care, attention, and efforts, the quality of training partners at Calvert is the best I've encountered anywhere. At so many other academies, even very good and prestigious ones, not all the students pay attention to the details they're being taught, and drilling can be a frustrating experience for a white or low-ranking blue belt stuck with a higher-ranking drilling partner who has decided to show "his way" instead of what's just been taught--that just doesn't happen at Calvert (or if it does, Toney and Jim catch it and shut it down in 30 seconds). In addition to the day-to-day instruction which is of the highest level, Jim brings in guest instructors on a regular basis. In the past two months, we've had seminars from Relson Gracie, Ryron Gracie, and Phil Cardella. Next month, Relson is coming back again. What more could one want in jiu-jitsu school?"
Nick P. - Upper Marlboro, MD
"I began my training in 2005 in Germany on an Air Force base with my friend, Luis Morales who at the time was a 2 stripe white belt. Luis transferred to Andrews AFB, Maryland in 2008 where he joined CalvertMMA Academy-Relson Gracie Jiu-jitsu . I kept in close contact with Luis while I was still in Germany and he couldn't stop talking about how good of a school this was. Everything from the one-on-one instruction with each and every student, to the level of technical expertise that the head instructors Toney Waldecker, Jim Thrift, Ray Ostenso, and Aaron Honeycut have. I never really grasped onto what difference it would make to train at an academy as opposed to just a group of friends at a gym until I was transferred to Andrews AFB, Maryland in 2009. I finally joined CalvertMMA Academy-Relson Gracie Jiu-jitsu in May of 2010. Since joining this family, the lifelong lessons I've learned from everyone there has helped me become more efficient in my life all around. The source of knowledge is definitely there...no watered down jiu-jitsu...only the pure jiu-jitsu in what it was meant for---Self-Defense. Thank you Jim, Toney, Ray, Aaron, Luis, Chuck, Andre, Dan, Damon, and everyone at CalvertMMA for welcoming me into your family. Don't pass up the opportunity to learn from the source---Relson Gracie Jiu-jitsu!"My family has lived in Calvert County for over 20 years now. When we first moved here there was pretty much just the bowling alley and a few gas stations. The County has grown at a very rapid pace over the last 10 years or so but still not too many affordable/fun/learning activities for young children. That is why I am pleased with Calvert MMA Academy."
Josiah S - Pāhoa, HI
"This is my first experience with a jiu-jitsu academy. I am still very new at Calvert MMA but seeing the dynamic that the students have with each other and the instructors is very comforting. As soon as I signed up Jim said welcome to the team. In the few classes I've taken since, the "team" concept is very evident. I also appreciate the fact that both Toney and Jim are very clear about the fact that they don't want guys coming in and acting like "meat-heads" just trying to beat people up. This helps to give the white belts opportunities to roll around with the higher belts and actually get a chance to learn along with those that are more experienced without having to worry about feeling like a practice dummy. All in all I have to say, with the limited experience that I have, the instruction is awesome and I have learned a lot already. If you're on the fence about whether to try it or not go ahead and give it a shot."
Nick J. - Hollywood, MD
"I have been to several schools in the several years that I have been training and have never found a better school than Calvert MMA Academy. The instructors Toney Waldecker and Jim Thrift are not just incredible instructors but also amazing mentors and friends. I have never been to such an elite school with such camaraderie amongst the students. I would definitely recommend this school. It is very affordable compared to other schools in the area." NOTE: Seth submitted wrote this review for the Calvert MMA Academy in 2012. Fast forward to 2014, Seth is now an instructor at the Calvert MMA Academy. Check out Seth's bio on our instructor page.
Seth C - Waldorf, MD
My son who is 10 years old, has been attending the Calvert MMA Academy for a month now. He has class twice a week, at times that a working family can attend without any problems. The teachers are wonderful. They are very professional while at the same time show a patience and respect for the children that I have not seen at any other martial arts center we have attended. The classes are small enough so that if your child needs extra help in a certain area there is room for individual instruction without the extra cost most academies' charge. Everyone truly wants everyone to be successful at Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. The academy teaches the children to be safe. With detail instruction on how to protect yourself without being the aggressor in a bad situation. There is a young instructor, Zach, that donates his time to help out teaching the youth class our son is in. He has been with this academy since the beginning. This young man shows a lot of character and patience with the children. I have talked with him and have found that he is graduating high school a year early. I would like to think that this is due, in part, to the academy helping him to stay positively focused on his goals. I am pleased that we finally have an educational, entertaining, affordable program for working families available in Calvert County."
Cliff B. - Prince Frederick, MD