Professor Jim Thrift (1st Degree Black Belt) is a Self-Defense / Gracie Jiu-Jitsu instructor and a co-owner of the Calvert MMA Academy (Lineage BJJ & Lotus Thai Boxing). Professor Jim’s passion for the martial arts dates back to the early 80’s when he started training in Tang Soo Do / 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, Jim Thrift took his first Gracie Jiu-Jitsu class and has been hooked ever since. Jim Thrift is also a graduate of the Gracie Academy’s G.R.A.P.L.E.® course which is now referred to as the “Gracie Survival Tactics (GST)”® 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 1st degree black belt professor in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu directly under Grand Master Relson Gracie. Jim currently works full-time for one of the most prestigious federal law enforcement agencies in the USA, with over 24 years of service. Jim Thrift is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and a graduate of the University of Maryland.