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2020 Greatmats National Grappling Martial Arts Instructor of the Year

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302 BJJ

Adamas Jiu Jitsu

Adamson Brother’s Jiu Jitsu Academy

All American Karate

Armezzani Jiu-Jitsu

Bulldog Judo

Bully Me Now Mma

Carlos Albertos MMA and fitness Center

Corpus Christi Family Martial Arts

DeWitt Mellennia Martial Arts Academy

Diego Bispo Academy Norfolk

Elite Jiu-Jitsu Academy

Elite Team Lemoore, Jiy Jitsu

Gmbjjwnc

Gracie Jiu Jitsu Largo

Gracie United - Team Jucao Chalmette

Guerilla Hapkido

Juniko

Kyumei Ju Jitsu LLC

McCoy Taekwondo

Memphis Judo Jiujitsu

The Base Pocatello

UFC Gym Indianapolis

Watkins Taekwondo and Jiu-Jitsu Academy

Williamsburg Mixed Martial Arts

Williamsburg Mixed Martial Arts

Worcester Martial Arts Academy

302 BJJ

May 2019

3904 Evelyn Drive Wilmington, Delaware 19808

Coach Earl "Trouble" Small always has my back. He pushes me to be better. He challenges me. He comes to all my tournaments. He feels my pain when I lose. He shares my joy when I win. All my favorite wins and all my hardest losses end the same... with my Coach always by my side.

Adamas Jiu Jitsu

August 16, 2020

Toledo, Ohio

Dante Leon takes his instruction seriously and has been a huge influence on the lives of many students. He's also a national champion jiu jitsu black belt.

Adamson Brother’s Jiu Jitsu Academy

July 19, 2020

I am going to assume that none of you have had the distinct opportunity to have my coach teach you. His name is Coach TONY Alexander he is the absolute best. From Adamson Brother's Jiu Jitsu Academy.

All American Karate

07/21/2017

Corona, CA

Sensei Nicole Lipari is a GREAT Sensei!! She cares about her students!! She can create a diamond out of a rock. She continues to instill values of Self-Confidence, Discipline, Health (Mental and Physical), Self-Defense, and Community through her teachings. During these Covid times, she made sure to check on her karate families, she adapted to the challenges brought on to the pandemic and continued to bring martial arts to her students. We celebrate everyone's accomplishments and continue to encourage all through, all struggles and all accomplishments. I know I can keep going but nothing shows her dedication to her students (karate families). Thank you for giving me this time to nominate our Sensei!! Thank you Sensei for making a difference in our Community!!

Armezzani Jiu-Jitsu

01/23/2020

Armezzani Jiu-Jitsu

We love Lou Armezzani!! Best instructor, and role model for the kids! He is well respected, Che corners fighters for Bellator and is a great family man.

Bulldog Judo

9/21/20

Bulldog Judo dojo in Grand Prairie, TX.

Thomas and Jessica Merhout are a very special couple that really care for each person that walks through their dojo doors and treats everyone like family.

Bully Me Now Mma

02/15/2020

Lakeland Florida

Victor Ezeir changes the lives of children, adults, and families submission at a time. He is wearing a red coaches shirt in the picture. My son, in the middle holding sword, would hardly speak to anyone before his coaching. Victor builds a bond with everyone he coaches, like family. https://smoothcomp.com/en/club/13438

Carlos Albertos MMA and fitness Center

Jan 30, 2020

Jehue Middle School Rialto, CA

Carlos Cortez Coaching: processes that enable both coach and athlete to achieve their full potential. ... Maintain unconditional positive attitude to athletes which means - that the "coach" is at all times supportive and non-judgemental of the athlete, their views, lifestyle and aspirations.

Corpus Christi Family Martial Arts

10/25/2019

At the dojo

Grandmaster and Sensei Joshua Green (nominee on right) doing what they know best!

DeWitt Mellennia Martial Arts Academy

February 6th 2020

FaceBook

Jennifer Kiggins helps when she can. Doesn't ask for anything in return. Allows everyone to participate in classes. Listens to everyone when there's an issue.

Diego Bispo Academy Norfolk

2020

DBA Norfolk

Clayton Phillips is a phenomenal instructor regardless of what age his students are. His priority is welcoming all his students with open arms and teaching with compassion. Hands down best instructor around!

Elite Jiu-Jitsu Academy

11-16-19

Pocatello Idaho

Master Mark Massey has a heart bigger than his gym. I have met countless people in my community who he took in to teach. I've seen him cobble together gis for people who may not be able to afford it. He is endlessly patient. Students that have social struggles are welcomed and accepted with no problem because of the environment Master Massey established. Master Massey saw a need for better law enforcement training and provides no cost training to law enforcement officers. He does this to better his community.

Elite Team Lemoore, Jiy Jitsu

May 9, 2019

LEMOORE, CA

We train at Elite Team Lemoore BJJ in Lemoore, CA under Michael Martinez. BJJ has single-handedly helped me through some difficult times. I am a Marine Corps veteran, a sexual assault victim, a mother, and an all around survivor. I struggle with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Until I am in a gi. I love Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the environment it provides along with the relationships I have built. I have done the most intense self-reflection on the mats while getting tapped out by higher belts. I have thought: "Dang, if I am in a sucky position like this and can survive, I should be able to survive an inner-self situation." I've learned to keep calm and search for better solutions. I've learned it's not about the amount of times you fail when you shoot for something big, but the lessons you learn from simply taking a risk. Most importantly, Jiu-Jitsu, to ME, is a place to share thoughts and emotions without having to say one single word. I apply these lessons to my daily struggles; work, home, and personal relationships. This brings me back to Mike; besides his technique and kind heart, he has experienced an endless amount of struggle on and off of the mats. He pushed forward with a positive attitude and always encourages me (and everyone he meets) to be the best version of themselves, regardless of their circumstances. Mike knew as soon as he started his BJJ journey that he wanted to open a new school and provide kids with a place to belong. His after school classes provide them with something positive to occupy their minds. He has helped children (including mine) overcome bullying, fear, and self-confidence struggles. He instills a sense of pride in each one of his students. It's not a just gym. It's a family. This makes me incredibly proud as a student and a parent of a student.

Gmbjjwnc

10/21/20

Wilson nc

Scott Bass is always there for us on and off the Matt's. He pushes us to achieve things we didn't think was possible before joint his class. He's only been open a year November 1st 2020 but it's been the best year of my life. --------- Outstanding coach. Got me on a diet training me for mma. Sees the potential in his students and pushes them to achieve his goals, great friend and mentor. I can honestly say my life is better training with him.

Gracie Jiu Jitsu Largo

9/11/2020

Largo, Fl

With the current state of the world it has been a blessing finding Jiu Jitsu. It keeps my mind busy and help to take my mind off the stresses of every day life. Professor Ben Zapata's passion for the self defense capabilities of Jiu Jitsu is palpable. I am honored to train under Professor Zapata. I know it sound cliche but it really does feel like family. The sense of community is something I have been missing since playing highschool football.

Gracie United - Team Jucao Chalmette

10/14/2019

Chalmette, LA

Professor Matt Stock is amazing with the kids. His patience is top notch and 1st class. He not only pushes the kids to do better, but he pushes us adults too. He is a great leader and we train as a "family". ----------- Professor Matt is the head instructor and owner of our location. He is so patient with the kids and us adults. As a professor, he teaches classes not only at our gym 4 days a week, but at another gym 2 days a week. He is very calm in the way that he speaks, but pushes us to do better. When any of his kids compete, he is there to coach...doesn't matter how far he has to travel. He is a true leader and top notch coach.

Guerilla Hapkido

Oct 2020

Core Martial Arts

Master Tim Harrell is amazing with the kids and has a ton of passion and drive to teach these younglings ----------- Master Tim teaches Guerilla Hapkido to US Combat Veterans for free at Core Martial Arts in Tampa FL. He gives purpose and drive to all of us that have many different issues related to our service to this country. He goes out of his way to make everyone fee like family and I couldn't have asked for a better teacher. Master Tim is amazing with the kids and has a ton of passion and drive to teach these younglings

Juniko

Feb 2020

Juniko Hanover

Bruno Diaz is a dedicated teacher and mentor.

Kyumei Ju Jitsu LLC

2015

Fairmont, West Virginia

Professor Jason Davis is the head instructor of Kyumei Ju Jitsu in Fairmont, WV. He is also the Appalachian Regional Training Director for Deibisu Ryu Ju Jitsu and one of the heirs to the system. He currently holds rank in Hawaiian Kenpo, Kenpo Jutsu, Sanuces, Aikido, Kajukenbo, USA Goju, Kodokan and Kosen Judo. He is also the State Director for AAU Judo for West Virginia. On top of his extensive Martial Arts background, he also has an extremely vast Military background and has worked as a civilian Police Officer. He currently does private security for high profile clients. Professor Jason is extremely selfless and always puts his students needs before his own. Last year he lost his very first student, who was his first black belt and also his little cousin. This loss hit Professor Jason extremely hard but was also his driving force to grow this Dojo. This was his and Sensei Jerry's dream together. He left his full time job to invest his time into the Dojo and his students. He makes a difference in all of his students lives. He promotes "Ohana" and a sense of belonging in the Dojo, on and off the mat. He gets tutoring help for students that are falling behind in school and he is always there for them to talk to if they are struggling at home or school. You can tell how much he loves what he does by watching him teach class. We, his instructors and students of Kyumei Ju Jitsu, want to nominate Professor Jason because he truly deserves it. He is teaching all of his classes on old wrestling mats (with very thin puzzle mats over top of them) and new mats would make such a difference.

McCoy Taekwondo

2/25/2020

Arab, Alabama

Mr. Brian McCoy will go out of his way to help his students learn.

Memphis Judo Jiujitsu

2020

Memphis Judo Jiujitsu

Christy Cook is an amazing coach. She goes out of her way to incorporate private lessons to sharpen our skills. She visits sister schools and hosts seminars to grow our woman's program. Three years ago, we had three consistent women. She's grown our program to over twenty and continues to grow it. She worked in the children's program for many years and always did more than expected, hosting lock instead and nerf wars to encourage team spirit. Her passion for women and this sport is seriously unmatched.

The Base Pocatello

03/2018

LA California

Paul Sondrini is an amazing instructor who helps people become better people and grapplers

UFC Gym Indianapolis

8/29/2020

UFC Gym Indianapolis/Whitestown

Mike Heitmann is genuinely passionate about Jiu-Jitsu and sharing it with others. In my 46 years of living on this earth I have never had a teacher or instructor as good as Mike. Mike true passion for the gentle art is infectious. He goes out of his way and truly cares for his students. He is extremely patient with all students that he teaches from some as young as 6 years old. Mike has inspired so many of his students including myself. I couldn't be more proud to work with him and to also call him my friend. --------- Dedicated, knowledgeable, and amazing!------------- Mike is passionate, dedicated and knowledgeable when he teaches. --------- Mike is amazing! Our women's BJJ class is so lucky to have him. He takes his time to make sure we understand the concepts and feel comfortable. His passion for BJJ is so evident and he deserves this recognition! --------- He's amazing!

Watkins Taekwondo and Jiu-Jitsu Academy

1-12-2020

Their front yard

Jeremy Watkins is an amazing instructor always striving to make his students great above all else! He keeps his prices low, because he isn't in the sport for the money, but because he wants to make his students great and give them all opportunities they deserve.

Williamsburg Mixed Martial Arts

May 2020

Williamsburg MMA - 42A Dobbin St. BK, NY

Professor Diego Lopez is a black belt under Professor Roger Mamedov. Diego creates a safe, welcoming but focused environment for learning. Our academy is small and the camaraderie runs deep because of the atmosphere created by professors Roger and Diego.

Williamsburg Mixed Martial Arts

April 2020

Williamsburg MMA - 42A Dobbin St. BK, NY

Roger Mamedov goes above and beyond for his students. Roger goes above and beyond for anyone he sees that he can help. He's a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt under Ricardo Almeida but he's a black belt dad too. One look at his Instagram and see you see what Roger is all about: family and helping others through martial arts.

Worcester Martial Arts Academy

February 24, 2020

Worcester Martial Arts Academy

Sensei Luis Soto is a phenomenal instructor. His attention to detail, understanding of body mechanics, and comprehensive knowledge of judo and jiujutsu make his ability to teach these grappling arts top-level. His dedication to the sport of judo and his students is unparalleled. He is an incredible role model for his students, young and old. He has a full-time job, children, a wife, a house and still finds the time to teach multiple judo and jiujutsu classes (for kids and adults) several days a week. He has helped a lot of us stay focused during the Covid-19 pandemic by teaching classes virtually initially and the slowly transitioning to socially-distanced, in-person classes. He is truly a great person and Sensei.
Want to honor a grappling martial arts instructor for his/her outstanding achievements, unique style or humanitarian efforts? Then nominate him/her for the 2020 National Grappling Martial Arts Instructor of the Year Award, sponsored by Greatmats. The award, part of the 6th annual Greatmats National Award Series, is designed to recognize grappling arts instructors who have made a difference in the lives of their students and community through the virtues of service, integrity and quality. In 2019, the Martial Arts Instructor of the Year Award was separated into two different awards - one for striking arts instructors and one for instructors focusing primarily on the grappling arts. Grappling arts include, but are not limited to, Judo, Jiu Jitsu, BJJ, wrestling, Sambo and submission grappling. Learn more about Greatmats National Award Series.

How to Nominate

To nominate an grappling instructor for this award, email the following information to brett@greatmats.com or visit the contest page and fill out the online nomination form before Oct. 26, 2020. Nominators will not be identified.
  1. Instructor's Name
  2. Name and location of the martial arts academy (Must be located in the USA)
  3. A brief description of why you are nominating this instructor, including how he/she meets the criteria of high-level service, integrity and quality.
  4. A photo and/or video of the Instructor

How the winner is chosen:

  1. Voting will take place Nov. 2-16, 2020 for the Annual National Grappling Martial Arts Instructor of the Year Award. The two grappling instructors with the most votes will be named finalists.
  2. Greatmats will interview the two finalists to determine the winner.

Prizes

Grand Prize:
  1. $250 in Greatmats Products for the School
  2. National Dance Instructor of the Year Certificate
  1. Runner Up: $150 in Greatmats Products
  2. Third Prize: $100 in Greatmats Products
  3. 4th-10th Place: $50 Greatmats Coupon toward purchases of $200 or more

Voting Instructions:

Visit Greatmats' contest ballot page during the voting period to vote for this year's National Grappling Martial Arts Instructor of the Year. Click the vote button next to the photo of the grappling instructor you'd like to win. Feel free to share the gallery ballot with friends and family and encourage them to vote.

National Grappling Instructor of the Year History

More than 94,500 votes have cast for martial arts instructors in the first four years of the 6th Annual Greatmats National Award Series. The Greatmats National Award Series, founded in 2015, is designed to recognize instructors, trainers and coaches who have made a positive difference in their communities and the lives of their students. Martial arts instructors began receiving awards in 2016 and the category was split in two beginning in 2019, separating those specializing in striking arts and those specializing in grappling.

Greatmats is a national martial arts flooring leader based in Milltown, Wisconsin, since 1999. Identified as one of the top 3,000 fastest growing companies in the USA three times since 2008, Greatmats gives back to its local community by donating 5% of its annual profits to local non-profit organizations. It also supports green initiatives through the use of solar energy at its Wisconsin headquarters and by offering a large variety of products made from recycled and renewable resources.

View all of Greatmats' martial arts flooring at http://www.greatmats.com/martial-arts-mats.php

This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook.

All media submissions, including text, photos and videos become property of Greatmats.

Read about previous winners of the award: