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Annual National Grappling Martial Arts Instructor of the Year

By Created: July, 2019 - Modified: February, 2022

Congratulations to Earl ''Trouble'' Small for be named the 2020 Greatmats National Grappling Martial Arts Instructor of the Year!
Competitive Tumbling and Gymnastics Landing Mats


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 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.


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
    1. 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

      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:

      2016 National Martial Arts Instructor of the Year Grandmaster Bryant Harrell
      2017 National Martial Arts Instructor of the Year Master Ron Poholik - Judo, Taekwondo
      2018 Martial Arts Instructor of the Year - Erich Podbielski - Taekwondo
      2019 Grappling Martial Arts Instructor of the Year - Amanda Leve - BJJ
      2020 Grappling Martial Arts Instructor of the Year - Earl ''Trouble'' Small - BJJ

      Past Grappling Arts Instructor Nominees

      Tom Mullaney - Gracie Jiu Jitsu Conway - Conway (2019)
      Spencer Nolan - Gracie Arizona - Phoenix (2016)

      Brent Williams - Aiki Academy - Boise (2018)

      Master Ron Poholik - Pride Martial Arts - New Lenox (2017)

      Rusty Sullivan - Louisburg Jiu-Jitsu LLC - Louisburg (2019)

      Keith Rosary - Keith Rosary's International Martial Arts Academy - Hyannis (2019)

      Robert Verdell - Magic BJJ Judo Jujitsu - East Lansing (2019)
      Nick Jones - Island Jiu-Jistu Michigan - Muskegon (2019)
      Crystal Baetz - Grey Jiu Jitsu - Houghton Lake (2018)

      Doug Bedsaul - Downtown Martial Arts Academy, Starkville (2016)
      Jae McIntosh - No Limit Jiu Jitsu, Starkville (2016)

      New Jersey
      Eddie Torres - Team Taino Martial Arts and Fitness - Collingswood (2019)
      Bobby Johnson - Ricardo Almeida Brazilian Jiu Jitso Acamdy - Robbinsville Twp (2019)
      Leandro Hernandez - Dante Rivera Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy - Freehold (2019)

      North Carolina
      Johnny Edwards - Hickory Grove PHC Jiu Jitsu - Candor (2016)

      Todd Ryan - Ryan's Brazilian Jiu Jitsu - Tulsa (2019)

      Amanda Leve - Leve BJJ - Philadelphia (2019)
      Ismael Munoz - American System Shotokan - Red Lion (2019)

      South Carolina
      Avery Richard - Indian Land MMA - Indian Land (2019)

      Ted Chittden - Made Science Judo/Jujitsu - Oak Ridge (2019)

      Benny Benavides - Xtreem Jiu Jitsu - El Paso (2019)
      Gabriel Nixon - Matagorda Bay BJJ - Bastrop (2019)

      Matt Larsen - Matt Larsen's Combat Fitness Academy - Springfield (2016)

      Martial Arts Mats
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