NICK CIMMARUSTI

HEAD OF GRAPPLING / BJJ (BJJ BLACK BELT)

You would be hard-pressed to find a better vehicle for overall personal development than grappling/Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). I firmly believe that if you stick with it and genuinely put effort to improve, you will learn more about yourself than you would in any academic setting.  Grappling/BJJ live sparring gives you the opportunity to exercise your real time problem solving thought process. You make a mistake, you submit; you submit, you learn. Rinse and repeat.  Perseverance + hard work = correcting deficiencies.

My teaching method is a blend of styles, including things I learned during my time in the military and from past instructors, to break down concepts and techniques in a way from which anyone can benefit.  I truly believe that grappling/BJJ is for everyone – the young and the old, male or female, in or out of shape, and whether you are a competitor or a hobbyist.  Anyone can be successful. You don’t need talent. What you do need is hard work and perseverance, just like anything else in life.

To me, grappling/BJJ plays many roles in my life; it is my therapist, it’s my exercise, it’s confidence and team building, and last, but certainly not least….it’s fun!!  Grappling/BJJ has given me a clearer thought process, both on and off the mats. It can do the same for you!

JOHN LE

CREATOR OF JITFIT / BJJ, BOXING, & KICKBOXING COACH (BJJ BLACK BELT)

Chicago is my home and martial arts is my game. I grew up in the Edgewater neighborhood where I first started to practice Tae Kwon Do (14 years- 3rd degree black). After competing for a while I wanted to try something different and started Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) in 2006.

When I first started BJJ, I was terrible. The movements were different and the cardio was unlike what I was used to. I was always used to winning, but I lost my first two tournaments. Then, I realized I had to train smart and not just more. I developed a game plan for myself and only learned 8 core moves, but I knew I could pull those moves off better than anyone at my level. With that smart training, I got 1st place at the North American Grappling Association (NAGA), Titan Grappling and US Grappling and I later went on to be a quarter-finalist at the Mundials and Pan American Championships. I was hooked onto BJJ and I loved it.

Since then, I’ve been devoted to showing everyone the internal and external power of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I formed the Northwestern University BJJ club and started JitsLab.com– an analytical way to measure performance and to create automatic highlights.

EDSON GARCIA

BJJ INSTRUCTOR (BJJ BLACK BELT)

Edson "Bull Terrier" Garcia has been doing jiu-jitsu for a long time. As a "small guy" Edson is a phenom to watch in competition. He knows how to use his leverage, angles and positioning to pass, hold and tap BIG guys. 

Additionally, Edson is not afraid to give up positions for better ones. His style is showing how you can use technique to overcome mass, height and weight. 

DAN MIDELL

BJJ INSTRUCTOR (BJJ BLACK BELT)

Forged from fire and meat, Dan Midell is a beast. With 10 MMA fights under his belt, Dan has been in a wide variety of competitions and challenges. Additionally, Dan is a Chicago Firefighter and likes to spend his free time lifting objects.

Dan's style is shaped by his experience. He likes to not only show the move, but show you what an opponent will most likely do and how you can counter their counter.

NIC STEINBERG

BJJ INSTRUCTOR (BJJ BROWN BELT)

Nic has been doing jiu-jitsu for years and your legs better be on guard. He is a leg log master and loves to teach the art of lower body submissions. In addition, Nic has a wrestling background and has a great game plan to help wrestlers transition into brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Additionally, Nic loves to travel internationally and also check out international gyms. In fact, he traveled to Bali MMA and won an in house tournament they were having there.

DAN BRUMBACH

BJJ INSTRUCTOR (BJJ BROWN BELT)

Not only is Dan a Chicago native from Lane Tech, but also he is a great BJJ coach. He is very patient and always willing to teach new people the basics as well as more advanced moves.

​Dan also has a passion for watching other BJJ practitioners and learning their key moves in order to share with the rest of the class 

JOSEPH FONTELERA

BJJ INSTRUCTOR (BJJ BROWN BELT)

When he is not perfecting the art of sushi or Filipino food, Joe is spending time thinking about cooking or teaching students how to throw and using Japanese terminology.

Since Joe is unkillable, it goes without saying that his technique and patience are also unkillable. With over 15 years of experience, Joe is very seasoned in Judo and jiujitsu. He is particularly great at showing the link and transition between both instead of treating Judo and jiujitsu as independent martial art forms.

CAT CARRIO

WOMEN'S ONLY CLASS (BJJ BROWN BELT)

Everyone says "Cat is great!" because she is. Cat heads our Women's class and has grown a great following. Students travel from the suburbs just to have an hour or two with Cat.

Her teaching style is always very encouraging filled with tips and tricks. She wants to make sure you feel comfortable, are learning and having a good time. 

JOHN WELCH

MUAY THAI INSTRUCTOR (BJJ BROWN BELT)

Muay Thai or the science of 8 limbs has been a passion for me for 17+ years now. My involvement in various combat sports began in submission grappling. I believe that having an understanding of the science of grappling has also improved my teaching of the standup arts as well as given me a position to help those interested in MMA. I’ve worked with professional and amateur fighters, many of whom have reached the elite levels of the sport. Training athletes for events from the UFC, to the Pancrase organization in Japan and the Triathlon of Martial arts the Shidokan. I take pride however in not just helping the elite level competitor but in also working with the busy professional who can’t understand why anyone would want to run on a treadmill.

Having trained in Thailand many times over the years I try to teach an authentic Thai style while also incorporating elements of other combat sports. I do not teach boxing with a low kick. An emphasis on technique and defense but I also pride myself on adapting to the styles and temperaments of those I work with. Every person is different and so the way they fight should incorporate those areas physically or mentally that suit them. Whether your goal is to compete at a high level, to just get in shape and learn how to protect yourself and loved ones I look forward to helping you reach those goals, to become the best possible version of yourself.

ANA ZAVALA

WOMEN'S ONLY CLASS (BJJ BLUE BELT)

If you've ever wanted to meet a real life Wonder Woman here is your chance. Sometimes big surprises come in small packages and that is exactly the case with Coach Ana. She has a tenacity fit for someone 10x her size, but she uses it to not only be a fierce competitor, but a caring coach and teammate.

For the ladies, Ana will focus on how to adjust grips and body positioning especially if you are small and how to overcome bigger men who look to only use their brute strength.

DERICK GELLANGARIN

BOXING, TAKEDOWNS, AND KIDS KICKBOXING COACH (BJJ BLUE BELT)

When he’s not hunting Pokemon or taking care of his dog, Derick is wearing shorts that are way too tight for him.

Derick is great though. He started martial arts at a young age and has a gift for working with kids. He is very patient and great at explaining each step in the process.

ROLANDO FRANCO

KIDS KICKBOXING INSTRUCTOR (BJJ BLUE BELT)

Rolando is a natural when it comes to working with kids. As a father, he loves teaching his daughter and that passion spreads to kids in the kickboxing program.

Not only is he great at teaching kids, but he is also very patient with them. When it comes to kids kickboxing, Rolando makes it fun for kids to understand how to punch, kick and move.

MAC CHANPRUNG

KIDS JIU-JITSU INSTRUCTOR (BJJ BLUE BELT)

Mac is homegrown! He originally started with us and had zero knowledge of jiu-jitsu. Through years of dedication and persistence, he was able to obtain his blue belt.

Additionally, Mac is perfect for kids jiu-jitsu. He is very patient and knows how to have fun with the kids so that they learn, but also have fun.

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© 2020 by Chicago School of Grappling LLC

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