10 Best Jiu-Jitsu Coaches of 2022

10 Best Jiu-Jitsu Coaches of 2022

Best Jiu-Jitsu Coaches of 2022

1. Qualities of Best BJJ Coach

BJJ is a type of martial art that requires the supreme physical and mental attention of the learner. Along with student devotion, teaching methods are also crucial to learn and mastering skills for showing great performance. All world champions have the dedication of a great instructor in their lineage. 

A good BJJ instructor must have elite knowledge and teaching skills from basic to advanced BJJ techniques, moves, and diet plans and a sharp eye to identify the future champion. 

An expert BJJ instructor must have good communication skills so that he can deliver his knowledge in an accurate and understandable way.

Furthermore, the most important thing a BJJ coach must have is a good motivational and realistic approach. A good BJJ coach should motivate and inspire their students through their efforts, behavior, and daily routine. 

2. List of 10 Best BJJ Instructors

Here we will discuss the 10 best BJJ coaches who are famous in the grappling world due to their great coaching methods. Their students are proof of their efforts on the mat.  

2.1. John Danaher

John Danaher

Photo credit: @danaherjohn

Black Belt and Belt Rank of John Danahar

Prof John Danhar is considered among the most revered BJJ coaches of his generation. He received his Black Belt from Renzo Gracie at the age of 28  and has the privilege to serve as an instructor at Renzo Gracie Academy.

Currently, in 2023, John Danaher owns a 6th-degree black belt under the legendary Renzo Gracie.

BJJ Career of John Danaher

John Danaher revolutionized the grappling world with his instructional methods. It is strange that John Danaher never competed in any BJJ competition but he earned a name in the list of champions.

John Danaher was a student of philosophy and about to finish his Ph.D. but he decided to carry on with BJJ. Before joining BJJ he was studying and part-time working at a nightclub as a bouncer.

Coaching Career of John Danaher

Start and End of Danaher Death Squad

John Danaher started the instructional series in 2018. His instructional series includes, “Enter the system”, “Go further Faster” and “From Feet to Floor”. His instructional series revolutionized grappling techniques. 

Renowned Competitors under John Danaher

He worked at Renzo Gracie Academy as a coach till 2020. After leaving this academy, he announced starting his own gym in Puerto Rico. His grappling athlete group is named Danaher Death squad. And it was considered one of the most elite grappling groups of this previous decade.  In 2021, because of various reasons, he gave the sad news of splitting the Danaher Death squad.

Grabbed the Golden Chance

John Danaher started training with the renowned Renzo Gracie Academy. John was a hard worker and workaholic. After training, he got a golden chance to become a coach at Renzo Gracie Academy when the two best coaches Matta Serra and Ricardo Almeida retired from the academy.

Danaher took this opportunity and became a BJJ coach He often took classes with BJJ practitioners when his coaches went on journeys due to competitions.

John Danaher is a very ambitious person when it comes to learning, understanding, and communicating the philosophies and techniques of BJJ, Boxing, and MMA.. This quality took him to the rise of coaching. As Renzo Gracie said about Danaher:

“He does Jiu-Jitsu every day; we can’t get him out of here. I think he would come in Christmas if we would let him.” 

By Birth Restriction Kept John off the Mat

John never participated in any BJJ tournament due to his knee injury. He had a by birth deformed kneecap. This physical restriction did not allow him to compete as once he got seriously injured during a rugby match. He had to undergo many surgeries. Surgeries affected his ligaments and caused an unbalanced gait. 

His injuries intended him to focus on skill development rather than winning fights. His skill-developing coaching style added him to the list of best coaches. According to John Danaher:

“Training is about skill development, not about winning or losing. You don’t need to win every battle. You only need to win battles that count.”

Philosophical Teaching Approach of John Danaher

Another interesting fact about John Danaher is that he focuses on psychological facts and the confidence-building of his BJJ practitioners. This approach makes him different from other instructors.

Competitors under John Danaher

His best students include big names like Gorden Ryan, St Pierre, Garry Tonon, Firas Zahabi, Nicky Ryan, and Giancarlo Bodoni.

2.2. ADCC Hall of Famer: Andre Galvao

ADCC Hall of Famer: Andre Galvao

Photo credit: @galvaobjj

Fighting Achievements

Andre Galvao also known as Deco works as head coach in the world-renowned BJJ academy, Atos Jiu-Jitsu. He is well known for his Jiu-Jitsu skills, self-defense techniques, decorated body, and athletic lifestyle. Andre Galvao is on the list of those coaches who served their country and did not move to the US after touching the horizon of fame.   

Unlike other coaches, Andre Galvao can still be seen on the mat. He is a multiple-time world champion. He is ten times IBJJF Pan Champion, six times ADCC World Champion, ten times IBJJF World Champion, and three times UAEJJF World Pro Cup Champion. He also participated in MMA and retired in 2018 with a 5-2-0 record.  

Andre Galvao started his martial art career with Judo and then diverted to BJJ due to his brother's motivation. He had exceptional skills from his early teens and his coach referred him to train under Fernando Terere. Andre Galvao was promoted to Black Belt by Fernando Terere in 2005. Currently, in 2023, he holds the 4th Degree Black Belt.

Coaching Career

When Fernando left sports due to some personal reasons, Andre initially joined Barsa Club de Jiu-Jitsu. Then he opened his own gym in 2008 along with his wife and friends and this is the base of Atos Jiu-Jitsu.

Atos Jiu-Jitsu is working to train people not just for the fight on the mat, but also for coping with real-life situations. And this is the basic motto of Atos Jiu-Jitsu and its co-founder, Andre Galavo. He wanted his students to live their dreams just like him.

Furthermore, he welcomed all people from any region of the world and of any age to come and learn Jiu-Jitsu skills under the great coach Andre Galvao.

In 2010, Andre Galvao wrote a book named “Drill to Win: One Year to Better BJJ”. His book includes all his experiences on the mat.

Competitors under Andre Galvao

Andre Galvao is the second BJJ competitor who was added to the ADCC hall of fame after Roger Gracie. Well-known names who got trained under Andre Galvao included Keenan Cornelius, Michael Liera Jr. Mike Carbullido, Andris Brunovskis, and Angelica Galvao.

2.3. Master Fabio Gurgel

Master Fabio Gurgel

Photo credit: @fabiogurgel

Fighting Achievements

Fabio Gurgel is four times IBJJF world champion, 3 times European champion, and one-time Brazilian National Champion. Fabio Gurgel set a record by winning the European open at 40 years of age, a very rare event in the history of Jiu-Jitsu. 

Coaching Career

Fabio Gurgel also known as “the General” is the best competitor and the Best coach of his generation. Fabio is a true inspiration for both men and women who want to pursue a career in BJJ. Despite his fame in the grappling world, Fabio decided to stay in his country and serve his nation.

Fabio Gurgel is also a co-founder of Alliance and runs a branch of Alliance in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Fabio Gurgel is the best coach for various guard passes like pressure guard passing and wild guard passing.

Competitors under Fabio Gurgel

Alliance Sao Paulo Branch is a home for various World champion competitors who earned a name under Fabio Gurgel and bring fame to their academy. They include Michael Langhi, Gabi Garcia, Juan Caio and Fabio Caloi. 

Competitors Awarded Hall of Fame under Fabio Gurgel

Hall of Famer under Fabio Gurgel include Marcelo Garcia and Gabrielle Lemos Garcia.  

2.4. Profesor Eddie Bravo

Profesor Eddie Bravo

Photo credit: @eddiebravo10p

Fighting Achievements

Eddie Bravo is a Brazilian Black Belt and founder of the 10th planet Jiu-Jitsu Team. He rose in the grappling world when he submitted Royler Gracie in 2003 at ADCC World Championship at the Brown Belt level.

Coaching Career

Eddie Bravo created his own No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu style when he was a Blue Belt. He invented the technique and was later called “TheTwister”. At the purple belt level, he started to develop his own style of guard called “Rubber Guard”. 

After winning the 2003 ADCC Championship, Eddie Bravo was promoted to Black Belt by Jaques Machado. Now Eddie Bravo was ready to open his own academy and he did. Eddie Bravo’s 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu is a world-famous martial arts school that produced a lot of competitors and coaches.

Competitors under Eddie Bravo

His coaching skills are not limited to the academy, but also wrote various books on Jiu-Jitsu techniques and made instructional videos. The top athletes under Eddie Bravo are Denny Prokopos and the Martinez brothers.  

2.5. The Mendes Brothers

The Mendes Brothers

Photo credit: @mendesbros

Fighting Achievements

Guilherme Mendes and Rafael Mendes are Black Belt under Ramon Lemos from Atos Team.

Rafael Mendes is 6 times World Champion, 2 times ADCC champion, 2 times Pans, and three times European champion. He also won UAEJJF twice and the CBJJ Brazilian National once. 

Kennan Cornelius stated in an interview that Rafa is the toughest guy who belongs to BJJ in his belief. Rafel Mendes was also named “the King of the Featherweight Division”. 

Guilherme Mendes is 4 times World champion, one-time IBJJF Pans and CBJJ Brazilian National champions, and twice European champion.

Coaching Career

They show their skills as a competitor as well as coaches. They are the youngest of all other BJJ coaches and earned a name in the grappling world with their extraordinary performance.

They started a gym named Art of Jiu-Jitsu (AOJ) which was previously affiliated with Atos but later split up. Mendes brothers are well known to bring a revolution in the BJJ game with their 50/50, Berimbolo and de la Riva Guards.

Competitors under Mendes Brothers

Mendes brothers are multiple times World Champions and ADCC champions. Ruotolo brothers, and Jessa Khan, are multiple times world champions and are also trained under Mendes Brothers.  

2.6. Leonardo Vieira

Leonardo Vieira

Photo credit: @leovieirabjj

Fighting Achievements

Leonardo Viera was a great Lightweight competitor and is currently a highly-ranked coach in team Checkmate. He was promoted to Black Belt under Romero Cavalcanti. He was the most crowd-pleasing competitor and has an interesting track record.

He won the ADCC and Pan championships twice. Furthermore, he is also World and CBJJ Brazilian national champion.

In 2011, Leo was invited to fill a vacant place at ADCC. Various people tried to discourage Leo by saying that he is too old to fight in ADCC. But Leo proved them wrong and won the second position in ADCC 2011 by defeating various best players of this generation.

Coaching Career  

Leonardo started a Master Team in the 1980s. This master team later changed into Brasa Club de Jiu-Jitsu.

Brasa Club de Jiu-Jitsu is still working but Leo planned to open another academy with his brothers. Subsequently, in 2008 Leo started “Checkmat”.

Leo is considered the most creative grappler in the BJJ world. His technical style and rapid passing and distance passing made him distinct from the other grapplers.

Competitors under Leonardo Vieira

Checkmat produz vários big names incluindo Marcus “Buchecha”, Joao Assis, Marcelo Mafra, and Lucas Leite. 

2.7. Master Julio Cesar

Master Julio Cesar

Photo credit: @juliogfteam

Fighting Achievements

Master Julio Cesar Pereira, is famous as “Mestre Julio”. He joined Jiu-Jitsu in 1974. He was promoted to Black Belt by Oswaldo Fadda and is now 7th degree Coral Belt. He is two times world champion and 21 times state champion.

Coaching Career

Julio showcased and proved his skills as a fighter as well as a coach. The Gama Filho academy was initiated by two coaches, Pedro Gama and Paulo Jardim. Julio Cesar joined the academy as a coach. After some time, both founders left the academy to the responsible hands of Master Julio and two other coaches. 

Gama Filho was converted into a “Grappling Fight Team” (GFT). Cesar was very much devoted to BJJ. He initiated a fighter house at GFT headquarters for those students who cannot meet their expenses and have the desire to pursue their careers in BJJ.   

Master Julio and GF Team continuously give top grapplers and arise on the map of the world. He is one of the greatest leaders and big names of the GF Team who transformed a small academy into a big name in the grappling world.

Competitors under Julio Cesar

GF Team contains competitors who are experts in amazing Guard passing style. Julio Cesar produced top competitors which include Rodolfo Vieira, Jaime Canuto, Vinicius Marinho, Victor Silverio, and Patrick Gaudio.  

Competitors Awarded Hall of Fame Under Julio Cesar

Rodolfo Vieira Srourrodolfo Vieira Srour is the Hall of Famer under Julio Cesar.

2.8. Marcelo Garcia

Marcelo Garcia

Photo credit: @marcelogarciajiujitsu

Fighting Achievements

Marcelo Garcia is one of the 10 Best Grapplers of all time and was promoted to Black Belt by Fabio Gurgel ”the General”. He represents Alliance. Marcelo Garcia was five times IBJJF World champion and four times ADC champion. He is also an ADCC Hall of Famer. He is well known for his seated and butterfly guards.

Marcelo earned a name with a great submission rate in his grappling career. Marcelo’s interest was judo which gradually diverted from Judo and MMA to BJJ. Marcelo traveled to various places and faced a lot of troubles in his BJJ journey.

Coaching Career

In 2009, when Marcelo opened his own BJJ academy in New York, he said goodbye to his MMA career and devoted full time and attention to his gym and new students. Now Marcelo is considered a very competent coach in the grappling world.

Marcelo Garcia is one of the top grapplers with a friendly attitude and a good example for his students.  

Competitors under Marcelo Garcia

Marcelo Garcia’s coaching career is not longer than various coaches but he produced many top-class grapplers like Bernardo Faria, Matheus Dinis, Dillon Danis, Gianni Grippo, and Marcos Tinoco. 

2.9. Firas Zahabi

Firas Zahabi

Photo credit: @firas_zahabi

Firas Zahabi, the owner of Tristar gym in Quebec Canada was a dedicated athlete under John Danaher. Firas Zahabi had great skills in MMA, wrestling, and BJJ. Firas Zahabi was a mat rat who spent most of his time in the gym.

Firas Zahabi joined Tristar and his hard work and devotion earned him his blue belt in just six months. By seeing his dedication, he was offered the position of coach. He was the most well-prepared and dedicated student in the gym at that time.

Coaching Career

He gradually progressed in his BJJ career. In 2007, when the owner of the gym started his own business, Tristar was all over on the responsibility of Firas. Firas became the official owner of Tristar in 2008 when Firas bought Tristar gym.

Firas Zahabi trained his students with a controlled training method. His belief is that recovery time is also important for effective training.     

Competitors under Firas Zahabi

Firas Zahabi's continuous work made Tristar the second-best BJJ school in Canada. His top athletes include Oliver Taza, Pierre Olivier, and Ethan Crelisten.    

2.10. Lachlan Giles

Lachlan Giles

Photo credit: @lachlan_giles

Fighting Achievements

Lachlan Giles, is a top Australian athlete of his generation who had not only shown his skills on the mat but also earned a name in his coaching career. Lachlan won various championships including ADCC Asia and Oceania Trials, IBJJF Pan Specific Championship, No-Gi IBJJF Pan Specific Championship, UAEJJF Continental Pro, and Kinetic Invitational 1 as well. He was promoted to Black Belt in 2012 by John Simon.

Coaching Career  

He started his coaching career just after his Black Belt promotion in 2013. He also achieved his first degree of Black Belt under Thiago Stefanutti when he was working as a BJJ instructor at Melbourne City Center.

He also completed his Ph.D. in physiotherapy in December 2016. His wife Livia, is also a top grappler. Lachlan Giles is also well known for his instructional videos. He is running his own academy known as Absolute MMA.

Lachlan is a pioneer of the outside Sankaku position and K guard. Lachlan is also a Heel Hook expert which he learned from nobody but himself on youtube. He is famous for his techniques to regenerate 50/50 position by using Heel Hook techniques. He is also well known for his Z-Guard varieties which can be converted into Heel Hook.

Competitors under Lachlan Giles

Craig Jones and Livia Gluchowska are competitors under Lachlan Giles.

3. Takeaways

To have effective coaching skills, BJJ instructors must have knowledge and expertise in their skills. A BJJ coach must have motivational and inspirational behavior. Another important thing that can help students to get the point of their coach is good communication skills.

John Danaher, Andre Galvao, Fabio Gurgel, Eddie Bravo, Mendes brothers, Leonardo Vieira, Julio Cesar, Marcelo Garcia, and Firas Zahabi are the top ten coaches who are highly skillful and are producing a great number of top athletes. 

Photo credit: @atosjiujitsuhq

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