What is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

Jiu Jitsu, or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as it is commonly named outside Brazil, is a grappling orientated martial art/combat sport that evolved from its Japanese roots in 1920’s Brazil, and continued to evolve for many decades after until its present format. This style though previously established in its native country, became highly popular within the northern hemisphere after a series of performances from BJJ fighter Royce Gracie in the early UFC’s (Ultimate Fighting Championship) where he battled against competitors from many different martial arts backgrounds in the no holds barred tournament, becoming the fighting promotion’s first champion. This event proved Jiu Jitsu’s efficiency and helped raise awareness all around the world, becoming one of the reasons behind the sport’s growth.

Head Instructor

Steve Haydock is a 3rd Degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  He started his martial arts training aged 19 with the study of Shorin-Ryu Karate.  During this period he saw UFC 1 and was intrigued at the fighting style used by Royce Gracie to defeat all his opponents.  Steve began his BJJ training in 1999 with Dean Taylor who was a blue belt under the legendary Rickson Gracie. This started Steve’s training journey that would take him to the Rickson Gracie Academy in Pacific Pallisades, CA where he would be exposed to the teachings of Rickson and his senior instructors.  Steve continued his training with the association until he was promoted to purple belt by Roberto ‘Risada’ Atalla, Head of the Rio Grappling Club, eventually receiving his Black Belt in 2007. Since then Steve has taught and instructed  groups and individuals all over the world including SWAT / LEO Teams, Military, Corporate Groups and Individual Athletes.

Assistant Instructor / Kids Instructor

Sam Palmer is Kokoro’s Assistant Jiu Jitsu Instructor and Lead Instructor for the Kids Program. He has extensive coaching experience in all areas of fitness. He is a keen climber and outdoor enthusiast. He holds the rank of Blue Belt (Red Bar) in Jiu Jitsu in recognition of his coaching abilities. He is also a CrossFit L2 Trainer.

Head Nutrition / Fitness Coach

Natosha is Kokoro’s Chief Fitness Coach and Head of Nutrition Coaching. Natosha has been a competitive athlete and involved in fitness her whole life. She is a Certified Level 3 CrossFit trainer and works as part of CrossFit HQ’s Elite Team of Seminar Trainers. She travels the world to help deliver the CrossFit L1 and L2 seminars. She is also certified in Precision Nutrition Coaching and can help tailor your nutrition to better support your goals on and off the mat.

MMA & Striking Instructor

MMA Coach Luke Shepard brings over a decade of MMA experience to the team. He began his training and fight career at the world famous Team Quest in Portland, OR. Luke has competed in MMA and Kickboxing as an amateur and a professional. He is the former XCF Welterweight Champion and holds a purple belt in Jiu Jitsu under Steve Haydock. Whether you are training for self defence or to compete in the cage Luke can help you combine the striking and grappling arts and achieve your goals.