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Durango Martial Arts Academy Instructors

Our coaches are the heart and soul of DMAA. They have made martial arts their life’s work, and want nothing more than to share their passion and experience with their students. We pride ourselves on our coaches for being friendly, welcoming, and extremely knowledgeable in martial arts training methods. Whether your goal is overall fitness, self defense, or competition, let our coaches help!

Chris Jones » Owner/Head Instructor, Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai Instructor, BJJ Black Belt

Chris began his formal Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training at the Brown Institute of Martial Arts in Dayton, Ohio, in 1999 under well known UFC fighter and instructor Jorge Gurgel. While there, Chris honed his kickboxing with Jeff Brown, an Ajarn Chai Sirisute certified instructor and owner of aforementioned school. As one of Gurgel’s first students, Chris was invited to train for a month in Fortaleza, Brazil, with Gurgel’s mentor, UFC/Pride fighter and BJJ instructor Marcus Aurielo. Before leaving Brazil, Aurielo awarded Chris his Blue Belt after Chris proved his skills at the local BJJ tournaments.  Jones was eventually promoted to Purple Belt under the intensive scrutiny of Jorge Gurgel while training in Ohio.

Chris was appointed head Jiu-Jitsu Instructor at the Brown Institute from 2001-2004, by gym owner Jeff Brown. Chris relocated to Durango, CO in 2005 to open Durango Martial Arts Academy. When the doors opened in 2006, Chris was owner and head instructor of the first and only true Mixed Martial Arts/Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy in southwest Colorado.

Chris went on to receive his Brown Belt from Helio “Soneca” Morerija, an original Gracie Barra Black Belt in 2007. In preparation for his Black Belt, Chris further trained with famous coaches Gokor Chivichyan, and Amal Easton. In 2011, Chris was awarded his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by the renowned Amal Easton, culminating a long and intensive journey through the jiu jitsu ranks.

Throughout the belt ranks, Chris has been an active competitor, competing in dozens of jiu jitsu tournaments, never finishing lower than third. During Chris’s professional MMA career, he amassed a perfect 5-0 record, with all wins coming by submission or knockout, and won the Rocky Mountain National welterweight championship belt in 2010.

Chris now devotes himself full time to teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai and coaching his stable of fighters.  Chris takes a hands-on approach when instructing; combining his sincere love of the arts with focus and dedicated desire to impart his knowledge onto his students.

Instructor For:

  • Kickboxing
  • All Level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
  • Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Fundamentals

Notable Acclaim:

  • Relson Gracie National Champion Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic, 2nd Place
  • Ohio Pro Am (Pro Division), 2nd Place
  • Two Time Hayastan Grappling Champion
  • Hayastan Grappling Absolute Champion
  • Colorado Fight To Win Advanced Division, Gi & No Gi Champion
  • 5-0 Pro MMA record
  • Rocky Mountain National MMA Champion (Welterweight)

Nick Maez » Jiu Jitsu Instructor, BJJ Black Belt

Nick was born in Denver and is a lifelong Colorado resident. He began his grappling career at the age of 5 with peewee wrestling. Nick wrestled throughout school and found great success, placing many times in state and national competition. He began training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at DMAA in 2006 under head coach Chris Jones. Nick’s years of wrestling and natural abilities allowed him to quickly move through the BJJ ranks.

He moved to Denver in 2010 to pursue his masters degree in clinical social work at DU. While putting himself through college he continued his BJJ training under Steve Hordinski and Master Relson Gracie at Relson’s Littleton Academy. He spent every spare hour he had on the mat, honing his skills and teaching abilities. In 2012, Nick received his BJJ black belt from Relson and Steve.

Since becoming a black belt Nick has traveled the country training with the top names in BJJ such as Rafael “Formiga” Barbosa, Samir Chantre, Osvaldo “Queixinho” Moizinho, Manny Diaz, Dave Camarillo, Matt Darce, and Mike Purdencio, among many others. Nick has also competed in many of the top BJJ tournaments in the world, and took home the bronze medal at the 2015 IBJJF Pan American games in the black belt division.

Nick moved back to Durango in 2015 and stepped right into a teaching role at DMAA. He brings with him the years of first hand knowledge he’s gained from training and competing against the best BJJ competitors in the world, as well as Master Relson Gracie’s famously strict self defense curriculum. Nick passion for jiu jitsu crosses over into his teaching and he always makes himself available to answer student’s questions or to grapple another round.

Instructor For:

  • Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Fundamentals
  • All Level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Notable Acclaim:

  • IBJJF Pan Ams Black Belt Division 3rd Place
  • NAGA Vegas Gi Champion
  • Grand Prix Super Fight Champion

Matt Young » General Manager, Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, Head Kids and Teens Instructor, BJJ Black Belt

Matt began his training as a teenager at the Durango Sports Club in 2004. There he began learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, and MMA under the instruction of the most talented martial artists in the area. Matt quickly became very passionate about the martial arts, and when Durango Martial Arts Academy opened in 2006, Matt immediately began training at southwest Colorado’s first Jiu Jitsu and MMA School.  Once Matt received his BJJ blue belt from Owner/Head Instructor Chris Jones he took over the DMAA kids program where he began developing his teaching skills. Matt received his BJJ purple belt in 2009, three years after joining DMAA.

Currently Matt is Head Kids Instructor with over 9 years of teaching experience under him, with many of his students placing and winning various jiu-jitsu tournaments and competitions. Matt is an active competitor himself and has currently competed in twenty plus jiu-jitsu tournaments as a blue, purple, and brown belt. Rarely placing lower than third and often competing above his weight class.

In 2012, Matt received his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brown belt from DMAA head instructor Chris Jones and in October 2016 Chris Jones and Nick Maez awarded Matt his BJJ Black belt culminating a journey of over 12 years.

Instructor For:

  • Kids Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
  • Teen Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
  • All Level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
  • Advanced Kickboxing

Notable Acclaim:

  • Grapplers Quest, 2nd Place
  • NAGA Vegas Gi & No Gi Champion
  • 3x Southwest Grapplefest (Advanced No-Gi Division) Champion
  • Southwest Grapplefest (Purple Belt Division) 4 time 2nd Place
  • 3-0 Pro MMA record

Shiann Swapp » Women’s Class Instructor, BJJ Purple Belt

Shiann Swapp was born and raised in Colorado and is a 1999 graduate of Bayfield High School.  Shiann started taking kickboxing classes at DMAA shortly after they opened in 2006, under the instruction of Chris Jones.  Shiann quickly became a passionate and diligent student who rarely missed a day of training and worked hard to become one of the top students in class. After 5 years of kickboxing, Shiann finally decided to try jiu-jitsu, she received her blue belt from Steve Hanna in 2011 and was promoted to purple belt by Chris Jones in 2014.

Shiann began instructing the female kickboxing class for DMAA in 2012, which has steadily grown in popularity.  She also began instructing the female jiu-jitsu class in 2015, which is also gaining momentum and growing in numbers.  Both of these classes have proven to be a mainstay for many women who enjoy the energy and camaraderie of other women and also a stepping-stone into these male dominated sports.

Instructor For:

  • Women’s Kickboxing
  • Women’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

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