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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 our 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 the aforementioned school. As one of Gurgel’s first students, Chris was invited to train for a month in Fortaleza, Brazil, with Gurgel’s mentor, 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 the 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 to his students.

Instructor For:

  • Kickboxing
  • Advanced Kickboxing
  • All Level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

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)

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 practiced 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
  • Kickboxing

Notable Acclaim:

  • Grapplers Quest, 2nd Place
  • NAGA Vegas Gi & No Gi Champion
  • 4x 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 Brown 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 the dojo. After 5 years of kickboxing, Shiann decided to try jiu-jitsu, she received her blue belt from Steve Hanna in 2011, her purple belt from Chris Jones in 2014 and her brown belt in 2017 from Chris Jones and Matt Young.

Shiann began instructing the female kickboxing class for DMAA in 2012 and instructing the female jiu-jitsu class in 2015.  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

Nico de Haan, 3rd Degree Black Belt Instructor

Nico de Haan began training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Gracie Barra Clearwater, Florida under Eduardo de Lima. In 2012, he won Gold in the PAN Jiu Jitsu Championship as a Brown belt middle weight, Senior 5 Division after which he was awarded his Black Belt. Born in The Netherlands on September12, 1944 Nico was awarded his 3rd Degree Black Belt on March 6, 2021 in Clearwater Florida. In June 2021, Nico and his wife Ellen, relocated to Durango and he is honored to continue his BJJ journey at Durango Mixed Martial Arts, teaching on Tuesday  and Thursday mornings at 6:30 AM.

Instructor For:

    • All Level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 6:30 AM.

    Notable Acclaim:

    IBJJF Brown Belt Awards

    Miami 2011 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Championship

    • Silver Medal in Middle Weight Senior 3 Division.

    PAN 2012 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Championship

    • Gold Medal in Middle Weight Senior 5 Division.
    • Silver Medal in Open Weight Senior 5.

    IBJJF Black Belt Awards

    PAN 2013 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Championship

    • Silver Medal in Middle Weight Senior 5 Division.

    Miami 2012 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Championship

    • Gold Medal in Middle Weight Senior 5 Division.
    • Silver Medal in Open Weight Senior 5 Division.

    PAN 2014 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Championship

    • Silver Medal in Middle Weight Master 6 division.
    • Silver Medal in Open Weight Master 6 division.

    Boca Raton 2014 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Championship

    • Gold Medal 2014 in Middle Weight Master 6 division.
    • Gold Medal 2014 in Open Weight Master 6 division.

    Miami 2014 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Championship

    • Gold Medal in Middle Weight Master 6 division.
    • Silver Medal in Open Weight Master 6 division.

    PAN 2015 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Championship

    • Bronze Medal in Middle Weight Master 6 division.

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