Instructors

Renato Tavares

Master Tavares 5th Degree Black Belt BJJ

Renato Tavares 5Dg BJJ Black Belt

Renato Tavares moved to Rio de Janeiro and started training under Carlson Gracie, receiving his brown and black (in 1995) belts from the BJJ legend. After moving to the US in He  took advantage of the booming MMA scene in the US and started his career in the popular sport, fighting at the World Extreme Fighting 12 in Ohio.
Renato has been instructing students in BJJ and Grappling from a wide variety of backgrounds including FBI Agents, Military, Police Officers and Athletes.
Renato is a professional MMA fighter and is active on the grappling circuit. He has many titles: International Champion, Pan American Champion, and many State Championships. Renato is regarded by many as one of the best BJJ practitioners as well as a professor.
Renato has formed several black belts in the USA but he has not lost his competitive edge, having competed in 16 events in 2009, winning 13 of those. He recently competed in the Worlds and won gold.
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Dr. Paulie Gloves Gold Gloves Boxing

Beyond his work in education and human services, Paul is a highly successful professional boxing and mixed martial arts coach.  Paulie applies the science of human behavior to coach multiple fighters to championship titles at varying levels worldwide.
Training in MMA since 2002, Dr. Paul “Paulie Gloves” Gavoni continues to be sought out by many fighters as he is widely respected by Florida’s MMA community for his coaching ability. In 1992, Coach Paulie began boxing in South Florida and went on to win the Florida Golden Gloves Title in 1998. In 2001, under the tutelage of renowned boxing Coach Milton Lacroix, Paulie learned how to develop a fighter’s speed and punching power by employing a system that focused on natural body mechanics.

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Melissa Bentley BJJ Black Belt

Melissa Bentley started training BJJ in 2010 and has been training and competing for 6 years. She is a multiple World and Pan American champion and has won or placed in many other tournaments. Melissa received her black belt December 2015 and is Renato Tavares’ first female black belt.
Her dedication to jiu jitsu will remain as she is constantly learning to be a better student, instructor and person.
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Alessandro Guirado

He has been an instructor for Legacy since October, 2015.
Alessandro has achieved a black belt 4th degree Dan Hapkido and has been a  trainer for more than 23 years. He also is a 4th degree purple belt in jiu-jitsu and a trainer for over 10 years. He has trained adults and children over 15 years.
He has won several regional championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil:  the first ranking circuit jujitsu Interior in 2015 as a light purple Master and third in the world light purple senior CBJJE, 2015.
Alessandro chose teaching because he has always practiced martial arts in his life.  It  is part of who he is.
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Tommy Wales 2nd Degree Black Belt

Tommy is a 2nd degree black belt under Master Renato Tavares and a Kru in Muay Thai under Israel Gomes. He has trained martial arts his whole life and has competed in both gi and no gi tournaments.  He is also skilled in and competes in MMA and Muay Thai. He teaches Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, submission wrestling and Muay Thai. Tommy has been training in BJJ for 14 years and Muay Thai for 10 years.
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                           Oscar Alejandro Cardona

Columbian born. Loves jiu jitsu and Greco roman wrestling.
Colombian wrestling national team. 2000 Puerto Rico International Championships 3rd place. National champion freestyle wrestling junior Colombia, 3rd place adults 1999 Colombian Nationals, 2nd place Florida games Greco roman wrestling 2004. Jiu Jitsu Life, 2009 Worlds Novice Champion 1st place,  2009 Pan Ams 1st place, American Nationals California 2nd  place, Miami International Open  2nd place, open weight 3rd place, Light Weight Abu Dhabi trials Boca Raton, 2010 champion light weight, NAGA Florida 2008 1st Place , 2009 1st Place, Advanced Grappling 1st place, Copa America 2nd place 2008,2011 No Gi worlds 3rd place , Miami Open 2011 champion.
vinicius Gahyva

Vinicius Gahyva

4th Degree Black Belt in Jiu JItsu. 3rd Degree Black Belt in luta livra. Brown Belt in Judo.
Vinicius was born in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Subsequently he moved to and worked in Texas. In 2015 Vinicius moved to Merritt Island. 2nd place World Jiu Jitsu Championship no-gi 2013, 2012. Brazilian Champion Jiu Jitsu Gi 2010. Brazilian Champion Masters Wrestling 2012.

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Fabricio Bicudo Mariano

Born in 1975 in Niterói – state of Rio de Janeiro, growing up in São Gonçalo RJ. Bicudo first joined a  jiu  jitsu academy at age 10. switched to Carlson Gracie‘s academy, where he met legendary coaches such as Ricardo Liborio and “Bebeo” Duarte as well as Renato Tavares, the man Fabricio always mentioned to be his Master.
In 2002 Fabricio gave start to his mixed martial arts (MMA) career. Even though he loved the atmosphere and was extremely successful inside the cage/ring, his motivation was not in making a living from the sport. For that reason, Bicudo always gave priority to his jiu jitsu, leaving MMA behind in the mid 2000’s with a 7-1-0 record.
After Tavares move to the United States, Bicudo trained with wrestling  coach Flavio Cabral, in Niterói. He also worked on his jiu jitsu with local friends such as Sebastian Lalli, Anderson Pereira, Vinicius Gahyva, Rafael Rebello, Josimar Neves among many others. It was through a few of these friends that Bicudo returned to Copacabana, this time to Fight Zone, Checkmat headquarters where he trained with Ricardo Vieira.
Bicudo is also an accomplished athlete in other combat sports such as mixed martial arts (MMA) and freestyle wrestling.
Bicudo followed Tavares and many other jiu jitsu practitioners to the US where he joined the Tavares Legacy Association.

Brian Topp

I was born and raised in Vero, graduated the high school in 2013 and began coaching the following season alongside my HS Wrestling coach.
I have coached 5 State Qualifiers. From 2015 to present I continue to act as a Wrestling Club coach. I am also coaching a 2020 Olympic hopeful.
The classes are intended to teach and spread folkstyle and freestyle wrestling techniques. It transfers in all applicable arts from MMA to strictly Wrestling to takedowns for BJJ and even just self defense. They will learn competition style wrestling; HS and collegiate style

Mike Budnik

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I started training Jiu-Jitsu a few years back in Chattanooga, TN. I was mainly interested in the self-defense aspect of it.  I trained at Triton CCSD in Tulsa, OK under Piet Wilhelm, who has helped me grow into the fighter I am today.
“I have had 10 fights (7 as a pro) and have yet to lose, defeating two title holders in non-title fights along the way. I was also ranked the #1 all-round rollerblader in the world for 6 out of the 10 years I skated. I have 2 gold medals, 4 silver medals, and 3 bronze medals from the ESPN X-Games Series. I was a member of the gold medal winning USA Global X-Games. I also won the bronze medal in the NBC Gravity Games. I was named skater of the year in 2002 by the ASA.”ufc.com

Ocala Jiu Jitsu

Sensei Bill Bartlett and Matt Bartlett

Bill Barlett has been training in mixed martial arts for 20 years. In October 2004, he founded the Ocala Jiu-Jitsu Academy, he continues his journey in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and mixed martial arts as head instructor. In 2007, he was named North American Grappling Association’s Instructor of the Year.
Matt “Mongoose” Bartlett began training in martial arts at age 5 and currently holds a purple belt in BJJ. He ranked top 8 out of 94 competitors in his weight class during the 2010 IBJJF Worlds in Long Beach, CA. and continues his journey in mixed martial arts as a dedicated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor under Sensei Bill Bartlett.

Aumakua BJJFred Ramie

US Army First Sargeant, 2013- Pan American Championship- Gold Medalist.  Frederick Ramie started his BJJ journey under Roberto Maia at Boston BJJ.  Fred moved to Maryland and trained at Crazy 88 with Julius Park, a Lloyd Irvin affiliate.   He also started a club on FT Meade, FT Meade BJJ. Fred heeded the Army and moved to Florida where he eventually opened his own academy, Aumakua BJJ. Aumakua BJJ is a very competitive school that has yielded incredible results in International competitions. In 2010, Roberto Maia awarded Fred His Black Belt.  Fred realized that in order to have a competitive school, there must be a good support system and joined the Renato Tavares Association. In 2013, Renato Tavares awarded Fred his First Degree.

Hemerson Ricardo Navarro

 At the age of seven, under the influence of his father, the boy from Paraguaçu Paulista (SP) entered judo.  “The idea of  Joseph (my father) was to calm me down. Thank you every day for having encouraged you to practice a fighting style.
Today, fighting is my way of life. Navarro shows his achievements:  On the mat, Navarro displays his main achievements: World Cup, Mercosur, Pan American and Brazilian
 Navarro grew up and reached the black judo belt. At the same time, he trained boxing, capoeira and met jiu-jitsu, a sport that changed his destiny.
At age 21 he decided to dedicate himself to the sport and today, he is a black belt and champion of everything in the soft art, as the jiu-jitsu style is known.
“Life taught me to persevere and never give up. I managed to win the World Cup twice, the Brazilian in five opportunities and international championships like Mercosur and Panamericano other times. Navarro champion
This year, the champion increased his gallery of titles by winning for the second time the Mercosur Cup (in the featherweight category), which occurred in Argentina, and was in 2nd in the free category. He secured second place in the Brazilian podium and was a World Champion in Rio de Janeiro.
Even with so many achievements, for him, winning is not everything. As a coach, he teaches that discipline is an indispensable attribute. – I live on the mat. I live the fight. I live the sport. Everything in the right measure.

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