Professor: Misho Ceko
Rank: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt
Experience: 16 years
Team: Team Ralph Gracie

Pan American Championship 3rd Place (2003)
Gracie Open Champion (2001, 2002)
US Open Champion (1999, 2000)
Copa Pacifica Champion (1999)

Misho is a black belt under the legendary Gracie family. Training under Ralph Gracie, Misho developed a love and passion for martial arts and teaching martial arts. After receiving his black belt, he traveled around the United States and worked with the top trainers and gyms in the world, including Carlson Gracie, Renzo Gracie, and Mark Dellagrotte, top Mauy Thai trainer and UFC coach, at Sityodtong Muay Thai

Misho’s philosophy on martial arts transcends any one style and is purely focused on seamlessly integrating the most effective techniques regardless of style. He incorporates a more scientific approach to martial arts grounded in fundamentals and cross training. Last year, while on a consulting assignment for the United Nations in Mozambique, Misho helped start the first Mixed Martial Arts school in Maputo, developing a team of fighters proud to represent their country. Misho is a graduate of the University of Illinois and holds graduate degrees from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Coach: Nate Mohr
Experience: 8 years
MMA Record: 10 – 7

Nate Mohr is a professional MMA and UFC fighter and trainer. He started training in Iowa under Pat Miletich. After leaving Iowa, Nate joined Jeff Curran and his team in Crystal Lake. Nate has 10 wins in the cage, all of which except one ended in a knockout or submission. He has fought in the UFC four times. Known for this powerful striking, Nate has trained at the world-famous Fairtex Gym in Thailand.

Coach: Brian Gassaway
20 years
MMA Record:

Brian Gassaway is one of the most experienced fighters and trainers in the country. A former UFC fighter, Brian has fought all over the world, from Brazil to Japan. Brian’s unique ability to blend boxing and kickboxing makes him one of a kind. His experience and knowledge of the Mixed Martial Arts is unparalleled.

Coach: Chuong Pham
Rank: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Brown Belt
Experience: 8 years

Chuong started trainining Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under the Vives brothers (Myles and Mark Vives – New Breed Chicago) in 2004 and is currently a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Chuong has competed in tournaments throughout the U.S., including the Arnold’s, North American Grappling Association (NAGA), Ohio Grappling Challenge, King Grappler, Extreme Grappling Challenge (E.G.O.), Corral Combage Classico (C3), and the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) Pan Jiu-Jitsu.

Coach: Brian Thibault
Rank: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Purple Belt
Experience: 7 years
Program: Youth Program Coach

Brian holds a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and has trained in other martial arts including Muay Thai, Judo, Kali, Judo, and Tae Kwon Do. He has competed in tournaments throughout the U.S., including the North American Grappling Association, Ohio Grappling Challenge, the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) Chicago Open, and the IBJJF American Nationals.

Coach: Ivelin Tzontchev
Style: Boxing
Experience: 7 years
Program: Boxing

Ivo is the gym’s resident boxing coach. A two-time Golden Gloves boxer, Ivo placed 2nd in the 2009 Chicago Golden Gloves and a was semi-finalist in 2010. Not only is Ivo one of the top amateur boxers in the city, but he is also one of the city’s top coaches. His eye for detail has been a tremendous asset to the gym.

Coach: Luis Meza
Rank: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Purple Belt
Experience: 7 years
Program: Kids Program Coach

Luis holds a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and has trained in other martial arts including Judo and Muay Thai.  He has competed in local tournaments throughout Chicago including the North American Grappling Association and the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) Chicago Open.  Luis’s work experience has been in the non profit world providing youth programs for young people throughout the city as well as providing workshops and training for youth program providers.  Luis’s 3 year old son is a regular on the mats.

Assistant Coach: Grace Penney
Style: Mixed Martial Arts, Boxing and Wrestling
Experience: 5 Years
Program: Kids Program Assistant Coach

Grace began wrestling her junior year at Lyons Township High School. She competed at Women’s Illinois and Wisconsin State Wrestling Championships, along with Women’s Nationals. After high school, Grace began her Mixed Martial Arts training in Chicago. She now splits her time between school at DePaul University and training at Chicago Mixed Martial Arts. Grace is currently training for the Chicago Golden Gloves boxing tournament.

Assistant Coach: Tarah Knaresboro
Style: Tae Kwon Do, Mixed Martial Arts, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Experience: 12 years
Program: Youth Program Assistant Coach

Tarah started Tae Kwon Do at 10 years old after being wowed by a community demonstration where a girl flipped her partner onto the mat. After getting her second degree black belt, she started teaching martial arts to children. In college, she started learning krav maga and teaching math and science to local kids. She graduated from Brown University in 2011 with a degree in Neuroscience, then moved to Chicago and began training in boxing and jiu-jitsu. When she’s not escaping armbars and chokes, she reads lots of books, cooks lots of lentils, and works as a medical writer for Emmi Solutions.

Assistant Coach: Andrew Bowers
Style: Mixed Martial Arts
Experience: 4 Years

While in the United States Marine Corps, Corporal Bowers was assigned to become a martial arts instructor for his unit. While training to instruct his fellow Marines in the most effective hand-to-hand and close combat techniques Andrew was introduced to MMA. Shortly after completing active duty, Andrew moved to Chicago to attend DePaul University. He is now a student of the many disciplines of mixed martial arts under Prof. Misho Ceko.