Capoeira at Kaijin MMA is taught by “Teacher Tony” Solinas, aka Formando Currupio. Tony has over 25 years of experience in capoeira, teaching under the guidance of Mestre Itabora Ferreira. Tony travels the globe giving seminars and demonstrations, competing regularly and collaborating with elite capoeira players around the world.
Derek is a lifelong student of the martial arts and began studying in the rigid protocol of Shotokan, or Okinawan Karate, at age 8 eventually moving on American Kickboxing until finally finding Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. After growing up around frequent street fights and from his experience working as a bouncer in his 20’s Derek saw how often altercations ended up on the ground and realized that being in a fight of any kind without sufficient knowledge of the grappling arts would be akin to jumping into the ocean without knowing how to swim. At that point Derek dedicated himself to the art of Jiu Jitsu, being trained by the well known 6th degree black belt, Professor Gustavo Froes, and was awarded his black belt from the early UFC veteran and global Brazilian Jiu Jitsu icon, Joe Moreira, in 2017. It’s Professor Derek’s belief that your Jiu Jitsu should be effective in the worst of situations; a street altercation. Derek’s teaching style is a return to the roots of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a system and style that is based in concepts of self defense and positional dominance. Derek is a dedicated father of two young boys and a passionate teacher, always willing to break down the finer details for his students.
Louie DeLuca was born and raised in Santa Cruz. He began practicing Muay
Thai in 2006, under the traditional teaching style of Jason Murphy at
Santa Cruz Muay Thai Academy. He then became the teen program instructor
and later an adult instructor and coach for muay Thai competitions.
Muay Thai is called the art of eight limbs because of its use of fists,
elbows, shins and knees. The Thai style of striking was developed not as
a sport, but for battlefield and combat scenarios. Now it is used in
sport combat and is very effective for self defense tactics in real
This martial art is based on discipline and respect and that is a huge
part of Louie’s character and teachings. He’s excited to bring his high
intensity training style to KAijiN MMA. His class will be based on
traditional Muay Thai. With focus on stretching flexibility and
developing a high level of cardiovascular strength. which he believes
are all a very important aspects of Muay Thai and self defense.
Joe began his Jiu Jitsu training at Rigan Machado’s school in Redondo Beach before moving to Santa Cruz in 2007. Since moving to Santa Cruz he has trained with Claudio Franca, Garth Taylor, Paul Schreiner, Clement Shields, and many others.
Favoring a teaching style that focuses on fundamental principles and technique of grappling he enjoys the ever evolving art of BJJ and loves to share his knowledge with his students.
George has been with Kaijin MMA for 10 years. He has been an integral member in helping develop Kaijin’s Boxing program.
” I believe that fundamentals are the key to understanding the ‘Sweet Science’. George can be found at the gym helping students refine their skills.”
Simone is a brown belt who has been practicing BJJ since 2011. He is an avid sportsman with experience in Judo, Greco-Roman wrestling, physical preparation, and education, and favors dynamic classes in which students engage with takedowns, BJJ fundamentals, and positional and free sparring in a friendly and energetic atmosphere.” S
Introducing Gustavo Froes, 5th-degree black belt under world-renowned Coral Belt Joe Moreira. Gustavo began his jiu-jitsu journey nearly 35 years ago, has an extensive competitive background, and is a 3-time winner of the famous Black Belt Challenge.
Gustavo’s passion for people and the “gentle art” show up in his teaching, which is a blend of highly technical and yet extremely practical technique. His knowledge of Jiu Jitsu and its history and evolution is prodigious, and his teaching style has been described as fun, relaxed, and dynamic.
Gustavo, originally from Rio de Janeiro, spent many years in Los Angeles helping to develop and corner some of the early UFC greats, then eventually made his way up to Santa Cruz as on of the first black belts in the area. Gustavo lives for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and truly loves teaching children because of the difference he’s seen it make in their lives.
The time has come for Gustavo to settle down in what will be a perfect home for his passion and wealth of knowledge. Gustavo and Clement have decided to combine forces to continue to build the Kaijin empire. Gustavo brings with him three successful black belts and the rest of his loyal team to join the Kaijin family.
Denise Henry is a BJJ black belt who has been training since 2007. She found BJJ when she was looking for something fun for her and her son to do together and they immediately fell in love with Jiu Jitsu. Over the years, they trained and competed together and he helped with all of her Jiu Jitsu side projects – bully proofing summer camps, tutoring programs, fundraisers, and running tournaments around the Bay Area. This year Denise began working as an Ambassador for Girls in Gis, a non-profit organization that hosts women’s open mats across the world and offers financial aid to help women participate in competitions, purchase gis, and pay for training.
Denise draws on her public school teaching background to set up classes that develop an understanding of grappling principles and techniques. Her students develop a solid understanding of fundamentals before moving to more advanced techniques in classes that incorporate Jiu Jitsu, Judo, and folkstyle wrestling.
Christopher Bradford is a lifelong martial artist, with extensive experience competing and advanced rank in striking, grappling, and weapon-based martial arts, including a brown belt / faixa marrom in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He is passionate about helping students and training partners develop as martial artists, and as people.
Jiu Jitsu is a lot of different things to Clement Shields. It is a sport
and he enjoys competition as a test of knowledge and skill. He also sees
it as a fitness and social activity. First and foremost, however, Jiu
Jitsu is a fighting art to Clem and he always tries to teach and use Jiu
Jitsu with that in mind.
Clem started wrestling at 7 years of age. He continued wrestling in
youth clubs and competitively in high school. Along the way, he also
learned the basics of boxing and aikido. Clem started training Jiu Jitsu
in 2002 and earned his black belt in 2009. He liked Jiu Jitsu
immediately. It resembled wrestling in the regular sparring and that
techniques were performed against a resisting opponent, but he liked it
more due to the submissions and complexity.
Clem has been the training partner of many notable fighters, including
his brother Jake Shields, Gilbert Melendez, and Nick and Nate Diaz.
Among the Jiu Jitsu teachers he has had, he cites Marcelo Garcia and
Paul Schreiner as particularly influential.