Instructors & STAFF

Meet the team at Americana Jiu Jitsu

Kevin Carestia

Kevin Carestia

Black Belt Professor

Kevin received his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in February 2019 from Professor Emily Kwok. He enjoys teaching more advanced techniques and is our in-house expert on all things leg lock-related. 

Vinny LaSpisa Black Belt Instructor

Vinny LaSpisa

Black Belt Professor

Vinny received his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from Professor Casey Van Brookhoven in December 2017. His classes are known for focusing on fundamentals that work. 

Rafael Mello Black Belt Instructor

Rafael Mello

Black Belt Professor

Rafael is a first-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which was awarded to him by Sensei Edson Carvalho in August 2015. Also a brown belt in Judo, his warm-ups and instruction incorporate elements of Judo.

Andy Smedley Black Belt Instructor

Andy Smedley

Black Belt Professor

Andy received his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from Professor Casey Van Brookhoven in December 2017. As a high school wrestler and currently a youth wrestling coach, Andy’s Jiu Jitsu style is influenced by wrestling. 

Zack Blomquist

Jiu Jitsu Instructor

Zack is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. At Americana, he’s our head kids instructor and also teaches our adult BJJ Basics program. Martial arts has been an important part of Zack’s life: teaching kids martial arts classes for 5+ years and training both Jiu Jitsu for the past 6+ years and Tae Kwon Do earlier as a child and teen.

Mike Chiuchiolo

Jiu Jitsu Instructor

Mike is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and co-teaches our ‘Foot Lock Friday’ adult no-gi class. Mike has trained Jiu Jitsu for the past 4 years and is known for having an exceptional leg lock game. 

Roel Verlinden

Roel Verlinden

Assistant Kids Instructor

Roel is a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and assists with some of our kids classes. Roel has trained Jiu Jitsu for the past 4+ years and also holds the rank of brown belt in Judo with 15 years of experience. 

Laurie Berenson

Manager

Laurie is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has been training for 8 years. At Americana, she teaches our weekly Women’s Intro to BJJ session and is the point person on  all things member-related, working tirelessly behind the scenes to keep the academy running smoothly.

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