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 is a first-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which he received from Professor Casey Van Brookhoven in December 2017. His classes are known for focusing on fundamentals that work. 

Andy Smedley

Black Belt Professor

Andy is a first-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which he received from Professor Casey Van Brookhoven in December 2017. As a former wrestler and currently a youth wrestling coach, Andy’s Jiu Jitsu style is influenced by wrestling. 

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.

Zack Blomquist

Jiu Jitsu Instructor

Zack is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. At Americana, he’s our head kids instructor and also teaches an adult fundamentals class. 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 7+ years and Tae Kwon Do earlier as a child and teen.

Mike Chiuchiolo

No-Gi Instructor

Mike is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and teaches our ‘Foot Lock Friday’ adult no-gi class. Mike has trained Jiu Jitsu for the past 5 years and is known for his exceptional leg lock game. 

Roel Verlinden

Roel Verlinden

Jiu Jitsu Instructor

Roel is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and teaches our midday Fundamentals class as well as our kids competition prep classes. Roel has trained Jiu Jitsu for the past 5 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. She teaches our Saturday Women’s Fundamentals class in addition to being the point person on  all things member-related, working tirelessly behind the scenes to keep the academy running smoothly.

Americana Jiu Jitsu
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