Instructors & Staff

Meet the team at Americana Jiu Jitsu

Kevin Carestia

Kevin Carestia

Black Belt Professor

Kevin is a first-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which he received from Professor Emily Kwok in February 2019. 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 second-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 second-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. 

Zack Blomquist

Brown Belt Instructor

Zack is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He’s taught kids martial arts for 7+ years and has trained Jiu Jitsu for the past 9+ years and Tae Kwon Do as a child and teen.

Mike Chiuchiolo

Brown Belt Instructor

Mike is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and helps teach our adult no-gi classes. Mike has trained Jiu Jitsu for the past 6 years and is known for his exceptional leg lock game. 

Mike Raff

Brown Belt Instructor

Mike is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and helps teach our adult classes. Mike has trained Jiu Jitsu for over 8 years and has been a lifelong fitness junkie. 

Roel Verlinden

Roel Verlinden

Jiu Jitsu Instructor

Roel is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and our head kids instructor. He has trained Jiu Jitsu for the past 7 years and also holds the rank of brown belt in Judo with 15 years of experience.

Ruben Alvarez

Jiu Jitsu Instructor

Ruben is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and helps teach both our adult and kids classes in addition to actively competing and coaching kids  wrestling for another local  organization. Ruben has trained Jiu Jitsu for over 3 years and wrestling for 15 years.

EIleen Yeager

Eileen Yeager

Yoga Instructor

Eileen teaches our morning yoga all-level flow classes. She completed her teacher training with Powers Yoga in 2013 and is E-RYT certified in addition to currently studying for her 500-hour yoga certification. 

Laurie Berenson

Manager

Laurie is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has been training for 10 years. She teaches occasional self defense workshops in addition to being the point person on  all things member related to keep the academy running smoothly.

Americana Jiu Jitsu
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