Instructors & Coaches


Gordon Emery

Professor & 1st degree BJJ Black Belt

Gordon is the chief director for the operations at Charlottesville BJJ. A certified 1st degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt under Professor Julio “Foca” Fernandez and the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation.

He began studying martial arts in 2002 with Wing Chun. In 2004, he attended a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu seminar conducted by the legend of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Royce Gracie. Gordon went on to train Jiu-Jitsu as often as possible at the local club run by Lamonte Tyler.

In 2007, Gordon joined forces with Andrew Smith and the BJJ Revolution team; the most talented Jiu-Jitsu team in the region to enhance his training. Over the years Gordon competed in many grappling tournaments winning titles at NAGA, Grapplers Quest and USGrappling. He opened Charlottesville BJJ in 2008 and made it a full time job training the local community in the arte suave.

After 8 years of tough training and competing Gordon was awarded his black belt from Professor Julio “Foca” Fernandez and Andrew Smith; then in 2015 Gordon was awarded his 1st degree.

Gordon has also trained in Judo, Muay Thai, Krav Maga, Kali and MMA.

Currently, he operates and directs the best Martial arts gym in Charlottesville.

Other notable:

  • Earned instructors diploma from Master Eyal Yanilov by completing the intensive 23-day 180-hour Krav Maga Global instructors course and passing with Graduate rank.
  • Had the privilege of training with the highly respected author of Facing Violence and teacher on surviving modern violence, Sergeant Rory Miller during a 3-day workshop.
  • Survived the 3-day Extreme Close Quarters Concepts (ECQC) defensive pistol training with Craig “southnarc” Douglas, fighting through intensive Force-on-Force pistol scenarios.
  • Nominated in the C-Ville Weekly for “The Best Martial Arts Instructor of the Year” in 2012 & 2013


Mike Allen

Assistant Jiu-Jitsu Coach & BJJ Brown Belt

Mike started martial arts in 1996 with Jeet Kune Do. As a member of the Armed Forces, he was taught basic Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and found it to be far more practical. In 2004, he began traveling around the Central Virginia area training in different gyms earning the rank of purple belt. In 2008, he found his home at Charlottesville BJJ.

Mike is one of our main instructors in our bjj basics courses and assists in our Level 1 bjj classes.


John McCune

Assistant Jiu-Jitsu Coach & BJJ Brown Belt

Trying the class out with a friend in 2007 John immediately saw how awesome Jiu-Jitsu was and signed up. He lost 40lbs and was in the best shape of his life at 40. Being a consistent student he has since earned the rank of brown belt.

John is one of our main instructors for our Juniors bjj classes and bjj basics courses.

img_2915Bill Sanderson

Kids & Juniors Jiu-Jitsu Coach & BJJ Blue Belt

Bill began Jiu-Jitsu in 2004 alongside Gordon at the local club run by Lamonte Tyler. Bill was instantly hooked and loved the challenge it provided. Never giving up his pursuit he has since earned 4th degree blue belt.

Bill instructs in our popular kids and juniors bjj classes on Saturdays. He brings a great energy to the class that the kids love. Bill also earns a living teaching music lessons.


David Sanders

Krav Maga Instructor & BJJ Blue Belt

David started martial arts at Charlottesville BJJ in 2011 with Muay Thai. He brought a great attitude and with consistent Muay Thai practice dropped 40lbs. Progressing well with his training he decided to give Jiu-Jitsu a chance. Finding the practice incredibly challenging and rewarding he became determined and has since earned the rank of blue belt passing the 5-hour belt test.

David has also been training Krav Maga since 2013 and has completed the 23-day 180 hour Krav Maga Global instructors course receiving his instructors diploma and Graduate rank. You will also see him teaching Muay Thai classes from time to time. He helps out as much as he can at the gym.

Don Tubbs

Assistant Jiu-Jitsu Coach & BJJ Purple Belt

Don started training Jiu-Jitsu at Charlottesville BJJ in 2008. He found the difficulty of Jiu-Jitsu a very motivating challenge and  has not stopped training since. Never backing down from a challenge, Don has competed in numerous tournaments winning titles at white, blue and purple.

Don is one of our Kids and Juniors instructors.

img_2551Margarita Startseva

Muay Thai Coach

Margarita started martial arts with Wushu, Karate, and Judo but after discovering the devastating Muay Thai kicks, her training focused on the art of eight limbs. Margarita started training in Muay Thai alongside members of the Canadian National K1 Team with Jim Marinow as the head coach. She has had the privilege to learn under Ajarn Buck Grants instructor training courses. Over the years she discovered various training methods that encourages students of all types to learn effectively.

img_2913Bill Calvani

Wrestling Coach / Kids & Juniors Jiu-Jitsu Coach & BJJ Brown Belt

Bill is a brown belt in BJJ under Gordon Emery. He is also a Primal Blueprint Health Coach, a level 1 MovNat certified trainer and an Onnit Unconventional fitness trainer.

He assists with the Kids and the Junior’s Bjj class and teaches the Wrestling Skills and Drills class.

He also swings clubs, maces and lifts stones.


Jake McLean

MMA Coach & BJJ Purple Belt

Jake started training in 2008, initially focusing on MMA, but he found a home at Cville BJJ in 2012, where he continues to train in striking and jiu jitsu, while helping prepare CVL BJJ students for MMA competition. Jake compiled a 3-0 record in MMA, recording three first round stoppages, and is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.