Our experienced, passionate and dedicated staff.

Head JSA Instructors

Matt Bryers

Owner, Jiu-Jitsu Instructor, Defence Lab Instructor, Strength Coach

Matt Bryers is a Soul Fighters Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, a 3rd degree Kobukai Ju-Jitsu Blackbelt and a certified Defence Lab Instructor .  He has been training Jiu-Jits, Combative Martial Arts, Defence Lab: DNA Fight Science, wrestling, submission grappling, and many other martial arts for over 20 years.

Matt is also the main strength and conditioning coach at the JSA. He is a Certified: Poundstone Performance Strongman Instructor, TRX Instructor, DVRT Instructor, and Kettlebell Instructor.

Matt has competed in many wrestling, submission grappling, brazilian jiu-jitsu, amatuer strongman tournaments and a professional mixed martial arts fight.

Matt’s goals are to always try to learn and improve his Jiu-Jitsu, strongman lifts, hand to hand combat, and martial arts skills. He trains regularly with his peers, students, and teachers to improve himself both as a teacher and martial artist.

Rafael “Formiga” Barbosa

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructor, Jiu-Jitsu Team Coach

Formiga is without question – the best Jiu-Jitsu instructor in CT! We are EXTREMELY blessed, lucky, privileged, etc to have him teach at our school. He is one of the most talented and dynamic Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters and teachers in the world.

Formiga is a 3x World IBJJF Masters Champio and is the co-founder of Soul Fighters BJJ USA. He is a 3rd Degree BJJ Black Belt under Master Andre Almedia “Dedeco”.

Rafael teaches 5 days a week at the JSA. The opportunity to train with Formiga is HUGE – he brings a wealth of talent, experience, and amazing technical knowledge.

Rafael has won NUMEROUS titles in Brazil and the USA… He continually competes and wins successfully in all the major world tournaments, Pan Ams and local tournaments as well.

Matt Wheeler

Strength & Performance Coach

Matt has been in the fitness industry since 2009. In that time he had completed a sport and leisure management degree from Eastern Connecticut State University, gotten a CrossFit level 1 trainer cert, AFAA personal trainer cert, and is currently working on his CSCS certification. Having worked as a CrossFit coach, Highschool strength and conditioning coach, personal trainer, and with the UConn Football teams strength and conditioning program; Matt has a wide and diverse experience level with adults and teens of all ability levels.

When he’s not in the weight room Matt enjoys training and competing in mixed martial arts (mma), Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai, boxing, wrestling, and judo.

Robin Holcomb

TRX Fusion Training Coach (TRX Suspension Training, TRX Rip Training, and Ultimate Sandbag Training)

Robin is a living example of the results of the TRX Suspension Trainer. She is strong, beautiful and extremely fit.

Her passion to help you improve your strength, balance, stamina and overall health is incredible. She is an excellent motivator and gives her students the personalized attention they need to improve and achieve their goals.

Steve “Coach” Makein

Wrestling Coach / Kids Jiu-Jitsu Instructor

Steve Makein is the head coach of the Trinity College wrestling team and has been involved in wrestling as a competitor and coach for over twenty years.

Makein earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Central Connecticut State University, where he was a Division I varsity wrestler, in 1999 and added a master’s degree in counseling from his almamater in 2001. A gold level certified coach by USA Wrestling, Makein served as the Connecticut National Team coachfor five years and as the coaches’ director for USA Wrestling CT. He has worked as school counselor at The Thomas Edison Middle School in Meriden since 2001.

Steve is also a certified kettlebell instructor (RKC) under Pavel Tsatsouline.

Steve teaches wrestling for Jiu-Jitsu classes at the JSA and co-teaches the kids jiu-jitsu classes. He is a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Rafael “Formiga” Barbosa

Assistant JSA Instructors

Our qualified assistants help teach all areas of our classes.

  • Coach Bill

    Kids Jiu-Jitsu | Kobukai Ju-Jitsu

  • Adam Baisel

    Kids Jiu-Jitsu | Kobukai Ju-Jitsu

  • Meghan Gibbs

    Kids Jiu-Jitsu | Kobukai Ju-Jitsu

  • Mandy Makein

    Kids Jiu-Jitsu

  • Damien Roberts

    Fundamentals of Jiu-Jitsu | BJJ

  • Mike Holcomb

    TRX Fusion

  • Holly Wenk

    TRX Fusion

  • Melissa Bryers

    Strength Training


She got upset we weren’t going include her here!

Morgan Dutkiewicz

JSA Manager

Morgan has been with the JSA for a few months and helps keep the JSA running smooth!  She’ll welcome you to the JSA when you enter and answer any questions you may have.