Visiting Instructors

Elite visiting instructors with world-class qualifications are hosted for training camps and retreats throughout the year. These practitioners not only possess incredible pedigree, but also an amazing ability to connect with students and convey their knowledge and experience. Beyond that, we keep inviting them back because they’re just awesome people to hang out with between the training sessions!

Gokor Chivichyan

From Soviet Armenia, Gokor is “Master of Sport” in Sambo, an International Judo Champion and, along with Gene LeBell, the founder of the Hayastan Grappling System. Gokor has established himself as a legend in the sport of submission grappling and continues to be one of the most innovative developers of the art today.



Karen Darabedyan

Karen is a Black Belt under Gokor Chivichyan, an Eddie Bravo Invitational veteran (most technical leg-lock battle according to Eddie Bravo), Grapplers Quest Champion, NAGA Champion (multiple, including Las Vegas West Coast Championship), BJJ champion (multiple, including Black Belt Champion at SJJIF no-gi Worlds).

Vlad Koulikov

Vladislav “Vlad” Koulikov is a renowned Sambo Practitioner and Teacher. From a young age, Vlad began his Sambo training in Moscow, Russia at SAMBO 70, the most prestigious Sambo school in the world. Under the guidance of Sergei Vorotyagin, a national and world champion, he won and placed in two All-Soviet championships, as well as countless regional and promotional tournaments. Vlad immigrated to the United States in 1996, remaining active in high-level Sambo competitions and, in more rencent years, has applied his Sambo pedigree to competition in no-gi submission grappling. He was awarded the “most technical fighter” in the very first Grapplers Quest tournament, winning all his matches by submissions. An expert Martial Artist, Vlad holds the rank of “Master of Sport” in Sambo and has developed a unique “Sambo Fusion” grappling approach that integrates techniques of Sambo with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. In addition to teaching seminars around the world, Vlad maintains the position of Grappling Coach at the prestigious Evolution Grappling Academy and Soul Fighters BJJ Academy.

Nic Gregoriades

Nic is Roger Gracie’s first awarded BJJ Black Belt and, according to Roger Gracie, for a good reason!  He is an Abu Dhabi Pro Cup Veteran and multiple European Grappling Champion. Moreover, he is the founder of The Jiu Jitsu Brotherhood, the author of The Black Belt Blueprint, and co-host to a number of popular podcasts. Nic now travels the world teaching jiu jitsu, studying yoga, and learning about the human experience. In the words of Eddie Bravo, “very few Jiu Jitsu black belts on the planet have traversed the globe to learn the secrets of Jiu Jitsu like Nic has, he’s the Indiana Jones of BJJ!”



The Grappler’s Retreat compound is less than a mile inland from the rugged Mendocino Coast, nestled in a clearing on the edge of a great Redwood Forest.