Sifu Brandon Durham holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Professor Tony Passos. His title “Sifu” (Chinese for “teacher”) comes from his achievement in traditional Kung Fu under Grand-Master Si-Gung Chan Tai -Sa. Sifu Brandon holds certification under Mike Lee Kanerek in the Haganah system of Israeli self protection. Understanding the importance of Muay Thai for a being complete martial artist, Sifu Brandon is trained and certified under Master “Ace” Ramirez, head of the Kru Muay Thai association and former Fairtex Muay Thai instructor. Sifu Brandon also trained under BJJ legend Royce Gracie for more than ten years. Throughout the 80′s and 90′s Sifu competed in several point and full contact tournaments. These early competitions helped Master Durham later develop into a true mixed martial artist. Sifu Brandon has coached his students to victories in sport jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai and MMA.
Sensei Chad Weiss began his training in American Jiu-Jitsu while at college in 1998, he now holds the rank of Black Belt. A Bedford native, he has had a lifelong interest in the martial arts and background in wrestling. He began training at Westchester MMA-FIT during the holidays and summer vacations in 1999. In 2002 Chad began Royce Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training and currently holds a brown belt under Professor Tony Passos. Chad is an enthusiastic teacher who knows how to push his students to the next level on the training floor and in competition. You can find leading MMA, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and FIT classes. In addition to teaching at the school, Chad is an experienced competitor, coach and referee for NAGA, North America’s largest grappling competition.
Sensei Julio Rivera has been involved in health and fitness for over 20 years as a competitor, trainer and journalist. Mr. Rivera holds the ranks of Nidan (2nd degree black belt) in Judo from Sensei Jack Krystek, a black belt in Jiu Jitsu Modern Style, and additionally a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from Vitor Shaolin Ribeiro. A graduate of New York University's print journalism program, Mr. Rivera has contributed articles on health, fitness and martial arts to publications such as Grappling, Oxygen, Physical, Muscle and Fitness, Advantig Health and Sport and the Association of Professional Martial Artists, among others. He has appeared as an expert on fitness or martial arts on PBS, MTV, The Channel 11 news, National Geographic, MSNBC, GeoBeats and ExpertVillage.com. As the former co-host of the national PBS teen magazine show "In The Mix," Julio reported on issues important to young adults, including a story on gun violence which won a local Emmy for community service. He has been certified as a coach by USA Judo and as a personal trainer by the International Fitness Association.
Instructor / Front Desk
Julie Johnson has been training and teaching at Modern Martial Arts since 1999. You can catch Julie leading any of our intense fitness classes. Her non-stop style means that when she’s leading a class, you’re getting an amazing work-out. When she’s not making us sweat, Julie is available at the front desk to help guide you through all of our programs and services. Whether you want to try one of her hardcore classes or learn about our many styles, don’t hesitate to stop by and say hi!
Kelly has been training with us for three years and recently graduated from our Instructor Training Program. She holds an AFAA Group Ex certification and has participated in strength training and conditioning from childhood through college athletics.
Working in healthcare for 20 years, Kelly is knowledgeable in the mechanics of body movement, and as a vegetarian, she tries to encompass a healthy lifestyle on a daily basis.
Julie joined the gym 4 years ago when she was looking to get back into shape after having her son. She now teaches that same kickboxing class that helped her reach her fitness goals. Her kickboxing classes are all about high energy, great music, and making sure everyone leaves her class with a sweat and a smile. Julie is a blue belt in jiu jitsu and is always training and improving her skills in martial arts, as well as her pad work and conditioning. Her son attends the Tiny Dragons program and they enjoy training and practicing together.
John started boxing in 1996 and went on to win the NYC golden gloves, Empire State games, and NYC Metro Championships as a middleweight. After he turned professional, he compiled a record of 18-1 with 10 knockouts, winning a national championship along the way. John has now found his calling as a teacher, using his years of experience to bring the joy of boxing to his students. His classes are fun, effective workouts with a focus on good music and motivating students.