Click on picture of an instructor to find out more about them.
Larry Yap - Senior Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Instructor
Lawrence (Larry) Yap is a retired US Army ranger with over 30 years of martial arts experience. He received his black belt in Gracie jiu-jitsu from Rorion Gracie in 2013. He also earned black belts in Hapkido from Grandmaster Song S. Choi, and in Judo/Midori Yama Budokai Japanese Jiu-jitsu from Sensei Frank Barry. He has competed in amateur boxing (AAU and PAL) and Muay Thai (under Kru Takkratoke) since age 10. His wide-ranging fight experiences include all-service military Muay Thai bouts (Nakorn Si Thammarat) and U.S.-Thai friendship competitions (Lumpini and City Hall, Saraburi, Thailand). Larry wrestled at both the high school and collegiate levels at the University of Missouri. In 1989, he began his Gracie Jiu-jitsu training under Relson Gracie and Romolo Barros in the garage in Hawaii Kai and at the University of Hawaii, eventually earning his purple belt. In 1992, he began competing in no-gi, sambo, and MMA competitions (California, Las Vegas, Florida, Hawaii, UAE, Brazil, Thailand, Korea and Japan). Larry retired from competition in 2000. Today, thanks to Bill Odom, Rorion, Ryron, and Rener Gracie, and the rest of the NKA/Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy family, Larry is back in the game and committed to improving his teaching skills as an NKAGJJN instructor, certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy black belt instructor, and MMA coach. Larry is a Chesapeake resident and the father of two Grassfield High School graduates.
Bill Odom - Master Instructor
William O. Odom, a 7th degree black belt, is an accomplished martial artist with over 40 years experience as a Tang Soo Do practitioner and instructor. He traces his martial arts lineage to some of the world's most respected masters. He began martial arts training in Thailand at age ten.
After ten years of karate training, he joined the US Army. During his 25 years of military service commanding infantry units including Army Rangers, he acquired a wide-ranging knowledge of other martial arts and honed his teaching skills. He developed a combatives program for over 14,000 soldiers serving in Korea, has taught men and women of all ages, and is a former nationally ranked competitor.
Mr. Odom continues his martial arts education with regular training sessions at the famous Gracie Jiu-jitsu Academy and is currently a purple belt jiu-jitsu student of Rorion Gracie and his sons. He established the first Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Certified Training Center and is a certified Level 2 instructor. Today, he possesses the experience, knowledge, skill, mature judgment, and commitment to excellence found only in the best instructors. He is a Norfolk resident and father of two, including a graduate of Maury High School. Mr. Odom is committed to the positive growth of every student at NKA-GJJN and to the growth of the community.
Kevin West - Advanced Children's Karate and Beginner Adult Karate Instructor
Kevin West is a 4th degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, certified through the World Dang Soo Do Association. He has over 30 years of experience in martial arts training including a 3rd degree black belt in Black Dragon Kung Fu, a brown belt in Tenshin Style Aikido and a blue belt in Gracie Jiu Jitsu. He has also trained in Valencia Lameco Eskrima, Muay Thai, Wing Chun, and Yang Style Tai Chi. His aikido, eskrima and kung fu training has included staff, spear, sword, stick and knife. Between 1990 and 1993, he competed in amateur and professional kickboxing. Kevin emphasizes the development of fundamental skills, practical self-defense, and improvised technique. Kevin teaches the advanced level children's karate classes and adult beginner karate classes.
Aubrey Odom - Beginner and Intermediate Children's Karate Instructor
Aubrey Odom is a 3rd degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, certified through the World Dang Soo Do Association, and is a three stripe blue belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu having been one of the first six students in the world to have completed the Gracie Combatives® course outside of the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Torrance, California. She is the Course Director for the beginner to intermediate children's classes and is a director for the annual NKA children's summer camp. Aubrey has a Masters Degree in Special Education and worked for ten years in the Norfolk Public School System before assuming full-time administrative duties at NKA/GJJN.
Deva Valencia - PeeWee and Beginner Children's Karate Instructor
Deva Valencia is a second degree tang soo do black belt through NKA and a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu blue belt. She is the PeeWee karate course director, and is the children's white belt karate instructor.
Mark Ammerman - Gracie Combatives and Blue Belt Stripe 1 Instructor
Mark Ammerman is a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu two stripe blue belt and a certified instructor through the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy. He is the senior defensive tactics inspector for state's Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) traveling throughout the state observing law enforcement training. He teaches Gracie Combatives and Master Cycle classes. He is also certified to teach the Gracie Survival Tactics course and assists the Norfolk Police Department with defensive tactics training.
Mike Scully - Gracie Combatives Instructor and Junior Combatives Program Director
Mike Scully is a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu blue belt with one stripe and a certified instructor through the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy. He teaches Gracie Combatives and is the Junior Combatives Course Director.
Erik Dalton - Gracie Combatives Program Director
Erik Dalton is a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu blue belt with one stripe and a certified instructor through the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy. He teaches Gracie Combatives and is also the Gracie Combatives Program Course Director.
Jenn Taylor - Bullyproof and Women Empowered Program Director
Jenn Taylor is a 2nd degree black belt, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu blue belt, and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu pink belt (Women Empowered certified instructor) at Norfolk Karate Academy. She is a certified Gracie Combatives instructor and is the Gracie Women Empowered and Bullyproof course director. She is married to NKA instructor, Brad Taylor. The Taylor's sons are first degree black belts at NKA and have earned their Gracie Jiu-Jitsu blue belts as well.
Brad Taylor - Gracie Combatives and Bullyproof Instructor
Brad Taylor is a 1st degree black belt at Norfolk Karate Academy. He was one of NKA's first students to compete in full-contact mixed martial arts. Brad was also one of the first students at NKA to earn his blue belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and was among the first certified Gracie Combatives instructors. Brad's wife and two kids have also earned black belts at NKA and blue belts in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Brad was the first person in the world to train and promote two U.S. Navy sailors to blue belt through the Gracie University while at sea. He currently teaches Gracie Combatives.
Mark Campbell - Blue Belt Stripe 2 Instructor
Mark Campbell is a three stripe Gracie Jiu-Jitsu blue belt and a certified instructor through the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy. He has competed in local grappling and mixed martial arts competitions. He teaches blue belt stripe 2 Master Cycle classes.
Belda Pena - Yoga Instructor
Belda Pena is a Gracie jiu jitsu blue belt with one stripe. She is also our resident yoga instructor. Belda is trained in the hatha style of yoga.
Troy Ingram - Gracie Combatives and Blue Belt Stripe 2 Instructor
Troy is a blue belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu having been one of the first six students in the world to have completed the Gracie Combatives® course outside of the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Torrance, California and one of the first instructors certified to teach the Gracie Academy proprietary courses. He teaches blue belt stripe 2 Master Cycle classes as well as running the Gracie Combatives and Junior Combatives courses at our sister school Hampton Roads Karate in Chesapeake.
Why should you train at Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Norfolk or Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Chesapeake?
Norfolk Karate Academy has brought together a community of martial arts practitioners from all walks of life who share a passion for learning. There is something for everyone here, with classes for kids and adults at all levels and a self-defense program specifically for women. Whether you start as a complete beginner to martial arts as I did, or have many years of experience under your belt, you will find the atmosphere supportive yet challenging enough to keep you growing and improving. -- Gabriel Robinson
Everything they claim and more. If you are looking for practical martial arts instruction, look no further. -- Drew Stephenson
State of the art instruction, and no ego in this place; it feels like family. Very proud to call this my dojo. -- Ryan Mekkes
Address: 814A W. 45th Street, Norfolk, VA 23508
BILL ODOM is a 7th degree black belt in tang soo do and purple belt in Gracie jiu-jitsu. He is an accomplished martial artist with 40 years experience as a practitioner and instructor. He traces his lineage to some of the most respected masters including James Roberts and Rorion Gracie