Congratulations to all Optimus Academy Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu students who received their Belt & Stripe Promotions this month.  As a jiu-jitsu family, we celebrated 55+ youth & adult students who demonstrated the commitment & discipline required to advance to the next level in their jiu-jitsu practice. In addition to the ceremony, Professor Mauricio “Tinguinha” Mariano, owner of Tinguinha Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and my Professor, taught a special jiu-jitsu seminar to all those in attendance. I was also honored to receive my own promotion to 2nd degree black belt from professor Tinguinha.

Professor Grant Collins Promoted to 2nd degree black belt.

As a Professor, I look for my students to consistently demonstrate three specific behaviors in order to qualify for their next promotion:

  1. Attendance in Class
  2. Accumulation of Knowledge
  3. Application of Knowledge During Live Training

All of the students who received a promotion met or exceeded this criteria making their stripes and belts hard-earned well-deserved marks of their personal progress.

Practicing jiu-jitsu not only takes commitment, discipline, and focus — both on and off the mat —  but, it requires mental & physical fortitude as it is simultaneously challenging and rewarding, humbling and empowering. A student’s journey through jiu-jitsu will have peaks and valleys; and, it will not be linear. Some stripes and belts take longer than others to achieve, even for the most dedicated student. However, those students who stay committed to their martial art practice, maintain mental fortitude, and keep their sight set on the long-term will be able to endure the plateau to discover their next breakthrough.

Recognizing students for their ongoing effort, endurance, and resiliency is an important part of the jiu-jitsu journey.  Below is a list of those students we celebrated during this past Belt & Stripe Promotion. Congratulations!

Kids Stripes

Chasen Colwell

Hudson Colwell
Jacob Malkosh
Joe Sandoval
Kourosh Zarif
Hollan Breaux
Luke Bittner
Sam Hill
Mason Mullinix
Anthony Chade
Andrew Chade

Kids Belts

Jet Roberts

Beck Winters

Benjamin Kruse

Daniel Kruse

Alondra Perez


Adult Stripes

Nick Bahr

Matthew Carlson

Nicholas D’Alba

Bryan Grebbin

Jeremiah Verhines

James Taylor

Jon Zillmer

Andrew Delio

James Howorth

Donovan Montoya

Wade Sheperd

Mathew Welch

Blaine Burch

Matt Bedolfe

Robert Chade

Bobby Aschtiani

Sean Bittner

Jason Cazarez

Alex Cho

Phill Culshaw

Brian Duzet

Armando Gaeta

Dylan Ogle

Gavin Peterson

Alexsander Vasquez

Andrew Jung

Clay Miller

Eric Persson

Henry Pan


Adult Belts (White to Blue)

Cheyne Tilly

Eric Wharton

Asher Enoch

Jeremy Verhines

Greg Scherer

Kevin Nerison

Greg Carlson

Zach Woliver

Eugene Kim

Clayton Scherer

Jeremiah Verhines


Adult Belt (Blue to Purple)

Joe Chin



To all: keep persevering! The journey is for life.

– Professor Grant

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