Gracie Barra Novi, MIGracie Barra Novi, MI

Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone

Team Members

 INSTRUCTOR1 Prof BurchfieldProfessor James E. Burchfield:  Professor James Burchfield is a Gracie Barra Certified First Degree Black Belt Instructor in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  He has been practicing martial arts for over 30 years.  In addition to BJJ he is also a certified instructor in Russian Sambo, Hsing-I Kung Fu, Hsing-I Liu He Chuan, Pa-Kua Chang, Tai-Chi Chuan,  and 3 forms of Filipino Stick Fighting including Pekitie Tirsia, Serrada Escrima and Modern Arnis.  In 1986 he opened his first school in Burton, MI called the American Fitness Center.  He has operated continuously at that location since its inception, making it one of the oldest continuously running martial arts academies in the state of Michigan.  In 1996 the focus of the school switched from Kung-Fu to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and in 2009 he became the first and still the only certified Gracie Barra BJJ Instructor in the State of MI.  In addition to his own school, he has been recruited by General Motors numerous times to run health and wellness programs within GM facilities.  In 1997 he was hired by GM Life Steps to administer a Health and Wellness Program for employees and retirees.  In 2001, he was recruited by various GM plants to teach Tai Chi Chuan and Yoga in the Burton area, as well as at the UAW offices and the GM Life Step Facility.  Other martial arts schools have also enlisted him as a guest instructor over the years, including the ATA Academy in Traverse City, MI as their primary Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor, and Hampton Martial Arts in Blacksburg, VA to expand their knowledge of Hsing-I Kung-Fu, Hsing-I Liu He Chuan and Pa-Kua Chang.

Professor Burchfield has sought out many of the top BJJ practitioners in the world with which to train, and has brought in all but 2 of the following practitioners to his school for seminars.  The include:

Flavio Almeida: Black Belt (Carlos Gracie, Jr), CEO Gracie Barra, 2 Time World Champion (Blue / Brown)

Romulo Barral: Black Belt, 5 Time BJJ World Champion, 2013 ADCC Champion

Braulio Estima: 3rd Degree Black Belt (Carlos Gracie, Jr), 5 Time BJJ World Champion, 2 Time ADCC Champion

Samuel Braga: Black Belt, 6 Time BJJ World Champion

Lucas Leite: Black Belt, 2007 BJJ World Champion, 2 Time No-Gi World Champion

Luis Heredia: 5th Degree Black Belt, 5 Time Pan-Am Champion

Igor Yakimov: Head Trainer, Sambo Canada, 2 Time Russian Sambo Champion, 2001 World Masters Sambo Champion

Saulo Ribiero: 4th Degree Black Belt, 5 Time BJJ World Champion, 2 Time ADCC Champion

Xande Ribiero: 3rd Degree Black Belt, 4 Time BJJ World Champion, 2 Time ADCC Champion

Rickson Gracie:  8th Degree Black and Red Belt, Professional MMA record: 11-0 with 11 submissions

Marcas “Buchecha” Almeida:


 INSTRUCTOR2 Coach GregGreg Fernandes:  Greg Fernandes has been a student under Professor Burchfield since 1994, originally studying Hsing-I Kung Fu, Pa-Kua Chang, Tai-Chi Chuan, Filipino Stick Fighting, and Ashtanga Yoga. Currently a Blue Belt 3 Stripe BJJ student, he is one of the Adult BJJ Fundamental’s instructors and is the head children’s BJJ instructor.  Greg began studying martial arts at the Hampton Martial Arts Academy in Blacksburg VA in 1993 under Dr. Ed Hampton before moving to Michigan in 1994 and continuing his training with Professor Burchfield.   Greg has had the opportunity to study with many of the Master Instructor’s that have provided seminars at Gracie Barra Burton, including Saulo and Xande Ribiero, Igor Yakimov, Luis Heredia, and Romulo Barral.  While obtaining his Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Ohio State University, he taught Tai-Chi Chuan and Ashtanga Yoga through the continuing education program at the university, and studied Ashtanga Yoga with the head instructor at Yoga On High, Martha Marcomb.  He has also trained with world renowned yoga instructors David Swenson and Tim Miller.  Along with his diverse knowledge in martial arts, Greg also brings with him a wrestling background, having had the fortune of being taught by Olympic alternate Alray Johnson as his coach in HS.  Along with his devotion to martial arts, Greg brings a wealth of leadership development and business management experience from his 10 years of experience in the Michigan Junior Chamber, having received national recognition for his leadership skills.

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