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OUR INSTRUCTORS

SEAN DIVINEY

CO-FOUNDER & HEAD INSTRUCTOR

Sean took his first BJJ class in 1999 while he was a student at the University of Colorado - Boulder. If you ask him, he'll tell you it was the most important class he took in college. Later that year Sean moved back to DC (he grew up in Fairfax, VA) and began training at the Yamasaki Academy with Fernando Yamasaki, Mario Yamasaki, and Francisco Neto. He's been with Team Yamasaki ever since, eventually receiving his Black Belt from Fernando in 2016.

About Me: I’ve optimized my life around learning and I tend to dive down "rabbit holes" when I come across a new topic that interests me — it never ceases to amaze me how Jiu-Jitsu has a seemingly infinite number of those topics. I’m always reading something (usually non-fiction or a biography), so if you want me to stop talking about Jiu-Jitsu, just ask me what book I’m reading.  I’ve traveled to over 50 countries, but my favorite place to go is Burning Man, where I lead the Black Rock City Jiu-Jitsu Club.

I love competing and I think it's one of the best ways to test myself and improve my Jiu-Jitsu. I am a Pan American Silver Medalist, multiple time IBJJF Gold Medalist, and Grappling Industries Gold Medalist.

I live in Friendship Heights with my wife, Mara, and our bipolar cat, Panchufla.  Professionally, I’ve spent most of my career in technical and managerial roles.  I currently work as a Systems Administrator at WTOP (DC's #1 news radio station) and I absolutely love it.

Favorite Submission: Kimura

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CHRIS CHI
CO-FOUNDER & INSTRUCTOR

Chris started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2008 when he moved to the DC area. He began his training under Luis Pantoja and Fernando Yamasaki, and is currently a brown belt under Fernando Yamasaki. 

 

About Me: I grew up in Southern California and went to school at the University of California, Irvine. Soon after school, I moved to DC for work and currently run sales for a local tech company based in Friendship Heights . I live in Bethesda, MD with my wife and 2 dogs (#rescues4life). Outside of work and training, I am an avid gamer (MMOs and FPS!), dog enthusiast, and beer and whiskey lover.

 

I became addicted to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu after my first class. My mind works in logic and solving problems, and I was immediately surprised by how BJJ was not only about physicality, but about intelligence, strategy, and understanding body physics and mechanics. This sport has provided me the opportunity to exercise both my mind and my body, and well over a decade later, I am every bit addicted to this sport as the first day I had my intro class.

 

Favorite Submission: Armbar

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SEAN LYNCH
CO-FOUNDER & INSTRUCTOR

Sean started training in 2003 with his first class at Yamasaki Academy in Rockville. He fell in love with the sport and the relaxed atmosphere that was reminiscent of the Korean Martial Arts (TKD and Hapkido) he practiced as a youth. He has trained with Yamasaki ever since and is a brown belt under Fernando Yamasaki.

 

About Me: I grew up in Rockville, Maryland and Anchorage, Alaska. My day job is in land development at a local engineering firm in Northern Montgomery County. I live in Kensington, Maryland with my wife, son, and dog. I’m passionate about everything I do, which includes cooking, eating, being a dad and husband, and traveling.  

 

BJJ has been a huge part of my lifestyle my entire adult life. I think one of the most rewarding parts of BJJ is having to constantly learn the latest, innovative techniques and adapting it for yourself. Come train!

 

Favorite Submission: Armbar

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NIGEL GIBBS
INSTRUCTOR

Nigel began training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2011 and received his black belt in July 2022. 

About Me: I was born and raised in Washington, DC and I enjoy traveling, cooking (particularly making spicy marinades for smoking and grilling meat), and cross cultural experiences.

My curiosity about Jiu Jitsu was sparked while watching MMA in college and as a former wrestler. I noticed the success of wrestlers applying jiu jitsu into their game. Despite living abroad for a year after college to teach English in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, I did not begin training until after I returned home to Washington, DC. It was not long after I began training that I became addicted to the art.

I love the community atmosphere BJJ can bring about. We help others get better and employ conceptual based knowledge and strategies to help people learn no matter their size or athletic ability. I always try to run a fun, technical, and high energy class.

 

Favorite Submission: Rear naked choke

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YIFAN YANG
INSTRUCTOR

Yifan began training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2007 and received his black belt in 2022.

About Me: I was born in Shanghai, grew up in New York/New Jersey, and have spent the last decade in Washington, DC. I started training while attending the University of Maryland, and have had the opportunity to train under a number of different instructors and training environments across the globe. I have been training under the Yamasaki banner since 2010. I have a passion for heping students progress in their own Jiu Jitsu journeys, guiding the students in how to navigate and problem solve in the grappling environment

 

Favorite Submission: Blinding dust powder

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