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Eric Burdo started his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training at the beginning of 1998, training in Burlington, Vermont with his instructor and mentor, Julio “Foca” Fernandez. On October 13th, 2007, Eric was awarded his BJJ Black Belt from Mr. Fernandez, after almost ten years of consistent training. Mr. Fernandez awarded Eric with his 2nd degree in October 2013. Mr. Fernandez is a 6th Degree Black Belt under the legendary Carlson Gracie, Sr. During his ten years of active competition for the Carlson Gracie Competition Team, Mr. Fernandez went undefeated in over two hundred BJJ matches. For more information on Julio, please go to: www.vermontbjj.com
Eric has competed at the highest levels of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, including the 2002, 2003 and 2009 Pan American Jiu-Jitsu Championships, as well as the 2004 BJJ World Championship Mundials held in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, the 2008 International Masters in Rio, and the 2009 US Nationals of BJJ where he placed 2nd in his Black Belt division.
As a Black Belt, Eric won his invitational Superfight match in March of 2008, competed in Brazil in the summer of 2008, took 2nd place at the 2009 US Nationals in Los Angeles, as well as 2nd place in a Submission-Only Black Belt invitational division at the end of 2009.
Mr. Fernandez has honored Eric with the opportunity to teach the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the Richmond area, under the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu United States Association (BJJUSA), of which Mr. Fernandez is president. The Richmond BJJ Academy is also an official school of the BJJ Revolution Team, who are the 2005 and 2006 Brazilian National Champions of BJJ, as well as the 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010 US National Champions of BJJ. Please visit BJJRevolution.com
As well as his passionate love for Jiu-Jitsu, Eric has also been formally training in Muay Thai Kickboxing (the national sport of Thailand) since April of 2002 under Jarrett Church, who is Richmond BJJ Academy’s Head Muay Thai Instructor. Jarrett is also a Black Belt under Julio, and an Assistant Instructor in our Jiu-Jitsu program.
To further his Muay Thai skills, Eric traveled to Thailand in November 2012. Eric trained in both Bangkok at the world famous Fairtex Gym and in Phuket at Tiger Muay Thai, where he trained privately with legendary Muay Thai Champion Kru Yod (who was recently flown into Montreal to prepare Georges St. Pierre for his UFC title fights at UFC 154 & 158). Eric also taught BJJ seminars and classes at Bangkok BJJ Academy as well as at Tiger Muay Thai. The highlight of Eric’s trip was going to Lumphini Stadium in Bangkok, the most famous Thai boxing stadium in the world, to watch live Muay Thai fights!
Eric’s teaching style is one of the stressing technique through detail, and drilling until the techniques become muscle memory. Eric works hard to foster an open and positive learning environment through encouragement and support, not criticism. Eric is a very experienced and accomplished Instructor, honing his teaching style and methods since January of 2002. You will always find Eric on the mat, working hard with his students, and drilling side by side with them.
Andrew Smith is one of very few Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belts in the Richmond area, and one of three BJJ Black Belts currently training at the Richmond BJJ Academy! Endorsed by National and World BJJ Champions, Andrew has distinguished himself from the pack by being a 3x Pan American BJJ Champion and a Judo Black Belt. Andrew is sought after for his instruction, and frequently travels to teach Jiu-Jitsu seminars.
After wrestling for four years in high school, Andrew started training Judo at VCU Judo in January of 1997. Nine years later, Andrew earned his Black Belt in Judo.
Andrew began his formal training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Eric Burdo at the Richmond BJJ Academy in January of 2002. In November of 2008, Andrew was awarded the rank of Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by the legendary Julio ‘Foca’ Fernandez and Eric Burdo, from whom he has earned all of his belt ranks. In November 2011, Andrew was awarded his first degree.
Andrew has learned through “trials by fire” what works and what doesn’t in competition, with over 250 grappling competition wins: including three 2008 Pan American Jiu-Jitsu Championship Gold Medals (along with silver in 2003 and bronze in 2004) five Virginia State Judo Championship Gold Medals, as well as several superfight titles. Andrew remains an active BJJ competitor and has evolved into one of the most active Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and submission-grappling coaches in the country.
Andrew has traveled to Brazil twice to train and compete in Jiu-Jitsu and has trained with dozens of instructors all over the country. Andrew has also been featured on OnTheMat.com’s 101 Submissions -Volume 3 DVD.
Andrew continues to train at and teach as an Assistant Instructor at the Richmond BJJ Academy with his long-time Instructor and friend Eric Burdo. In 2006, Andrew opened an affiliate Academy of Richmond BJJ Academy in the west end of Richmond (www.RevolutionBJJ.com).
Jarrett Church started his formal Muay Thai Kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training in late 1999. To further his Jiu-Jitsu training, he made the leap to the Richmond Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy in January 2002 to train with Eric Burdo. In April 2002, Jarrett began the Richmond BJJ Academy Muay Thai program, helping to develop many of our current Instructors and Fighters. His attention to detail is second to none, and his skills are incredibly sharp. He also has a Western-Style Boxing background, having trained the “sweet science” for many years before his Muay Thai training, and incorporates his boxing knowledge into our Muay Thai training here at the Academy.
Jarrett earned his Purple (2003) and Brown (2005) Belts directly from Eric Burdo with the blessing of Julio “Foca” Fernandez. In 2007, he moved to Vermont to study Jiu-Jitsu directly with Eric’s Jiu-Jitsu Instructor, Mr. Fernandez. Staying in Vermont for two years, Jarrett taught Muay Thai at Mr. Fernandez’s Academy (Vermont BJJ Academy), and earned his BJJ Black Belt from Mr. Fernandez in 2009. In 2012, Jarrett earned his first degree.
Jarrett returned to Richmond in August of 2009 and has resumed his role back at the Richmond BJJ Academy, heading our Muay Thai program, as well as being an Assistant Instructor in our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program, and is one of three BJJ Black Belts training here!
You will find Jarrett on the mats almost daily, training hard, and helping everyone around him flourish into better students, as well as better people!
Jarrett has spent many years as an elementary school teacher with Richmond Public Schools & Henrico Country Public Schools, and has an educational background in educational leadership/administration.
Acie Bryan is a Muay Thai instructor at Richmond BJJ Academy. Starting his formal training in 2000, Acie continued his Muay Thai training at the Richmond BJJ Academy under Jarrett Church at the beginning of 2002.
Acie is a firm believer in hard work, and makes sure each one of his students gets a tremendous workout, as well as top technical instruction in every class. Acie has also helped coach many of our fighters to success in Muay Thai, as well as Mixed Martial Arts events. Acie puts his all into every class, and every student he teaches, and is a huge asset to our Academy and to all of our students.
Acie is also a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Brown Belt under Richmond BJJ Academy Head Instructor Eric Burdo, whom he has trained with since January of 2002.
You will find Acie on the mats almost daily, working hard with our students, and pushing us all to be sharper technically, as well as stronger physically and mentally!
Acie’s career outside of the Academy has included 12 years of bar security, as well as currently having 5 years under his belt as a Correctional Officer and 4 years on the Disturbance Control Team of a Virginia State Correctional Facility.
Scott Eckert began his formal training in Muay Thai Kickboxing (the National Sport of Thailand) in 2001, and decided to further his training at Richmond BJJ Academy in 2004. In 2006, Scott made the leap to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and in 2011 Eric Burdo proudly promoted Scott to Purple Belt. Scott has fought in Muay Thai, as well as Mixed Martial Arts, and sport BJJ competition. His love for training and his competitive spirit have truly placed him into the category of “fighter”.
In 2007, Scott became an Assistant Instructor in our Muay Thai program, and has smoothly made the transition from solid competitor to solid instructor, having a great rapport with our students, and is able to effortlessly articulate movements and concepts, down to the finest details. In 2009, Scott made the transition to Mixed Martial Arts, winning his first fight in convincing fashion using his Jiu-Jitsu skills to finish his opponent.
You can find Scott on the mats at Richmond BJJ Academy almost daily, training hard, as well as assisting in the growth of our students.
Liz Sussan is a BJJ class instructor, Kids’ BJJ program head instructor, and Academy Manager at Richmond BJJ Academy. Liz received her Brown Belt in BJJ from Eric Burdo in October 2013. Liz is a 2015 IBJJF Pan Ams Brown Belt Silver medalist, and a 2014 IBJJF International Masters Brown Belt Bronze medalist. In 2012 as a purple belt, Liz took Bronze at the IBJJF American Nationals and Bronze at the IBJJF Boston Open. In 2011 as a blue belt, she won silver at the IBJJF NY Open tournament. Liz has trained BJJ in Brazil, Thailand, and all over the US. She teaches a women’s BJJ class at Richmond BJJ Academy and teaches women’s self-defense to women and girls around the Richmond area. For information about our programs, please email Liz (at) RichmondBJJ.com
Liz has been teaching vinyasa yoga since the summer of 2010. Liz credits her love for yoga and teaching style to her first instructor, Dana Walters, and her current instructor, Rolf Gates. She received her 200 hour yoga teaching certification under Rolf Gates in April 2012. For more information about yoga at Richmond BJJ Academy, please visit our yoga page.
Additionally, Liz handles all business and new student requests, so please contact her if you want to start training, to visit the school, or if you have any questions.