Michael Stinson is the owner and head instructor of Gracie jiu-jitsu Chandler. Michael has trained martial arts for over twenty years, and has spent much of that time as a passionate and dedicated teacher. He holds a fourth degree black belt in To-Shin Do, and was awarded the warrior name Akitoshi (bearer of the truth revealing blade) by Stephen K. Hayes, Black Belt Hall of Fame recipient and the founder of To-Shin Do. Michael is also a four-stripe blue belt in the Brazilian jiu-jitsu Nova Uniao organization, and a blue belt and certified instructor in Gracie jiu-jitsu. Michael is married with two daughters, 2 dogs, 4 cats, and a blue and gold macaw.
In 1995, a 2nd degree Judo Black Belt named John Poliquin introduced Michael Stinson to the concept of ground fighting through the Japanese martial art of To-Shin Do, a modern-day version of ninjutsu. Michael was immediately fascinated at the intricate puzzle that was presented and the endless possibilities involved. Back then, very few options existed to train Brazilian jiu-jitsu, so Michael honed his ground fighting skills through To-Shin Do, a martial art that shares the same Japanese ancestry.
When Michael moved to Arizona in 2000, he found no options for training To-Shin Do, so he took the bold step of founding his own school, Phoenix Quest Center. At this point, with all of his To-Shin Do instructors on the East Coast, he turned to Brazilian jiu-jitsu to challenge himself and grow as a martial artist. By this time, Brazilian jiu-jitsu schools were widely available, but Michael wanted to find an approach to training that matched his goals and philosophy. Although Arizona has many high-quality Brazilian jiu-jitsu schools, many of these were geared toward jiu-jitsu as a sport, and focused on competition training. Given that Michael started his martial arts journey after getting jumped by a group of guys in Tampa, Florida, he was primarily motivated by the self-defense application of martial arts, not tournaments. Michael was also looking for a jiu-jitsu school that followed a systematic and logical teaching method, similar to the structured To-Shin Do method he had followed successfully for several years.
Michael’s search for a self-defense oriented school with a structured and logical curriculum led him to Gracie Academy and the Combatives program. In 2008, Michael purchased the Gracie Combatives DVDs for self-study. He also began training with Gustavo Dantas black belt Gary Matsch, forging a relationship that continues to this day. In 2014, Michael decided to make the leap and register his dojo as a Gracie Garage. He soon graduated from the Instructor Certification Program and then officially opened Gracie jiu-jitsu Chandler, one of many Gracie Certified Training Centers (CTCs) around the world.
Martin Camacho -Martin trained in Aikido for 6 years attaining his second degree Brown belt. He has also trained in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu for 4 years (blue belt). Martin has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from NAU and works at Chandler Unified School District.
Martin has been married for 25 years and is a Gulf War veteran after having served in the Air Force for 5 years. He likes going to the movies, eating out, working on his yard, training Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, and chilling out with family and friends.
Martin truly exemplifies the spirit of “Keep it Playful” on the mats!