Your Instructors

Greg Wood Black Belt Owner Plainville Martial Arts
Greg Wood Owner, Black Belt Head Instructor
Greg Wood
In 1997, Greg Wood was the first student in the first school for Gracie Jiu Jitsu in CT (and one of the first in the country).   Greg’s advancements through the ranks come directly from “Godfather of MMA,” Royce Gracie, his father Helio Gracie, and award-winning instructor Master Pedro Sauer, under whom Greg earned both his black belt in 2016, and Pedro Sauer’s highest level teaching certificate.  
Weighing only 150 pounds for most of his training career, Greg’s philosophy on jiu jitsu emphasizes jiu jitsu as a complete self-defense martial art, and the smartest, simplest, and most effective choice for anyone, any size or ability, who wants to prepare to defend themselves or loved ones against a potentially larger, stronger attacker.  Greg also strongly espouses the path of learning the art of jiu jitsu as a powerful means of personal development for kids and adults. 
Greg’s passion for teaching is life-long, having taught instrumental music for over 20 years, earned his K-12 music teacher certificate, and taught entrepreneurship, art, business, personal development, and leadership and team-building classes for kids, at various institutions, over his life.  Greg has taught jiu jitsu to police and SWAT team members, and he has helped create a number of self defense programs for women at jiu jitsu schools around the state.
Opening Plainville Martial Arts was the culmination of a quarter century of Greg’s training BJJ, and learning from the best instructors in jiu jitsu.  The school synthesizes Greg’s loves for jiu jitsu, teaching, entrepreneurship, and for helping people of all ages achieve their best selves.  If you’re interested in making a meaningful change in your life with the help of jiu jitsu, Greg is looking forward to meeting you!
Sensei Tom Ragin
Sensei Tom Ragin Judo Black Belt, BJJ Purple Belt, Judo Instructor
Tom Ragin
Sensei Tom Ragin is a black belt in judo, and instructs our judo club that meets Saturday mornings. Tom is a masterful teacher as well as practitioner, and a fun, high energy coach, from whom anyone could easily learn judo. As he is also a purple belt in jiu jitsu, Tom always keeps students aware of considerations when applying judo in a BJJ setting.
Robert Astur at the Gracie Academy's teacher certification graduation
Robert Astur 4-7 Year Olds Instructor, & Program Founder
Robert Astur
Robert Astur is a 1-stripe blue belt who is the head instructor for our kids 4-7 years old classes. Robert started his jiu-jitsu journey at Royce Gracie dojos before he obtained his blue belt from the GracieAcademy under Ryron and Rener Gracie. He was then invited to the Gracie Academy in Torrance where he completed the selective Instructor Certification Program, qualifying him to teach Gracie Combatives to adults and Gracie Bullyproof to kids.
Robert is a teacher both in and out of the dojo, and he is the father of 3 children: two of whom are training jiu-jitsu and the other child is just learning to crawl. He wholeheartedly embraces the PMAmission that jiu-jitsu is a complete martial art that can lead to great personal development for both children and adults.
Some of Robert’s favorite teaching moments include teaching Gracie jiu-jitsu to blind individuals; teaching jiu-jitsu to survivors of sexual assault, and; helping Rener Gracie and Brian Ortega teach Gracie Combatives to the Baltimore Police Force.
Coach Greg St. Pierre giving a stripe advancement
Greg St. Pierre BJJ Fundamentals Coach & 4-7 Year Olds Instructor
Greg St. Pierre
Greg St. Pierre (our own “GSP”) is one of the instructors for our adult BJJ fundamentals class, and one of the assistant coaches of our 4-7 year olds classes.  He is a PMA student himself, he’s the father of a PMA student, and Greg is a highly valued member of our community.
Steve Ross Instructing Kids
Steve Ross Intermediate Kids Instructor
Steve Ross
Steve Ross was a member of Plainville Martial Arts on day one of our opening, along with his two kids.  He has studied Brazilian Jiu Jitsu since that time, and is now running our Intermediate Kids class.  This class is for ages 10-13, and provides a place for kids too old to feel totally comfortable with the younger kids, but not yet ready to train with the adults.  Steve is a patient and kind instructor, and great with this age group.   He teaches these more advanced young learners adult material in an adult manner, in an environment most comfortable to them: with their peers.
Taylor Lawrence, Plainville Martial Arts Coach
Taylor Lawrence 4-7 Year Olds Instructor
Taylor Lawrence
Taylor Lawrence is one of the head instructors for our 4-7 year olds program.  He is a purple belt in Gracie Jiu Jitsu, having received all his rank advancements in person, directly from Ryron and Rener Gracie, who are known as outspoken jiu jitsu advocates, and the eldest grandsons of Gracie Jiu Jitsu creator, Helio Gracie.

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