Nick Castiglia has been training in the martial arts since he was ten years old, beginning first with traditional Jiu-Jitsu before moving on to Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate, where he received his first degree Black belt from Sensei Mike Sywyk. He also had the opportunity to compete with Team Canada in Japan and the United States. While in Japan, he was able to train extensively with the Okinawan Masters at the Jundokan. When he was twenty years old, with awarded Nick his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt in 2018. Nick Is A Black Belt in Traditional Jiu-jitsu, Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate and is a Gracie Barra BJJ Black Belt. Nick Is also an Experienced MMA and Muay Thai Kru In September 2003, Nick was awarded his first degree Black belt in traditional jiu-jitsu and less than a year later, his Blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Then after winning the Renzo Gracie Invitational at Blue Belt in April 2008 he received his Purple Belt. BJJ has led Nick to Brazil, where he trained at the famous Gracie Barra, and to the United States, where he trained and competed. He has also had the privilege of training with many high-level BJJ Black belts arounf the world. Nick is a leader in the Gracie Barra Family and in the martial arts community.
Nick has also ventured into the world of professional Mixed Martial Arts, traveling as far as Guam to fight. Nick began training Muay Thai in January 2003. Several years into his training, Nick traveled to Thailand to train under Kru Andy Thomson at Lanna Kiat Busaba Muay Thai Gym in Chiang Mai. While there, Nick learned to be a better Muay Thai practitioner, but more importantly in his mind, a better Muay Thai instructor and pad holder, which is now his specialty. Nick has also spent a great deal of time training at The Wat in New York City with Kru Phil Nurse and WKA National Muay Thai Champion Jamie Crowder. While in Canada, Nick makes frequent trips to Toronto to train with Kru Chris Kew, an alumnus of Lanna Chiang Mai and the Ontario Middleweight Champion. Nick has been teaching children the martial arts since he was 15 years of age. He also has over four years of experience as a Child and Youth worker. Nick draws on much of his experience with children both in and outside of the martial arts, and consistently works with the industry’s leaders to further his knowledge of working with and better understanding children.
My first steps in martial arts.
I found martial arts watching WWF and UFC with my friends. I enrolled in a Karate Dojo at 15 years old. I trained at Douvris Martial Arts at its Aylmer location with Sensei Miguel Moreno and Sensei Kirk Kelly. After being promoted to Yellow belt, I started boxing at the Karate Dojo with the instructors and senior students like Stephane Bernadel. I trained at Douvris (Shotokan Karate) after school every night and all summer long, and got promoted to black belt when I was 17 years old. I went to many small point fighting tournaments in Ottawa and I made the national team to represent Canada in the WKA in Basel Switzerland in 2004 in full contact kickboxing . For the WKA tournament, I was training with Douvris but also was introduced to Jean-Yves “the Iceman” Theriault by my karate coach. I trained with the Iceman for a few years and fought and won many times in the Iceman circuit and on other Quebec kickboxing circuits. My passion and determination to make a life-long commitment to martial arts.
Sensei Miguel Moreno knew that I wanted to fight in mixed martial arts competitions and gave me the Renzo Gracie contact number in Ottawa. So, at age17, I met for the first time Pat Cooligan at his old location at East Wind Budo, a karate dojo, where he was training and teaching Renzo Gracie Jiu jitsu. After getting tapped out by white belts a few times,
I quickly realized that this was the real deal. For the 1st year of training with Pat, I was able to go only every Saturday because of my kickboxing fights. When I came back from the WKA in Switzerland, I decided to get serious with BJJ and that coincided with Pat moving to his own location, the Ottawa Academy of Martial Arts at 1673 Carling Avenue. Pat invited me to watch Pride PPVs and UFC paper views all the time and I got to hang out a lot with Hammer, Nick and Steve.
Pat took great care of me and quickly took me under his wing and into the team. It made me feel part of a team, which is very important to me. Not long after I started training with Pat, I became a full time student and instructor in the kids program and also kickboxing program. I was traveling by bus 6 hours every day to OAMA from Aylmer to train and teach, until my mom gave me her old car … Pat took me to my first grappling tournament (Grapplers Quest: Beast of the East 2005) where I won the gold medal in the no-gi only after a few months of training in BJJ and where Hammer took the gold in the blue belt division and choked out Ryan Hall for the first time. In NYC, Pat and Hammer and I shared an apartment and we had a great time! Pat cornered for me for the first time in Drummondville for my last kickboxing fight which I won via TKO in the 3rd round thus ending my amateur kickboxing record with 4-1-1.
Pat took Nick and I to NYC to train with Kru Phil Nurse at his gym called the Wat. That is where I met Jamie Crowder who came to OAMA shortly after for its first Muay Thai Seminar. Nick and I would train at the Wat every month and that is when we started to teach real Muay Thai at OAMA.
After fighting in kickboxing and in Jiu jitsu tournaments under Pat, it became clear to me that I would want to make this my life: teach martial arts and compete. Pat told me to get experience in both stand up and ground competition and then I could make my MMA debut. Pat provided me with numerous opportunities to improve and excel in both sports.
Year 2005 was the year I started competing in BJJ: I won the gold medal at the Arnolds Schwarzenegger, and also the gold both at Grapplers Quest and Copa Atlantica. I was promoted to blue belt – on the mat of the competition – in Renzo Gracie Jiu jitsu by Igor Gracie who was the referee for my fight and by Pat Cooligan who was coaching me.
In the 2005 Summer, Pat introduced me to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the first of five trips\training camps. I trained at the Gracie Barra Academy.
I fought and won (by TKO 1st round) my first Pro fight in MMA with APEX\Freedom fight production in 2006 under Pat along with Nick, both of us making our debut. We had a gruelling training camp for the months of November and December of 2005 and fought in the event in January 2006.
I went to Thailand in March\April 2006 for my first time, alone. There I trained and lived Muay Thai for one month under Lanna Kiat Busaba Muay Thai camp with Andy ??? Thomson. I fought twice in pro muay thai in Chiang Mai at the end of my stay and won both times against experienced Thai fighters, first with a TKO 1st round and the second fight two days later with KO in 4th round. I brought back all my knowledge of training and fighting and, along with Nick, we trained all the students in the ways of northern Muay Thai.
In January 2007 I fought my second pro MMA fight in Guam this time, against Alex Castro and won by triangle choke. After that fight, I got a big fight in the NYC promotion called Mayhem On Mulberry Street which I fought modified pro muay thai against Abder Bchri who had some 80 fights under his belt. We went to decision. I won by unanimous decision. Later that year, I took at team of students to Thailand and fought in Chiang Mai at the Gawila Stadium where I won the pro muay thai fight in a 2nd round KO. I went back at the end of the year 2007, this time to get certification in Bangkok where I was awarded the Senior Instructor Certification by the Ministry of Education of Thailand and the World Muay Thai Council. Then, back to Canada where I fought in Amateur Muay Thai under CAMTAO against Enzo Rojas. I won by unanimous decision. I also competed at the Throwdown in Otown against Peter Arcalas and I won by unanimous decision to take the Middle weight Championship title. My last amateur muay thai fight was in another Throwdown in Otown production against Sacha Hijazzi which I lost to a split decision.
My instructor Pat Cooligan took me to Los Angeles to train and fight BJJ. I competed in the Las Vegas XFA organization which is modified pro Muay Thai (no elbows) and in XFA twice, against Kevin Ross. I won via TKO 1st round and the second opponent was his coach Mark Beecher which I defeated in 2nd round TKO.
In 2008, I went back in the MMA ring to fight for Freedom Fight against Justin Doyon to win in a 1st round TKO. I also fought for the Freedom Fight Light Weight championship against Kris Donaldson and I won in the 2nd round via TKO.
I was selected to fight in the Top 8 Canadian Tournament for the Contender Asia series. The canadian try outs were in Calgary. My first fight in the tournament was against Jesse Jones. I won by KO in the first round and then I advanced to the semis against Alex Ricci. I lost to by unanimous decision. I fought once more Pro MMA, this time in a cage at the XMMA show in Montreal against Antoine Coutu. I won in the 1st round TKO.
A few days after that, I went to Lampang in Thailand to train Muay Thai this time with Ajarn Burklerk Pinsinchai for a solid month. During that stay, I fought 3 times, once in Chiang Mai (win via unanimous decision) in November, then in Bangkok on the
King’s Birthday (win via unanimous decision) and two days later in Lampang (win via 1st round KO).
I fought this year (2009) in CFC in Winnipeg against 170 lbs champion Dave Zuniga and I won the split decision. Right after that, I fought Martin Grandmont back in the cage for W-1 in Hull. I lost by KO in the 1st round. My goals
I am aiming to go all the way to the top of fighting. I aspire to fight to the pinnacle of MMA and fight the best fighters. I am investing all my energies toward these goals and I have adopted for the last five years a lifestyle – teaching and training full-time – that will help me attain these goals.
Martial arts have given me confidence, courage, team, honor, discipline and loyalty. It has taught me so many things. The way of life has made me who I am now. I am just starting paying martial arts back and passing on the knowledge that I have acquired through my life to the students of OAMA. I want to fight and represent OAMA, my instructor Pat Cooligan, Renzo Gracie Jiu Jitsu and OAMA Muay Thai the best I can. I want to give back to OAMA and to the people who have given me so much. In the future I would like to continue teaching under my instructor Pat Cooligan at the OAMA academies.
I would like to get more time to train and to get my purple belt in Renzo Gracie jiu jitsu. I also hope to fight at high levels in Thailand, like in the Rajadammuan Stadium or the Lumpini Stadium. But nonetheless, those are side goals. If they happen, then great, but my main goal is to focus in MMA and to go to the top, which is the UFC.
I take every fight as a learning experience. Good and bad fights, I always learn a few things from them. Every fight is a step closer in achieving my big goal. I am 23 years old now and I know I have so much more to learn. I will continue in the martial art lifestyle, fighting lifestyle and OAMA lifestyle until I cannot do so anymore.
I believe that my wrestling and BJJ has improved a lot. I have a great team here to help me. I train everyday with Hammer, Nick, Jeff, Steph and all the students of OAMA. I am also well supervised by my mentor and instructor Pat Cooligan, and by my striking coach Kru Chris Kew. My strength and conditioning have gone up every year and I feel more and more confident about my skills. I have been lucky not to have any serious injuries and also to have trained and taken part in seminars with high level BJJ instructors (Renzo Gracie, John Danaher, Carlos Gracie Jr. Igor Gracie, Rolles Gracie, Gregor Gracie, Roger Gracie, Marcio Feitosa and Fabio Leopoldo) and high level striking coaches (Kru Chris Kew, Ajarn Burklerk Pinsinchai, Jongsanan Fairtex, Andy Thomson, Kamon (Den) Khaengraeng, Kru Mel Bellissimo and Jamie Crowder). I was given the fight name ‘’Boots’’ by Pat because I use my legs a lot. With this great experience and all that has been given to me to help me to get where I am now – training seminars, coaches, instructors, training partners and a supporting family -, I believe that my team can take me all the way.
Along with OAMA students and training partners, these are the people who have made me who I am and helped me through my fighting career. My mom, who has been my dietician, helped me make weight, and always supported me in my career choice even though it meant supporting me going in the ring contrary to motherly instincts! My dad who was sick with Huntington, gave me the motivation to fight for him. Pat, who is my mentor, and has been so generous in helping me attain my goals and take me to the top, has always been there for me when I needed him inside and outside the ring and the academy. Nick with whom I made my debut in Pro MMA has always been a big brother to me looking out for me in good and tough times, making sure I have time to train. Hammer who has been one of my main training partners has helped me tremendously with my jiu jitsu and wrestling and, thanks to him, I feel confident about my ground game and wrestling. Kru Chris Kew is most of the times brought to Ottawa a week or two before my fights to sharpen up my muay thai and to make sure my fitness is top notch.
2X Grapplers Quest Champion
1X Arnolds Schwarzenegger Classic Champion
1X Copa Atlantica Champion
World Muay Thai Federation Middle Weight Champion
Freedom Fight MMA Lightweight Champion
The martial arts have also taken Mark on many travels – 5 times to Thailand, 4 times to Brazil, and countless times to the United States, from Los Angeles to New York.
At Mark is a full-time instructor\fighter in Muay Thai, MMA, and Children’s Jiu Jitsu.
Remi Morvan is a former professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter once deemed one of Canada’s top Bantamweight and Flyweight fighters. He has been involved in Martial Arts since 2004. His journey began with traditional Jiu Jitsu but Remi quickly transitioned to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2005 and immediately began competing in BJJ tournaments all over the United States. Remi is a multiple time North American Grappling Association (NAGA) and Grapplers Quest champion. Rising throught the ranks very quickly he earned his Blue Belt in record time and continued winning tournaments even winning his first competition as a brand new Blue belt. In 2007 Remi entered into his first ever professional Mixed Martial Arts fight. His career has spanned over 15 professional MMA fights. He has fought from the island of Guam to the Ukraine; facing some of the top fighters in the world including former UFC fighters Roland Delorme and Phil Harris. Having trained extensively in Muay Thai during the entire length of his career in MMA Remi’s true passion is teaching and training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Now a Gracie Barra Brown belt Remi is spreading his knowledge of the grappling arts to all students and coaching our competitors. With his lengthy competiiton career behind him Remi is a wealth of knowledge for anyone stepping onto the BJJ mats or the MMA ring.
Cam has been involved extensively in martial arts since 2004 starting out in Karate and was ultimately lead to BJJ by his first jiu jitsu instructor in 2006. Where the bulk of his training has been done after completing his college degree in 2012 he has pursued being a professional on the mats full time in several capacities that encompass martial arts entrepreneurship.
He has over ten years of instructing experience and has spent countless hours learning from world class instructors from some of the most accomplished team in the world.
Cameron is in his rookie year as a black belt. He is a full time Jiu Jitsu professional, teaching, training and competing globally throughout the year. The past year he has placed and won in many of the major tournaments held by the prestigious IBJJF and UAEJJF. As of late May 2019, FloGrappling placed him in the top 15 ranked Pound-For-Pound brown belts in the world. Cameron seeks to be in the top ranks in black belt competition over the course of the coming seasons, while continuing to teach and serve for greater awareness of what jiu jitsu has to offer.
You can now catch him teaching at the GB Ottawa Headquarters sharing his passion to all who come through the door.
Evan Bishop is a standout brown belt competitor and instructor originally from Gracie Barra West Island in Montreal, training and competing under Professor Glen Mackenzie. Evan is a 3 x IBJJF World Championships competitor, and has been active on the local and international tournament scene since 2015. Known for his technical and methodical grappling style, Evan will also be graduating from McGill University with an undergraduate degree in physical and health education in spring 2020. From there, Evan looks to continue his education with graduate studies at the University of Ottawa. More recently, Evan has been contributing to a self-run blog about sports and exercise psychology, pedagogy, and learning (www.evanbishopwriting.com).
GB Ottawa / Ottawa Martial Arts Centre would like to welcome Randy Turner from Direct Action Combat!
It is our honour to have an amazing instructor, athlete and friend Randy Turner come share his knowledge with our students at GB Ottawa.
Randy Turner is a father, a husband and the owner of Direct Action Combat Performance. After serving his country at the highest level of Elite Special Forces, Randy Turner transitioned to a leadership role delivering Integrated Defensive Training to people of all ages and existing skillsets. His belief is members of our society deserve access to training that will increase their personal safety, sense of comfort and well-being. Often due to a lack of awareness and training, the general public are left vulnerable because they are ill-equipped to respond to real threats of violence. Direct Action Combative program is a system designed to provide the general public with skills to effectively respond to modern dangers through realistic self-defence training.
Gustavo started his journey in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at the age of 12 in Brazil, in São Paulo at Cicero Costha along side some of the must talented athletes in the generation; Miyao brothers, Leandro Lo, Wilson Moreira, Luan Azevedo and many more!
Gustavo is very detailed in some of the newest techniques in the game such as berimbolo and lapel guard. He is passionate for teaching, sharing the knowledge that he gained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with the next generation! Gustavo is 21 years old now and has also a degree in Business Management from Algonquin College.
He has competed and placed in multiple tournaments in Brazil including the Brazilian Nationals.
Gustavo is excited to now join Gracie Barra and be a part of building our Kids program.
Jeff Chan is a seasoned MMA fighter who began his career in Muay Thai at the young age of 15. With an amateur record of 24-2 and professional record of 3-1, he spends the bulk of his time building his online business , MMAShredded, where he shares his love and passion for the sport with others.
When he isn’t working on new YouTube videos for MMAShredded, or preparing for a ONE Championship fight, you’ll find him teaching interactive Muay Thai classes that emphasize superb technique! Join us in welcoming him to the team at Gracie Barra HQ!