Shawn Williams is largely considered one of the top instructors in the BJJ and Martial Arts community. He is known for his exceptionally detailed and thorough approach to teaching and often referred to as “The Encyclopedia of Jiu Jitsu”. His depth of knowledge in jiu jitsu, wrestling, and the striking arts has lead him to develop students and athletes in both the grappling and MMA world.
His martial arts journey began over 30 years ago near his home town of Bluffton, Indiana where he studied a unique blend of karate, escrima, and what he know refers to as shootbox (kickboxing with takedowns). In 1996, he relocated to NYC to study under the multiple-time Brazilian Jiu Jitsu champion and MMA Pioneer, Renzo Gracie. Fully dedicated to the art, Shawn quickly rose through the ranks and began teaching full time at the Renzo Gracie Academy in 2001 and earned his black belt in 2002. In 2010, he established 5 Star Martial Arts/ Renzo Gracie Los Angeles and it quickly became one of the largest martial arts academies in southern California. In 2020, Shawn and his family moved to Nashville and has now established Renzo Gracie Nashville, where you can find him teaching and training 6 days/ week.
Renzo Gracie awarded Shawn his Black Belt on April 2, 2002. He was the 5th recipient to be awarded the rank from the famed NYC Renzo Gracie Academy following such notables as: Ricardo Almeida, Rodrigo Gracie, Matt Serra, and Nick Serra (John Danaher and Shawn were promoted on the same night). He currently holds the rank of Fourth Degree Black Belt under Renzo Gracie.
Shawn was chosen as an assistant coach alongside his good friend and colleauge, John Danaher. During the season, Team GSP went 11-4 with an all Team GSP final.
Williams has developed an effective guard dubbed “The Williams Guard” by John Danaher. The guard is very effective in BJJ and MMA in its ability to prevent strikes from an opponent while setting arm bars, triangles, and omaplata submissions
Analyst and Commentator For Biggest Grappling Events in the World.Shawn is the long-time analyst and commentator for the top BJJ and grappling events in the world, including the Abu Dhabi Combat Club World Championships, Abu Dhabi World Professional Championships, IBJJF World Championships, IBJJF Pans, and Kasai Elite Grappling Championships
Shawn Williams has competed all over the World. His major BJJ and Grappling accomplishments include: 2003 black belt lightweight IBJJF Pan American Bronze Medallist (2x bronze at lower belts), Ohio Pro Am Champion (2004), FILA Regional Qualifier (2008), ADCC Qualifier Bronze Medallist as well as multiple titles in Grapplers Quest and NAGA.
Shawn has developed many friendships in the martial arts community. His technical and detailed approach to teaching and training has made him a sought-after coach and training partner for many world-class BJJ and MMA fighters. Through the years, he has served as a training partner/coach for training camps for top MMA fighters including Georges St. Pierre, Rodrigo Gracie, Matt Serra, Royce Gracie, and Frank Trigg amongst others.
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