Meet Our Trainers

Gracie Jiu Jitsu | Muay Thai | Kids Jiu Jitsu

At Gracie Raleigh, we pride ourselves on a legacy of excellence.

Every coach has been handpicked for their ability to communicate, inspire, and uplift every student.

Our instructors are not just skilled martial artists; they are educators, mentors, and guides.

Owner | Jiu Jitsu Instructor & Kids Instructor

Brandon Garner

Brandon has spent the majority of his life competing against and learning from the best in martial arts, fitness, and self-defense. His work ethic, demeanor and commitment to those around him continues to push him to learn and better himself. As a result, his students benefit greatly. Brandon was promoted to Black Belt in November, 2011 by Royce Gracie.

  • Black Belt – 3rd degree
  • Pro MMA fighter 8-1 pro record (17 total fights)
  • 2010 No Gi Pan American Games – Bronze medal
  • Army Special Forces Hand to Hand Combat Instructor -2004 to 2015
  • Carolina Fight Promotions Bantamweight Champion
  • The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 participant
  • Level 2 Army Combatives Instructor
  • SOCP (Special Operations Combative Program) – Instructor
  • Level 1 CrossFit Certified
  • 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games Competitor
  • Coach of UFC fighter Tim Kennedy
  • 25+ years kickboxing and wrestling experience
  • BSBA Economics and Finance – Appalachian State University

General Manager | Jiu Jitsu & Kids Instructor

Karl Krebs

Karl started training in Judo in 2009 for self-defense and eventually earned his black belt at Bushido Judo School. He quickly fell in love with competing and won multiple medals – even at the North Carolina & Tennessee State Championships and ATJA Nationals. Competing in Judo tournaments sparked a greater interest in learning more about martial arts, leading Karl to take up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai in 2011. Since then, he has won multiple Muay Thai, Judo and Jiu Jitsu tournaments. In addition to his competitive pursuits, Karl has taught numerous self-defense seminars for non-profits such as the LGBT Center of Raleigh, iNSIDEoUT, and ASPYRE. 

Karl has a B.S. in Behavioral Science and is a certified personal trainer with certificates in Nutrition, Strength and Conditioning & Yoga. In his free time when he’s not training clients or teaching yoga, he likes to play board games, Dungeons & Dragons, watch Star Trek, and walk his pets Dukat and Sisko.

Muay Thai Instructor

Mark Davis

Mark’s initial interest in martial arts started through countless hours spent playing the game ‘Street Fighter.’ He began Muay Thai at Gracie Raleigh in 2014. He has trained extensively under coaches Blake Taylor, Doug Czajka, and Duque Dupre. Mark also enjoys visiting gyms across the country to continue to grow his knowledge of Muay Thai. Through his years of practice, he found a true passion in helping others to hone their skills and grow as martial artists. As a coach, Mark looks to provide personalized guidance to all students to help them achieve their goals. Outside of the gym, Mark enjoys cycling and spending time with his family.

Muay Thai Instructor

Collin Crawford

Coach Collin is a passionate Martial Artist and a dedicated instructor at Gracie Raleigh. His journey into striking began in his hometown. In 2015, upon relocating to the area, he sought out Gracie Raleigh to continue his fighting journey.

Following a successful debut in MMA with a first-round submission victory he knew it was something he wanted to do forever. He makes it a point to train with people all over always refining his skills, recently he spent time learning from the best in Thailand, the birth place of Mauy Thai. He will share the knowledge he obtains as he continues to compete and train.

Collin’s coaching style is shaped by a unique blend of experiences. His time both in the ring as a fighter and in security has provided him with a keen understanding of real world self-defense techniques. Beyond his coaching duties, Collin dedicates his free time to sharing his expertise through private Kickboxing and MMA lessons, empowering others with his knowledge.

Gracie Jiu Jitsu Instructor


Jason Wingate’s passion is martial arts; he has devoted the majority of his life to the study, practice and teaching of both karate and Gracie Jiu Jitsu. He is a Black Belt under Brandon Garner.

During middle school, Jason began studying traditional karate and by the age of 18 he earned his black belt in Okinawian Go-Ju Ryu. Upon entering college to pursue a biology degree at Radford University, Jason discovered Gracie Jiu Jitsu and has been practicing ever since. Jason began his tutelage in Gracie Jiu Jitsu under the now Renzo Gracie Black Belt Tim Mannon. While studying biology at Radford University, Jason dedicated his time to the study of science and Jiu Jitsu.

Jason trained Jiu Jitsu upwards of five times a week while making the Dean’s list most semesters and graduating with honors. Jason earned both his Blue and Purple Belts under Tim Mannon and the legendary Renzo Gracie while in Virginia. After graduating with a B.S. in Biology from Radford University, Jason moved to Raleigh to pursue a PhD in Biology at North Carolina State University. Jason is presently a professor at a local college. Jason is an active competitor; he has won several advanced no-gi and Brown Belt divisions. Additionally, Jason is a seasoned referee who has refereed hundreds of Jiu-Jitsu Matches. Lastly, he is a caring and patient teacher who can convey information to students of any level.

Gracie Jiu Jitsu Instructor

Andrew Bitner

Andrew is currently a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt studying under Brandon Garner. Andrew attended the University of Delaware, where he earned a degree in Chemical Engineering. While there, Andrew met a friend who introduced him to 302 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Andrew began his Jiu-Jitsu journey in the summer of 2011.

After graduating college in 2013, Andrew accepted a job offer and moved to Raleigh. He quickly found a home at Gracie Raleigh. He’s put in countless hours on the mats, earning his Purple, Brown, and Black Belts under Brandon Garner.

Andrew competes regularly using competition as a means to represent Gracie Raleigh and to improve himself. Andrew’s top priority is to help each student reach their goals while learning the sport and martial art that has changed his and the lives of so many.

  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt
  • 2x Toro Cup No-Gi Heavyweight Champion
  • 5x US Grappling Brown Belt Champion
  • 12x US Grappling Advance No-Gi Champion

Gracie Jiu Jitsu Instructor

Chris Lewter

Chris Lewter is a man of many talents! He is an intrepid martial artist, having trained boxing since 2007 and fighting in toughman boxing matches and MMA bouts In 2012, Chris took his skills to the next level when he began training at Gracie Raleigh, and after ten years of dedication, he was rewarded with the prestigious Black Belt under Brandon Garner. During his time here, he has won numerous Jiu-Jitsu championships and has even taken on refereeing duties for Jiu Jitsu tournaments. On top of all this, Chris is an inspector for the North Carolina Boxing and Combat Sports Commission, as well as a boxing ref and MMA ref. His impressive accomplishments don’t stop there though – in 2023, Chris joined Gracie Raleigh’s 6 AM coaching staff, guiding future martial artists on their own journeys to success!


  • 2014 Blue Belt, IBJJF Pan Am Champion – Master 2
  • 2019 Brown Belt, IBJJF Pan Am Champion – Master 3
  • 2019 Brown Belt, IBJJF New York Pro Champion (Double Gold) Master 3
  • 2019 Brown Belt,  IBJJF Master World Champion Master 3
  • 2020 Brown Belt,  IBJJF Master World Champion (Double Gold) Master 3
  • 2021 Brown Belt, IBJJF Pan Am Champion – Master 3
  • 2022 Brown Belt, IBJJF 2nd place Master World Champion – Master 3
  • 2 time Toro Cup Brown Belt Champion
  • Multi-time US Grappling Champion

Gracie Jiu Jitsu Instructor

Justin Sellers

Justin is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt under Brandon Garner and has been an active practitioner since 2008.  He has achieved regional success as a competitor and has accumulated experience in international competition but is most content when honing his craft on the mat and sharing his knowledge with other students.  Justin is also a human resources professional and has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from North Carolina State University.

Kids Gracie Jiu Jitsu Instructor

Thomas Asta

Thom started his martial arts journey earning his Black Belt TKD. He then shifted to study Muay Thai under Scott Francis, earning his instructor rank. He has had the opportunity to train with some amazing coaches and team members over the past 20 years in the Triangle area.

He first started training under Brandon Garner in 2012 and is currently a Black Belt at Gracie Raleigh. Thom not only coaches the Gracie Kids’ program, he is a GR parent as well! His middle daughter, Gabi, has trained with us and his youngest, Alex, is one of our current students.

Thom also works full-time as a Territory Business Manager with Phenox Neurovascular and graduated from Elon University with a degree in Biology.

Kids Gracie Jiu Jitsu Instructor

Greyson Painter

Greyson has been training at Gracie Raleigh, as a student of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, since early 2016. In late 2019, he welcomed the opportunity to work with Gracie Raleigh Kids. Greyson currently holds the rank of Purple Belt. 

He is a Raleigh native, husband and father of 3, as well a Master Arborist by trade. One lesser known fact is that he owns a collection of over 60 (and counting) vintage cameras.

Muay thai & Kids Gracie Jiu Jitsu Instructor

Jordan Dao

Jordan started practicing Jiu Jitsu as a teenager here at Gracie Raleigh. Since then, Jordan has competed in BJJ, Muay Thai, Kickboxing and high school level wrestling all while pursuing a degree at North Carolina State University.

After receiving his Blue Belt, Jordan dove deeper into his journey by becoming a kids’ coach. In addition to kids’ classes, you may also find Jordan giving private instruction in a plethora of disciplines to everyone, from young kids with no experience to adult amateur competitors.

Kids Gracie Jiu Jitsu Instructor

Ranndi Bitner

Ranndi began Jiu Jitsu at Gracie Raleigh in April 2020. She developed her love for the sport after watching her husband, Coach Andrew, train, compete, and coach throughout their dating relationship. Now, Ranndi is a Blue Belt and assists in the kid’s class. Not only does she love to teach, but she also competes. Ranndi has had the opportunity to compete and represent Gracie Raleigh at local tournaments, Master Worlds, and Toro Cup.

Outside of the gym, Ranndi is a physical therapist. She works full-time at the hospital in addition to running her own physical therapy practice. She loves combining her love for sports and rehabilitation to keep her training partners healthy and on the mats.

Kids Gracie Jiu Jitsu Instructor

Bella Taylor

Bella started training at Gracie Raleigh in August 2016 while still in school at North Carolina State University and now has her Blue Belt. She has many years of experience working with kids of all ages as a nanny and at Marbles Kids Museum and has combined this with her Jiu Jitsu knowledge to help coach kids classes. 

Bella was raised in Raleigh and now works in data visualization. She has a wealth of hobbies including hiking and camping, crocheting, attending concerts, and Jiu Jitsu. 

Gracie Jiu Jitsu Instructor

Dwayne Dyer

Dwayne is a New England native who fell in love with Jiu Jitsu when he joined Gracie Raleigh in 2017.

With a lifelong passion for athletics, he found his true calling in grappling. After competing successfully in various tournaments, Dwayne jumped at the opportunity to become a coach and share his knowledge to further support his teammates. Currently, he coaches the 6 AM program at Gracie Raleigh and is committed to helping others become better grapplers and grow along their martial arts journeys.

Beyond the mats, Dwayne works as a real estate agent and loves going to the movies, as well as spending time with his wonderful family.