Meet our Instructors

Damian Hirtz

Head Instructor

Instructor Damian Black Belt Rank

2nd Degree Black Belt

IMAGE GALLERY

Damian Hirtz has over 16 years of training and teaching experience in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Damian is the head black belt instructor of Alliance Minnesota under the guidance of one of the founders of Alliance, Fabio Gurgel. Damian teaches and trains daily and is also an active competitor at the black belt level.

Damian’s attention to detail and dedication to the technique of jiu-jitsu led to his being asked to substitute for his instructor very early in his training, while still at the Blue Belt level. As time went on he was asked to assume a greater role in the development of his fellow students and began teaching his own regular classes. Over the years he was lucky enough to work with students from all walks of life, helping them reach their full potential in jiu-jitsu. His students have ranged from doctors, lawyers, housewives, office workers, students, and children to police officers, military personal and professional competitors.

Because of his dedication to the technical aspects of jiu-jitsu, his role evolved into additionally teaching the advanced classes and working with competitors and professional fighters on their preparation for events.

His role as a training partner and corner man to many professional Mixed Martial Arts fighters continues to this day. He continues to be a reference for some of the greatest competitors in the world competing on the highest levels possible in events like The Ultimate Fighting Championship, EliteXC, WEC, and Pride FC.

Competition Awards

  • Multiple Local and State Championships
  • 2000 Rickson Gracie International: Silver Medalist
  • 2001 Machado World Grappling Games: Bronze Medalist
  • 2003 Las Vegas Open: Silver Medalist
  • 2004 Midwest Championships Brown/Black Belt: Silver Medalist
  • 2005 IBJJF Pan American of Jiu-Jitsu: Silver Medalist
  • 2006 Greater Midwest Submission Hunt: Brown/Black Belt Champion
  • 2006 NAGA Chicago: Black Belt Champion
  • 2012 IBJJF Chicago Open Black Belt Champion
  • 2013 IBJJF Chicago Open: Black Belt Silver Medalist
  • 2015 IBJJF Chicago Open: Black Belt Bronze Medalist
  • 2017 IBJJF Masters World Championships: Black Belt Silver Medalist
  • 2019 IBJJF Masters World Championships: Black Belt Bronze Medalist
  • 2019 IBJJF Twin Cities Open – Heavyweight – Gold
  • 2019 IBJJF Twin Cities Open – Open – Gold
instructor tim blackstone

Tim Blackstone

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructor

instructor tim blackstone 1st degree blackbelt rank

1st Degree Black Belt

IMAGE GALLERY

Tim has been training for over a decade and was recently promoted to first degree black belt, the second black belt rank in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Like all our instructors, Tim is a seasoned competitor with an incredibly impressive tournament resume. Tim’s teaching style is incredibly technical yet easy to understand and incorporate into your game. Tim lives in Minneapolis with his wife Jolynn and young sons, Ollie and Duncan and dog Lano.

Competition Awards

  • 2012 NOGI Worlds – Bronze
  • 2014 Summer Chicago Open – Gold
  • 2014 Summer Chicago Absolutes – Bronze
  • 2014 Summer Chicago Open NoGi – Gold
  • 2014 Seattle Open – Gold
  • 2014 San Francisco Open – Gold
  • 2015 Spring Chicago Open NoGi – Gold
  • 2015 Summer New York Open – Gold
  • 2015 Summer New York Open Absolutes – Silver
  • 2015 Summer New York Open NoGi – Gold

Gilberto Monroy

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructor

Instructor Gil Black Belt Rank

Black Belt

IMAGE GALLERY

Gilberto teaches our Little Eagles class.

Competition Awards

  • Coming Soon!

Dumisani Thomsen

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructor

Instructor Gil Black Belt Rank

Black Belt

IMAGE GALLERY

Dumisani teaches our Monday/Wednesday/Friday 6:30 am all levels class.

Competition Awards

  • Coming Soon!

Alex Avedikian

Judo Instructor

instructor alex avedikian 3rd degree judo black belt

3rd Degree Judo Blackbelt

instructor Alex Avedikian 3rd degree purple belt rank

3rd Degree BJJ Purple Belt

IMAGE GALLERY

Alex is a 3rd Degree Black Belt (SanDan) in Judo and Level I Certified Coach and Instructor with the United States Judo Association. Alex started his thirty-seven year judo career at the age of thirteen in Fort Myers, Florida. Alex received his Shodan (1st degree Black Belt) at the age of nineteen and his Sandan in 2013 from Sensei John Paccione, President of the USJA. Alex is also a Purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training and competing under Professor Damian Hirtz.

Alex has been an active tournament player, coach and instructor in MN since 1994, and continues to actively compete medaling in statewide, regional, national and international tournaments, Including an AAU National Judo Title in 2005 and a World Masters Jiu Jitsu title in 2018. He has also coached his students in national competition at the 2003 Junior Olympics in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Alex is married and has two daughters (who both train). He lives in Chanhassen and operates his own Web development and graphic design firm.

Competition Awards

  • 2003 – MN State Judo Tournament – Adult Black Belt – Silver
  • 2005 – AAU National Judo Tournament – Masters Black Belt – Gold
  • 2005 – AAU National Judo Tournament – Adult Black Belt – Bronze
  • 2006 – Twin Cities Winter Judo Classic – Adult Black Belt – Silver
  • 2007 – MN State Judo Tournament – Adult Black Belt – Bronze
  • 2012 – MN MatMania NoGi – Gold
  • 2012 – St Croix Grappling Games – Silver
  • 2012 – St Croix Grappling Games – Gold
  • 2015 – IBJJF Chicago Open – Master 3 Blue – Medium/Heavy – Gold
  • 2015 – IBJJF Chicago Open – Master 3 Blue – Open – Silver
  • 2017 – IBJJF Chicago Open – Master 4 Blue – Medium/Heavy – Bronze
  • 2017 – IBJJF Chicago Open – Master 4 Purple – Medium/Heavy – Silver
  • 2017 – IBJJF Chicago Open – Master 4 Purple – Open – Silver
  • 2018 – IBJJF Masters Worlds – Master 4 Purple – Medium/Heavy- Bronze
  • 2019 – IBJJF Miami Open – Master 4 Purple – Medium/Heavy – Gold
  • 2019 – IBJJF Miami Open – Master 4 Purple – Open – Gold
  • 2019 – IBJJF Boston Open – Master 4 Purple – Heavy – Bronze
  • 2019 – IBJJF Boston Open – Master 4 Purple – Open – Silver
  • 2019 – FUJI Twin Cities Open – Adult Purple – Silver
  • 2019 – IBJJF Twin Cities Open – Master 3 Purple – Medium/Heavy – Gold
  • 2019 – IBJJF Twin Cities Open – Master 3 Purple – Open – Gold