The Elite team of Professors, Instructors, and Coaches are committed to the development of students in a safe and fun environment. Our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Professors are certified by the IBJJF and are trained under Master Hercules Baptista, a 7th Degree Red/Black Belt. Many of our staff compete at the highest level in their respective sports. We have World Champions, Brazilian Champions, and Pan American Champions who teach our Youth and Adult students. All of our staff are trained in First Aid and CPR and help ensure the safety of our members.
Head Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Professor, Black Belt (2nd Degree)
Miriam Cardoso is a 5-time world Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion. Raised in Brazil, she trained under masters Hercules Baptista and Carlos Gracie Jr. Miriam began her training at age 15 in 2001 and after 3 months of training she won Nationals! She won nationals 7 times after that and in 2002 she began competing at the world level – taking second place in her first appearance. In 2004 her world-winning career launched, taking first place 5 times over the next 4 years. Along the way in 2007 she obtained her black belt. In 2011 she obtained her first degree black belt and started her own academy in Redmond, Washington – Elite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu of Redmond.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Professor, Black Belt
Andrea Emmel, Brazilian Black Belt from Rio de Janeiro has developed a great teaching style to share the skills she has developed on the way to winning 4 Brazilian Championships, Six State Championships (Rio de Janeiro), a World Championship in 2009 and the Pan America Championship in 2013.
Andrea received her black belt under our Master Hercules Baptista and is the Head Professor at Elite BJJ of Bothell and Factoria.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Submission Grappling, Brown Belt
Joel has been training in Martial Arts for most of his life, but his journey in BJJ started in San Diego under Professor Marcelo Pereira in 1996. Marcelo was Nelson Monteiro’s #1 student and took over his school when Nelson went to Abu Dhabi the start the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) with Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed.
In his 6 years of training with Professor Pereira, Joel had helped run day and weekend classes and competed in many, school, local, regional and national tournaments at white, blue and purple belt. With a move to Seattle and starting his family Joel had taken about 2 years off before taking over the no-gi program in Ring Sports United where he taught for 9 years. Joel joined Elite at the start of 2014 to train with Professor Miriam Cardoso and earned his Brown Belt in 2015. Prior to BJJ Joel has studied and belted in multiple Korean styles including; Kung Jung Mu Sul, Kuk Sool Won, Tae Kwon Do and Tang Soo Do as well as form of Gung Fu. Through the years he has also trained in Kick Boxing, boxing, Perez family Escrima and a host of more traditional sports.
Master Hercules Baptista
Master Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Red / Black Belt (7th Degree)
Hercules Baptista is Elite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’s Master. He is a second generation 7th Degree Red / Black Belt. He originally achieved his black belt in 1978. Along with being a Master in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Hercules also holds a PE degree and is a Physical Therapist.
Master Hercules currently lives in Rio De Janeiro with his wife and two kids where he continues to train some of the world’s great Jiu-Jitsu students at Hercules Jiu-Jitsu.
Muay Thai PC-Kru
Dustin Ward started his journey in combative sports fresh out of high school jumping around from tae kwon do to judo to boxing until he joined the United States Navy. He continued training various martial arts while in the Navy, during which he attended a Muay Thai Seminar with Dave Nielsen (Former WBC and IKF Muay Thai World champion and 7 time Undefeated Amateur Muay Thai Champion) and fell in love with the art of eight limbs. He continued to train Muay Thai throughout his Navy career and joined the Elite team in 2016. Since joining the Elite team he has trained extensively under Ajahn Srisuk (Former 118lbs and 126lbs PABA Muay Thai champion, two time WBA World Champion Contender) earning his Muay Thai trainer certificate in February 2017. Since then, he has taught for and trained Muay Thai with for the Elite team.
Muay Thai PC-Kru
Francis (Frank) Vahdati’s martial arts journey began in the late 1990’s with the Korean art of Taekwondo. He trained diligently for several years as a youth while competing in statewide tournaments. As he grew older, and as his interest in martial arts began expanding, his father enrolled him into Chinese Kempo Kung Fu. There, he was taught many of the principles that define a martial artist: integrity, respect, and courage. His training at the Kempo Kung Fu school of Lynnwood ended when the school closed down. Over the next few years Frank moved around to a handful of martial arts school, struggling to find a gym to call home… until he found the Bothell Martial Arts Academy in 2013. The owner and Chief Instructor, Vince Domingcil, made an impression on Frank that would last a lifetime. Since then, Frank has earned his ranks within Universal Kempo Karate Schools Association, Elite Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, International Balintawak Eskrima Cuentada, and a Poo Choi Kru certification from Saohin Srisuk Muay Thai. His goal is to further his experience in training and competition; and to promote the ethics and values of the martial artist spirit. Furthermore he intends to push others to their best within the Elite Brazilian Jiu Jitsu/Muay Thai communities.
Muay Thai PC-Kru
Courtney started training Muay Thai with Mark Beecher in Las Vegas when she was in college and has been addicted ever since. She moved to Los Angeles where she continued her training with Kru Santi Sakkomkai and Kru David Huey at Muay Thai America Gym. There, she fought five times in amateur Muay Thai and began teaching the art as a volunteer to girls rescued from trafficking. She moved back home to Seattle in September of 2016 She has trained and coached other martial arts but loves Muay Thai for its intensity and strenuous cardio workout. Courtney owns the Renton location of Elite BJJ and Muay Thai. She loves training and her life goal is to get as many people into martial arts as possible.