At Guardian Gym we have some of the leading instructors in Oakland and the Bay Area who have taught and competed professionally in boxing, jiu jitsu, kickboxing, judo and other martial arts at the local, national, and international levels from the UFC to the Olympics. They are experts at teaching beginner to advanced level students and classes and are excited to have you join our gym! In addition to being excellent instructors, they strive to be leaders and role models for our youth students and in our local community. We are proud to have assembled an incredible group of people to teach our students.
In addition to our normal classes, our instructors regularly conduct private individual classes to help students rapidly improve development of their skillset, corporate classes for organizations looking to host team building events, and seminars for other gyms and in the community. Meet our incredible instructors below:
Caleb Khan - Head Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Instructor
Caleb grew up in the East Bay and wrestled at Albany High School. Soon after graduating, he began training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Ralph Gracie Berkeley under the tutelage of Dave Clahan (one of Ralph's first black belts) and Professor Eduardo Fraga. Caleb received his black belt in 2015, and has competed in numerous BJJ competitions around the country. Caleb's fascination with health and the human body inspired him to major in Kinesiology in college at the University of San Francisco. Everyone practicing jiu jitsu at Guardian is extremely lucky to have Caleb's expertise as they continue on their martial arts journey.
Bilal Mahasin - Head Boxing Instructor
Bilal is the current Jr. Welterweight GBO champion. He is also a youth mentor, motivational speaker, and coach of our amateur boxing team. Bilal grew up in Oakland, California, and started boxing at the age of 15. He views the sport as a "savior", seeing it is a powerful tool which can help heal struggling communities. He believes that everything you learn inside the ring can be used outside of it in everyday life.
Ben Kovacs - Cofounder and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Instructor
Ben has been practicing jiu jitsu and boxing for 10 years, starting at the Yamasaki academy in Washington DC under the watchful eye of Fernando Yamasaki. After venturing west, he joined the Ralph Gracie academy. Beyond the obvious benefits in self-defense and self-confidence, Ben has always loved the community provided by martial arts academies. He believes that these sports can transform a person’s life in a variety of ways, promoting mental health and producing measurable benefits at home, work, and school. This inspired him to launch the Guardian Project, as he hopes to give the gift of martial arts to as many as possible, starting in Oakland.
Sacha Feinmann - Managing Director and Instructor
Sacha first stumbled into Renzo Gracie's New York City jiujitsu academy in 2007, and it changed everything. Martial arts quickly became his abiding passion, around which he planned his days and designed his life. He has trained in gyms all over the country, picking up experience in boxing and MMA along the way, and has come to see combat gyms as incredible venues for building communities and helping people. Before coming to work at Guardian, he spent 10 years as investigative journalist and collected a couple of degrees, none of which are half as interesting or important as the time he has spent on the mats, teaching and learning.
Eric Watkings - Boxing Instructor
A Golden Glove Champion with almost 20 years of boxing and martial arts experience, Coach Eric learned first hand the rewards that come from the neighborhood boxing gym. Remembering the unity built as an amateur, he wanted to give back to the next generation of boxers. Originally from Cleveland, he began coaching at risk youth in the bay area after moving west. A strong advocate for boxing being accessible to everyone, he fights for all walks of life to have the opportunity to realize the benefits that come from training in the sweet science.
Mollii Khangsengsing - Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Instructor
Mollii is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with 9 years of experience. She is the founder of the Sweaty Betties, one of the first open mats in the country to offer free, weekly training to women. In 2010, she organized one of the largest women’s grappling camps in the country. It featured World Champion instructors and drew attendees from all over the world. Since then, she has run camps in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Maui and Costa Rica. Mollii is also a TRX and NASM certified personal trainer. In addition to jiu jitsu, she has several years of experience teaching yoga, self-defense, Tabata, boot camp and circuit training. As a lifelong athlete, Mollii understands how sports and physical activity can change one’s life for the better. She first immigrated to the U.S. as a young child, and her love of sports allowed her to quickly adapt to a new country and language. When she isn’t teaching or training, you can find her slurping on a bowl of ramen noodles or climbing up the nearest coconut tree.
Carlos Solis - Boxing/ Strength & Conditioning Instructor
Carlos was obsessed with athletics as a child. He was a 3-sport varsity athlete in high school, excelling in Volleyball. As a student-athlete, he played for the Pierce Men's volleyball Team in Woodland Hills, California, helping the team win three state championships. Carlos was always a fan of boxing and weightlifting, however, and when he transferred to the University of Nevada Las Vegas, he used the opportunity to join both the boxing & powerlifting teams. His time training at UNLV gave him a deep appreciation for training and the art of technique. Carlos knows that the discipline the sport teaches and the focus it requires can carry over into other areas of your life. Carlos grew up in a poor and difficult neighborhood, and believes that sports and exercise can help people overcome the obstacles in their lives. He advocates learning self defense to build confidence, responsibility and perseverance.
Tyson Griffin - MMA and No Gi Jiu Jitsu Instructor
Tyson is a seasoned MMA fighter who rose up through the ranks in the bay area before making a name for himself in the UFC. He was a standout wrestler at Albany High School. After graduation, he discovered the world of MMA and never looked back. During his career in the UFC, he was awarded 5 fight of the night bonuses, defeating former 155 lb champion Rafael Dos Anjos in the process. As a youth, Tyson found relief from the pressures of life in the course of training in wrestling and MMA, and wants to give back to the young adults that need it most today. He has a passion for teaching functional martial arts that are effective, and his classes combine no-gi jiu jitsu, kickboxing, western boxing, as well as wrestling.
Josuke Tanaka - Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Judo Instructor
Josuke has been training in martial arts for over 20 years. Born and raised in Switzerland, he is a black belt in both Judo and Brazilian JiuJitsu. He moved to Japan after High School in order to focus on Judo competition, eventually becoming the 2X Swiss National Judo Champion. After obtaining a Masters Degree in Biomechanical Engineering, Josuke became a Doctor of Chiropractic with a post-Doctorate in Neurology. When he isn't training or teaching, Josuke is working at his clinic where he focuses on the treatment of sports injuries, brain trauma and the care of children with leaning disabilities and behavioral issues.
Brian Schinksi - Kickboxing Instructor
Originally from Northern New Jersey, Brian moved to California to pursue mixed martial arts almost 5 years ago. He is an active competitor and consistent medalist, having experience in boxing, grappling and various martial arts. He is a true mat rat, training every chance he gets to better his own skills, and brings that same work ethic to the students he is coaching.
Adam Nijem - Boxing Instructor
Adam is a professional MMA fighter and personal trainer who specializes in body weight mechanics, bootcamps, boxing, and cardio kickboxing. In the past two years he has expanded his offerings by instructing corporate wellness-fitness programs at premier companies in the Bay Area. His classes have effectively been used to improve creative team building by using fitness and mental growth to promote workplace confidence.
Nijem has a 2-1 Mixed Martial Arts Professional record, having competed with Showdown Fights, and Titan FC on CBS Sports. Adam has an amateur boxing and MMA record of 6-1. His background in martial arts also includes wrestling since age 6 with over 500 matches.
Vince Vasquez - Kickboxing Instructor
Vince is a Bay Area native and has been training in martial arts since 1993. He began his training in traditional striking arts and earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do before starting kickboxing. Vince fell in love with San Shou Kickboxing (also called Sanda) after meeting Brent Hamby, US National San Shou Champion and head coach of the Oakland San Shou Team.
Vince's approach to teaching is step by step. He breaks down the movements so you can be effective and efficient when it counts the most. He's passionate about helping his students bring out their best through training.
Vince continues to train in traditional disciplines including, Northern Shaolin, Tai Chi and Japanese sword.