(703) 249-9255
1940 Duke St SUITE #200, Alexandria, VA 22314

(703) 249-9255
1940 Duke St SUITE #200, Alexandria, VA 22314

(703) 249-9255
1940 Duke St SUITE #200, Alexandria, VA 22314

Meet The Board

Adam Bankoff- President
Adam graduated from San Clemente High School in June of 2004. Two weeks later he was on his way to Great Lakes, IL for basic training in the United State Navy. After basic training Adam spent the next year attending Apprentice Technical Training (ATT) School and Electronics Technician “A” School. In 2005 Adam was sent to San Diego, CA where he attended Surface High Frequency Communications System Maintenance Technician School. Several months later he arrived at his cond, the USS Benfold (DDG-65), home ported in San Diego, CA. On board the USS Benfold Adam progressed from apprentice to Non-Commission Officer. He soon took over the largest Work center in the entire cond, supervising technicians and repairing multimillion dollar communication, navigation and radar equipment. He performed several collateral duties, such as Work Center Supervisor, Repair Parts Petty Officer and Damage Control Petty Officer. While on board, Adam was sent back to Dam Neck, VA to attend Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS) Maintenance school and Extremely High Frequency Satellite Communications Maintenance School in San Diego, CA. He earned several awards, most notably two Navy and Marine Core Achievement Medals and a Good Conduct Medal. He did two deployments on board the USS Benfold and participated in several events such as Ballistic Missile Defense. He qualified as an Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist and was promoted to Electronics Technician Second Class shortly before departing the cond.

Adam arrived in Washington D.C. in July of 2009, where he accepted a special duty assignment to the White House Communications Agency (WHCA). During his time at WHCA he worked directly in support of the President, Vice-President, First lady, Secret Service and many other high profile agencies. He received his Presidential Service Badge and two Navy Good Conduct Awards while at the agency.

Adam started his journey in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu in 2006 while he was at school In Dam Neck, Virginia. Adam currently holds the rank of Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which he received in June 2012.

Jason Perkins- Treasurer
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Jason attended elementary and high school East of Cleveland in Geneva, Ohio. He loves the outdoors and participated in 4H equestrian programs, motocross, baseball, wrestling, football and track through elementary and high school. After high school Jason chose to attend Edinboro University of Pennsylvania where he earned his Bachelors of Science in Education, and where he played football for the Fighting Scots, earning three time All-American status.

After graduating from Edinboro University, Jason was offered the opportunity to play American Football in Aix-en-Provence, France. He spent two years in Europe, and it was in Aix where he met his wonderful wife Bettina. Upon returning to the states he chose to start his own business in sales, advertising and promoting. Bettina and Jason moved to Arlington, Virginia in 1998. He remained self-employed for seven years before choosing to attend graduate school at The George Washington University to earn a Master of Arts in Education and Human Development with a concentration in serving school age children (K-12) with emotional and behavioral disabilities.
Teaching and coaching for non-profit organizations and public schools have been his calling and career choice for the past thirteen years. A path he intends to continue to follow. Jason was formally introduced to Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in 2010; he continues to train to extend his education in martial arts and fitness.  Jason Perkins is proud and excited to join Guardian Educational Fund and continue to serve.

Damion Higbie- Secretary
For the past decade, Damion Higbie has held a variety of senior-level positions within the Department of Homeland Security, currently as the Assistant Director of the Emergency Preparedness Branch at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Advanced Training Center. In previous capacities, Mr. Higbie was responsible for overseeing the development of national-level plans, procedures, and mechanisms that enhanced the resilience and security of the nation's critical infrastructure. Prior to joining the federal government, Mr. Higbie spent ten years working in the private sector, specializing in the areas of program management, business-process engineering, and information sharing/communications.

A longtime collegiate-style wrestler, Mr. Higbie began training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2004. Today, he is a brown belt under Jeremy Lafreniere and Royce Gracie. He has a passion for coaching wrestlers during their transition to submissions grappling, and for teaching Jiu-Jitsu within the law-enforcement community. Mr. Higbie is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and holds master’s degrees from Minnesota State University and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

Jeremy Lafreniere- Board Member
Jeremy received a Masters of Education from The University of Connecticut in 1996. In 1999 he accepted a teaching position at Alexandria City Public Schools, where he took on a variety of leadership roles; such as technology, program and curriculum development. He served on several committees, worked as a liaison between the public schools and ICAP (Inter-agency Consortium on Adolescent Pregnancy), and mentored student teachers.

In 1997 Jeremy began studying Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Eight years later he left Alexandria City Public Schools to pursue a career in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Organizing the first Royce Gracie Jiu-Jitsu school in Virginia, Jeremy soon added additional programs, such as , Muay Thai and CrossFit. Jeremy is currently the only black belt under Royce Gracie in Virginia, and the owner of Capital & Elite Fitness which has four locations throughout the Washington DC metropolitan area. He is an adjunct professor at the Northern Virginia Community College.

David Weller- Board Member
David Weller received his Bachelors in Government and Legal Studies from Bowdoin College in 2008. Upon graduating, he moved to the Washington, D.C. area to pursue opportunities in government and international relations, and has been pursuing a career in developing training as an Instructional Systems Designer since.

David has been an active participant in martial arts throughout his life. He achieved the rank of Yonkyu in Judo, and was an inaugural member of the United Martial Arts Club at Bowdoin College. Since September of 2009, David has been an active participant in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, , and Muay Thai. He is actively involved in the Kid's program as a coach.

Casey Terrell- Board Member
Casey is a Native of Northern Virginia.  Shortly after graduating from high school, Casey set off from her Northern Virginia home, to explore the world. For nearly five years she traveled aboard experiencing many cultures and learning many skills along the way; such as becoming fluent in Spanish. While traveling she found employment in many professional fields; ranging from flight attendant to restaurant management; and tour operator to Journalist. Her time spent away from familiar people and places gave her an appreciation for all things new and exciting and at the same time reinforced the comfort of familiarity and community. With this in mind, she returned to Northern Virginia and began pursuing her dual passions - martial arts, and interior design. As a designer, Casey enjoys a successful career in the ever evolving world of tile. As a martial artist she has progressed from student to coach, and has found the close-knit community she was looking for. She has had over a dozen fights, including two victorious title matches. She now feels honored to serve on the Board of Guardian , helping give potential martial artists the tools they need to achieve their goals.

John J James- Board Member
John James was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1976 and enrolled in the Navy’s Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1994 while a student at Northwestern University.  He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps in June 1998, after receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology.  Following completion of The Basic School in 1999, Second Lieutenant James reported to Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., for flight training where he earned naval aviator wings.  He is currently a CH-46E pilot assigned to HMM-364 in Camp Pendleton.  Major John James has deployed four times in the past 16 years in support of national defense.  Three of these deployments were to Iraq as a combat assault support pilot.  He holds every qualification and designation available to a CH-46E pilot with the exception of functional test pilot.  John has over 800 combat hours and 2,800 total flight hours.  Major James’ personal decorations include the Air Medal with Strike/Flight numeral 18 and the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star. 

John James’ martial arts background began in 1990 as a high school wrestler.  During high school, John also trained in Jeet Kune Do, Kali, and Escrima, as well as Muay Thai at Keller’s academy in Fort Worth, Texas.

After graduating from college and joining the Marine Corps, John earned a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) instructor certification.  In 2006, John began training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Alexandria, VA. 

After receiving orders to the west coast in the summer of 2011, John began training at Gracie Barra Encinitas with Prof. Nelson Monteiro.  He is currently a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and will be returning to the Washington, D.C. area in the summer of 2014.
John James currently lives in Encinitas, CA with his wife, Christina, and newborn daughter, Harper.

Jay Ferrari- Board Member
A Chicago native, Jay moved to Washington DC in 2000, giving up a fledgling career in journalism to pursue then-abundant dotcom opportunities. A year or so later, he discovered a modest Royce Gracie Jiu Jitsu club operated by Jeremy Lafreniere, and joined with little intention other than staying healthy and keeping good company. Of course, the art took hold and some dozen years later, Jay now operates the Takoma Park, MD chapter of Capital 's presence in the Washington metropolitan area. 

Jay has earned a BA in Philosophy from Lake Forest College, and a MA in Writing from DePaul University. He worked for the Chicago Tribune, NPR and several advertising agencies before launching his own communications consulting practice. Today, he continues to write professionally and creatively, while training as often as possible. He is currently a brown belt under Royce Gracie. When not on the mat, Jay is slinging kettle bells or at the keyboard. Both are equally tortuous.

Meet The Board

Adam Bankoff- President
Adam graduated from San Clemente High School in June of 2004. Two weeks later he was on his way to Great Lakes, IL for basic training in the United State Navy. After basic training Adam spent the next year attending Apprentice Technical Training (ATT) School and Electronics Technician “A” School. In 2005 Adam was sent to San Diego, CA where he attended Surface High Frequency Communications System Maintenance Technician School. Several months later he arrived at his cond, the USS Benfold (DDG-65), home ported in San Diego, CA. On board the USS Benfold Adam progressed from apprentice to Non-Commission Officer. He soon took over the largest Work center in the entire cond, supervising technicians and repairing multimillion dollar communication, navigation and radar equipment. He performed several collateral duties, such as Work Center Supervisor, Repair Parts Petty Officer and Damage Control Petty Officer. While on board, Adam was sent back to Dam Neck, VA to attend Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS) Maintenance school and Extremely High Frequency Satellite Communications Maintenance School in San Diego, CA. He earned several awards, most notably two Navy and Marine Core Achievement Medals and a Good Conduct Medal. He did two deployments on board the USS Benfold and participated in several events such as Ballistic Missile Defense. He qualified as an Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist and was promoted to Electronics Technician Second Class shortly before departing the cond.

Adam arrived in Washington D.C. in July of 2009, where he accepted a special duty assignment to the White House Communications Agency (WHCA). During his time at WHCA he worked directly in support of the President, Vice-President, First lady, Secret Service and many other high profile agencies. He received his Presidential Service Badge and two Navy Good Conduct Awards while at the agency.

Adam started his journey in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu in 2006 while he was at school In Dam Neck, Virginia. Adam currently holds the rank of Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which he received in June 2012.

Jason Perkins- Treasurer
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Jason attended elementary and high school East of Cleveland in Geneva, Ohio. He loves the outdoors and participated in 4H equestrian programs, motocross, baseball, wrestling, football and track through elementary and high school. After high school Jason chose to attend Edinboro University of Pennsylvania where he earned his Bachelors of Science in Education, and where he played football for the Fighting Scots, earning three time All-American status.

After graduating from Edinboro University, Jason was offered the opportunity to play American Football in Aix-en-Provence, France. He spent two years in Europe, and it was in Aix where he met his wonderful wife Bettina. Upon returning to the states he chose to start his own business in sales, advertising and promoting. Bettina and Jason moved to Arlington, Virginia in 1998. He remained self-employed for seven years before choosing to attend graduate school at The George Washington University to earn a Master of Arts in Education and Human Development with a concentration in serving school age children (K-12) with emotional and behavioral disabilities.
Teaching and coaching for non-profit organizations and public schools have been his calling and career choice for the past thirteen years. A path he intends to continue to follow. Jason was formally introduced to Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in 2010; he continues to train to extend his education in martial arts and fitness.  Jason Perkins is proud and excited to join Guardian Educational Fund and continue to serve.

Damion Higbie- Secretary
For the past decade, Damion Higbie has held a variety of senior-level positions within the Department of Homeland Security, currently as the Assistant Director of the Emergency Preparedness Branch at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Advanced Training Center. In previous capacities, Mr. Higbie was responsible for overseeing the development of national-level plans, procedures, and mechanisms that enhanced the resilience and security of the nation's critical infrastructure. Prior to joining the federal government, Mr. Higbie spent ten years working in the private sector, specializing in the areas of program management, business-process engineering, and information sharing/communications.

A longtime collegiate-style wrestler, Mr. Higbie began training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2004. Today, he is a brown belt under Jeremy Lafreniere and Royce Gracie. He has a passion for coaching wrestlers during their transition to submissions grappling, and for teaching Jiu-Jitsu within the law-enforcement community. Mr. Higbie is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and holds master’s degrees from Minnesota State University and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

Jeremy Lafreniere- Board Member
Jeremy received a Masters of Education from The University of Connecticut in 1996. In 1999 he accepted a teaching position at Alexandria City Public Schools, where he took on a variety of leadership roles; such as technology, program and curriculum development. He served on several committees, worked as a liaison between the public schools and ICAP (Inter-agency Consortium on Adolescent Pregnancy), and mentored student teachers.

In 1997 Jeremy began studying Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Eight years later he left Alexandria City Public Schools to pursue a career in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Organizing the first Royce Gracie Jiu-Jitsu school in Virginia, Jeremy soon added additional programs, such as , Muay Thai and CrossFit. Jeremy is currently the only black belt under Royce Gracie in Virginia, and the owner of Capital & Elite Fitness which has four locations throughout the Washington DC metropolitan area. He is an adjunct professor at the Northern Virginia Community College.

David Weller- Board Member
David Weller received his Bachelors in Government and Legal Studies from Bowdoin College in 2008. Upon graduating, he moved to the Washington, D.C. area to pursue opportunities in government and international relations, and has been pursuing a career in developing training as an Instructional Systems Designer since.

David has been an active participant in martial arts throughout his life. He achieved the rank of Yonkyu in Judo, and was an inaugural member of the United Martial Arts Club at Bowdoin College. Since September of 2009, David has been an active participant in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, , and Muay Thai. He is actively involved in the Kid's program as a coach.

Casey Terrell- Board Member
Casey is a Native of Northern Virginia.  Shortly after graduating from high school, Casey set off from her Northern Virginia home, to explore the world. For nearly five years she traveled aboard experiencing many cultures and learning many skills along the way; such as becoming fluent in Spanish. While traveling she found employment in many professional fields; ranging from flight attendant to restaurant management; and tour operator to Journalist. Her time spent away from familiar people and places gave her an appreciation for all things new and exciting and at the same time reinforced the comfort of familiarity and community. With this in mind, she returned to Northern Virginia and began pursuing her dual passions - martial arts, and interior design. As a designer, Casey enjoys a successful career in the ever evolving world of tile. As a martial artist she has progressed from student to coach, and has found the close-knit community she was looking for. She has had over a dozen fights, including two victorious title matches. She now feels honored to serve on the Board of Guardian , helping give potential martial artists the tools they need to achieve their goals.

John J James- Board Member
John James was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1976 and enrolled in the Navy’s Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1994 while a student at Northwestern University.  He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps in June 1998, after receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology.  Following completion of The Basic School in 1999, Second Lieutenant James reported to Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., for flight training where he earned naval aviator wings.  He is currently a CH-46E pilot assigned to HMM-364 in Camp Pendleton.  Major John James has deployed four times in the past 16 years in support of national defense.  Three of these deployments were to Iraq as a combat assault support pilot.  He holds every qualification and designation available to a CH-46E pilot with the exception of functional test pilot.  John has over 800 combat hours and 2,800 total flight hours.  Major James’ personal decorations include the Air Medal with Strike/Flight numeral 18 and the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star. 

John James’ martial arts background began in 1990 as a high school wrestler.  During high school, John also trained in Jeet Kune Do, Kali, and Escrima, as well as Muay Thai at Keller’s academy in Fort Worth, Texas.

After graduating from college and joining the Marine Corps, John earned a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) instructor certification.  In 2006, John began training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Alexandria, VA. 

After receiving orders to the west coast in the summer of 2011, John began training at Gracie Barra Encinitas with Prof. Nelson Monteiro.  He is currently a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and will be returning to the Washington, D.C. area in the summer of 2014.
John James currently lives in Encinitas, CA with his wife, Christina, and newborn daughter, Harper.

Jay Ferrari- Board Member
A Chicago native, Jay moved to Washington DC in 2000, giving up a fledgling career in journalism to pursue then-abundant dotcom opportunities. A year or so later, he discovered a modest Royce Gracie Jiu Jitsu club operated by Jeremy Lafreniere, and joined with little intention other than staying healthy and keeping good company. Of course, the art took hold and some dozen years later, Jay now operates the Takoma Park, MD chapter of Capital 's presence in the Washington metropolitan area. 

Jay has earned a BA in Philosophy from Lake Forest College, and a MA in Writing from DePaul University. He worked for the Chicago Tribune, NPR and several advertising agencies before launching his own communications consulting practice. Today, he continues to write professionally and creatively, while training as often as possible. He is currently a brown belt under Royce Gracie. When not on the mat, Jay is slinging kettle bells or at the keyboard. Both are equally tortuous.

 

Meet The Board

Adam Bankoff- President
Adam graduated from San Clemente High School in June of 2004. Two weeks later he was on his way to Great Lakes, IL for basic training in the United State Navy. After basic training Adam spent the next year attending Apprentice Technical Training (ATT) School and Electronics Technician “A” School. In 2005 Adam was sent to San Diego, CA where he attended Surface High Frequency Communications System Maintenance Technician School. Several months later he arrived at his cond, the USS Benfold (DDG-65), home ported in San Diego, CA. On board the USS Benfold Adam progressed from apprentice to Non-Commission Officer. He soon took over the largest Work center in the entire cond, supervising technicians and repairing multimillion dollar communication, navigation and radar equipment. He performed several collateral duties, such as Work Center Supervisor, Repair Parts Petty Officer and Damage Control Petty Officer. While on board, Adam was sent back to Dam Neck, VA to attend Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS) Maintenance school and Extremely High Frequency Satellite Communications Maintenance School in San Diego, CA. He earned several awards, most notably two Navy and Marine Core Achievement Medals and a Good Conduct Medal. He did two deployments on board the USS Benfold and participated in several events such as Ballistic Missile Defense. He qualified as an Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist and was promoted to Electronics Technician Second Class shortly before departing the cond.

Adam arrived in Washington D.C. in July of 2009, where he accepted a special duty assignment to the White House Communications Agency (WHCA). During his time at WHCA he worked directly in support of the President, Vice-President, First lady, Secret Service and many other high profile agencies. He received his Presidential Service Badge and two Navy Good Conduct Awards while at the agency.

Adam started his journey in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu in 2006 while he was at school In Dam Neck, Virginia. Adam currently holds the rank of Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which he received in June 2012.

Jason Perkins- Treasurer
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Jason attended elementary and high school East of Cleveland in Geneva, Ohio. He loves the outdoors and participated in 4H equestrian programs, motocross, baseball, wrestling, football and track through elementary and high school. After high school Jason chose to attend Edinboro University of Pennsylvania where he earned his Bachelors of Science in Education, and where he played football for the Fighting Scots, earning three time All-American status.

After graduating from Edinboro University, Jason was offered the opportunity to play American Football in Aix-en-Provence, France. He spent two years in Europe, and it was in Aix where he met his wonderful wife Bettina. Upon returning to the states he chose to start his own business in sales, advertising and promoting. Bettina and Jason moved to Arlington, Virginia in 1998. He remained self-employed for seven years before choosing to attend graduate school at The George Washington University to earn a Master of Arts in Education and Human Development with a concentration in serving school age children (K-12) with emotional and behavioral disabilities.
Teaching and coaching for non-profit organizations and public schools have been his calling and career choice for the past thirteen years. A path he intends to continue to follow. Jason was formally introduced to Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in 2010; he continues to train to extend his education in martial arts and fitness.  Jason Perkins is proud and excited to join Guardian Educational Fund and continue to serve.

Damion Higbie- Secretary
For the past decade, Damion Higbie has held a variety of senior-level positions within the Department of Homeland Security, currently as the Assistant Director of the Emergency Preparedness Branch at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Advanced Training Center. In previous capacities, Mr. Higbie was responsible for overseeing the development of national-level plans, procedures, and mechanisms that enhanced the resilience and security of the nation's critical infrastructure. Prior to joining the federal government, Mr. Higbie spent ten years working in the private sector, specializing in the areas of program management, business-process engineering, and information sharing/communications.

A longtime collegiate-style wrestler, Mr. Higbie began training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2004. Today, he is a brown belt under Jeremy Lafreniere and Royce Gracie. He has a passion for coaching wrestlers during their transition to submissions grappling, and for teaching Jiu-Jitsu within the law-enforcement community. Mr. Higbie is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and holds master’s degrees from Minnesota State University and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

Jeremy Lafreniere- Board Member
Jeremy received a Masters of Education from The University of Connecticut in 1996. In 1999 he accepted a teaching position at Alexandria City Public Schools, where he took on a variety of leadership roles; such as technology, program and curriculum development. He served on several committees, worked as a liaison between the public schools and ICAP (Inter-agency Consortium on Adolescent Pregnancy), and mentored student teachers.

In 1997 Jeremy began studying Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Eight years later he left Alexandria City Public Schools to pursue a career in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Organizing the first Royce Gracie Jiu-Jitsu school in Virginia, Jeremy soon added additional programs, such as , Muay Thai and CrossFit. Jeremy is currently the only black belt under Royce Gracie in Virginia, and the owner of Capital & Elite Fitness which has four locations throughout the Washington DC metropolitan area. He is an adjunct professor at the Northern Virginia Community College.

David Weller- Board Member
David Weller received his Bachelors in Government and Legal Studies from Bowdoin College in 2008. Upon graduating, he moved to the Washington, D.C. area to pursue opportunities in government and international relations, and has been pursuing a career in developing training as an Instructional Systems Designer since.

David has been an active participant in martial arts throughout his life. He achieved the rank of Yonkyu in Judo, and was an inaugural member of the United Martial Arts Club at Bowdoin College. Since September of 2009, David has been an active participant in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, , and Muay Thai. He is actively involved in the Kid's program as a coach.

Casey Terrell- Board Member
Casey is a Native of Northern Virginia.  Shortly after graduating from high school, Casey set off from her Northern Virginia home, to explore the world. For nearly five years she traveled aboard experiencing many cultures and learning many skills along the way; such as becoming fluent in Spanish. While traveling she found employment in many professional fields; ranging from flight attendant to restaurant management; and tour operator to Journalist. Her time spent away from familiar people and places gave her an appreciation for all things new and exciting and at the same time reinforced the comfort of familiarity and community. With this in mind, she returned to Northern Virginia and began pursuing her dual passions - martial arts, and interior design. As a designer, Casey enjoys a successful career in the ever evolving world of tile. As a martial artist she has progressed from student to coach, and has found the close-knit community she was looking for. She has had over a dozen fights, including two victorious title matches. She now feels honored to serve on the Board of Guardian , helping give potential martial artists the tools they need to achieve their goals.

John J James- Board Member
John James was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1976 and enrolled in the Navy’s Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1994 while a student at Northwestern University.  He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps in June 1998, after receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology.  Following completion of The Basic School in 1999, Second Lieutenant James reported to Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., for flight training where he earned naval aviator wings.  He is currently a CH-46E pilot assigned to HMM-364 in Camp Pendleton.  Major John James has deployed four times in the past 16 years in support of national defense.  Three of these deployments were to Iraq as a combat assault support pilot.  He holds every qualification and designation available to a CH-46E pilot with the exception of functional test pilot.  John has over 800 combat hours and 2,800 total flight hours.  Major James’ personal decorations include the Air Medal with Strike/Flight numeral 18 and the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star. 

John James’ martial arts background began in 1990 as a high school wrestler.  During high school, John also trained in Jeet Kune Do, Kali, and Escrima, as well as Muay Thai at Keller’s academy in Fort Worth, Texas.

After graduating from college and joining the Marine Corps, John earned a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) instructor certification.  In 2006, John began training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Alexandria, VA. 

After receiving orders to the west coast in the summer of 2011, John began training at Gracie Barra Encinitas with Prof. Nelson Monteiro.  He is currently a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and will be returning to the Washington, D.C. area in the summer of 2014.
John James currently lives in Encinitas, CA with his wife, Christina, and newborn daughter, Harper.

Jay Ferrari- Board Member
A Chicago native, Jay moved to Washington DC in 2000, giving up a fledgling career in journalism to pursue then-abundant dotcom opportunities. A year or so later, he discovered a modest Royce Gracie Jiu Jitsu club operated by Jeremy Lafreniere, and joined with little intention other than staying healthy and keeping good company. Of course, the art took hold and some dozen years later, Jay now operates the Takoma Park, MD chapter of Capital 's presence in the Washington metropolitan area. 

Jay has earned a BA in Philosophy from Lake Forest College, and a MA in Writing from DePaul University. He worked for the Chicago Tribune, NPR and several advertising agencies before launching his own communications consulting practice. Today, he continues to write professionally and creatively, while training as often as possible. He is currently a brown belt under Royce Gracie. When not on the mat, Jay is slinging kettle bells or at the keyboard. Both are equally tortuous.