Clayton Heeren


Clayton joined Gracie Barra Novi in 2021 after moving to the area from Minnesota for his first job after obtaining a BS in Computer Engineering. Before moving, he had been practicing various martial arts since 2010. He started in Shotokan Karate, then started to learn Kali (Filipino stick fighting), Panantukan, and Pencak Silat in 2013 at the Minnesota Kali Group. In 2015, he started to train in Iwama-style Aikido under Mark Larson Shihan. After 11 years of these standing arts, he decided it was time to learn some ground arts and started to train in BJJ at Gracie Barra Novi (although he does still practice his other arts on his own). Wanting to help out and train as much as possible, he started to help coach the Sr. Champs class when asked in 2022.

In his own words: “I strongly believe that teaching others is one of the best ways to truly learn and understand something, so I was eager to coach. When not training in martial arts, you will seldom find me not moving. Whether it is weightlifting, hiking, backpacking, trail running, building things, or baking, I am happiest on the move and happy to debate, teach, rave about, or do any of them if asked.