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Jim Burchfield

Professor | 3rd Degree Black Belt

Professor James Burchfield is a Gracie Barra Certified Third Degree Black Belt Instructor in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He has been practicing martial arts for over 30 years. In addition to BJJ, he is also a certified instructor in Muay Thai Kickboxing, Russian Sambo, Hsing-I Kung Fu, Hsing-I Liu He Chuan, Pa-Kua Chang, Tai-Chi Chuan, and 3 forms of Filipino Stick Fighting including Pekitie Tirsia, Serrada Escrima, and Modern Arnis. In 1986 he opened his first school in Burton, MI called the American Fitness Center. He has operated continuously at that location since its inception, making it one of the oldest continuously running martial arts academies in the state of Michigan. In 1996 the focus of the school switched from Kung-Fu to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and in 2009 he became the first and still the only certified Gracie Barra BJJ Instructor in the State of MI. Along with his in depth knowledge of Jiu-Jitsu, Professor Burchfield travels to Thailand 1-2 times per year to train at professional Muay Thai gyms to continue to develop his own technique and provide top level kickboxing instruction. In addition to his own school, he has been recruited by General Motors numerous times to run health and wellness programs within GM facilities. In 1997 he was hired by GM Life Steps to administer a Health and Wellness Program for employees and retirees. In 2001, he was recruited by various GM plants to teach Tai Chi Chuan and Yoga in the Burton area, as well as at the UAW offices and the GM Life Step Facility. Other martial arts schools have also enlisted him as a guest instructor over the years, including the ATA Academy in Traverse City, MI as their primary Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor, and Hampton Martial Arts in Blacksburg, VA to expand their knowledge of Hsing-I Kung-Fu, Hsing-I Liu He Chuan and Pa-Kua Chang.

Professor Burchfield has sought out many of the top BJJ practitioners in the world with which to train and has brought in all but 2 of the following practitioners to his school for seminars. They include:

  • Flavio Almeida: Black Belt (Carlos Gracie, Jr), CEO Gracie Barra, 2 Time World Champion (Blue / Brown)
  • Romulo Barral: Black Belt, 5 Time BJJ World Champion, 2013 ADCC Champion
  • Braulio Estima: 3rd Degree Black Belt (Carlos Gracie, Jr), 5 Time BJJ World Champion, 2 Time ADCC Champion
  • Samuel Braga: Black Belt, 6 Time BJJ World Champion
  • Gordon Ryan: 2020 ADCC Absolute Champion and Widely Regarded Best No-Gi Grappler in the World
  • Caio Terra: 15 Time Gi and No Gi World Champion
  • Lucas Leite: Black Belt, 2007 BJJ World Champion, 2 Time No-Gi World Champion
  • Luis Heredia: 5th Degree Black Belt, 5 Time Pan-Am Champion
  • Igor Yakimov: Head Trainer, Sambo Canada, 2 Time Russian Sambo Champion, 2001 World Masters Sambo Champion
  • Saulo Ribiero: 4th Degree Black Belt, 5 Time BJJ World Champion, 2 Time ADCC Champion
  • Xande Ribiero: 3rd Degree Black Belt, 4 Time BJJ World Champion, 2 Time ADCC Champion
  • Rickson Gracie: 8th Degree Black and Red Belt, Professional MMA record: 11-0 with 11 submissions