BJJ BLACK BELT
Mark Turner is the first non-Brazilian Black Belt of 5 time World Champion and current UFC welterweight star Demian Maia.
Mark is an active competitor and has competed and/or placed in jiu-jitsu championships held in Brazil, the United States, and Europe. Mark was ranked as high as 10th in the World in 2019.
“I love to compete and I have a lot of fun at the championships win or lose, but my true passion is passing on the knowledge and teachings of jiu-jitsu to my students. Technique is everything in jiu-jitsu and I feel it is very important that the students not only practice and drill what they are learning, but it is of great importance that they really understand the technique in regards to how it works and why it works” – Mark Turner
Mark has fostered an environment conducive for fun and competitive training. Students are always willing to help one another improve. If you are looking for great training, fun, competition, self-improvement, and confidence BJJ Lab Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy is the place for you.
BJJ BLACK BELT
John Brooks has been training with Mark since 2013. John is an instructor that breaks things down scientifically so you learn the fundamentals and principles of the movement, rather than individuals moves. John is an active competitor and multiple-time IBJJF tournament Gold medalist.
John is also is the founder and owner of Nutrition361. He's a nutrition and fitness expert and holds a Master of Science degree in Nutrition and Wellness, and is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN) through the International Society of Sports Nutrition. John prides himself on maximizing the physical benefits of BJJ as a mixed sport athlete.
“I love what Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu does for me in changing the way I think as a problem solver. I enjoy the challenge and love the camaraderie among my teammates and competitors alike. You read that correctly, I feel admiration for those I get to compete against as I respect and appreciate them being there for me to test myself. I also love using BJJ as a part of my fitness to maintain a healthy physique, my job more or less requires that I look the part and BJJ makes it fun. I love seeing new people discover the great, kingly (hat tip John Danaher) art that is BJJ.”
BJJ BLACK BELT
Rodrigo Dini is a 2nd Degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt with over 15 years of experience. He began training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2006 and received his black belt from Uelber “Guri” Soares.
Rodrigo moved to the United States from Brazil in 2018. He has trained and competed both locally and internationally, placing in many tournaments.
As a seasoned competitor and instructor, he brings a vast amount of knowledge and experience to the academy that he shares with our students.
His teaching style reflects his strong ties to his Brazilian roots and emphasizes the fundamental details of every movement and technique with his detailed instruction.
“I’m passionate about Jiu-Jitsu because it brings a healthy lifestyle while you are developing your skills and strengthening your body. It’s human chess and a never ending learning process.”
BJJ BLACK BELT
Bill Brooks is a martial artist with over 25 years of experience. He began training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 1996 and under Mark Turner in 2015.
Gathering a wide variety of experience throughout the world, Bill has had the privilege to train with some of the most prestigious athletes of our time. He has experience training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Kajukenbo, Chinese SanDa, and Taekwondo.
List of notable martial arts accomplishments:
Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
2nd Degree Black Belt in Kajukenbo (notable practitioners include Chuck Liddell and Glover Teixeira)
Former U.S. Army Combatives Instructor
Veteran of 4 professional MMA bouts
“Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brings so many positive attributes to one’s life. It forces you to face reality. Fantasy, magical thinking, and the ego fade to dust on the mats. I would not be the person that I am today without BJJ. I would never have had the courage to travel the world or the tenacity to complete the rigors of law school. I owe my family, my career, and my character to BJJ.”
BJJ BLACK BELT
James McClughen is a Jiu jitsu Black belt and Army Veteran. He started grappling at the age of 9 with Freestyle and Folkstyle Wrestling. After High school he went on to compete in Mixed Martial Arts earning an undefeated 4-0 record while also completing his Bachelor’s degree and ROTC to commission as an Infantry Officer in the Army.
While stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas He trained for several years at an MMA gym developing his MMA skill set before deciding to focus primarily on Jiujitsu. In 2014 he made the switch to focus on Jiujitsu and quickly climbed the ranks earning his blue belt in 2015 and progressing to Brown belt in early 2020.
In July of 2020 James moved from Texas to Illinois after completing his service in the military and joined the BJJ Lab team. James is an active competitor and a student of the Art of Jiujitsu who devotes many hours to studying tape and watching competition footage to develop his own skills and his teaching techniques.
“My style is focused heavily on control that leads to the finish. I believe jiujitsu provides us with an opportunity to face adversity on a regular basis and grow overall as people. I always focus on explaining why a technique works and what the mechanical advantages and disadvantages are of doing something a particular way. I love to teach and one of my favorite things about jiujitsu is seeing someone with zero experience develop into a solid grappler right before your eyes.”
JUDO BLACK BELT
Vlad Robu began training Judo in 2007 and is a USA JUDO Federation certified coach that loves to breakdown each technique, explain the impact of each little detail, and help athletes improve their physical conditioning. Vlad also actively trains Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at BJJ Lab along with his two sons.
Vlad is an active JUDO competitor placing in multiple USA JUDO championships, winning the 2018 Gold Medal at USA JUDO Masters National Championships.
“Judo has played an important role in my life. I remember that within a month of beginning to study Judo, my overall state of mind improved significantly. Judo helped reduce my stress, increase my self-confidence, learn important leadership lessons and maintain a good level of overall fitness. At BJJ LAB we study Judo fundamental techniques and their application in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Judo will improve everyone’s Jiu-Jitsu.”
BJJ BROWN BELT
Chris Nelson is a Jiu Jitsu brown belt. He started training in his hometown of Mission Viejo, CA in 2015 under coach and former UFC competitor Jason “Mayhem” Miller, focusing on MMA. Because of both the explosion of leg lock techniques at the time from Danaher Death Squad standouts Gordon Ryan and Eddie Cummings, along with a need to develop offense in a tough training room, he quickly began studies and implementations of the leg lock game.
After two years of training in California, he sold all of his possessions apart from a Datsusara backpack with a few training supplies and moved to Southeast Asia, training and competing in both Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu. After another year’s time, he moved to Chicago with his now wife Sally, training still in both Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu.
In 2021, he retired from Muay Thai completely following the untimely death of his Chicago instructor Brian Gassaway, deciding to focus completely on Jiu Jitsu. Chris is a dedicated Jiu Jitsu practitioner, both training Jiu Jitsu and studying the top athletes and coaches in the sport on a daily basis.
“I remember taking a seminar with Royce Gracie while traveling in Hawaii - a student asked him how he was so calm before matches. Royce replied, “It’s because of my knowledge. I always knew what to do. Knowing what to do makes action easy.” I took this quote to heart and have dedicated myself in studying each position and submission in detail, making my knowledge my strongest asset in Jiu Jitsu.”