Instructor Spotlight: Andrew Perkins

Instructor Spotlight: Andrew Perkins

The city of Seattle, Washington has been regarded as a small tight niche community filled with a huge talent pool of unknown grapplers and mixed martial art fighters. If you look deep into the U-District sector of the Emerald City you will find an individual who has built a great academy with phenomenal athletes and the best instruction around.

With almost a decade of participation in martial arts Head Instructor of Mat Chess MMA Andrew Perkins is a true example of the long lasting effect the sport of jiu-jitsu can have on one’s life. Through constant progression and expansion along his journey it has allowed him use his skills to help others in his duty as a grappling instructor and also in his daily life.


[social][/social][bjjad][/bjjad]Beginning his journey in 2003 it would be in his sophomore year at the University of Boston where he would discover Jiu-Jitsu in the form of Royce Gracie’s legendary performances in the early days of the UFC. Yearning for a thirst of knowledge in this mythical art form while stocking up on countless Gracie textbooks and video instructions, he would find a source of learning at the Boston University MMA club. Since his first days of stepping on the mat practicing in an interactive atmosphere, the experience would be something that would forever change Perkin’s thus engulfing him into the Jiu-Jitsu life.

“I remember being absolutely terrified in my first class, and especially my first roll.  I went up against a BU student who looked like he would not be out of place hanging with the Hell’s Angels.  I thought he was going to rip every limb off of my body and eat them in front of me just before I died.  Instead, miraculously, I remembered that Americana thing from the Gracie tapes, and just before needing to go to the rest room to dry heave from exhaustion, tapped him with it.  I don’t know why I came back after that first day, but I am glad I did.  Jiu-Jitsu has become for me, as for many others, a way of life.”

Like every beginning practitioner everyone needs an instructor to guide them to progress in their skills and understanding of the sport. Starting off his training with a fundamental foundation as time progressed it would be under the tutelage of BJJ black belt Dave Ginsberg where Andrew would be opened to a new door of advancement as a grappler. This mentoring under Ginsberg saw the college student growing tremendously that helped him develop his own style of grappling while also assisting other people at the University MMA club.

“I was very fortunate to train with Dave Ginsberg while I was attending Boston University, and I am very proud to say that I am a black belt under Dave.  He is a great teacher, friend, and Jiu-Jitsu mentor.  He gave me a style that fits my body and mind well which I would describe as a slow, methodical, tight tension butterfly game.  Before Dave, I had been taught very leapy, speedy, traditional Jiu-Jitsu which did not suit my body nor my tendency toward conservative play as I am not fast nor do I like giving up position.  Dave’s game is such an enormous improvement on the standard Jiu-Jitsu game for me.

From this base style I was able to evolve my own style and I have added an oma plata-tension gripping game along with dynamic, precise mass movement techniques to Dave’s game.  I find that my Jiu-Jitsu is always in flux and always evolving from this base style that I found through Dave.  I believe this general methodology, along with the general principle of keeping an open mind, have helped to accelerate my game.”

Later moving to Seattle after his completion of college hoping to share his Jiu-Jitsu knowledge in the new climate from teaching students out of his garage to expanding into a huge facility surrounded by 1800 feet sq. of mat space Andrew Perkins would forge Mat Chess MMA. Since its establishment in 2011 the Boston University graduate has created a gym that prides itself on teaching the best technical training taught by experts in various disciplines ranging from boxing to grappling which has helped create a platform for students to not only receive the best training experience but also exceling through their progression in the process.


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Whether it’s in a group setting or one-on-one private instruction, Perkins without question, sets his own lane as an expert grappling instructor. From his unorthodox no-gi gripping strategy to his innovative “One Butter One Through Guard” series Andrew Perkins offers all walking through Mat Chess MMA’s doors with an exciting new approach to no-gi Jiu-Jitsu that any enthusiast would become instantly intrigued with.

“The best thing I have done for my life and for my Jiu-jitsu game was to start Mat Chess Mixed Martial Arts.  I wanted my gym to be a serious, innovative gym with technical training by experts in each of the MMA disciplines, and I believe that the name “Mat Chess” embodies this ethos.  Each of the disciplines taught at Mat Chess are designed not only for MMA but also excelling at the individual disciplines.  For example, we have a great boxing program with burgeoning amateur boxers.

These specialists really help to push the Mixed Martial artists at the gym.  Specialists will always have an advantage over the MMA practitioners in their specialty because of the opportunity costs associated with training all of the disciplines.  The specialists at the gym definitely push the level of the gym”

This dedication toward the academy and his students has spawned a successful stream of tournament victories throughout the Northwest which includes the school’s major achievement of obtaining a First Place Team finish at the Revolution Jiu-Jitsu tournament in the no-gi division after only a year of being opened.

Content with continuing his push as an instructor and also as a student Andrew Perkins ten year venture in the sport has taught him about always striving for knowledge and excellence which has helped in his growth as a grappler and also transferred into his life outside the gym in his job as high school history teacher. With many more things yet discovered Perkins looks onward toward better  things the road of life with bring his way.

“Almost 10 years after starting my Jiu-Jitsu journey, much has changed, but much has stayed the same too:  I still go to school, although now I am teaching History and Philosophy at a high school instead of taking the classes myself.  I am still on the mat daily, but now I am an instructor as well as a student.  I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to have been able to make my two passions my livelihood, and I look forward to a rewarding life that combines martial arts and academics.”

For more information on Mat Chess MMA visit-

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