Meet the Staff

Club manager and instructor Chance Sheppard is a former competitive bodybuilder with numerous accolades, including wins at national qualifiers and awards at regional competitions. Sheppard has trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since March of 2010, and is an active competitor in the sport at both the local and national level, with two overall class wins at the NAGA (North American Grappling Association) Nationals. He holds a Brown Belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.



Travis Neagle is the founder of Gracie South. He founded Gracie South in June of 2006. He has been training Jiu Jitsu since 1993. He received his Black Belt from Royce Gracie in 2008. He has intensive training under Rob Kahn of Gracie Tampa. He also holds a Black Belt in Kenpo. Travis is a 1st Degree Black Belt in Gracie Jiu Jitsu. Travis Neagle is the founder of Gracie South. He founded Gracie South in June of 2006. He has been training Jiu Jitsu since 1993. He received his Black Belt from Royce Gracie in 2008. He has intensive training under Rob Kahn of Gracie Tampa. He also holds a Black Belt in Kenpo. Travis is a 1st Degree Black Belt in Gracie Jiu Jitsu.


John Blunschi is a Pan American Silver medalist at black belt level. He has extensive training with Rickson & Kron Gracie. He received his Black Belt in 2009. He also holds a Black Belt in Judo. He holds a Black Belt in Gracie Jiu Jitsu.


No-gi Instructor/Kids Instructor Jason Armstrong’s introduction to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu came courtesy of his son. In 2009, he enrolled his then nine-year old boy in the kids’ program at Gracie South. At first content to watch, Armstrong became intrigued with the technical, but highly practical, aspects of BJJ. After trying a class for himself, Armstrong found himself hooked.

Jason is a student of No gi grappling and travels all over to train with some of the best BJJ practitioners. Jason’s style is heavily influenced by Reily Bodycomb, with whom he has spent many hours concentrating on the details of leg locks and wrestling. He currently holds a Brown belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.

Check out Jason’s last competition video.


jake

Fitness Kickboxing instructor Jake Hughes. Jake came to Gracie South looking for a way to supplement his exercise regiment. What he found was a new passion: kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.Jake has been training at Gracie South since 2008, and has progressed from being merely a student of kickboxing to becoming the academy instructor. In addition to his work instructing others, Jake holds a Brown Belt in Gracie Jiu Jitsu

Check out Jake’s last competition video.


Events Coordinator/Kids Instructor Todd Pletcher, a native of Winter Haven, Florida joined the Gracie South family in 2008. Todd became interested in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu after watching Royce Gracie compete in the PRIDE fighting championships. Todd said that it’s the subtleties of Jiu-Jitsu that interest him the most. He believes that Jiu-Jitsu is for everyone, and loves helping others learn more about this fascinating martial art. Todd holds a 4th degree Purple Belt in Gracie Jiu Jitsu.


Children’s program instructorNick Rinebarger is a seven year veteran of the United States Navy with a diverse martial arts background, including a brown belt in Bujinkan Ninjutsu under instructor Mario Terresi and a stint training with the Israeli Defense Forces. Rinebarger has also wrestled for 15 years and is a two-time state champion who has also competed as a member of the All-Navy wrestling team. Rinebarger started training in BJJ in the summer of 2012. He currently holds a 1st degree Purple Belt.



Children’s program instructor 
Ian Walker.  He currently holds a 1st degree Blue Belt.