Gee Vien is a jiu jitsu black belt (Carlos Machado Jiu-Jitsu Association), former head coach of Anaconda BJJ Syracuse, and current head coach at Vien Jiujitsu. Raised in CNY, his sole passion in life is jiu jitsu and is fully committed to refining and sharing the highest quality of grappling possible.
Coaching since 2012, he is hyper focused on skill acquisition and helping people chase daily improvement. He has helped lead children and adults to numerous gold medals in regional, national, and international competitions including IBJJF Worlds at all belt levels.
In the practice room, he strives to create a healthy gym culture where everyone can flourish while utilizing a no nonsense, high energy, cerebral approach.
When not coaching or practicing, Gee is usually found studying, spending time with loved ones, and hiking with his dog Lola.
April Parks, a Carlos Machado Jiu Jitsu black belt and the founder of Grappling Getaways, is a proud Syracuse native with a multi-sport background. April is a passionate advocate for women, children, fitness and self-defense. For 20 years she has worked with children and families in the Syracuse CSD from teaching to social work. Teaching, empowering, and competing is April’s true calling.
Her resume includes ESM Hall of Fame inductee, Division 1 Track & Field Athlete at Syracuse University, and 5x IBJJF World Champion.
In teaching BJJ, it is April’s intention to spread love for the art that brought health, wellness, self-defense, opportunity, passion, friends and fulfillment to her life. Coaching brings April tremendous pride and happiness, nothing is more rewarding than helping someone to both reach their potential and simultaneously learn to defend themselves.
When April is not on the mats she can be found spending time with family and friends, traveling the world competing, and running women’s jiu-jitsu camps. April enjoys traveling, hiking and spending time with her dog, Lola.
Coach Paul LeBlanc is currently a Physical Education teacher at Jamesville-DeWitt CSD and the Varsity Wrestling Coach. He has taught and coached in the public school system for the past 11 years. He also coached at SUNY Cortland for two seasons. He has helped guide numerous state placers and college All-Americans. He truly enjoys helping wrestlers reach their highest level.
Prior to coaching he competed for SUNY Cortland where he was a 4-time conference champion and 3-time All-American with a runner-up finish his final year. He was also voted SUNY Cortland Male Athlete of the Year. Prior to Cortland, he was a 2-time NYS place finisher in high school and finished his senior year with an undefeated state title run.
“I am extremely passionate and I look forward to working with any wrestler that wants to improve.”
- Paul LeBlanc
Matt has nearly 20 years wrestling experience all the way through four years of Division I. Currently working as an Physician Assistant in Oneida, he is excited to work and build skill and technique with athletes of every level. A lifelong student of the sport, he is enthusiastic about sharing and giving back to the sport that has given so much to him.
Prior to coaching he amassed 150 wins in high school with a 3rd place finish at the state tournament before attending Sacred Heart University where he was a team captain for three years.
Matt is very passionate and excited to get a good sweat in, don't be afraid to grab him for a go.
Christian Voelk, a Judo black belt, serves as the head coach of CNY Judo, a Judo association in Central New York dedicated to popularizing the sport by instilling the principles of the Kodokan, emphasizing "Seiyoku zenyo" (maximum efficiency) and "Jita kyoei" (mutual benefit) to the wider community. With a Judo journey that began in 1988 in Germany, Christian made a name for himself by excelling at both regional and national levels as a competitor and by guiding junior male and female championship teams as a coach.
Over the course of the last 35 years, Christian has amassed numerous state titles and had the unique opportunity to train alongside the Japanese national team. Additionally, he benefited from the guidance of the renowned Korean Judo coach Han Ho San, who formerly held the position of national coach with the German Judo Association. Christian's coaching style is characterized by boundless energy and unwavering passion, emphasizing the pursuit of perfection, all while maintaining a humble and approachable demeanor.
When he's not on the mats, Christian dedicates his time to his family, supporting his children's activities and his wife's business ventures. Beyond his involvement in Judo, he also holds the role of Director of Operations at Marquardt Switches in Cazenovia.
Kasha started training jiu jitsu at around the age of 5 and is a blue belt. She is currently a senior at Jamesville-Dewitt High School and has the goal of wrestling in college. In her first year wrestling as a junior, she placed third at States. Her grappling style is graceful, powerful, diverse, and absolutely captivating.
Kids naturally gravitate towards Kasha. Her incredibly generous heart and patient demeanor truly shines through when coaching girls in the 4-7 age group.
Kai started training jiu jitsu at around the age of 5 and is a yellow belt. He is currently an 8th grader at Jamesville-Dewitt Middle School and has been pulled up to the high school team this season. He also has the goal of wrestling in college.
Kai is well-rounded, energetic, and kind. On top of being an A student in his academics, he consistently tries to lead by example with his politeness and hard work ethic.
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