About Freedom Jiu Jitsu

About Our Gym

Welcome to Freedom

Freedom Jiu Jitsu is Lynchburg’s premier Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy. Checkmat is a Top-3 ranked team in the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF), and Lynchburg’s only school with tournament-tested Black Belt instructors.

Robert and Kellie are the co-owners and founders of Freedom Jiu-Jitsu in Lynchburg, Virginia. FJJ opened in October 2017 and is an affiliate of the world renowned international Checkmat team. FJJ is the only Checkmat affiliate in VA and is also known as Checkmat Virginia. Rob and Kellie have been training jiu jitsu – and to a lesser extent Judo, Wrestling, and MMA – for a combined total of 28 years. Their diverse experience, strong work ethic, and competition success gives Lynchburg the best team that anyone could want to train with, and to learn the fine art of self-defense and sport jiu jitsu from.

Robert Hurd

Robert is the Co-owner and Head Professor at Checkmat Virginia. He started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2007. He was promoted to Black Belt in March 2018 by 5th degree Professor Paulo ” Mushu” Elsimaani, and received his 1st Degree Promotion in March of 2021. Rob has been teaching both kids and adults in self defense, submission grappling, wrestling, judo and jiu jitsu for six years focusing on the finer details of the technique without the use of strength.

Rob has been competing since he was a white belt in all the major tournament circuits including IBJJF, NAGA, US Grappling, and WVGO.

Bryan Rowlands

Bryan Rowlands is a Professor at Checkmat Lynchburg. He began training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in January 2007 and was promoted to Black Belt in December 2016 by Professor Kyle Saunders (Roy Harris). Bryan is currently a 2nd Degree Blackbelt under Professor Paulo “Mushu” Elsimaani.

Bryan comes to us from Rochestor, NY where he was the Head Instructor at NOVA BJJ, and has been teaching both Beginner & Advanced Gi & No-Gi, and various self-defense classes since 2014.

Bryan has also trained in Sambo, Judo, & Wrestling to supplement his jiu jitsu and has competed in both IBJJF & US Grappling tournaments.  When he is not training, Bryan is an attorney at a local company in Lynchburg, and spends time with his wife and their 3 active children in various sports.

Kellie Stewart-Hurd

Kellie is the Co-owner of Checkmat Virginia with her husband Robert. She is currently a brown belt, the highest ranked female in the entire Lynchburg area, and has been training Jiu-Jitsu for 8 years. Kellie instructs the Monday Adult day classes, as well as the Kids’ and Ladies’ classes on Tuesday and Friday evenings in self-defense and jiu jitsu. She enjoys helping her students work hard to develop their technique and build confidence to deal with all life experiences while having fun doing it. Kellie has medaled in several tournaments throughout her jiu jitsu career – including IBJJF No-GI Pans in Fall 2020 –  and believes that setting a good example for the students of Freedom Jiu Jitsu is the best form of leadership.

Gym Environment

Freedom Jiu Jitsu offers a clean and friendly environment with scheduled classes for adults, kids, and ladies-only at full and part-time rates with no required contract. Private lessons can also be arranged separately with our instructors. The academy is open every day of the week except Sunday. Please contact us today if you have any questions or come in to try 3 free classes!

Our instructors have a wealth of BJJ & grappling experience to help you or your child reach their potential. At Freedom Jiu Jitsu, students aren’t simply taught a list of moves, students have their course of  study hand crafted for them based on their physical attributes, their strengths, weaknesses, and even personal stylistic preferences. You won’t find any one specific style of jiu jitsu here, because each student has their own individualized game that suits them best.

Our gym was designed specifically by Fuji BJJ with our floor and wwall mats being designed specifically by their design team to best take advantage of our space & available layout. In addition to a spacious mat area, we also have 3 changing rooms & 2 bathrooms available for our students and mat family.

Kellie is the Co-Owner of Checkmat Virginia with her husband Robert. She is a black belt, and is the only female black belt in the Lynchbur area. She has been training Jiu-Jitsu for 9 years and instructs the kids classes on Tuesday and Friday evenings, and beginner classes on Wednesday evenings. Kellie has medaled in several tournaments throughout her jiu jitsu career – including IBJJF Pans and IBJJF Master Worlds. She believes that setting a good example for the students of Freedom Jiu Jitsu is the best form of leadership.

Rob Hurd

Bryan Rowlands

Kellie Stewart-Hurd

Why Choose Us?

  • 3 FREE Classes To Try Us Out
  • Fantastic instructors
  • World-class seminars
  • Great training partners
  • Fun, professional, challenging, & safe training environment
  • Positive peer pressure
  • A focus on helping you reach your potential
  • Convenient & affordable classes
  • IBJJF Certification

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