The SBG East Coast Team

Stephen Whittier – Founder & Head Coach
  • 4th-Degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (highest ranking instructor in the region)
  • Kru in Sityodtong Muay Thai kickboxing (highest ranking instructor in Southern Massachusetts)
  • Certified Instructor in Jeet Kune Do (JKD)
  • Certified Instructor in Filipino Martial Arts
  • 2nd-Degree Black Belt in Eskrima
  • Black Belt in Shotokan Karate

One of the most decorated martial arts instructors in the country, Stephen is one of only a handful of head coaches with Straight Blast Gym International (under SBG founder Matt Thornton) as well as the organization's Director. He is also the South Coast region's highest ranking instructor in both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (under New England's senior-ranked black belt, Roberto Maia) and Muay Thai kickboxing (under Sityodtong USA director, Mark DellaGrotte). In 2018, he became only the 4th trainer ever to earn the rank of Red Monkgol in Sitydtong Muay Thai.

In addition, he has earned black belts and instructor ranks in a number of martial arts disciplines over decades of study, and has trained a broad range of students and athletes – from local, state, and federal law enforcement to multiple UFC competitors.

Due to his parallel background as a former University lecturer and consultant, Coach Stephen brings a unique and deeply analytical perspective to his martial arts instruction.

He has also traveled extensively to teach seminars and training camps all across the U.S., as well as in Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.

John Murphy – 2nd degree BJJ Black Belt, Coach

John is an experienced Jiu-Jitsu coach and competitor, and sets a high standard in the academy with his great attitude and dedication. He holds a first degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Coach Stephen Whittier.

John has won numerous championship belts and gold medals at major regional tournaments such as NAGA, Grapplers Quest, Caxcudo, and The Good Fight, as well as in IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation) competitions, including: IBJJF Boston Open Absolute gold medalist, IBJJF New York Open gold medalist, IBJJF Pan Ams gold medalist and Absolute silver medalist, and IBJJF Masters World Championships bronze medalist.

Ryan Parker – 1st degree BJJ Black Belt, Coach

Adored by everyone at SBG, Ryan is a Jiu-Jitsu black belt and one of the most experienced and knowledgeable BJJ officials in the world.

He is also a former MMA competitor and an accomplished Jiu-Jitsu competitor, winning the IBJJF Boston Open three out of the last four years as well as multiple NAGA expert belts before earning his black belt.

Anick Bernier – 1st degree BJJ Black Belt, Coach

Anick is one of only a handful of Jiu-Jitsu black belts currently in the entire SBG worldwide community.

Also an exceptional competitor, Anick has won many Jiu-Jitsu and grappling tournaments, including multiple gold medals in both weight class and the absolute (open weight) division at the IBJJF Boston Open – despite being the smallest competitor by far – and is a gold medalist in the IBJJF No Gi Pan Ams.

Steve Botelho – BJJ Black Belt

A dedicated student of the game, Steve is an excellent black belt who has competed in the Masters World Championships and won the Good Fight Submission Only tournament. He trains at SBG along with his wife and fellow black belt, Kasey.

Bob Andersen – BJJ Black Belt

Bob has for many years been one of SBG's most dedicated students who leads by example. He trains at the academy along with his wife (Sandy, pictured here) and daughter.

Kasey Hedglin Botelho – BJJ Black Belt & Yoga Instructor

Kasey is an extremely talented martial artist (a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and experienced Muay Thai practitioner) and yoga instructor. In 2018 she won a silver medal at the IBJJF Masters World Championships even though it was her only competition that year! She trains along with her husband and fellow black belt, Steve.

Brandin Desousa - Student Services Coordinator & Instructor

Matt Borges - Muay Thai & BJJ Instructor

Mal Luz, Muay Thai Instructor

Tim Connelly, BJJ Instructor