Instructors

Brad Acosta

Owner & Instructor

Brad Acosta is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Professor Geoff Balme (second degree black belt under the legendary Roberto Maia), as well as an accomplished kickboxer. After taking his first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class, he began training 6-7 days a week, multiple times a day if possible. This allowed him to earn his brown belt in 4.5 years, the fastest ever awarded by Professor Balme. Brad has a 1-0 MMA record and is an active competitor and winner on the US Grappling circuit. The ever increasing popularity of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has allowed him to compete against some of the best talent on the east coast in “Super-Fight” matches as well. A respected member of the BJJ community, Brad has also been a featured guest on the “BIG JIU-JITSU” Podcast.

Being a lifelong high level athlete and former professional soccer player has taught Brad the importance of dedication and sacrifice. He has taken that same mindset into his martial arts training and coaching. Brad oversees the Kids Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program, and has created a curriculum that allows you to have fun, gain fitness & discipline, and most importantly – learn the art of self defense through Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Mike Heydlauf

Instructor

Mike Heydlauf is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Professor Geoff Balme and has been training in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu for over 20 years. Mike is a lifelong grappler having started wrestling as a child in pee wee programs in Pennsylvania before becoming a standout high school recruit and then division one college wrestler at Lehigh University. After college Mike moved to Boston to start his software development career and coach high school wrestling in Newton, MA. Mike moved to North Carolina in 1998 where he met Geoff Balme who started training him in his new grappling passion, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

Over the past two decades in North Carolina Mike has put a lot of time in on the mat: he coached high school wrestling at Broughton and Cary Academy, and trained BJJ under some of the best instructors in the Triangle.

Mike teaches our adult day classes on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays, 12pm-1p.

John Burke

Assistant Instructor

John Burke is a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Geoff Balme and Brad Acosta.  He started training regularly in 2010 with his primary focus being MMA.  John’s dedication to training is inspiring to the other students around him. He leads by example and is constantly seeking to improve his game.  “For me at the time, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was something that you did before kickboxing class if you wanted to compete in MMA.  I received my Blue Belt in 2011, Purple Belt in 2015.  I began training at TFTC Cary under Brad Acosta when it opened in 2016. It was around this time that I began to really form an appreciation and love for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I earned my Brown Belt under Brad in June of 2017 and Black Belt in November of 2021.”  John continues his blue-collar approach to training at TFTC Cary and you can find him on the mats 4-5 days a week.  Johns other hobbies include hunting, snowboarding and spending time with my wife and son.

Randy Wark

Assistant Instructor

Randy Wark

Randy Wark is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Geoff Balme and Brad Acosta. Randy helps teach the kickboxing classes as well as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes. An avid and passionate lifetime student of martial arts. He has studied a number of systems in over twenty years, including Muay Thai, boxing, wing chun, and kali, but discovered Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2007, and has been hooked ever since.

Randy grew up idolizing his father who worked as a police officer in his hometown just outside of Buffalo, NY. After being honorably discharged from the Air Force, Randy pursued his dreams and became a police officer in Danville, VA, where he worked for five years before transferring to Cary, NC. 

With over ten years of experience, he has served in a number of capacities, including patrol operations and Street Crimes. He taught defensive tactics in Virginia, and currently serves as the Lead Defensive Tactics instructor for Cary PD. Additionally, Randy researched and developed “Pre-Assault cues,” a curriculum that highlights precursors to violence, which has been taught to police and military personnel.

Randy has had the privilege of teaching to police officers, SWAT operators, Army Special Mission Units, as well as civilians. He was featured on the Big Jiu-Jitsu Podcast speaking on the hot button topic of use of force in law enforcement, and the effectiveness of Jiu-Jitsu for police. At TFTC Academy, Randy is passionate about spreading Jiu-Jitsu and kickboxing knowledge that he believes could one day save lives and help to protect loved ones. He is also a firm believer in the transformative power martial arts has in improving quality of life, as it has for him.

Jordan Wise

Kid’s Instructor & Assistant Instructor

Jordan Wise is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Brown Belt under professors Geoff Balme and Brad Acosta. She began training martial arts with an interest in Muay Thai and kickboxing, and slowly began training BJJ as well. In 6 years, Jordan has earned her brown belt and has competed in and won numerous IBJJF and US Grappling tournaments. She also regularly trains under Mike Heydlauf and John Burke.

Jordan has always loved working with children (she worked at Marbles Kids Museum for 4 years) and is excited to continue doing so. She is currently the head kid’s coach and has worked with the program for about 3 years. From strengthening fundamentals to exploring complex series, she is continuously impressed with kids’ ability to pick up and excel and training.

Working mostly with children’s coaching and women’s self defense, Jordan focuses on teaching fundamentals and strengthening good technical habits. Everyone will have techniques that work better for their size, body and strength – and her goal is to help everyone discover their best game.

Adam Velasquez

Assistant Instructor

Adam Velasquez is a Brown Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Brad Acosta. Adam has a very cerebral approach to his training.  A very intelligent student, Adam has a keen eye for the little details that will help even the newest students improve their skills rapidly.  His emphasis on technique over strength has helped him become a valued coach and training partner for everyone on the mats.  He has been training martial arts full time since 2017, including wrestling under Mike Heydlauf and Muay Thai under Josh Brackett. Adam has won both gi and no gi competition and aims to help hobbyists, competitors, and law enforcement reach their goals by teaching combat based grappling that can be used successfully in sport or self defense applications.