In my line of work, the dangers of being attacked are all too common. I’ve served in the military, was a police officer in NJ and now currently a State Trooper. Dan taught me how jiu-jitsu would help me at work and let me tell you it has saved me on the streets. I would tell Dan, “HEY THIS STUFF DOES WORK!”
I’ve been training under Dan for approx. 6+ years. His genuine passion for teaching and BJJ transcends into his instruction. His attention to detail has assisted me and the other students in the academy acquire a solid foundation of the martial arts. Dan has always emphasized the great importance of self-defense. This is the main reason I joined the academy. I’ve always respected his realistic approach towards BJJ. Dan is an excellent instructor, and a great friend on and off the mats.
I remember like if it was yesterday when I first started training Jiu-Jitsu. Dan always had me to work on my weakest points. He was always there to correct any technical problems. I know Grandmaster Relson Gracie is more than proud to have such a great guy like Dan under him. I always have a great time training and he helps to make everything more simple. Just how am I supposed to say thanks my brother? You have had a big impact in my life!
Few times in our lives do we have the opportunity to express our genuine appreciation to someone who has made a significant contribution to our success. To this end, I personally thank Dan Wallen for the accomplishments of my son, Brandon. In 2013, Brandon, won the runner-up for the State of Virginia in AA wrestling for his weight class. His record was 49 and 4. Two months later in April 2013, Brandon defeated the state champion and is now ranked as number one in State of Virginia for AAAA High School Wrestling, 106 pound Division. This would not have been possible without the physical training, guidance and support that Dan provided Brandon. Dan’s personal leadership, mastery of Jiu-jitsu technique, knowledge and experience in the psychology of winning, and lastly but most importantly, his personal commitment to each student made the difference for Brandon. Our only regret is that you are now located in South Carolina making the daily commute to class a bit far! We wish you and your students the very best.
I started training with Dan and the Fightworks Team in 2009. I found his instruction refreshing with a strong emphasis on the fundamentals; especially defense. His techniques are precise and he understands jiu-jitsu on so many levels and is willing to share everything. All you need is a willingness to learn and show up to train. Dan is a very ‘hands on’ instructor and works with each student individually to correct and refine your technique. You won’t find a more positive atmosphere to begin your journey.
Being a female, that was the hardest step – coming to terms with the idea of grappling a man in some pretty compromising positions, but I made the leap and have loved the sport ever since. Dan made that transition incredibly easy by being very professional and open to questions, conventional or not. Starting with Dan as my first instructor was probably one of the reasons I even entertained the idea of sticking with Jiu-Jitsu – not only is he extremely knowledgeable but he also emphasizes technique over athleticism or strength. His classes are always top-notch and he makes sure that the students are shown even the little details that will help you succeed in a maneuver. It’s this type of attention to detail that makes him such a strong teacher and wholly suited to the way I need to learn. Overall he has had an extremely large impact on both my physical and mental fitness. I count Dan as one of the few good friends in my life with whom I have kept in touch with even after we’ve physically moved apart.
I started training under Dan at Fightworks with no previous experience or knowledge. I had my reservations and fears going into the school thinking I would get beat up and laughed out of the place. My very first class was eye opening. Dan and all of the students welcomed me with open arms. Dan is an encyclopedia when it comes to jiu-jitsu and self-defense and has no hesitation in sharing that knowledge and passion with each student. He takes time to make sure that every student is feeling comfortable with the techniques and has a way of making things simple to understand. I not only learned Gracie jiu-jitsu, I also learned a lot about health and fitness. As the classes went by my self-confidence also increased, knowing how to defend myself allowed me to be at ease in any situation. Anytime anyone asks me where they should train jiu-jitsu or learn how to defend themselves I always say Fightworks.
I’ve trained under Dan Wallen for almost nine years. Having visited many schools and programs since, I can say without doubt that Dan is a rare and remarkable mix – He’s a fierce competitor and superb grappler who is also a gentle and patient teacher. His school is reflection of this. Fightworks has always been a place where anyone – all ages, all body types, all fitness levels and backgrounds, even a middle aged nerd with a bad back like me – everyone is welcome and encouraged. Today, I’m in my best shape in years, I’ve made incredible friends, I’ve trained with some of the best grapplers in the world, and I’ve had some of the most amazing experiences of my life thanks to Dan and training at Fightworks.
I remember a common friend speaking highly of Dan Wallen head instructor and black belt at Fightworks Jiu-Jitsu academy. I made the call that changed my life for the better. First day I walked into Fightworks I met with Dan his energy and vibe was awesome. I couldn’t believe how simple jiu-jitsu could be. The second day was my first official group class. Dan made sure everyone left their egos at the door, had clean uniforms, and were ready to spar and participate. He has an energy that makes people want to train. I haven’t met many people that walked through the door that didn’t stay. Dan is an amazing instructor… both Dan and jiu-jitsu have changed my life.
When I joined Fightworks, I was in decent shape 6’0 197lbs, at 34 years old. I tried the gym but wasn’t feeling stronger or having any increased energy. After just a couple of months at Fightworks, my core muscles were stronger than ever and my endurance had changed greatly. I lost 20 lbs and now feel great at 177lbs. I felt so happy with my progress, I decided to do my first jiu-jitsu competition and took Silver at middleweight and absolute open weight class. To me that was a huge accomplishment.