Smash Gyms Blog

Instructor Profile: Drew Yao

Drew is a Jiujitsu Brown Belt and teaches on Wednesday evenings at 7:30pm in Smash Sunnyvale. He's been training jiu-jitsu for over 16 years and also an experienced self-defense and weapons practitioner. He's very technical and detailed in his instruction. Come train with Drew!



"I started training as a college student in 2001 at a no-gi/MMA place in Massachusetts.  About a year after that, I was training for the summer at Ricardo Almeida’s school and got my blue belt.

When I was at grad school in Pittsburgh, at the time there was no formal grappling or BJJ school near where I lived, so I taught at our grappling club at the school gym.

When I got a job in the Bay Area in 2006, I started with Michael Jen, and got purple and brown belts from him. This was when I started training regularly with the gi; it had been about 90% no gi before this; so I’m no stranger to a neck crank or heel hook.

I started teaching at Smash assisting with the self defense program. I’ve taken several courses on self defense with weapons like guns and knives in the mix and I think jiujitsu is very applicable in this context.  I later started teaching the fundamentals jiujitsu class, and then the regular class.

What I like about jiujitsu is the creative puzzle / problem solving aspect; as a beginner, you just go to class and learn what the instructor shows, but when you become more advanced, you start figuring out your own unique style.  There are a lot of techniques in jiujitsu, and an infinite number of ways to put them together. Once you understand the core principles, you can make your own solutions to any given problem, so that’s what I try to focus on in my classes." -Drew Yao