Armstrong Academy of Martial Arts | Instructor Profiles


Armstrong Martial Arts Chatham Head Instructor Brazilian Jiu Jitsu MMA Professor Thomas Armstrong Kids Youth Program Black Belt BJJ  
classses self defense boxing kickboxing muay thai wrestling judo workout classes sport health training fitness personal fighter trainer
Head Instructor: Prof. Thomas Armstrong
Belt: Black Belt 1st Deg. (BB since Mar 2017 - IBJJF Cert.)
Started Training: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Practitioner since Mar. 2007 and Muay Thai Sept. 2009

Personal Summary:
Over the years I have had the opportunity to train with some of the best teachers and athletes in the world; Prof. Fateh Belkalem (many time international Judo champion, Judo Black belt as well as BJJ Black belt), Prof. Bruno Fernandes (most popular for giving Georges St. Pierre his Black Belt in BJJ and multiple time BJJ Champion) and Prof. Rafael Lovato Jr.

One of the things that really attracted me to BJJ is the ability to remain mobile while working off the back. The facts say that 90% of fights go to the ground, so for self defense or competition purposes it is a good idea to know how to get around on the ground weather you want to get back to your feet or not. There is no other workout quite the same; learning to control your breathing, remaining calm in dire situations and mastering a game based on your own body type.
I have been honoured to have such great students over the years who have accomplished more than I could have ever imagined. Proud to have coached students to National, International and World BJJ Championship level, MMA fighters to titles and Pro MMA fighters.

Qualifications/ Achievements:


Armstrong Martial Arts Coach Chatham Instructor Brazilian Jiu Jitsu sport trainer classes training ckont
BJJ/No-Gi Instructor: Chadd Murphy
Belt: Brown Belt 2nd stripe under Prof Thomas Armstrong
Started Training: 2010

Personal Summary:
As an athlete in multiple sports, took up Jiu Jitsu as method of being able to stay in shape and remain competitive.

Qualifications/ Achievements:

  • 2022 Police / Fire Games Submission Grappling - Bronze - Open Belt
  • 2019 IBJJF Toronto International Open - Silver Gi - Purple Belt
  • 2016 OJA Provincial Championships - Bronze NoGi - Blue Belt
  • 2016 Niagara Open - Bronze Gi - White Belt
  • 2015 GTA Classic - Gold Gi - White Belt


Armstrong Martial Arts Coach Chatham Instructor sport Brazilian Jiu Jitsu trainer classes training ckont
BJJ/No-Gi Instructor: Rain Pfaff
Belt: BJJ Brown Belt under Prof Thomas Armstrong, Orange Belt Judo
Started Training: Martial Arts 2005, BJJ 2016

Personal Summary:
As a women, I feel the practical self defence skills that Jiu Jitsu teaches you is the absolute best you can get for real world situations! It teaches you how to protect yourself when pinned on the ground in various position; How to escape grabs & holds using your leverage; And, how to move yourself around bigger & stronger opponents. This is originally what drew me to the sport, and is one of the main reasons I keep coming back. I’ve gained a tremendous amount of confidence since my first day at the Academy. It has truly changed my life for the better!

Qualifications/ Achievements:

  • 2022 JJIF World Championships (Abu Dhabi - UAE) - Gold - Purple to Black Belt
  • 2022 GTA Classic - Gold BJJ + Gold Absolute - Purple Belt
  • 2022 Canadian National Championships - Gold - Purple to Black Belt (Won spot on JJIF Team Canada)
  • 2022 Ontario International Open - Double Gold, BJJ + Absolute - Purple Belt
  • 2022 NextGen Niagara - 4 Gold, BJJ + NoGi + Absolutes - Purple Belt
  • 2021 Ontario Open - Gold BJJ + Gold Absolute - Purple Belt
  • 2019 OJA Provincial Championships - Gold Absolute / Silver Gi & NoGi - Blue Belt
  • 2019 London Open - Gold Gi & Absolute - Blue Belt
  • 2017 Ontario Open - Gold - White Belt
  • 2017 2nd Deg Black Belt American Kenpo Karate
  • 2016 OJA Provincial Championships - Gold Gi/NoGi - White Belt
  • 2016 Ontario Open - Bronze - White Belt


Armstrong Martial Arts Coach Chatham Instructor Brazilian Jiu Jitsu sport trainer classes training ckont
BJJ Instructor: Derek Vankoughnett
Belt: Brown Belt 1st stripe under Prof Thomas Armstrong
Started Training: 2011
Personal Summary: N/A
Qualifications/ Achievements: N/A


Armstrong Martial Arts Coach Chatham Instructor Brazilian Jiu Jitsu sport trainer classes training ckont
BJJ/No-Gi Instructor: Chase Mason
Belt: Brown Belt under Prof Thomas Armstrong
Started Training: 2010
Personal Summary: N/A
Qualifications/ Achievements: N/A


Armstrong Martial Arts Coach Chatham Instructor sport Brazilian Jiu Jitsu trainer classes training ckont
BJJ Instructor: River Pfaff
Belt: Purple Belt 2nd stripe under Prof Thomas Armstrong
Started Training: Martial Arts 2005, BJJ 2016

Personal Summary:
Jiu Jitsu is a fun / social way to keep active and stay in shape.

Qualifications/ Achievements:

  • 2017 2nd Deg. Black Belt Kenpo Karate


Armstrong Martial Arts Coach Chatham Instructor sport Brazilian Jiu Jitsu trainer classes training ckont
BJJ Instructor: Francis Yanga
Belt: Brown Belt under Prof Thomas Armstrong
Started Training: 2014

Personal Summary:
From my very first Jiu Jitsu class, I was hooked. I told myself that I would work hard and be consistent all the way towards a blackbelt. I find the mental game and strategy element very intriguing. It's a sport where learning never stops, egos are smashed and respect is earned. I was very fortunate to be trained under Professor Fateh Belkalem at Gracie Barra London Ontario. He is a BJJ black belt, Judo black belt, and multiple international Judo Champion with a wealth of knowledge. Now training under Professor Thomas Armstrong who is a 1st-degree black belt under Professor Rafael Lovato Jr a great instructor and an active competitor.

I did my first competition 2 months after my first class and enjoyed competing ever since. Not only does it elevate your game, but it also gives you the opportunity to face your biggest fears and nerves.

My goals are to earn my black belt, continue to be a student of the art, share the knowledge that I've learned over the years, and motivate people in their jiu-jitsu journey.


Qualifications/ Achievements:

  • 2022 London Open - Gold - Purple Belt
  • 2022 Ontario International Open - Silver BJJ - Purple Belt
  • 2022 NextGen Niagara - Silver BJJ - Purple Belt
  • 2019 London Open - Silver BJJ - Purple Belt
  • 2019 IBJJF Worlds BJJ Championship Los Angeles Blue Belt Competitor
  • 2018 IBJJF Worlds BJJ Championship Los Angeles Blue Belt Competitor
  • 2018 Ontario Provincials - Bronze BJJ, Gold Absolute Division - Blue Belt
  • 2015 Ascension | Bronze Gi - White Belt
  • 2015 Grappling Industry - Gold BJJ - White Belt
  • 2015 Grappling Industry - Silver BJJ - White Belt
  • 2014 Ontario Provincials - Bronze BJJ - White Belt


Armstrong Martial Arts Coach Chatham Instructor sport Brazilian Jiu Jitsu trainer classes training ckont
BJJ Instructor: Jason Cooper
Belt: Purple Belt 1st stripe under Prof Thomas Armstrong
Started Training: 2016

Personal Summary:
I have been practising Jiu-jitsu since 2016 at 36 years old, along with my two boys. My jiu-jitsu goal is to be doing bjj until I die! Longevity is the name of my game! I love the fact that every-time you step on the mats you learn something new. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first day or if you are a black belt a humble attitude pays dividends at every level.

Qualifications/ Achievements: N/A


Armstrong Martial Arts Coach Chatham Instructor sport Brazilian Jiu Jitsu trainer classes training ckont
BJJ Instructor: Aaron Campbell
Belt: Purple Belt 1st stripe under Prof Thomas Armstrong
Started Training: 2016

Personal Summary:
I started jiujitsu as a way to stay in shape and challenge myself. I have found that in addition to staying in shape it has helped me to step out of my comfort zone, and relieve everyday stress. I can’t imagine my life without it now and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

Qualifications/ Achievements:

  • 2022 Great Lakes BJJ Open - Silver - Purple Belt
  • 2022 Ontario International Open NoGi - Gold - Purple Belt
  • 2021 Ontario Open - Silver BJJ - Blue Belt


Armstrong Martial Arts Coach Chatham Instructor sport Brazilian Jiu Jitsu trainer classes training ckont
BJJ Instructor: Rob Rankin
Belt: Purple Belt under Prof Thomas Armstrong
Started Training: 2016

Personal Summary:
I was born and raised in the Chatham area, on a farm in Dover. I’m happily married and I have two kids. I work at a local elementary school and in my spare time I love to train in Jiu Jitsu along with some other fitness related activities. I’ve been doing something active since my teenage years but did not discover Jiu Jitsu until later in life. Now I can’t imagine my life without Jiu Jitsu. I am currently a three strip blue belt and plan on continuing on this adventure until my body throws in the towel. I look forward to trying my hand at some teaching in the academy.

Qualifications/ Achievements:

  • 2022 London Open - Gold - Blue Belt
  • 2019 London Open - Gold BJJ - Blue Belt
  • 2018 Ontario Open - Bronze BJJ - Blue Belt
  • 2017 Ontario Open - Bronze BJJ - White Belt


Kickboxing Boxing Fitness Armstrong Chatham MMA Mixed Martial Art Muay Thai Striking Instructor Jay Hallatt k1 low kick sport fighter self defense trainer classes
Kickboxing Instructor: Jay Hallatt
Started Training: n/a
Personal Summary: n/a
Qualifications/ Achievements:n/a


Kickboxing Boxing Fitness Armstrong Chatham MMA Mixed Martial Art Muay Thai Striking Instructor Jay Hallatt k1 low kick sport fighter self defense trainer classes
Kickboxing Instructor: Alex Morris
Started Training: 2008

Personal Summary:
Martial Arts is a spiritual, mental and physical endeavour. The main reason I begun training was to have a positive environment to release emotions and learn new skills. As I have gotten older, I continue training to learn more about my mental limitations and try to gain the ability to push through them with the intention of being my best self, so other people can benefit.

Qualifications/ Achievements:

  • 2017 – 2020 Continued training at a competitive level, and started coaching Muay Thai
  • 2011 – 2017 Actively competed in K1 rules Kickboxing, then full Muay Thai rules fights both in New Zealand and Canada
  • 2008 – 2011 Competed in Kyokushin Full Contact Karate tournaments at a national level in New Zealand


Armstrong Martial Arts Kickboxing Boxing Muay Thai Karate Striking Coach Chatham MMA Mixed Art Instructor Nick Whittal K1 Low kick sport trainer classes training ckont
Kickboxing Instructor: Nick Whittal
Started Training: Oct. 2010
Personal Summary: N/A

Qualifications/ Achievements:

  • 2019 Certified Level 1 National Coach - Ontario Kickboxing (WAKO)
  • 2014 Trained at Tiger Muay Thai (Thailand) for month of Feb
  • 2013 170lb TXC Champion defeated Ace Sears
  • 2013 Apr TXC (Mixed Martial Arts) defeated Trevor Nelson
  • 2013 Feb TXC (Mixed Martial Arts) defeated Floyd Jones
  • 2012 Seasons Beatings Kickboxing Competition defeated Mark Fenton


Kickboxing Boxing Fitness Armstrong Chatham MMA Mixed Martial Art Muay Thai Striking Instructor Jay Hallatt k1 low kick sport fighter self defense trainer classes
Kickboxing Instructor: Mark Bachynski
Started Training: n/a
Personal Summary: n/a
Qualifications/ Achievements: n/a


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Armstrong Academy of Martial Arts
3-480 Riverview Dr Chatham, ON N7M 0N2 CA
Phone: 5193508774 Website: www.martialartsck.com