Coach Dave Thomas

| |

There is great happiness in the lifelong pursuit of human potential.”-Coach David Thomas

Dave Thomas of Seattle, WA is founding coach at Austin Jiu-Jitsu. While Dave now trains and works in Seattle, he is proud to have built Austin Jiu-Jitsu from a small group of friends in his garage to a thriving community of dedicated students from 2003 - 2017. He visits the gym when traveling to Austin to roll with his students and friends.

Where to find Dave

Dave can be found at Ivan Salaverry MMA & BJJ. Ivan is a Marcelo Alonso black belt. Marcelo is under Carlson Gracie Sr. Or, find him online on social media.

Some of Dave’s contributions include
  • His student-centric approach, helping them on their personal journey toward mastery.
  • His highly technical skills
  • An unconventional, creative fighting style
  • Development of a successful women’s program, which enjoys a significantly high ratio of women to men – which is unusual in BJJ
  • Developing the talent of his team of coaches
  • His prolific writing on training, coaching, and service toward the student in his blog, Jits Happens
  • The creation of The BJJ Technique Catalog, the largest single-sourced collection of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques on the web.

Coach Dave


Dave has been has been training, competing, and coaching since January 1985.

Life Off the Mats

When he isn’t training and coaching, Dave enjoys a great career in software product entrepreneurship, where he is an engineering leader at Facebook. He has two grown children, Jenny and Zach, who both grew up on the mats with him at Austin Jiu-Jitsu. Dave’s wife Christine, a brown belt, previously led the Austin Jiu-Jitsu women’s program and has a career in high-tech finance. Dave and Christine both studied business at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business (2016 and 2017 MBA grads).

Accomplishments and Qualifications

  • 3rd degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt (under Carlson Gracie Sr. Professor Marcelo Alonso; Original black belt awarded by Ribeiro Black Belt Travis Tooke). Coaching since 2003, training since 1995.
  • 2008 North American Grappling (NAGA) Champion, Brown and Black belt Division (160 lb and under, Director, Gi)
  • 3 Black belts, including BJJ, Japanese Karate (AAKF, JKA Shotokan)
  • State, national, and international-level competition experience
  • Certified USA Wrestling Coach for competitive youth wrestling programs. 3 seasons.
  • Ground fighting trainer for law enforcement, EMT, and military personnel
  • Experienced referee in local and state-level BJJ and Submission Grappling competitions
  • MMA instructor 2008 - 2012
  • Diverse martial arts training background including MMA, Thai Boxing, Jeet Kune Do, Karate, Aikido, and Judo
  • Licensed by the Texas Department of Public Safety Private Security Bureau (2005)
  • Licensed by the Texas Combative Sports/Boxing Commission as an MMA Cornerman (2009)
  • Developed BJJTech, the largest single-sourced collection of BJJ techniques on the web.

Jits Happens

Read Dave’s blog, Jits Happens