The Academy MN Reviews

Here’s What People Are Saying About The Academy:

5stars“Greg Nelson is one of the best trainers in the game”
-Joe Rogan – UFC Commentator, Comic, Podcaster



5stars“Working with Greg Nelson has had a profound impact on my stunt and action directing career. Where do I begin? Aspiring to adopt his determination to understand the entirety of martial arts. I did my best to follow his lead. Not only studying numerous styles and techniques, but studying the cultures, rituals and MOST IMPORTANTLY testing the applications. It was his passion as a teacher that drove me sharpen my martial skills physically, and challenge myself to test myself constantly. Literally 1,000’s of hours of Pad drills, countless Martial Arts Demo Rehearsals, and even a few ventures in to the ring. He quickly pushed me to levels beyond what I had envisioned for myself. This pathological work ethic was a life changing experience and became the foundation for my physical conditioning giving me the confidence needed as I pursued a new career as stunt performer, and fight choreographer. His encouragement to study ALL styles gave me the wealth of techniques the draw from as I continue to design fight sequences for films, Just like we used to back in the beginnings of Minnesota Martial Arts Academy. His appreciation for the ART in all aspects and his acceptance and encouragement for each student to find his/her own WAY is just a reflection of the incredible teacher he truly is. ”

d_leitchDavid Leitch –  Film Director  Deadpool 2, Atomic Blond, and many more blockbuster titles (Owner of 87Eleven).

5stars“I think outside of the box because I’m doing something I never imagined I could do. I’m not afraid anymore. I try new things more because this has helped me see I can do it. It helped me connect with Josh and Nick (my sons) in ways I will always be grateful for.”
-J.C. Cutler – Actor, Graduate of Juliardjc-cut


5stars“My wife claims I have been a changed person at home since beginning training at The Academy… I’m not as stressed and easier to live with. I feel that the training and competition fills a huge personal need and I am proud to be a part of such a great group of people.”

kelly-jKelly Johnson – Sales

5stars“I like the encouraging atmosphere and that nobody acts surprised or pats me on the back for being a girl and training hard. It’s just expected. I’ve also gained a lot more confidence that I can achieve my goals outside of the gym.”
Karin Jacobson – Jewelry Designerkarin-j

5starsI have worked as a metro area police officer for over 4 years. I have trained in many different self-defense styles. The physical conditioning and technical knowledge of ground survival and grappling that I have from the leadership of The Academy’s instructors is exceptional. Because of the fact that nearly 90% of all physical altercations end up on the ground, the knowledge and skills I have learned are invaluable. The training has helped me confidently escort and restrain people quickly and effectively in many situations, which in many cases could have turned bad. I could speak highly for hours about who I have met at The Academy, what I have learned, and/or how it may benefit others, but this activity is something people must try for themselves.”
Dan L., Police Officer


I have an increased sense of power and discipline as a result of training which helps me in all aspects of life. I appreciate the team atmosphere and camaraderie of the members as well as the leadership and respect for all levels of ranks. I also like the constant challenge of pushing members to achieve their own personal best.”

Amy Roberts – VP Accounting Firm

5stars“I’ve lost 30 lbs. and my self-confidence is greater. I’ve also gained greater emotional control, and it has helped me with anger management. Everyone is treated equally here, no matter what rank they are.”
Bobbi LeSuer

5starsI’ve lost 50 lbs. and my self-confidence has skyrocketed! I cannot say enough good things about The Minnesota Martial Arts Academy! My friends and family have really taken notice. I am a better person for being a member. All the instructors are the best, and I’m not just saying that!!”
Jason Munson – Stay at home dad

5stars“Classes are always staffed with knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and positive instructors. The instruction is a balanced mix of encouragement and direct challenge as needed.”
Jim Sell – Finance

5stars“One of the really striking benefits is how regular training has affected my composure and ability to handle stress in my professional life and personal life. Training is an excellent outlet for a stressful profession. The fact that the theories and techniques taught at The Academy are routinely tested in the ring is an important factor in enabling me, as a student, to really trust in and believe in the training.”
Stan Guimont – Account Executive of ABC Radio

5stars“I would like to thank you for continuing your excellent program and to again let you know how much it means in my life. My commitment is to strive for the best in my form, strength, endurance, speed, flexibility, balance, and performance. And to emulate The Academy’s and my own beliefs (which go hand in hand) to be a role model for other students and people outside of The Academy with my actions and my words. Thank you for your investment and efforts to teach healthy mind and body techniques to children and adults, and for continuing to grow and strive for excellence as a school of the martial arts.”
Lance King – Singer for Pryamaze and owner of Nightmare Records

5stars“I have been a student of The Academy for 9+ years, joining The Academy was one of the best decisions of my life. It is a great place to go if you want to improve not only your physical fitness and overall health, but mentally you will become stronger too.”
Brian  H. – Marketing & Advertising

The Academy MN Reviews

5stars“A perfect place to achieve any goal, whether it’s a personal accomplishment or getting into the competitive spotlight. You receive the most professional training in the business with patient and formal instructors in an atmosphere where egos are left at the door. Greg always deserves credit when credit is due. I’ve always enjoyed the friendly atmosphere here, not only by the instructors but by every fighter. I always appreciate the time they take to help others. I recommend the gym to anyone that shows interest.”
Mike Haverstock – Student

5stars“I’ve been training for 2 months. The training has been instrumental in understanding my body and what my body can do, as well as understanding the dynamics of confrontation. My outlook on my day is much different when I attend classes in the morning. I have already experienced weight loss, and a change in physique. I continue to allow myself to be pushed to what I think are my limits, and then surpass them. When I first came to The Academy, I felt pretty stupid. I didn’t know the correct stance or form, and I couldn’t keep up with the routines. I was pretty sure I was pissing off my classmates and the instructors those first few classes. If this was the case, the instructors surely didn’t let on. I know that some of the upper level students are pro fighters and I was a little intimidated, thinking that I’d drown in that training environment but I was very impressed with their abilities to work with a beginner like me too. The Academy staff is patient and really took an interest in my learning level and then broke the training down into terms I could understand. They laid out the body dynamics and took the time to help me find that correct form. The instructors are dedicated to making sure that they create quality performances from the students, and they take that seriously. They offer encouragement and direction that you can trust is coming from experience. Turns out the upper level class guys aren’t really that scary either, I mean I wouldn’t want to get in the ring with them at all, but they’re not bullies, elitists, or a bunch of overly macho “dudebros”. You can tell that they also believe in the values the instructors instill in the training. The only other thing I can really say is that I didn’t join The Academy to get into the ring or become a paid fighter. I don’t follow MMA stats or the UFC, or such organizations. I was looking for practical fighting instruction that I would use if in a position where I had to defend against attack. I was worried about “sports creep” in self-defense training knowing that The Academy was associated with the professional fighting world. The instructors though, are well aware that the skills they teach have a variety of applications, and they’re professionals in these arts themselves. The staff is diverse as far as fighting styles and backgrounds and they have as much self-defense experience in combat arts as they do with the sporting applications. You can tell that this isn’t a group of people who just got hired to teach martial arts, by the experience, abilities, and ability to teach that they exhibit. The Academy staff feels like it was purposefully assembled with the goal of creating a quality product in the students that The Academy produces. I’m just starting out but I know this is one of the best choices in education I’ve made. It’s corny as hell, but I’m proud to say that I learn at this academy. As long as they’ve got things to teach, I’m going to do my utmost to learn.”
Mead Bayer – Tech Support

5stars“I’ve made a number of new friends and am getting a well rounded workout – both mentally and physically. It combines thinking, coordination, strength, and endurance, all at the same time. I also feel like I am learning a valuable skill. To me, The Academy strikes the perfect balance between comfort and professionalism. I felt right at home from day one. It doesn’t take long for a person to see why the instructors are considered some of the best in the world. It’s just a great learning environment… and it’s no wonder their members consistently have success in the amateur and professional events they participate in.”
Jim Nolan – Data Security Manager

5stars“The environment that the staff creates is welcoming to people of all backgrounds and skill levels. I would also emphasize that the teaching ability and knowledge of that coaches in unrivaled, but that they have the ability to modify their teaching methods to help students at all levels”
Steve Williams – Sales

5stars“It has improved my life in every possible way… mentally and physically… being around positive, healthy-minded people makes a difference in every aspect of life.”

Saul Mitchell – Mechanic

5stars“The reason I joined The Academy was to learn how to better defend myself. The initial program that I was enrolled into taught me how to defend myself under the guidelines of Muay Thai. Through that, I learned how ungodly effective and damaging the knee and elbow strikes can be to an opponent. Long after joining, I finally learned how important conditioning is. The Academy gave me the confidence I needed to defend myself. It opens up your eyes to see that fighting in the world of today is meant to be contained as a sport with regulations and rules for safety, not used to harm someone unless the situation calls for it. Sometimes you do what you gotta do. Conditioning is everything, and I think that the better conditioned someone is, the better he/she will live life, because he/she is can do many great things in life that was once restricted from lack of conditioning.”
Jeff Born – Service Rep

5stars“It is a great place train to get healthy and improve mental toughness. My cardio and strength has improved.”
Paul Wilson – Customer Service Rep & Volleyball Coach

5stars“I have lost weight and more importantly, turned fat into muscle. My cardio and stamina have greatly improved. My confidence is much higher. Training Muay Thai at The Academy has improved me in every way I can think of. Being a Correctional Officer, it has given me tools and confidence do deal with any situation that may arise. 9 months ago, I could not have imagined being in the place The Academy has helped bring me. I believe I have received more Muay Thai/Martial Arts knowledge than I could have imagined receiving in 9 short months and I continue to learn more and more every day. I can’t put in to words how much I have, and continue to enjoy my time at The Academy and the positive impact it has had on my life.

When I first started at the beginning of last July, I had the opportunity to get a lot of one-on-one and small group training with Andy Grahn. Coach Andy taught me a lot in a short amount of time and for that I am grateful. One of the best things about The Academy is that everybody helps everybody and if you’re struggling with a technique or have a question, somebody will help you, most of the time without even having to ask. If somebody sees you struggling or if they just see a way that they could make a technique you’re doing better, smoother, whether they’re an instructor, pro or amateur fighter, or just a fellow student, they will reach out. Whether it’s Andy Grahn, Nat McIntyre, Greg Nelson, John Arends, Adam Ahern, Ryan Murray, Lee Lor, Andrew Kapel or any other instructor The Academy has, you know you’re in good hands, you’re going to train hard and most importantly, you’re going learn Martial Arts.”
Josh Hover – Corrections Officer

5stars“Improved endurance, improved strength, and a better understanding of self-defense and different martial arts (BJJ and Muay Thai). Training has changed my life in the sense that I try to work as hard as I can when I train and eat much more healthier than I used to.”
Jon Pappas – Student

5stars“It helps me achieve a better balance in my life. Training has also allowed me to give myself something that I can use to set goals and see myself improve in. It gives me a constructive way I can work off my stress and steam from the day-to-day grind.”
Bryn Gruber – Student

5stars“Before joining The Academy, I was specifically looking to start learning BJJ. Training BJJ at The Academy has become a major activity in my life that has also given me an opportunity to train with great, friendly people. The excellent instruction is important, but to me, the gym culture is equally important. I have visited dozens of martial arts gyms over years and never have trained and met so many great people who I now consider friends. I look forward to going to The Academy to train as well as the social aspect of it.”
Jerad Lang – Martial Arts Instructor

5stars“This is the real deal. The best trainers, experts at their crafts.”
Ben Jerulle – Mortgage Broker


5stars“Unmatched instruction, one-of-a-kind facility, great training partners. It has made me feel more comfortable and confident in my physical abilities. It is the best martial arts school I’ve trained in.”
Kurt Hartmann – Personal Trainer

5stars“Stronger, better conditioned, quicker, faster. It has given me more confidence as a person and made me more comfortable with myself, not so worried about what others say or do. I enjoy being a member of The Academy. I enjoy how all the instructors, especially Greg, Nat and Ryan (work with them the most), want to see me succeed as a fighter and a person. They respect the amount of hard work that I am putting in and I feel like they see something in me that will soon get brought out with patience, time, and continual hard work. Also, a thanks to Lentz, Paul, and John Arends for being not just training partners, but helpful in guiding my skills as well. It’s my home away from home.”
Ben Locken – Personal Trainer

5stars“I was living a very sedentary life. Sit all day at work, then would sit on the couch most evenings. The Academy changed that. I started out by watching classes, and after a week of watching, joined and have loved it ever since. I no longer feel like I’m sitting around waiting for my heart attack to happen. The Academy is just a building with mats and punching bags. But, the people of The Academy are what make it special. Being around the people of The Academy has encouraged me to make fitness goals for myself as well as diet goals. I’ve spent a lot of time in fitness centers, and lifting weights. Weights don’t motivate me any longer. Even a trainer screaming in my ear didn’t motivate me any longer. Jiu-Jitsu does motivate me! It’s the personal chess match, the cardio, the learning, and yes the people!”
John Foster – Technical Consultant Manager for IBM

5stars“You won’t regret a second of it. Everybody is really accepting which makes you feel like you don’t have to be embarrassed. All the instructors always have an answer to everything and are extremely helpful. Thanks a lot to Coaches Andew, Nat, Ryan, Cody. :D”
Riley – Student

5starsI like the overall fitness; I regularly lift weights and run, but training at The Academy has pushed me to a level of fitness I have never been able to reach before. Confidence/knowledge, the training I have received helps me as a Police Officer when faced with difficult situations. The instructors are fantastic! Coaches Andy, Nat, Ryan, and Dick are the instructors that I have been with the most. What I like the most is that they all talk to me, a beginner, the same way as the more advanced students. Great place, very glad I joined!

Brian S, Law Enforcement

5stars“I compete at 25-30 lbs. less than what I weighed when I first walked into The Academy, 50 lbs. less than what I was less than 2 years ago.”
Greg McDermitt – Operations Management & Revenue Research for a National Freight Carrier

5stars“Honestly, I love The Academy! I hope I can do as much as I can. I would like to say thanks to Coach Greg for being a great instructor and teacher thus far and hope to learn more from him and everyone there.”
Tom Hoffamn – Student

5stars“It has become my passion and has inspired me to fight and be the best fighter I can be; it has encouraged me to be physically fit and it has been a HUGE stress reliever in my life. I have no idea what I’d do without it. I love the fact that every time I train, I am getting world class training for a good price – I wouldn’t want to train anywhere else. When I go to train it’s like I’m in my own world, I have never been more dedicated or focused on a sport until I started training at The Academy. The training has taught me to be a calmer, more relaxed person, and changed my way of thinking. Everyone thinks fighting is anger and power, but actually you have to be calm and relaxed and be able to think. I love the instructors and pretty much everything about The Academy. Don’t change a thing!”
Cole Steinberg

5stars“I have been training for 6 months and am getting in better shape physically and mentally. I have also developed some relationships with my training partners. Training has made me stronger mentally and has given me more confidence.”
Jeff Wood – Logistics Sales Executive

5stars“Training has increased my endurance, strength, agility and coordination. It keeps me from getting old before my time. Coach Greg is a mountain of fighting knowledge.”
Eric Iverson – I.T.

5stars“This place is awesome!!!!”
Yevgenia Kleitman – Parent & Student

5stars“If you want to get the best Jiu-Jitsu instruction, improve you physical self, improve your mental self and have fun with a great group of guys, join The Academy! I have also trained at Easton BJJ, for nearly a year, in Denver. I think the instruction is more in depth and the competition team is far more advanced than in Denver. I think The Academy is the best place in Minnesota, and probably in the country, to train. It gives me structure, discipline and physical improvements. I am improving at Jiu-Jitsu every day. I find I am happier in general and feel great!”
Rich Kneibel – I.T. Professional

5stars“Coach Nat, Coach Andy, and Coach Greg… best Thai Boxing classes ever.”
Chris Brown – Security Guard

5stars“I’ve been training 2.5 months and I like that I get something different every time I go. Different instructors provide different angles of teaching. I enjoy the variety you can obtain to defend yourself and get a great workout in the process…”
Will Cochran – Sales

5stars“The good quality of instruction I receive at The Academy is hard to find in other places. I feel that the people I train with really understand the arts they teach and pass that knowledge on effectively. Training at The Academy has made winters bearable and has improved my overall fitness level. I obviously get as much as I put into it and wish I could train a lot more, but am happy to be consistent with 3-4 days a week and be working full-time elsewhere.”
Vishnu Reddi – Sr. Engineer at Medtronic, Inc.

5stars“Stress relief, confidence, fitness. Training has helped me take my discipline to another level. I have learned to relax and dedicate myself to training. I’ve been training 4 months. The Academy has awesome instructors who are dedicated to helping you improve in any area you need it.”
Ethan Kelly – Personal Trainer

5stars“I have made great friends, introduced to many different walks of life. I am in great shape and have improved my muscle tone. I quit smoking when I started training and learned more about my body and what it can handle. I also realized I am physically and mentally capable of way more than I ever thought. Training at The Academy has helped me become healthier just by associating with healthy, eager, motivated individuals who also train at the gym. The positive atmosphere has been very influential in the way that I organize my life now. Training has exposed me to new things and people I would not have encountered without The Academy. I have recommended The Academy to friends and family and tell them that the instructors and the people are awesome. It is a great place to be a part of. The training is fun and the classes are a great work out. It’s something to try at least once. Everyone at The Academy rocks! Woot woot!”
Cecelia Nowack – Loan Processor, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage & Full-Time Student

5stars“I’ve made huge physical improvements, and it’s very intellectually engaging. Jiu-Jitsu really changes your perspective, and it is always there, in the back of your mind, as you work through concepts you’re always learning.”
Nathan Johnson – Lawyer

5starsBrazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an absolute must for all law enforcement officers. Most fights go to the ground. This is a non-striking, submission based art, perfect for any law enforcement officers, maximizing control without kicking or punching a subject. This art has given me a new-found confidence in knowing if I go to the ground, I can handle myself.
Corey J, Law Enforcement

5stars“I’m a 44 year old entrepreneur and I have a passion for physical fitness, particularly martial arts. Due to starting my business, my dedication to working out was put on the back burner for the last couple of years. I was fortunate to recently discover The Academy, whose focus on martial arts training re-energized my commitment to my physical fitness and has begun to restore my strength and build.

Thanks to The Academy, especially my instructor, Doug, I love the physical change in my body and the increased energy I have after only 2 months of training. I look forward to my continued growth and martial arts development at The Academy.”
Dominic Warren

5starsI have been with the Academy since late November of 2014. Although it has only been a short while, I have accomplished a lot through the Academy and its’ martial arts program. I started just to get in shape and for health but since then I have gotten more involved with the art. When I first got involved I was 167lbs, I smoked a pack of cigarette a day, I ate unhealthy, I was also weak and not conditioned for any physical activities. Since then I have lost 17lbs, I’m conscious about what I consume now a days, I’ve quit smoking cold turkey, I’ve also gotten my sense of smell back, I’m in the best shape of my life (for now), and I’ve also found a new outlet for stress. My life has completely turned around. I cannot even begin to tell you about what I’ve learned about myself through the Academy. Life has become less stressful and I’ve embarked on a spiritual journey to be the best that I can be. Studying at the Academy has taught me how to be patient, how to accept my mistakes, how to listen with the intent to understand, and how to be a patient teacher without the iron fist rule. I’m only looking forward to getting better with the help of the Academy and maybe one day even compete.

-Brong Yang


5starsI am a 22 year old student at the University of Minnesota and I have been interested in martial arts for quite a while. I decided that I wanted to start training Muay Thai and The Academy seemed to be the best place to do so. It’s been almost 7 weeks since my first class and I feel like I made a good decision. I enjoy coming to each class and feel that I am progressing and gaining an understanding of the fundamentals of striking. I look forward to learning new techniques and developing my skills to a high level.

-Dylan Hardy

The Academy MN Reviews

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