Zen Martial Arts is the home of the Carlson Gracie Team in Ottawa and a great place for you to learn the authentic Carlson Gracie style of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) from a 2nd generation Carlson Gracie instructor.

Mitsuo Maeda

Mitsuyo Maeda

Conde Koma

Carlos Gracie

Grandmaster Carlos Gracie Sr.

Carlson Gracie

Grandmaster Carlson Gracie Sr.

Marcus Soares and David Dash

Master Marcus Soares with David Dash

Our classes are fun, the facility is clean, and our instructors genuinely care about the success you experience in our jiu-jitsu program. You will find our facility and the training environment bright, clean, friendly and inviting. Over time our students see both mental and physical changes from practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu; they become:









Unlike stand-up martial arts like kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu teaches techniques that a smaller weaker person can successfully use to defend against a bigger, stronger assailant by using leverage and proper technique. A typical class includes a warm-up, strength and cardio conditioning, stretching, Judo and Wrestling take downs, ground drills, practice from different positions followed by instruction in proper Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques.

The style of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu we teach is different from many other schools. We follow the tradition that Carlson Gracie started at his academy of teaching a distinct style from that being taught by his uncle Helio and other schools. While Helio's brand of Jiu-Jitsu emphasized technical proficiency and a slow method of grinding your opponent down while on your back, Carlson favored a style of Jiu-Jitsu that encouraged physical prowess, passing the opponent’s guard and then barraging them with a series of techniques from the top position.

Carlson Gracie Team Ottawa 2016

We offer 13 classes a week to both men and women. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program is for anyone 7 and older.


David Dash

David Dash

David Dash was born in 1966 in the city of Iserlohn, Germany.  His father was a Canadian soldier at the time and his mother a German citizen.  The following year the Dash family moved to Canada and settled in Ottawa. 

David was a member of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve for 25 years.  He served in the Navy for 5 years and the Army for the other 20.  In the Navy he held the position of a Naval Combat Information Operator, serving time on HMCS Fraser a Canadian destroyer and later becoming a Navy Diver.  In the army he served as an Infantry Officer retiring at the rank of Captain.

David graduated from Carleton University with a BA in History/Political Science and is a graduate of the Entrepreneurial Masters Program at MIT in Boston, Mass., USA.

David began his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training with the Carlson Gracie Team under Professor Marcus Soares in Vancouver.  David has also trained around the world with many top level Carlson Gracie Team instructors such as Wilson Junior in London England, Omar Salvosa in Toronto, Carlson Gracie Jr., as well as Silvio Braga’s team Grips in Hong Kong.  David continues his training with the Carlson Gracie Team and was awarded his BJJ brown belt by Master Soares in 2016.

Some competition results:

  • NAGA Limburg, Germany 2017
    • Division: NO-GI Executive Cruiserweight Expert - 1st Place
    • Division: Gi Director Heavy Weight Brown Belt - 2nd Place
  • IBJJF International Montreal Open 2013
    • Division: Men’s Senior 3 Middle Heavy Weight Purple Belt - 1st Place
    • Division: Men’s Senior 3 Open Weight Purple Belt - 1st Place
  • NAGA East Coast Championships, Massachusetts 2011
    • Division: GI Directors Middle Weight Blue Belt - 2nd Place
  • NAGA World Cup, Florida 2009
    • Division: NO-GI Masters Light Heavyweight Beginner - 1st Place
    • Division: NO-GI Directors Heavyweight Intermediate - 2nd Place
    • Division: NO-GI Masters Light Heavyweight Intermediate - 2nd Place

David's newest venture in opening Zen Mixed Martial Arts has allowed him to blend his personal passion for Martial Arts and his entrepreneurial skills to launch a company that is focused on helping people achieve a healthy balance in their lives in mind, body and spirit.

Derek Rhodenizer

Derek Rhodenizer

Derek is a local Ottawa school principal. He has been training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for 5 years and is a Carlson Gracie BJJ blue belt. Derek really enjoys the physical and mental aspects of the sport, and is always looking to expand his knowledge by training regularly every week. An educator by trade, Derek enjoys bringing his understanding of education to the mat in a true experiential learning experience for each student.

Claire Huston

Claire Huston

Claire is an Ottawa business owner. She has been a martial arts student for over 15 years and has a diverse martial arts background including Aikido, Judo, Kendo and Muai Thai Kickboxing. When she’s not working or training at Zen, Claire loves travelling as well as spending time in the great outdoors camping and hiking. She is currently training to climb Mount Kilimanjaro this summer!

Claire discovered a passion for Brazilian jiu-jitsu at Zen in 2016.  Claire attended 6-8 classes a week in her first year of training and was awarded her blue in just over a year; The fastest promotion in the history of the Carlson Gracie Ottawa Team.

She has had the privilege of attending seminars and learning from some of the best Carlson Gracie masters including 8th Degree Black Belt Marcus Soares, Fernando Pinduka, Marcio dos Santos, Amaury Bitetti & Otavio “Peixotinho”. Whether in business or on the mats, Claire enjoys helping people work towards achieving their goals and dreams.


Class Photos

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