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 9 classes a week to both men and womenThe Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Classes program is for anyone 14 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 recent 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 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.

Ryan Murray

Ryan Murray

Born in Moncton N.B., Ryan was introduced to martial arts at a young age, studying and attaining high ranks in Judo, Karate, and Tae Kwon Do before the age of 12.  In addition to martial arts training Ryan also remained active in various other sports competing at the provincial level in both hockey and football, as well as being a former nationally ranked Wrestler.  Ryan is also a black belt in a Korean martial art know as Haidong Gumdo (Korean fencing).  A few years ago, as a result of his dedication to his training he was given the opportunity to travel to Korea to learn and teach this art as well as represent Canada at the 2004 World Championships in Seoul, South Korea.

Upon his return home to Canada, Ryan recognized that he had developed a passion for languages from his travels abroad.  To further advance this passion he moved to Ottawa to attend the linguistics program at the University of Ottawa.  Despite his love of languages after 3 semesters Ryan decided that linguistics just wasn’t the right fit for him, and transferred over to the Human Kinetics department where he rediscovered his love for fitness and earned he degree.  Ryan has completed a certified personal trainer’s course, and has been training clients professionally for five years.

Now, after living in Ottawa for almost 5 years, Ryan splits most of his time between training and his own leisure activities which include various martial arts such as Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Olympic style boxing, and training for his second Marathon. In the future, he plans to complete an ironman race, to test and push his fitness level to a whole new plateau.

  He currently teaches Jiu-Jitsu and Kickboxing classes at Zen.  Ryan brings his wealth of knowledge and passion for fitness to every person he trains.  He uses a fun, high energy style with attention to proper form and applied technique to ensure that everyone gets a great workout, and the results they are looking for.

Eric Robinson

Eric Robinson

Born and raised in Venezuela, Eric moved to Canada in 1999 to study computer programming. After (barely) surviving his first winter, he made Ottawa his home and has been here ever since.  In his professional life, Eric is a Duty Agent, Security Operations with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. When not at work, he divides his time between his children and his martial arts training.  Eric’s martial arts background consist of Shito-ryu Itosu-kai Karate and Shorinji Kempo. He currently trains and instructs periodically in both kickboxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu at Zen.  Eric joined the Zen family at the behest of his daughter (now 9 years old) because “martial arts is fun!”. Several years and lots of hard work later, it still is.

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.


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