Train with heart.


Welcome to Garth Taylor Jiu-Jitsu and Martial Arts!

Welcome to Garth Taylor Jiu-Jitsu, Santa Cruz's premier Martial Arts Academy. We specialize in the instruction of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Kickboxing.

One of the most decorated athletes in the history of the sport, Garth Taylor has been teaching Jiu-Jitsu to the Santa Cruz community for the past 25 years.

If you're looking for self-defence, sport, a healthy community,or just a fun way to get in shape, Garth Taylor Jiu-Jitsu is the place for you. Please contact us about our absolutely free, no obligation, one week trial.

Start your journey into the martial arts today. Contact us today for your free trial.

Thank you,
Garth Taylor
Owner, Head Jiu-Jitsu Coach
(831) 621-2339


Teaching with Heart

Jiu-Jitsu Fundamentals

The perfect place to start for students new to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The fundamentals class focuses on the basic body mechanics and movements essential to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This focus on fundamentals provides the beginning student the necessary skills to succeed and grow in Jiu-Jitsu. A high belt coach is on the mat specifically to give individual instruction to beginners and new belt levels to ensure a safe and successful start.

Adult Jiu-Jitsu, all Levels

A community based learning environment. This class, in which all belts train and work together, is a great opportunity to train with and learn from senior students. Whether you’re a seasoned Black Belt or beginning White Belt the All Levels class offers something for everyone.

Womens Jiu-Jitsu, all levels

The close quarters contact of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can be a deterrent to women wanting to learn this essential defensive martial art. GTJJ’s, Women’s class as well as the Jiu-Jitsu Fundamentals class offer a safe and comfortable way for women to learn the amazing defensive art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Intermediate / Advanced Jiu-Jitsu

This class is designed for the higher belts and more advanced Jiu-Jitsu athletes. While always grounded in the fundamentals, this class focuses on the advanced techniques and strategies of sport Jiu-Jitsu and Self Defence.

No Gi Jiu-Jitsu, All Levels

In this class we forego the traditional Jiu-Jitsu uniform or Gi. Students generally wear rash guards or T-shirts and shorts.

Without the traditional uniform, students focus on learning to control the body and limbs of the opponent without the benefit of gripping the GI. No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu is fast and fun. This is a great class for those interested in Mixed Martial Arts competition or self defence.

Mini Groms, 3 to 5 years old

In this fun and focused class your child will learn the building blocks of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Students will learn the simple gymnastistics of rolling and falling. Balance and coordination will improve while they learn to take direction and develop the social skills to work with their peers practicing and training Jiu-Jitsu.

Groms, 6 to 9 years old

The Grom class at GTJJ focuses on the foundational movements and techniques of Brazialian Jiu-Jitsu. The focus on these fundamental movements and techniques sets your child up for a lifetime of confidence and well being. This fun and engaging class will also develop your child’s physical strength and mental wellbeing while having lots of fun.

Menehunes, 10 to 15 years old

While maintaining a consistent focus on the foundational movements of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, GTJJ’s Menehunes learn the advanced skills of real world self defence and the intracacies of sport Jiu-Jitsu. With discipline and hard work our students develop athletically while learning to problem solve under pressure in a fun and competitive environment.

Adult Kickboxing, 16 and up

A fun and exciting Muay Thai Kickboxing class with concepts based on focus and technical drills, these are the basic biomechanics that make Kickboxing easily accessible to everyone. The class is fast paced and challenging, a fantastic work out that develops real Kickboxing technique and prowess.

Kids Kickboxing, 8 to 15 years old

This fun, fast paced, light contact class focuses on the fundamentals of Kickboxing. Kids Kickboxing emphasises defence and footwork first, then teaching students to safely kick and punch. The movement and coordination as well as the hand, leg, and eye dexterity learned in Kickboxing translates to many other sports and athletics.

Class Schedule

We offer a free, no obligation, one week trial

Enroll Today

Contact us at (831) 621-2339 for your free trial.

Let's Get Started


Training with Heart

Garth Taylor

Head Instructor

A wrestler in his youth, Garth Taylor began his journey in Jiu-Jitsu in 1994. He soon became a local legend by winning the US Open in Santa Cruz five times in the Ultra Heavy and Absolute divisions at Blue, Purple, Brown, and Black Belt. Garth has also achieved international fame as a five-time adult division medalist at the World Championships, which made him the first non-Brazilian athlete to medal in all belt divisions at the World Championships.


  • 2012 1st place Pan American Championships, Master 3, Ultra Heavy, Irvine, California
  • 2009 1st place International Master and Senior Championships, Master 2, Ultra Heavy, Rio, Brazil
  • 2006 3rd place Pan American Championships, Master 1, Ultra Heavy, Irvine, California
  • 2003 1st place European Championships, Master 1, Ultra Heavy, Lisbon, Portugul
  • 2001 2nd place Pan American Championships, Adult, Ultra Heavy, Orlando, Florida
  • 2000 1st place International Master and Senior Championships, Master 1, Ultra Heavy, Rio, Brazil
  • 2000 1st place International Master and Senior Championships, Master 1, Ultra Heavy, Rio, Brazil
  • 1999 4th Abu Dahbi Submission Grappling World Championships, Absolute Division, Abu Dahbi, U.A.E.
  • 1998 1st place Pan American Championships, Adult, Ultra Heavy, Waikiki, Hawaii
  • 1997 2nd place Pan American Championships, Adult, Ultra Heavy, Waikiki, Hawaii
  • 1996 2nd place Pan American Championships, Adult, Ultra Heavy, Redondo Beach, California

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Aaron “Stout” Thompson

Assistant Instructor

Stout lives for his son, his wife, and Jiu-Jitsu. Living on the Westside, he appreciates being close to the ocean and loves the small town feel and sense of community in Santa Cruz. Stout started training Jiu-Jitsu with Garth Taylor and Paul Schreiner in October 2009 as a guy in his early 30s who was interested in focusing on his health. Garth’s continued mentorship has given Stout an appreciation for the collaborative, mutually supportive nature of Jiu-Jitsu.

Starting Jiu-Jitsu later in life, Stout has never been keen on competing, but the first time he helped a white belt, he found his passion for teaching. He has been teaching since 2016 and it continues to be immensely gratifying for him whether it’s a comprehensive class or a beginning fundamentals class. The Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle has taught Stout about incremental growth, which he applies to many elements in his life like raising a child, and has certainly improved his fitness and mental outlook. As he explains, “Jiu-Jitsu increases one’s sense of self-worth and improves mind and body health overall. The cool thing about Jiu-Jitsu is that literally anyone can learn it and improve through practice; it’s an adaptable and inclusive martial art. I love teaching Jiu-Jitsu, especially being able to help others find confidence, improve their skills, and feel a sense of community with those they train with. My promise is that I’ll always give 100% and hopefully brighten the day of those around me.”

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Luke Pollard

Assistant Instructor

Luke has been training in bjj since the age of 17 and was immediately hooked on both the physical and technical aspects of training. His first competition was two months after he started and has been competing ever since as often as possible.

Luke became one of the kids instructors one year after he started training. Soon after, he started teaching adults and eventually stopped teaching kids. Although his main focus is on training for competition, Luke enjoys teaching and sharing technique, as it is an important part of one's learning process.


  • World championships bronze
  • pan am silver and 2x bronze
  • american nationals gold
  • abu dhabi trials gold
  • us open gold
  • american cup gold
  • all stars gold
  • sf open gold
  • 2x guerilla bjj champs league winner
  • f2w pro fight of the year

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Christian Buron-Navarro

Kickboxing Instructor

Chris started practicing Muay Thai and Jiu-Jitsu at the age of 16. Three years later, he had his first MMA fight under the StrikeForce banner. By the age of 22, he had become a pro, and at 25 began fighting for Bellator MMA.

During his career, Chris beat UFC prospects and Combate America’s title contenders. After more than a decade of training, Chris has learned some boxing and hybrid styles of kickboxing from Kaijin MMA, The Last Stand Fight Team, Wanderlei Silva’s fight team, Ryan Bader, and CB Dollaway’s Power MMA. Chris has learned and trained with notable UFC and Bellator title contenders and challengers such as Grey Maynard and Michael McDonald.

As a kickboxing instructor Chris’s goal is to make the art of kickboxing easy and fun to learn. He teaches concepts, drills, and techniques that he implemented as an MMA competitor. His goal, each and every class, is to help you push yourself mentally and physically. In the same fashion as Sam Radetsky, his most recent kickboxing coach, you’ll be sweating with a smile as you master practical, and fast-hitting combinations.

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Brandon Kahl

Kids’ Coach

Brandon was raised in a small town in North Dakota with two older brothers and began wrestling at the age of four. His grandfather was also very influential in his love for boxing. Brandon moved to Santa Cruz in the summer of 2001, at the age of 17, and began training himself in boxing. After an amateur fight in Oakland in 2008, Brandon began to search for an academy to train boxing and found Westside Jiu-Jitsu Club in 2010 where he trained with Dion Edge and George Pascal. During this time he would watch the Jiu-Jitsu classes and thought to himself “I wrestled for 11 years, I betcha I would be really good at that.” He was hooked after his very first class.

Jiu-Jitsu began to change his behaviors and attitudes on and off the mat and he hoped to share that same peace of mind he had found with others, especially kids and youth. He began helping coach the Westside youth program in 2016 and has never wanted to do anything else since. Helping kids and youth in his community to find self confidence in who they are and becoming compassionate human beings for the rest of their lives is his overall goal. His wife, family and friends, his community, and his academy continue to be the most loved and cherished things in his life.

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Jerome Autrey

Kids’ Coach

Jerome began training martial arts at the age of 14 under the watchful eye of Francis Farley. After 2 years of kickboxing he was then introduced to Jiu Jitsu. Immediately Jerome found a passion for Jiu Jitsu because he felt like it implemented discipline, respect and confidence in his life as a youth. Since then, he has won gold at multiple tournaments such as Allstars, Jiu Jitsu by the Bay, NAGA and Jiu Jitsu World League. Jerome was awarded his blue belt in BJJ under Joey Thomas then in 2015, he relocated to the West Side of Santa Cruz to train under Garth Taylor and through years of hard work has earned his brown belt. Not only is Jerome a competitor of the sport but he has also become a very passionate coach. In 2016, he began helping with the kids program and has never looked back since. He hopes to teach students the same discipline and respect that martial arts brought to his life as a youth.

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Desmond Stockard

A lifelong track and field athlete, Desmond Stockard was looking to walk onto the track team when he arrived at UCSC in 2004 but the University was missing a track and -- more importantly -- high jump and triple jump pits. Wondering how a University could make a mistake such as this, Desmond was left without something to compete in. Not for long though, Garth Taylor handed Desmond a flyer at the OPERS festival and the rest was history.

Desmond competed in just about all of the major competitions the west coast had to offer: US Nationals, US Open, All Stars, Pan Ams, and the World Championships. Most recently Desmond finished in second place at the 2017 Nogi Master Worlds. When Desmond hasn't injured himself recently from getting out of bed or falling while walking up a flight of stairs, he has been known to compete in kickboxing, crossfit, and most recently old person soccer.

Desmond was born into a family of instructors and teachers. Taking teaching seriously, Desmond aims to teach classes for all levels with a particular knack for strategy, details, and overarching concepts around body mechanics. Always looking to improve Desmond spends free time watching competitions and instructionals, traveling to other gyms, and asking younger athletes with brains better able to learn new moves, "hey, how did you do that?"

** Desmond's ACL up and left the building so he is currently on hiatus from teaching and training

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Santa Cruz, CA

Phone: (831) 621-2339