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Latest News

Latest News

> January, 2018

We'd like to welcome Salvador Fuentes, Jr. to the world! Congratulations Salvador and Madeline!

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July 2017: Sensei Koji Takamatsu (9th dan) and his son Sergio (7th dan) returned to Tennessee from São Paulo, Brazil and did a series of training seminars in dojos in Nashville, Smyrna, Murfreesboro and Hohenwald. This was Takamatsu Sensei's first visit to Tennessee since 1997 when he came and did seminars as a guest of Cecil Patterson. Takamatsu Sensei, 87, has taught Wado-Ryu karate in Brazil for over 60 years.

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> March 10, 2017

Big congratulations to Hank Quillen for his promotion to first degree black-belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Hank has been training for 13 years on top of many years in Wado-Ryu Karate. He is the general manager and a full-time instructor at Zanshin Dojo Nashville. He inspires all the students and is a great role model for the kids and adults alike. Congratulations Hank!

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> June 2, 2015

Zanshin Dojo has another black-belt among our ranks!

Corey Richardson received his promotion from Eric Silver this past Sunday, May 31st, at Corey's school, Zanshin Gulf Coast in Mobile, Alabama. He has been training since 2006 and is the fourth blackbelt in the Zanshin Jiu-Jitsu Association promoted by Mr. Silver, following Derrick Reynolds, Bob Hillis and Hank Quillen. We are very proud of Corey, for both his skills as a practitioner, and for the time and dedication he has for his school and students.

> February 17, 2015

Sergio Takamatsu will be visiting Nashville in March from São Paulo, Brazil. He is the son of 9th dan, Koji Takamatsu. Mr. Takamatsu was awarded his 7th dan and the title of Kyoshi Shihan by Grand Master Jiro Otuska. He is a black-belt in judo, is the head coach for the São Paulo, Brazilian Wado-Ryu team and is a licensed judge for WKF competitions.

He will be teaching Zanshin Dojo at 1917 Church St. in Nashville:

  • March 6th for yudansha only, 7:00pm-9:00pm
  • March 7th and 8th 10:00am-12:00pm and 2:00pm-4:00pm black belts and kyu ranks.
  • Enrollment is limited. Email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you would like more information or to reserve your space.

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> February 15, 2015

Congratulations to our newly promoted students, Ezra Scott (blue-belt) and Bill Schultz (brown-belt) who successfully passed their belt exams this part Sunday, Feb. 15. We’re very proud of the hard work these guys have put in.

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> July 26, 2014

On Saturday, July 26th, following the Zanshin "One On One" association tournament, Hank Quillen humbly received his black-belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu after ten years of dedicated training. Hank started training in 2004 under Eric Silver. He manages the Zanshin Nashville school and is one of the most respected and dedicated people in the Zanshin Association. He has also earned his black-belt in Wado-Ryu Karate and when not working his day-job or teaching classes, works as an actor in movies and television. Hank is thought of in the association as the real-deal martial artist. Quiet in demeanor, serious in training, always dependable, never complaining, welcomes new students with a smile but 100% respected and formidable on the mat. Hank overcame a serious leg break in a freak training accident in 2009 and once he was back in class, he never looked back.

Hank is the third person to receive his black-belt in the Zanshin Jiu-Jitsu Association. Well done Mr. Quillen!

Also following the tournament, Derrick Reynolds who is the senior student in Zanshin Dojo, was awarded his instructor stripes and first degree on his black-belt. One of the nicest "tough guys" you will ever meet, Mr. Reynolds is a highly respected and accomplished jiu-jitsu practitioner. He started his jiu-jitsu training under Eric Silver in 1995.

Congratulations Mr. Reynolds!

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Derrick Reynolds receives his first stripe on his black-belt (quality-control inspector, Lucy Silver, foreground)

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Hank Quillen prepares to receive his black-belt

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First fall as a black-belt, and he's "in the club"

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Applause and support from all the students

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Hank Quillen receives his black-belt!

> December 2, 2013

The weekend of December 7th is Zanshin Jiu-Jitsu's annual winter training camp. Classes will be held Saturday and Sunday for all four of the Zanshin Jiu-Jitsu schools and guests. Saturday night will be the annual holiday dinner and awards. Hope to see everyone there!

> December 1, 2013

Zanshin Dojo brown-belt Hank Quillen is on the big screen!

Hank, who is an assistant instructor in Nashville is also a part-time actor. He's been in music videos with Taylor Swift and on the 'Nashville' TV series. Now, Hank has some cameo appearances in the new Hunger Games blockbuster, "Catching Fire". Congratulations Hank!

Hank Quillen
Hank Quillen


> April 13, 2013

Congratulations to our head instructor Eric Silver, on being awarded the rank of second degree black-belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by the IBJFF. Mr. Silver began his martial arts training in 1971 and started his journey in Jiu-Jitsu in 1994 under Rickson Gracie. He is one of less than ten Americans to have been awarded their black belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu by Rickson. Mr. Silver opened Zanshin Dojo as a karate school in 1992 and started offering classes in Gracie "Brazilian" jiu-jitsu in Nashville and Waverly, Tennessee in 1994. Under the Zanshin Jiu-Jitsu Federation, there are now three affiliate schools in Georgia, Alabama, and Ohio.

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Zanshin Dojo black-belts, left to right, Bob Hillis, Eric Silver, Derrick Reynolds

This spring has brought some very special news to Zanshin Dojo. Gary Townes who has been with our school since it's inception in 1992, was promoted by the United States Wado-Ryu Karate Federation to the rank of 7th degree black-belt. This is a rarely awarded rank in Wado-Ryu karate. Higher levels are typically only awarded to federation leaders. Mr. Townes started training in Wado-Ryu karate in 1971. He was one of the senior black-belts at the famed "Bushido" karate school in Nashville which was known as a very intense and "hard hitting" dojo.

He was a frequent competitor on the Bushido team, and, helped to design the notorious Bushido black-belt exam. Recently retired from a career as a financial advisor, Mr. Townes is the highest ranked karate instructor at Zanshin Dojo.

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John Patterson awards Gary Townes (right) with his certification to 7th degree black-belt

The weekend of March 23rd, Mr. Ryron Gracie brought his techniques and concepts of "keeping it playful" to Zanshin Dojo Nashville. During two three hour classes, he shared innovative and game changing techniques along with important and thought provoking information about attitude related to life and jiu-jitsu. Everyone could see why he is considered one of the best in BJJ today.

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Participants at Ryron Gracie's Saturday seminar in Nashville


In the recent Wado-Ryu Championships, Mr. Alvin Roland had his first day in black-belt competition. Devin Harper won first place sparring and Kerry Balog, third place sparring.

We are very proud of everyone's participation and dedication in and out of the dojo!

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At the Wado-Ryu Championships, Alvin Roland, Jr., Isabel Pregont, Devin Harper

> November 6, 2012

We had a fantastic weekend of training at our winter camp at Wooten Woods. Rickson Gracie's first American black-belt, Chris Saunders, joined us from Los Angeles and students attended from Tennessee, New Jersey, Alabama and Georgia. The weather was beautiful for most of the three days and Kim and Doug Williams graciously prepared wonderful meals for everyone. Eric Silver and Mr. Saunders taught six two-hour classes Saturday and Sunday. The first workout each day consisted of a run down to the Duck River where everyone did warm ups, partner stretches, base and self-defense drills.  Subsequent classes covered all major positions in jiu-jitsu, improving submission effectiveness, Vale-Tudo and weapons defense.

Some classes were held in a matted barn while others were inside an amazing geodesic dome.  The dome was built for music seminars and has very reflective acoustics, so the students could hear comments and groans of others on opposite sides of the dome as if they were next to each other. After dinner on Saturday night, films were shown on the barn big screen.  First we watched UFC III which included Royce Gracie's classic fight against Kimo.  Next a video from Mr. Silver's first jiu-jitsu class in 1994, then, an episode of the talk show, Crook and Chase" from 1998 which featured then blue-belts, Eric Silver and Bob Hillis, demonstrating "Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu".

Thanks to Mr. Hillis for bringing his group from Zanshin South in Perry, Georgia and to Corey Richardson for bringing the Zanshin Gulf-Coast guys from Mobile, Alabama. Very special thanks to Chris Saunders for joining us and sharing his knowledge and warm personality.  It's exciting to see our association growing, people advancing in the ranks and students focusing on improving themselves through training in martial arts.

Day one, warming up by the river

Self-defense drills

Sun's up. Time for breakfast!

Heading back from the river

What's taking everyone so long?

Breakfast and taking in some sun

Working hard in Vale Tudo hot mitts, Kim Williams

Afternoon training in the dome

Zanshin members with Eric Silver and Chris Saunders

Eric Silver and Chris Saunders with reps, Bob Hillis (left) and Corey Richardson (right)


> October 30, 2012

Zanshin Dojo was proud to present Alvin Roland, Jr. (third from left in picture below) with his shodan (first degree black-belt) in Wado-Ryu Karate. Mr. Roland was tested by the black-belts of Zanshin Dojo and by the federation of the United States Eastern Wado-Ryu Karate Federation and passed both exams. He is now the 6th black-belt to have been awarded by Eric Silver and Gary Townes since 1992. In addition to the U.S. Eastern Wado-Ryu karate federation, Zanshin Dojo is licensed and recognized by the Japanese Wado-Ryu Karate Renmei, and the Brazilian Wado-Ryu Karate Renemi and we are very happy to now have Mr. Roland amongst our yudansha (black-belts).

Alvin Roland Jr. receives Black-Belt

> July 18, 2012

Eric Silver in Brazil

This weekend I was invited to attend a gushuku (intensive training seminar) with Koji Takamatsu Sensei-9th dan. The seminar was for black-belts only and was held on a remote private property about 50 miles north of São Paulo, Brazil, from Friday - Sunday.

The students stayed on site and all meals were provided by the owners who also own a restaurant in São Paulo. Saturday night dinner was beans, rice, chicken, pasta and sushi! Classes included kihon waza, kata and tanto dori (knife defense). A lot of time was dedicated to giving advice to instructors on how to maintain their own training and teaching.

My favorite quote was, "Always try to practice correctly or after many years of practice, you will be perfectly wrong". I thought my hour and half drive was tiring and then I spoke to other people at the class who had taken 15 hour bus trips to be there. It was great to see old friends who I hadn't seen in years and to train with so many dedicated karateka.

Bumpy Ride In...

Group Picture


> April 16, 2012

It's been a very busy springtime for the dojo. Eric Silver along with Bob Hillis did three seminars, one in New Jersey, the second in Ohio, the third in Georgia at Mr. Hillis', Zanshin South.

In Georgia, Zanshin South members competed at the Lutador with many winners in many divisions. In Nashville at the annual Wado-Ryu championship, Devin Harper, Isabel Pregont, Greg Oakley and Patrick Peterson all medaled with Devin, Greg and Isabel all winning golds, Isabel bringing home double first places in forms and fighting! The following week, the jiu-jitsu guys from Nashville and Gulf Shores competed at the NAGA in Gallatin, TN. We had outstanding matches from Andrew Goldfein, Kim Williams, Alexa Roberts, James Parker and Corey Richardson who scored golds in both the advanced no-gi and purple belt gi divisions.

Mr. Silver along with Corey Richardson and Andrew Thompson from Zanshin South, met in Miami for a two day seminar with Master Rickson Gracie at Valente Brothers Jiu-Jitsu. The seminar was incredible with the surprise guest appearance of one of Mr. Gracie's older brothers, Relson and his son Rhalan. There were about 90 students in attendance Saturday and Sunday.

Congratulations to all of our recent promotion recipients:

Greg Oakley - orange belt, Wado-Ryu
Hall Oakley - orange stripe, Wado-Ryu
Jackson Wang - orange stripe Wado Ryu and first grey stripe GJJ
Kenny Workman and Alexa Roberts - blue stripe GJJ
Andrew Goldfein - blue belt GJJ
Eddie Detvongsa and Andy Workman to purple stripe, GJJ
Corey Richardson - brown belt GJJ

Finally, the Zanshin Jiu-Jitsu Association-Summer Training Seminar, will be held June 9th and 10th, on the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  Jiu-Jitsu students, don't miss it!  For more information, call (251) 605-8100.

Belt test day. Lots of new colors!


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Kim and Alexa at NAGA


Corey Richardson and his winnings


Cassia, Eric Silver and Rickson Gracie in Miami


Seminar at Andy Workman's, Zanshin North-Franklin, Ohio

> November 28, 2011

November 11-13 was a big weekend for Zanshin Jiu-Jitsu. All of the academies got together for our winter seminar and to compete in the NAGA tournament held in Gallatin, TN. Bob Hillis, Zanshin South, brought his team from Georgia. Corey Richardson, Zanshin Gulf Coast, came with his team from Alabama, Andy Workman from Ohio and of course the regular Nashville team was present. Friday, started with a three hour group training session on tournament strategy and tactics. Saturday, everyone attended the tournament with medals going to Josh Murray, Chris Scheele, Bob Hillis (our first black-belt competitor), Shane Jones, John Beale and Tim Green. For many it was their first competition experience and everyone did very well, many bringing home gold medals their first time out.

Saturday afternoon we headed out to the Duck River (our secret training site) in Only, TN. Saturday night everyone settled in and we had a fundamental jiu-jitsu class after dinner. Sunday, we had beautiful weather and started off with an early jog to the river and where we warmed up in sunshine and a nice breeze. The Georgia group, aka, "Twisted Ankle Tribe", had a few walkers and limpers but they made it too. After a little rest and breakfast, we had class on improving base from standing and on the ground. After lunch we broke up into two groups; one went to the dome and reviewed for belt testing. The others stayed in the barn and worked on essential elements for completing submissions. That ended the day's classes at camp.

The testing group then headed back to Nashville. Tests started for blue stripe and blue belt around 4:30 and ended with all candidates passing their grades at about 9:00pm. It was a very full weekend and as always a lot was learned, new friendships were formed and Zanshin family got to share the passion that we all have for jiu-jitsu. Zanshin Dojo and all of the affiliated schools are made up of a very special group of people. We are not the largest group of practitioners on the planet, but everyone shows dedication to the art, to bettering themselves as people through training in martial arts, and most importantly, show caring about the people who make up our ZJJ family. It was a wonderful way to head into the winter and we all look forward to the next gathering in the spring.

Thanks especially to Bob Hillis who brought mats, room heaters and headed up the cleanup brigade. Also, congratulations to everyone who passed who was promoted: Andrew "Ariba!" Goldfein, Chris "Shorty" Scheele, Josh "Eye" Murray, Deanna "Fatty" Simms, Jonathan "Chill" Beale, Mike "Tiny" Linkous and Mike "Sideburn" Crawford.

Also promoted recently were Izzy Pregont and Devin Harper to purple belt in Wado Ryu karate, Collin Scheele to yellow belt in jiu-jitsu and Russell Holbrook to first stripe in jiu-jitsu.

Bob Hillis and Rodrigo Poderoso

Shane going for the gold

Shane Jones, Bob Hillis, Jonathan Beale and Tim Green

Base camp for the winter workout

Heading to the river

End of the day

Isabel Pregont and Devin Harper

> October 9, 2011

Zanshin Nashville, South, North and Gulf Shores will be gathering November 11th-13th for our annual winter training seminar. The weekend will include training at the Wooten Woods in Only, Tennessee, attending the NAGA tournament in Tennessee, reviewing our association changes and testing guidelines. More information will be available soon.

Winter Workout 2010


We now have Zanshin rash guards (while they last) and association patches (pic below). Call for more information.


> July 11, 2011

This has been a big week for us at the school. Don McIlhiney received his second degree black-belt in karate and Alvin Roland was promoted to first degree brown-belt. Saturday and Sunday we were visited by members of Zanshin South and Zanshin Gulf Coast. From Nashville, Josh Murray was promoted to blue-stripe, Bill Schultz to purple belt, and our newest affiliate, Corey Richardson from Mobile, AL (Zanshin Gulf Coast), received his brown stripe.

The big news from the weekend is that longtime student, Bob Hillis, was awarded his very well deserved black-belt! Bob started training at Zanshin Dojo in 1995 at our original location on Woodland Street. He was a part of our first competition team and was undefeated in his weight division for two years. After leaving Nashville, he started Zanshin South, in Warner Robins, GA. We're very proud of Bob who is the second person from our jiu-jitsu group that I have awarded a black-belt to. Derrick Reynolds who also started in 1995 was the first. Both Bob and Derrick are incredible people, dedicated martial artists who are both as kind to their friends and families as they are tough on the mat.

Zanshin is a special martial arts word which refers to a very high level of mental and spiritual awareness. It's the basis what and how we teach in our schools; how to become more aware of yourself in the world, realize how you impact others in the world around you, how to create positive changes and ultimately, make the world a better place.

Thanks to Derrick and Bob for helping to carry on this tradition.

Eric Silver

Bob Hillis, Eric Silver, Derrick Reynolds


Bob Hillis, Corey Richardson, Eric Silver, Derrick Reynolds


Members of Zanshin Dojo Nashville, Zanshin South and Zanshin Gulf Coast

> June 28, 2011

It's been awhile since we've had a news update. We've had recent wins by Isabel Pregont, Wes Grogan and Eddie Detvongsa at the Lutador tournament in Atlanta and Andy Workman at the Ohio Police and Fire Games submission-wrestling event. We're proud of everyone for their hard work and accomplishments! Congratulations are also in order for new blue-belts Isabel Pregont, Devin Harper and Jack DeLacotera and new orange belt, Kerry Balog.

We also want to welcome new Zanshin Jiu-Jitsu reps, Andrew Workman with Zanshin North Jiu-Jitsu in Franklin, Ohio and Corey Richardson in Mobile, Alabama. It's great to spread martial in the spirit that Zanshin Dojo has, since we started in 1992. It's always a pleasure to find people who have the same dedication to quality of the arts, the techniques, and the students that we try to maintain. Welcome everyone to our family.

Wes and Brayden Grogan and Lutador medalist, Isabel Pregont


Gi and no gi medalist Wes Grogan with Eric Silver


Ohio Police Games medalist Andy Workman with wife Amanda

> January 12, 2011

I am sad to announce that we have lost another dojo friend, Gary Claxton. Gary was one of the founding members of Zanshin Dojo’s jiu-jitsu school. He started with us in 1996 at the famed “Dungeon Dojo” on Woodland Street, along with Derrick Reynolds (black-belt) and Zanshin South's, Bob Hillis (brown-belt). Gary had previously trained in BJJ in California and eventually received his black-belt from William Vandry in Texas.

Gary was one of our most active competitors and along with Bob Hillis represented Zanshin Dojo at the first Rickson Gracie Invitational in Los Angeles. He originally moved to Nashville to pursue a music career. In 1999, he and his wife Mandy moved to Austin, TX, where he passed away on January 6, 2011. He had been singing in a popular Austin band called Heybale.

I remember Gary confiding in me after a big tournament that he was very frustrated that he had only come in second place. I thought he had done a great job and was proud of him but he was deeply concerned that he should have done better. But, that’s what makes a great martial artist or any high achiever for that matter, someone who is aware that they can always improve. Still competing, he won a gold medal at the No-Gi World Championships in 2009.

With Gary’s loss, I am reminded of the many gifts which are received every day, but that are so easily taken for granted. We must remember to express our respect and love for one another regularly, to always try to do our best, to be fully aware of the moments we are living and to truly participate in the lives we are given. It’s wonderful that so many of us have found the gift of training in martial arts and how being in the dojo gives us a feeling of being alive and a connection to who we are inside.

A few of the old-timers remember Gary as the little guy who choked big Mr. Reynolds into a mat-nap. Gary looked around as if he was thinking, “What have I done?!”  Little did he know, he had just initiated Mr. Reynolds into a life of jiu-jitsu. We will miss Gary, but fondly remember his fighting spirit and the smiles he brought those of us who were his friends.

Rest in peace Gary.

Bob Hillis, Eric Silver and Gary Claxton. Los Angeles, 1997

>December 8, 2010

On Saturday, December 4th, members of Zanshin Dojo and friends came together for a winter camp at the Wooten Woods in Only, TN. In addition to Zanshin Dojo, Nashville, students came from Zanshin South in Warner Robbins, GA, Three Rivers Martial Arts (Royce Gracie) in Paducah, KY and Workman Family Dojo in Franklin, Ohio. In the morning we warmed up by the Duck River.  Throughout the day, classes covered maximizing base and connection, self-defense and strike offense and defense in close range. The weather co-operated all day, just a little cold until the last class ended around dark. Then things started really chilling down.

The next day, belt tests were held for students from the Nashville and Warner Robbins schools. Everyone did well and left with new colors around their waists.

See below for photos from the weekend.


Training by the barn

Eric Silver and Derrick Reynolds

Eric Silver and Bob Hillis of Zanshin South

Hank Quillen demonstrating knife defense training in the dome

Working hip throws in the dome

Finishing a full day of training

Promotions (from left to right): Jason Vulcan, Chris Holbrook, Bob Hillis, Josh Millwood, John Thomson

>October 13, 2010

On Saturday, October 9th, Eric Silver was given an appreciation award by 7th degree black-belt, Luiz Palhares.

The award recognized Mr. Silver as being one of the first people to bring the art of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu to Tennessee. Mr. Silver started the first school of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in middle Tennessee in 1994 under Rickson Gracie and later became the sixth American ever awarded his black-belt by Mr. Gracie. Today, virtually every school in middle Tennessee is related to students who studied with Mr. Silver and Zanshin Dojo.

Eric Silver with Luiz Palhares
Eric Silver with Luiz Palhares

>August 6, 2010

August 6th, we lost a great friend in Boone High. Boone was an avid athlete who had played football, lacrosse, wrestling, and had been training in jiu-jitsu with us several years. He was very dedicated to Rickson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Zanshin Dojo, his family and friends. He was very respectful person, with a great sense of humor. He was currently attending the University of Tennessee at Knoxville studying sports medicine.

Boone was always kind and genuinely interested in others. He was very humble and incredibly passionate about life, especially when it came to metal bands and pro-wrestling. He always had a fighting/team spirit and brought smiles to our faces when he was around. He dealt with some serious health problems at a young age, but we never heard him complain. He loved life and preferred to "rock on!"

His Facebook statement said, "Love makes the world go around and I seek to help it keep spinning." At a time of life where many young people can be self-centered, he truly cared about his fellow man and wanted to spread good vibes and love. He was definitely a black-belt in that regard.

Through martial arts we try to learn to face difficult situations and handle them intelligently and with finesse. When we spar, compete or test for a belt, we have to face the unknown, the knowledge that it will be tough, with an unknown outcome. We try to breathe, think, feel and head things in the direction we'd like them to go, hopefully with an outcome in our favor. Likewise, as we train, we try to learn to make the best use of our time and energy, and to try to steer our lives towards a fulfilling experience with as much grace as possible. With Boone's passing, we are reminded that each moment we have is a gift, and that we should be giving, passionate and grateful as Boone was during his short time here.

In memory of Boone, we will annually be awarding a special, Boone High Achievement Award, to a student who demonstrates a high level of dedication to the dojo, martial arts and demonstrates outstanding attitude. Boone will be greatly missed but never forgotten.

I hope I can emulate the shining attitude and energy he gave us all.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Epilepsy Foundation of Middle and West Tennessee, 2000 Richard Jones Rd., Suite C-202, Nashville, TN 37215.

Eric Silver

Boone High with Rickson Gracie
Boone High with Rickson Gracie

> July 17, 2010

Congratulations to Eddie, Wes and Chris, who all placed in the EGO Tournament, July 17th in Nashville.

> July 12, 2010

Congratulations to the following students on their recent promotions!

  • In jiu-jitsu: Hank Quillen was promoted to brown belt and Andy Workman to blue belt.
  • In the kids class: Brayden Grogan and Isabel Pregont received their second yellow stripes, and Jacob, Clive and Hudson Pregont their first yellow stripes.
  • In karate: Rusty Miles and Alvin Roland, Jr. were promoted to 2nd degree brown belt, Ian Reynolds to blue belt, Isabel Pregont to second orange stripe and Silas Whinnery to yellow belt.
  • Worthy of mention, Eddie Detvongsa was downgraded to blue belt size 5 due to his recent success with weight loss!

    Good work everyone!

> May 31, 2010

On April 3rd we had a second visit from master, Rickson Gracie. Happily, Profesor Gracie’s visit coincided with the opening of our new school on Church Street, which definitely merited a grand opening.

After training with Rickson Gracie for over 16 years now, I’m still amazed each time we’re on the mat. Every time I learn new details and intricacies of the positions. I also enjoy watching those who haven’t had much or any time with him as their eyes open wide, seeing jiu-jitsu done by the best. They see how one small detail with a grip, hip movement or head position can change your whole game, your strategy, increase your submission effectiveness or prevent injuries.

I am always happy to see how Rickson’s presence unites people, as students from many schools and associations come to train and grow together. He commented that if we train properly and learn to do things with less effort and more effectiveness, that we can accomplish much more in life, and overall, be much more useful people to society. Agreed.

-Eric Silver

Here are some photos from Rickson Gracie's latest visit:

Rickson Gracie visit (pic 1 of 4)

Rickson Gracie visit (pic 2 of 4)

Rickson Gracie visit (pic 3 of 4)

Rickson Gracie visit (pic 4 of 4) - Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

> May 8, 2010


This past weekend, May 1st and 2nd, Nashville was hit by the worst rain and flooding in its history. In less than two days we received more than fifteen inches of rain and the Cumberland River, which runs through the city, crested at almost 52 feet, about 12 feet above normal.

Scores of vehicles were trapped on the interstates and city streets. Some cars, even houses floated away. Boats were mobilized to rescue people from roads, houses and stores where they were stranded. The Red Cross set up shelters for people who had nowhere to go. At least thirty people perished and many are still missing. Historic landmarks were under water, causing irreparable damage. Damage and loss so far is estimated at a billion and a half dollars. Many of our counties have been declared disaster areas and as you drive around now you see cars buried in debris and homes with all the contents laid outside to dry or be disposed of.

I have been touched by the kindness of our martial arts brothers. One of my best friends and brown-belt students, Bob Hillis, drove 350 miles from Georgia as soon as the highways were passable to bring equipment from his Servpro company to help dry out my office which flooded as well as our dojo. The students helped out and now our floors and mats are dry enough to resume regular classes. I received offers of assistance from BJJ friends in Memphis, Knoxville and Alabama, which was very, very much appreciated.

Such generous offers of help from students and friends have been almost as humbling as the power of the storm itself. We are blessed to share our martial arts training because it gives us the strength of body and mind to face lifes challenges and gives us a bond few can understand. And as weve seen here lately, at the end of the day, what matters is not what gets taken away from you, but what you give back. Thank you Bob and everyone who has helped us out.

If you wish to contribute to our relief efforts you can do so via www.redcross.org or www.hon.org.

Nashville Flood

Nashville Flood

Nashville Flood

Nashville Flood

> April 3, 2010

Rickson Gracie's Nashville Seminar, 2010 (link to article on adcombat.com) | Adobe PDF

> March 14, 2010

Zanshin Dojo has a new Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black-belt! Longtime student and instructor Derrick Reynolds was awarded his black-belt from Mr. Silver after fifteen great years of dedicated training. Since 1994, seven black-belts were awarded to previous Zanshin Dojo students but none within the school until Mr. Silver's promotion by Rickson Gracie in 2009. Derrick has always been the patient type, waiting five years just to test for his blue belt. He is, thankfully, our gentle "giant", has a passion for the Gracie self-defense methods and is a full time instructor in the school. He likes to recall that his baptism in BJJ was getting choked unconscious by a 150 pound student. This "religious" experience made him a believer in the effectiveness of jiu-jitsu and he's been hooked ever since. We are very, very proud of him and no one deserves this promotion more than him.

Our open house was this weekend and the school was full of special guests. Longtime Wado-Ryu karate instructor/competitor, Wayne Tyler, stopped by and BJJ black-belts Shawn Hammonds, Ray Cassius, Spencer Scrivner and members of their team dropped in to train. Jack Frost received a surprise promotion to his orange belt in karate, Bill Schultz received his blue-belt/purple stripe in jiu-jitsu and Hank Quillen was promoted to purple belt/brown stripe. We were also introduced to Brad and Amy Meyers new addition (and upcoming gold medalist), Gabriella Meyers. Don McIlhiney and Alvin Roland Jr. were given appreciation awards for their contributions to the school.

Mr. Silver place his tattered brown belt on permanent display along with the keys to his original karate school, the now demolished Bushido school and a pair of gloves from the first Pride MMA fight in Japan, a gift from Rickson Gracie. He explained that the belt he wore for seven years, is a reminder to focus on training, not on awards and promotions. The keys represent the door which he passed through to train thirty years ago, as the new students are doing now. The gloves are a reminder that Zanshin Dojo was practicing MMA (Vale Tudo) style fighting since the early days of it's appearance in the martial arts world.

Congratulations to everyone on their promotions and thanks to everyone who came and joined us for a momentous day!

Eric Silver talks to the students about the history of Zanshin Dojo...

...and his philosophies about teaching and carrying on martial arts traditions.

Alvin "The Beast" Roland accepts the gift of classic Wado-Ryu karate books.

A shocked Derrick Reynolds received his faixa preta (black-belt)!

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Introducing our fiercest new competitor, Isabel "Lightning" Pregont.

Imani Reynolds is proud of her daddy...

Who, after fifteen years of training is still no match for Mrs. Reynolds!

> March 2010 Newsletter:

first night of class in the new dojo
First night of class in the new dojo

After more than a year of searching for the right place, we have finally moved into our new school and for the first time in over ten years, our jiu-jitsu and karate classes are back under one roof. At our new home at Next Level Fitness, we have and new Swain tatame mats, a warm-up room with weights and heavy bag and showers. We owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who has assisted in getting the new school ready to open. I would particularly like to thank David Powell who went far beyond the call of duty in the personal time he's given.

Our schedule has expanded from four to nine classes per week. In addition to the regular karate and jiu-jitsu classes, we now have weekly self-defense and fitness classes. Derrick Reynolds and Hank Quillen will be assisting in teaching jiu-jitsu and Gary Townes, Don McIlhiney and Rusty Miles will be helping lead the karate classes.

This weekend (3/13/10), we’ll be having our GRAND OPENING PARTY and everyone is invited, friends and family included. Most exciting of all, Rickson Gracie has announced that he will stop in and do a class in our new facility on his way from Rio to LA where he will be coaching his son Kron in the Pan-Am Jiu-Jitsu tournament.

For those of us who have been part of Zanshin Dojo for many years, myself, Gary Townes and Derrick Reynolds, this has been a long awaited goal, to have our own school with full time access which Next Level Fitness has provided. Mr. Townes and I have trained together for twenty-nine years and Mr. Reynolds and I for fifteen. We have held classes in basements, backyards, parks, rooftops and garages. Of course, a dojo can be anywhere, even in your mind, but I'm very happy that we now have our own place to train and grow together.

-Eric Silver

Isabel 'Lightning' Pregont sparring 1 Isabel 'Lightning' Pregont sparring 2
Isabel 'Lightning' Pregont sparring...

> On October 3rd, Jordan Ballard took second place in the Louisville tournament. Hank Quillen won second place in the purple belt lightweight gi and master no gi in Knoxville on Saturday, October 17, 2009. Wesley Grogan won second place in the white belt middleweight division.

Congratulations guys!

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> Summer 2009 News:
This has been a very busy summer for everyone at Zanshin Dojo. The karate group has moved into our new beautiful room at the downtown YMCA and due to a large number of new members, we have added a children's class starring our new youngest, karateka, "Queen" Isabel Pregont (5). Recently Alvin "The Beast" Roland and Rusty Miles successfully completed their examinations for San-kyu (first level brown belt).

In jiu-jitsu we recently held belt tests for our Nashville dojo as well as affiliates from Georgia, Maryland and Ohio. There was a four hour review on Friday night followed by thirteen hours of tests on Saturday and two hours of rolling on Sunday. Everyone was had a great time and was adequately worn out.

Travis Powell was promoted to yellow belt. Andrew Workman, Jordan Ballard, Eddie Detvongsa, David Powell and Kenton Boutwell all received their promotions to blue stripe. Nick Johnson, Jason Massey and John Gilbert were promoted to blue belt. Instructors Bob Hillis and Scott Naugle from Georgia and Maryland respectively, were deservedly promoted to brown belt. Mr. Hillis and Naugle both run their own schools and are two of the oldest Zanshin Dojo students. In special mention, Derrick "Tiny" Reynolds, was promoted to black stripe (one level below black belt). Mr. Reynolds has been with the dojo now almost fifteen years and is as faithful and dedicated as one could hope to be. Professor Pedro Sauer once commented about him, "Thank God he's a nice guy!"

Congratulations to everyone and keep up the great work.

Finally, our Zanshin jiu-jitsu gi's have arrived and are available.

> Eric Silver receives his black-belt from Rickson Gracie! After training with the legendary Rickson Gracie since 1994, Eric Silver was awarded his black-belt last week in Nashville. He is now the sixth American (the only one outside of California) who has been awarded this rank directly from Rickson. Worldwide there are about twelve first generation Rickson black-belts. READ ARTICLE BY Kid Peligro in Adcombat News

Rickson Gracie was in Nashville doing his first open seminar in over ten years. The seminar was a huge success and had to be capped at just over two hundred students!

"Nothing is more soft and yielding than water. Yet for attacking the solid and strong, nothing is better. It has no equal."

-Lao Tzu

Next Level Fitness: 1917 Church Street  |  Nashville, TN 37203  |  (615) 485-2143  | zanshindojo@comcast.net

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