Meet the Staff

The Maryville Jiu Jitsu staff is dedicated to providing world-class Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, self-defense, and fitness training.

Owner/Head Instructor Joseph Watson

Head instructor at Maryville Jiu Jitsu, Joseph Watson is a Brown Belt under multiple time world champion Samuel Braga, and a world class competitive jiu jitsu player.

His accomplishments include:

-Atlanta Open 2x heavyweight Champion

-Atlanta Open ultimate (open weight) Champion

-Atlanta Open middle heavyweight Champion

-Chicago Open heavyweight Champion

-Charlotte Open heavyweight Champion

-Competed multiple times in the IBJJF World Championships

Watson is an esteemed coach and has multiple years of experience teaching kids and adults his unique style in a world class academy – Gracie Barra Knoxville.

He has been practicing, teaching, and competing in jiu jitsu for close to a decade.  Watson transitioned from a successful football player here at Maryville High School to a full-time jiu jitsu athlete.  Watson found very quickly this would become a huge part of his life and then dedicated himself, through hard work and determination, to becoming a world class jiu jitsu practitioner.

Now, having just graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Business Administration, Watson is excited to share his knowledge of the amazing art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu through his passionate, fundamentals-based, infectious teaching style.

Owner/Wrestling Instructor Johnathan Knight

Assistant instructor at Maryville Jiu Jitsu, Johnathan Knight is a Purple Belt under multiple time world champion Samuel Braga. Before beginning his Jiu Jitsu journey, Johnathan was an accomplished wrestler.

His accomplishments include:

-2x Alabama High School Wrestling State Champion (2000, 2001)

-Selected as Alabama’s Most Valuable Wrestler (2001)

-High School Wrestling All-American (2001)

-Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award – National Wrestling Hall of Fame (2001)

-Alabama High School Wrestling State Runner-Up (1999)

In addition to his 20+ years of experience as both a wrestler and wrestling instructor, Johnathan has been working for almost three years, with kids and adults, to spread his wrestling based jiu jitsu style at a world class academy – Gracie Barra Knoxville.

As an instructor at Maryville Jiu Jitsu, Johnathan brings a unique and interesting resume, in addition to his jiu jitsu and wrestling skill set. Mr. Knight is presently employed as a project and logistics manager for a very successful nationwide engineering firm, and previously served in the US Navy as a Nuclear Power Systems Instructor. Finally, Mr. Knight is a loving husband and father of three children (all of which train and compete in jiu jitsu). Johnathan considers this role to be his most important, and most rewarding.

Professor Samuel Braga

Samuel Braga is owner and head instructor at Gracie Barra Knoxville, and he serves as Professor for both Joseph Watson, and Johnathan Knight. Maryville Jiu Jitsu is an affiliate school of Mr. Samuel Braga.

Samuel, raised in Brazil, first started his martial arts career at the age of seven, beginning with Taekwondo. He won many tournaments as a Taekwondo fighter, and eventually earned his black belt.

Following a brief break from martial arts, Samuel returned to fighting when he was introduced to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

It was clear from the beginning that Samuel would be a world class jiu jitsu practitioner.  Under legendary coach Vinicius “Draculino” Magalhaes, Samuel won world titles at the various belt rankings, including black belt, before moving to east Tennessee to start his own jiu jitsu school.

Now, as an 8x World Champion, Professor Braga continues to train and teach at Gracie Barra Knoxville. Joseph Watson, and Johnathan Knight are proud members of this school.