Instructors

At Ivey League MMA, our mission is simple: Give you the best mixed martial arts experience possible, period.

To help speed up your progress, we offer people of all ages and abilities an unmatched world-class facility conveniently located in the heart of Annapolis, flexible training hours, open seven days a week, and state-of-art equipment.

But, it’s our outstanding instructors that make Ivey League MMA a step above the rest. They’re the reason Ivey League has grown to the level it’s at today.

Our instructors are some of the most highly-decorated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and Wrestling champions. But, their #1 passion is simply getting on the mat with you and teaching you one-on-one how to you reach all of your goals.

Whether you’re looking for a new and exciting way to lose those stubborn pounds and inches and get in the best shape of your life or you want to be totally transformed into a competitive and devastating MMA fighting machine, our instructors are here to serve you.

At Ivey League MMA, you’ll always feel welcome and supported by every one of our instructors. That’s because we are a martial arts team and a family.

That means we make it our business to take care of you from the second you walk in our doors. It’s just what we do.

Let’s meet the coaching staff of Ivey League Mixed Martial Arts…

Danny Ives – Head Instructor and Founder

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I started my mix martial arts journey a long time ago back in Philly, when I was about 10 years old.

I grew up in a pretty rough part of the city, a place where street fights and violence were a part of everyday life.

I was obsessed with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and thought that martial arts were so cool. I begged my mom to sign me up for Karate classes at the local rec center.

She agreed and my life was forever changed. The moment I threw my first kick I was hooked. I knew this was for me.

Training in the Martial Arts gave me a sense of purpose, a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

And while other kids I knew in the neighborhood fell into the same old traps that bad areas set, like drugs and crime, martial arts kept me on the right track.

I started out with Karate, then soon moved on to Boxing and Kickboxing, then I watched my first UFC Event and discovered MMA and the art of Brazilian “Gracie” Jiu Jitsu.

I loved MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and because of this, I trained very hard and tried to be the best I could be.

As a way to challenge myself further, I started to compete in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Grappling tournaments as often as possible.

I did very well, winning almost all major BJJ/Grappling competitions in the United States including the prestigious Pan American Games in 2001.

Around the same time I was experiencing lots of success competing I’d also started to teach some MMA classes on the side.

I took up teaching martial arts mostly for fun and extra money, money I needed to help pay for travel and training in places like Brazil, California and Mexico City.

I didn’t know it at the time but I found out I had a passion for teaching MMA. I really enjoyed teaching others what I’d learned.

I enjoyed seeing them learn the techniques and at the same time get better. I even had one student make it all the way to the UFC and win, that was pretty cool.

So between teaching, fighting in MMA and competing in BJJ tournaments I kept quite busy.

But no matter how busy I became I never lost sight of my long term goal: Opening my own mixed martial arts school.

The question then became: Where would I open this MMA Academy at?

One thing lead to another and when it was all said and done, I ended up in Annapolis Maryland. I’d actually come to Annapolis to watch the Navy vs. Lehigh Wrestling meet.

I’d never been to this part of Maryland and I was impressed at how nice it was.

I asked some of the locals if they knew of any places or gyms that taught MMA classes. They told me that there wasn’t anything like MMA in the area at all.

That’s all I needed to hear. The following day I drove up to Baltimore and did the paperwork, Ivey League MMA was born.

I opened Ivey League Mixed Martial Arts in March of 2008 and never looked back. Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with so many great people, people of all walks of life.

I’m proud to call Annapolis my home and the home of Ivey League. I honestly can’t imagine us being anywhere else but here.

–Danny Ives

Some of Danny’s Accomplishments:

  • Undefeated Professional MMA Fighter
  • 2001 Pan Am Gold Medalist in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
  • 25x NAGA Grappling Champion
  • 3x Grapplers Quest Champion
  • 3x NAGA Superfight Champion,’98,’02,’03
  • Victory at Valley Forge Superfight Champion, ’03
  • Grapplemania Champion, ’03
  • Mission Submission Champion ’07
  • Midwest Grappling Classic Superfight Champion ’09
  • California Open BJJ Champion, ’99
  • Pennsylvania Open BJJ Weight Champion, ’98
  • NYC Grappling Open Champion, ’99

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You Can Rest Assured Knowing You’ll Be Learning MMA From Coaches That Have actually Fought In The Cage! Pictured Here is Owner Danny Ives

Teresa Ives – Kids, Boot Camp Fitness & Kickboxing Instructor

Miss Teresa showing off her blue belt "belt".

Miss Teresa showing off her blue belt “belt”.

Teresa Ives got involved with in martial arts in 2007 after being introduced to the sport during a trip to Japan. Soon after that trap, she ended up moving to Annapolis Maryland and from there joined Ivey League Mixed Martial Arts.

Along with joining Ivey League she also met Danny Ives, who was also new to the area. They both fell in love. After many years of dating Danny and Teresa got married on March 1st 2013. They’ve been running Ivey League together now for 6+ years.

As a fighter, Teresa has done very well for herself, producing wins in Muay Thai Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) and NoGi Grappling events.

Teresa Ives trains and coaches both kids and adults and has headed up our JR’s “Teenage” level classes from the very beginning. As a coach she trained Ivey League’s first ever Pan Kids BJJ Champion in Alexia Lara.

Teresa knows that a good martial arts education for children offers much more than the typical after school activity or club sports program and that’s one of the reasons she really enjoys working with the kids.

When it comes to teaching and working with adults Teresa also excels. She teaches both Boot Camp and Kickboxing classes to men and women and her classes are always packed with happy students.

Come in and take one of her classes and you’ll see first hand what makes her classes so well attended.

Brandon Davis – Kickboxing Instructor


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Brandon “Thor” Davis is one of Muay Thai coaches here at Ivey League as well as one of our active competitors. He is currently selling toy soldiers for a company called Battlefront Miniatures.

Thor is a local here in the Annapolis area as he grew up right down the road from Ivey League in Severna Park. He has been training martial arts since the age of 10 and has a black belt in Tae-Kwon-Do.

He has always had a passion for martial arts and through out the years dipped into several different kinds and finally falling in love with Muay Thai and MMA.

After graduating high school and finally receiving his black belt in Tae-Kwon-Do Thor was ready to move onto learn Muay Thai and MMA.

After trying out ALL the schools in the area at the time he landed at Ivey League and has been here ever since where he eventually started teaching and even received his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Thor has been teaching here at Ivey League for about a year now and has brought a “fundamentals first”, fun, hard working approach to teaching his classes and really tries to help his students achieve their goals whatever they are.

Thor has his own goals of becoming a pro fighter, earning his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and at some point opening his own gym.

David Miller – Strength & Conditioning/Boot Camp Coach

Coach Dave Miller of Ivey League MMA

Coach David Miller is one of the strength and conditioning coaches here at Ivey League MMA. He is currently on active duty serving in the United States Army.

During his 13 year career in the Army he has deployed numerous times to various combat zones throughout the world. David has also been responsible for the physical training of Soldiers as they prepare for deployment.

The intense workout routines he develops for his Soldiers ensure they are physically and mentally able to endure the rigors of combat.

Since joining Ivey League David has brought a high level of motivation, enthusiasm, and dedication to the team. He genuinely cares about all the students at the school.

Ivey League is not just a place for David to help others get in shape and prepare for whatever their goals are. He trains Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as well.

David’s son and daughter also train, so for the Millers it is a family affair. David’s goals are to fight MMA, eventually earn his black belt in Jiu Jitsu, and open his own gym one day.

He is currently in the process of establishing his own strength and conditioning business to further help the students at Ivey League achieve their goals and anyone else who just wants to live a healthier lifestyle

Chrissy Lorance – Kids Instructor

Miss C was introduced to martial arts when she met her fiancé. She was a little unsure and not sure it was for her.

So she continued her boring workouts at home by herself until her good friend Suzanne Schrouter Stevens convinced her to come try out the Woman’s Only kickboxing at Ivey league MMA.

She was nervous and clumsy but fell in love with it! She continued and joined the woman’s boot camp.

She then signed her 6 yr old son Nate up for the little ninjas class and he also fell in love not only with MMA but the warm family atmosphere at Ivey League.

Miss C has worked with kids for years , and has a true passion for it. She was a private nanny for quite some time and looking for a change but still wanted to do what she loved which was work one on one with Kids.

So he joined our team as Parent liaison for our amazing after – school kids program.

Laith Hyali – Brazilian Jiu Jitsu/MMA Instructor

Our favorite instructor Laith is clearly a very spiritual fella as you can see in this pic.

Our favorite instructor Laith is clearly a very spiritual fella as you can see in this pic.

Laith is a seasoned Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Blue Belt and one of our newest instructors here at Ivey League. He’s by far one of our most dedicated students, both on and off the mats.

He possess a firm understanding and appreciation of the basic techniques of BJJ and is able to proficiently convey them to both new (Beginner) and experienced level students.

Coach Laith’s academic and professional training was focused on the Social Sciences and Human Services. Those experiences have undoubtedly contributed to his analytical approach to learning and teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

He possess a keen ability to relate to and provide each student with what they need. Coach Laith derives satisfaction from teaching and helping others and is always working to improve both himself and his training partners.

Miss Katniss C.

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Katniss is seen here celebrating her gold medal victory at the Atlanta Open.

Katniss got started with martial arts and Ivy League at the age of 12 through a close friend who begged her to give the classes a try.

It didn’t take long for her to fall in love with the training and more specifically, the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which she has excelled in.

Since that time Katniss has moved through the ranks of BJJ and in August 2014 she was promoted to the rank of Blue Belt by Master Danny Ives.

Not only is Katniss an outstanding students, both at Ivey League and in high school, she’s also a super coach.

Katniss now works part time at Ivey League, helping to teach the Little Ninjas and JR’s fundamental classes.

There’s no doubt Katniss is a big part of the success our kids program enjoys. She says Ivey League has become family to her and we’re proud to call this amazing young lady “family”.

Chrissy Smith – Kids Instructor

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Don’t be fooled, this blonde young lady is one of the best kids MMA instructors in the world!

Miss Chrissy Smith started her martial arts journey about three years ago and has been with Ivey league from the start. She spent her childhood in and out of every sport and activity from Cheerleading to High school wrestling.

She actively trains in both our adult Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Kickboxing programs. She also competes in Grappling/BJJ tournament, local and nationally. She also plans to start competing in Boxing event as well.

Miss Chrissy plans to bring in even more medals for Ivey League MMA in the very near future. She also plans to start competing in Boxing event as well.

Even though she likes training with the adults at the end of the day working with children is her real passion. And we assure you she’s amazing with kids.

She heads up our 3 to 4 year old age group we call the “Tiny Ninjas”. Anyone who’s ever worked with kids this young knows It’s anything but easy. However, Miss Chrissy makes it look easy. Her classes are fun, interactive and effective.

The kids love her and she really enjoys seeing these young kids grow through the years with their martial arts training. In fact, many of the children she’s worked with have gone on to win many major tournaments all across the United States.

Ask any parent of a child her at Ivey League and they’ll tell you in the blink of an eye that Miss Chrissy is special. We’re lucky to have her on staff that’s for sure.

Nick Kisner – Boxing Coach

Our Boxing Coach, Nick Kisner

Our Boxing Coach, Nick Kisner

Nick Kisner is our head Boxing coach for students and fighters. Born and raised south Baltimore, MD (Brooklyn). He’s a 5th generation boxer, following in his fathers footsteps.

Nick’s father, Danny Kisner, also serves as his head trainer and his been throughout his whole career.

Nick started competing in Boxing at 8 years old, and by the end of his amateur career, had finished with 120 bouts with a 91-29 record.

During his amateur career he was an 8-time national champion, as well as a member of the USA international Boxing team that competed at the world championships in Mexico.

Nick turned Professional at 18 years old, and currently holds a record of 14-2-1, and is coming off a world title eliminator bout.

As of this writing, Nick’s ranked #14 in North America in his division. Boxing is his passion, and he loves to teach Boxing, just as much as he loves doing it.

Since coming to Ivey League MMA Nick’s coaching has made a huge impact in our striking program.

Hopefully you’ll have a chance to work with Coach Nick during one of your classes. We’re lucky to have him on board with our Ivey League Family.

Pictured here you see Nick Boxing his way to another championship title.

Pictured here you see Nick Boxing his way to another championship title.

Sarah Garlington – New Student Consultant & Counselor

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Ms. Sarah began her journey with Ivey League in 2012 when she walked in our doors to sign her then 11 year old son, Michael up for a 30-day trial.

Her son instantly fell in love with the world of BJJ and Ms. Sarah found herself sitting in the parent waiting area 5 to 6 days a week while her son trained in classes.

It was then that she decided to make the most of her time and joined the Women’s Bootcamp program while her son was training.

She quickly began to gain the strength and confidence to try the Muay Thai program as well and became a member herself. She now trains in Muay Thai and participates in the Bootcamp Program.

Since then her other son, Sean and her husband, Jon have joined team Ivey League Now, with her entire family as members of ILMMA, Ms. Sarah has joined the staff as our New Student Consultant to assist other families just like hers in getting involved in martial arts.

She has literally been part of every aspect of the journey a new student takes from the moment they walk in the door to the day they enroll to become part of the Ivey League family.

Whether you’re a parent looking for martial arts for your child or you’re an adult looking to begin training, Ms. Sarah has personally been through the process and can guide you to becoming part of our training team.

You can also find her in our Pro Shop for any of your training gear or apparel needs and working with our After School students as a counselor during the school year.

Ms. Sarah has personally experienced what martial arts can do for a person and their family and she wants to do help other families experience the same satisfaction.

Joe Huggins – Kids Instructor

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Born and raised on the south side of Chicago, IL, Joe Huggins began training in martial arts at the age of 19 as a midshipman on the Naval Academy Boxing team.

While on the team, he was exposed to rigorous training provided by some of the best boxers in the United States Navy and Marine Corps.

Joe competed in the Brigade Boxing Championships during both his freshman and sophomore year at the Naval Academy.

After being medically discharged and released of his obligation to the U.S. Navy, Joe turned his attention to strengthening his martial arts foundation and expanding his fighting repertoire.

He committed to training at Ivey League in March of 2015and has worked hard to improve himself every day during his time here.

Joe eagerly accepted the challenges of learning Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in order to develop his skills as a mixed martial artist and he now has goals of making MMA his career.

Eventually, Joe went from being just a student to being a staff member here at Ivey League, also.

As a summer camp and after school instructor, Joe uses what he learns as a student to assist in the Little Ninjas and JR’s classes.

Joe loves working with kids and not just helping them develop into great athletes but helping them develop into great people and leaders this world needs.