Master Danny Ives
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. 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. When I watched my first UFC Event that’s when I 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.
Some of Master Danny’s Accomplishments Include:
- 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