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Founded January 2015 by Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Alex Embry And  Brown Belt Dan Hart – Alpha BJJ believes In The Core Concepts Jiu Jitsu.  While every aspect of jiu jitsu is important and valid; competition, self-defense, and mixed martial arts fighting, it is the core fundamental art that is central to all of them.  This art can be transmitted to anyone, regardless of their athletic attributes.   

It is this attitude that drives Alpha BJJ.  We strive to offer a low stress learning environment, welcoming to anyone, who wants to learn the art of jiu jitsu regardless of their reasons for doing so.  It is our goal to offer highly technical, effective, and safe instruction of the highest caliber.



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The concept of techniques based on leverage and angles, not physical attribute, became the core principle of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or BJJ. To prove how effective their art was, the Gracie family issued an open challenge to anyone who doubted the applicability of BJJ in a real fight. These challenges, known as “Vale Tudo” (Portuguese for “anything goes”) matches, would become the precursors of today’s MMA competitions.

The Gracie family fame quickly rapidly as their art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu performed admirably in these challenge matches. In 1993, Helio’s eldest son, Rorion engineered the first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in the United States. This was seen as a means to exhibit the effectiveness of the art, and not the practitioner. As such, one of the smallest of the Gracie clan, Royce, was chosen to represent the entire family. To the surprise of many viewers, Royce won three of the first four UFCs, and in the process defeated opponents up to 80 pounds heavier than he was. This success, and effectiveness of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, caused many martial artists to think about the ground fight in a new light as well as how it applies to a realistic combat situation.

The growth of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu since the first UFC has been unrivaled in the history of martial arts. BJJ remains a staple of MMA training, competitions in BJJ have reached professional levels, and practitioners interested in self-defense have embraced it as a valid, effective methodology. Here at Alpha BJJ, we are proud to be a part of such an amazing history and tradition.


Pekiti-Tirsia Kali (PTK) is an indigenous fighting style of Filipino martial art founded in 1897 by the Tortal family. The current head of the system is Leo Tortal Gaje, Jr. who is referred to as the Grand Tuhon. Pekiti-Tirsia is strictly a combat-oriented system that focuses on the knife and sword for killing and has been adopted by elite Philippine military and law enforcement units. It is a close-range blade fighting art that relies on systematized geometry and specialized footwork to control timing and range to defeat an adversary.

In PTK there is less emphasis on purely defensive techniques than in other martial arts, as this is not seen as an effective strategy to win confrontations and remain safe. The strength of PTK is in offense and counter offense with the goal of winning confrontations without mutual destructions that are common other weapon arts. Pekiti-Tirsia Kali practitioners believe “that how effective it was, is how effective it is today.” Training methods in PTK are live, fluid, and focused on learning to flow. This allows for a rapid progression from form and theory to drilling and application.

This builds a practitioner who is exposed at the outset of their training to an ongoing progression that builds real familiarity with the blade and its use at fight pace while under stress. Gaje introduced the system to the United States in 1972 and PTK would go on to influence the Dog Brothers, the Inosanto Blend of kali, and other FMA practitioners. At Alpha, our PTK program is a proud Charter under the RFA Academy of Addison Illinois and Tuhon Paul Ingram who has taken the time to share this phenomenal art with us at Alpha.

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We are proud to offer self defense and martial arts training to kids from ages 6 and up to encourage self discipline, confidence, and physical fitness.kids2kids1


Alex Embry - Head Instructor


Alex Embry has 25 years of experience in the martial arts. His current focus is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in which he holds a black belt under Prof. Mike Budnik. In addition to this, he holds multiple black belts in two separate forms of kempo under the auspices of the United States Black Belt Association.

While exploring other arts, Alex has also earned Apprentice Level Instructor certification in Jeet Kune Do, the art created by Bruce Lee, under Professor Roy Harris. He is also a Junior Level Shootfighting Instructor in the ISFA where he competed in this art. In addition to his instructor credentials, Alex had spent extensive time studying other combat arts including Pekiti Tirisa Kali which he studies under Paul Ingram of the RFA Academy.

Alex competed in the first mixed martial arts events that exploded after the early UFCs and he continued to train in that methodology for several years at multiple facilities including No Joke MMA and the Hackney Combat Academy. This coupled with his Bachelor’s Degree in Athletic Training/ Sports Medicine has given Alex a unique perspective on the martial arts.

Alex works as a police officer for the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department and is the lead officer for the Firearms Training Unit there as well as the Control Tactics Cadre in addition to serving on the SWAT team. This worldview has shaped his views on tactics and the reality of interpersonal conflict.

Dan Hart - Fundamentals Instructor

Dan Hart

Henry Akins Hidden Jiu Jitsu Black Belt. Bronze Medalist 2018 NoGi World Championships Brown Belt- Silver Medalist 2019 Pan Am Championships Brown Belt –Fundamentals Instructor At AlphaBJJ. Dan Doesn’t Just Teach Fundamentals, It Is What He Practices.  Dan Focuses His Jiu Jitsu on Simple Pressure based Basics. Referring To His Jiu Jitsu As “Old School”.  Dan Competes regularly and Fought As A Amateur MMA Fighter In The XFO, Amassing a 3-0 Record Before Stepping Away To Focus On Jiu Jitsu.

Dan Owns Wanderlust Gi Producing Travel Gi’s, As Well As Wanderlust Grappling, Hosting Super Fights And Tournaments. Dan Is Also A Former Elected Member Of The Woodstock City Council, And Owns Several Local Restaurants. He Wears Zubaz On Sunday’s.

Mark Millare - Kids Instructor


Mark Millare studies Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Alex Embry of the Budnik Jiu Jitsu Affiliation. Mark wrestled throughout middle and high school, and has been training martial arts for the last five years. He holds a purple belt through Alpha Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Mark also trains Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts. Mark holds a record of 2-1 as an amateur MMA fighter.

Mark graduated from Northern Illinois University in 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health with an emphasis in Health Promotion. He currently works at Centegra Hospital in Woodstock as a Financial Counselor and a Certified Nursing Assistant at Fair Oaks Health Care Center in Crystal Lake.

Mark hopes to provide a fun and safe environment for his students so they can confidently train and grow their skill set.


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