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Our Philosophy

Confidence. Strength. Street Smarts.

At Pella Brazilian Jiu Jitsu our aim is to bring high quality, accessible and affordable self defense sessions to the Pella and surrounding community. Our unique approach to combining traditional and innovative martial arts methods and techniques is what separates us from every other Martial Arts School you know.


Founded in 2021, our instructors have a wide range of expertise, and are here to train you through every step of the learning process. Whether you’re joining us as a beginner or a professional, there’s always more room to perfect your form. Browse our site to learn more.

A little about the head Instructor

Daniel Robbins is an Army veteran and has been practicing varied marital arts since the age of 13.  He began in his early teens to study Japanese martial arts under a dojo affiliated with Sensei Obata Toshishiro.  Inspired by the results of his first taste of martial arts, he pursued and attained black belts in Aikido, Shinkendo, and Toyama Ryu; all of which focus on battlefield style art in the age of the Samurai.  He then took a break from traditional martial arts to serve his country.  From 2008-2012 he served as a combat medic in the US Army, leading and training hundreds of soldiers.  He fought in two deployments, both to Afghanistan, and was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor for his life saving actions during his first deployment.  He was honorably discharged as a highly decorated Sergeant.  Once returning to the civilian life he resumed his passion in martial arts, this time training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under the style of Saulo Ribero. He also completed his Bachelors of Science from Upper Iowa University.  In 2016 Daniel was able to spend an entire year training at the University of Jiu Jitsu in San Diego, CA.  There he focused on honing his skills, training multiple times each day with world champions.  During that year he also attended the National Personal Training Institute, and received certification as a Personal Trainer under the National Academy of Sports Medicine. In 2019 Daniel spent about a year training at Victory MMA in San Diego under Jocko Willink and Dean Lister.  In 2023 he received his Black belt from his original BJJ instructor, Jason Clarke of Iowa City Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Daniel is very passionate about BJJ and combat martial arts and enjoys being on the mats training and teaching. 


Get to Know Us

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Mattew Trout

Assistant BJJ Coach

Matthew Trout started training BJJ around 6 years old. While growing up, my family and I would visit my older sister, Missy, every summer in Maine. Missy and her Husband Noel owned their own BJJ gym and I would train there for a week every summer. Unfortunately, there were no BJJ gyms around my hometown back in Iowa so I could not continue my training regularly.It wasn’t until many years later when I was in the U.S. Army and stationed at Camp Casey, S. Korea, that I found my love for BJJ again. My roommate, Cody, a blue belt at the time, asked if I rolled before and if I would be interested in training BJJ. I told him I had done some training before but nothing extensive. We trained with a small BJJ club at the next Camp over. The club was a hand full of Soldiers training in an abandoned racket ball court and trained extremely hard! I got destroyed by everyone there. The 135 lbs white belt crushed me, but I was hooked.Eventually the Korean gym staff kicked us out of that Gym for being too “loud”. But we found an amazing location at a CrossFit Gym on Camp Casey and continued our training.I competed in my first competition ever in Seoul S. Korea. I was very scared and had no idea what I was doing. But it was an amazing experience. I would tell anyone thinking about competing to just do it! You will not regret your decision and it will improve your BJJ!I was then stationed at Fort Sill, OK, where I continue training at Ricardo Calvacanti BJJ in Lawton, OK. There I competed in a Grappling Industries BJJ tournament in Oklahoma City and an Army Combatives tournament at Fort Sill. I was then sent back to Camp Casey where I continued my training under Kris Kim.Back in S. Korea, I competed in 2 more tournaments and eventually earned my blue belt from Mr. Charles Brissette, under Kris Kim, in November of 2019. Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit and shut down many gyms across the world.After returning to the United States in mid 2020. I decided to leave Active Duty in order to spend more time with my growing family. We moved back home to Iowa in June of 2020 where I was offered the job of being an Iowa Army National Guard Recruiter.Unfortunately, just like before as a young kid. There were still no BJJ gyms near where I lived in Pella Iowa. I would commute 2 hours in the morning, three times a week to be able to train at No Coast BJJ in Des Moines, IA. After 6 months of this I had to find another option as it was taking a toll on my body.With the help of my friends David and Daniel Robbins, we started our own gym in Pella! In typical BJJ fashion, this dream of ours started in my garage and eventual has became Pella BJJ!Pella means “City of Refuge” and Pella BJJ has been a refuge for many people in the area, including myself, seeking something more than just your typical workout. BJJ is the total mind/body connection and is heavily community based. Like many other Veterans, BJJ has been a positive coping mechanism that has helped me get through tough times. In spring of 2023 Matt earned his Purple Belt under Daniel Robbins.

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Ashley Robbins

Assistant BJJ / Women's Only Instructor

Ashley has been training in BJJ and Muay Thai since 2011.  Ashley completed her Computer Science degree at Central College in spring of 2023.  Ashley is an avid out door enthusiast and enjoys dirt biking, mountain biking, hiking with her two dogs, archery, paddle boarding, weight lifting, and just about any other activity she can fit into a day.  Ashley is currently a Purple Belt and enjoys teaching both BJJ and Muay Thai.

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Rylan Prist

Judo Coach



            Rylen Priest is a judo black belt of the 1st degree. He started training at the age of 9 in 2010 in Altoona, Iowa in the garage of his instructor Brett Parkhill. He trained with Sensei Parkhill at what is now Des Moines Judo and Sambo for 8 years reaching the 1st degree of black in 2018. He hastrained in several grappling sports including Sambo and Jiu Jitsu, but Judo hasbeen his main source of experience.

Rylan earned his Blue belt in BJJ Oct 2022

judo, kickboxing, boxing, martal arts, bjj, jiu jitsu, karate, tumbling, football, wrestling, grappling, basketball, baseball, pella

Matt Struecker

Wrestling Coach

Matt Struecker is a Marine Corps Veteran who severed from 1997- 2006 and currently is a Lieutenant with the Iowa State Patrol. He began wrestling when he was 8 years old and fell in love with the sport immediately. Matt continued to wrestle throughout high school and joined the Marine Corps after graduation. While in the Marine Corps Matt served in an infantry unit as well as a Scout Sniper Platoon.
During his time in the Marine Corps Matt has held various leadership billets and trained hundreds of Marines. Matt served as a Marine Corps Instructor of Water Survival and also went on multiple deployments including combat deployment to Iraq. Matt left military service as a Staff Sergeant and began work as a State Trooper after attending Simpson College. Throughout Matt’s time with the State Patrol he has served in many rolls and instructor assignments to include: Honor Guard, Riot Control Instructor, Taser Instructor, ASP Baton Instructor, Defensive Tactics Instructor, Drill Instructor, Physical Fitness Instructor Tactical Team Member & amp; Assistant Team Leader, Sniper, Rappel Master, Chemical Munitions Instructor, Less lethal Instructor, Gracie Survival Tactics instructor, and many other law enforcement training events. Matt has volunteered as a wrestling coach for Knoxville’s youth wrestling
program for several years. Matt currently serves in the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s professional Development Bureau where he oversees the training academy and training for the Department of Public Safety. Matt earned his Blue belt in Oct 2022.

judo, kickboxing, boxing, martal arts, bjj, jiu jitsu, karate, tumbling, football, wrestling, grappling, basketball, baseball, pella

Brett Dalton

Wrestling Coach

 Brett is an Air Force veteran of 22 years.  He served his time on active duty traveling the world.  Brett has 10 plus years of competitive Freestyle and Folkstyle wrestling.  Brett spent 1 year as a Kids Wrestling Club Assistant in Okinawa Japan, and spent 2 years training in a Mixed Service Grappling Club in Okinawa Japan. Brett earned his BJJ Blue belt in Spring 2023.

judo, kickboxing, boxing, martal arts, bjj, jiu jitsu, karate, tumbling, football, wrestling, grappling, basketball, baseball, pella

David Robbins

Kids BJJ Instructor

David is a Retired Sargent First Class of the Active Army and Iowa National Guard with 17 years of Combat Infantry experience. He deployed to Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne in 2010-2011. Awarded the Combat Infantry Badge(CIB), Expert Infantry Badge(EIB), and the Sliver German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge(GAFPB). Recently he was granted the Distinguished member of the Regiment from the 327th Combat Infantry Brigade. 
His last position with the Iowa National Guard was teaching new members of the Iowa Guard and preparing them for Basic Training. He has currently competed several times and trains often. David earned his Blue belt in Spring 2023.

House Rules

Proper Etiquette

At Pella Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, rules and conduct are important. Shoes must be removed upon entering the studio. Class begins on time and punctuality is a core part of our belief in discipline and respect. If you are late, please go directly to the dressing room and promptly change into your uniform. When you are ready, quietly sit at the back of the room until the instructor formally invites you to join the class.

For safety reasons, please make sure that all jewelry and other accessories are left in the dressing room. Mobile phones can be brought to class but turning the ringer off or to quite.  Living rolling will only be allowed for students who have trained for at least 3 months or on a case by case biases.  Let’s work together to create a successful training session!



Building the Family

  1. Brotherhood: Instructors shall reinforce the family spirit among students, parents, and other instructors. Their attitude must always be positive and cooperative in order to channel their creative energy towards the strengthen and the growth our family, always putting the team in front of individual selfish needs.

  2. Cooperation: Instructors shall nurture and reinforce a cooperative environment inside and outside the dojo. They must ensure that the competitive realm is restricted to tournaments as well as the competitor attitude. They must make the students understand that progress is not reflected on their ability to overcome a training partner or an competitive opponent, but rather reflected on their capacity to engage on a cooperative training experience were the winner is whoever learns more.

  3. Discipline: Instructors shall constantly discipline the students but never punish them. They must make students understand that without discipline there is no mastery, neither in Jiu-Jitsu nor in life, and that without the willingness to sacrifice, excellence is just not possible.

  4. Respect: Instructors shall reinforce that students must act with warmth and equality toward one another, regardless of their differences in race, creed, gender, nationality, etc. The belt ranks hierarchy must be respected and the authority of the Black Belt sincerely recognized.

  5. Continuous Improvement and Growth: Instructors shall reinforce that Jiu-Jitsu is a life long journey with no ending point. Students must perceive the Black Belt as their minimum goal and that their progress represents an increasing commitment to their growth as Jiu-Jitsu practitioners and human beings.

  6. Leadership: Instructors shall lead by example, kindness and care. The formal authority shall always supported by their moral authority built upon a positive, cooperative, and constructive attitude towards the students and other instructors.

  7. Inspiration: Instructors shall understand their importance in students lives as role models, as well as their responsibility in bringing out the best each person has within.

  8. Enjoyment: Instructors shall teach a class as a privilege and never take it as a burden. Each class is the realization of a dream, the instructor life’s work. They must enjoy every minute of it and teach like it was going to be their last opportunity to change students lives for better.

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