Meet The Team
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.
Competition BJJ Insturctor
Matthew Trout started training BJJ with the U.S. Army while stationed at Camp Casey, S. Korea in 2018. My roommate, Cody, invited me to train and even gave me one of his GIs. We trained in a small abandoned racket ball court in the Camp. Later that year, I competed in my first BJJ competition in Seoul, S. Korea. I was then stationed at Fort Sill, OK, where I continue training at Ricardo Calvacanti BJJ in Lawton, OK. There I competed in a multiple BJJ tournaments and Army Combatives tournaments. I was then sent back to S. Korea in 2019 where I continued my training under Kris Kim competed in more tournaments. I eventually earned my blue belt from Mr. Charles Brissette, under Kris Kim, in November of 2019. In 2020, I decided to leave Active Duty in order to spend more time with my growing family.
We moved to Pella Iowa, where there were no BJJ gyms nearby. I would commute 2 hours in the morning, three times a week to be able to train BJJ in Des Moines. In 2021, with the help of friends David and Daniel Robbins, we started our own BJJ gym in Pella! In typical BJJ fashion, this dream of ours started in a 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 I earned my Purple Belt under Daniel Robbins.
Woman's BJJ 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.
Head Judo & BJJ Instructor
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 has trained in several grappling sports including Sambo and Jiu Jitsu, but Judo has been his main source of experience.
Rylan earned his Blue belt in BJJ Oct 2022
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.
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.
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.
Teen BJJ Instructor
Tyler is a Navy Veteran and local to the Knoxville/Pella area. Tyler has been the teens class instructor even before earning his Blue Belt in the fall of 2023. His love for Jiu Jitsu has transformed him drastically!
Tyler has lost over 60 lbs since joining Pella BJJ! He enjoys spending time at the gym even if no-one else is there. His commitment to training has lead him to become very popular with the teens of Pella BJJ. As their Instructor, he teaches them that all things are possible in life, if they are willing to put the work in.
Having earned the rank of Blue Belt, Andres has begun the next step in his journy by teaching his skills to the next generation. He is a genuine joy to be around and is very technically proficient. Andres will often times assist other classes and competes often.
A former Marine, Jackson earned his Blue Belt in spring of 2023. A avid Kickboxer and Muay Thai instructor, Jackson trains with other local MMA gyms to build his combative skills. Always found around the gym in the evenings, Jackson trains for multiple competitions.