Staff

Master Coach Greg Nelson

Karate Summer Camp MN

Master Coach Greg Nelson

Academy Head Coach Greg Nelson has his roots in athletic training and competition.  Mr. Nelson is a former University of Minnesota Wrestling Team member and an All-American high school gymnast.  In 1983 he started training in the Jun Fan Martial Arts, Filipino Kali and Muay Thai under Sifu Rick Faye.  Since then he has earned Full Instructor credentials in Jun Fan Martial Arts/Jeet Kune Do Concepts, Filipino Kali, and Level III Instructor in Maphilindo Silat under the legendary Guru Dan Inosanto.  Mr. Nelson is also a Senior Instructor in Muay Thai under Grand Master Surachai “Chai” Sirisute of the Thai Boxing Association of the USA. A grappler at heart, Nelson earned the level of Advanced Student in Shoot Wrestling under Sensei Yurinaga Nakamura, and a certified Full Instructor in Combat Submission Wrestling (CSW) under Erik Paulson.  Greg started his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu journey in 1989 taking a private under Master Rickson Gracie. In 1996 he became formal a student of 8th degree Red & Black Belt Professor Pedro Sauer.  Professor Sauer awarded Mr. Nelson as his first Black Belt in November 2002. Currently, he is a 4th degree Black Belt and is the highest-ranking Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt in the Twin Cities.

On a competitive level he has put his skills to the test.  After graduating college in 1989, Nelson traveled to Thailand to train Muay Thai with some of the worlds best.  In 1992 he again went to Thailand and this trip gave him the urge to compete.  In the summer of 1993 he fought his first Muay Thai fight in Chicago IL and again 1995 internationally in Winnipeg Canada.  In 1994 he fought in Amateur Shooto (MMA) in LA.  In 1999 he put on the gi and won a Gold Medal in Blue Belt Masters in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at the IBJJF Pan-American Championships.  The following year Mr. Nelson won a Silver Medal in Purple Belt Masters at the 2000 IBJJF Pan-American Championships.  He competed in one more IBJJF Pan-American Championships in 2001 and then won three Gold Medals in the 2001 LA Grappling Games.

Mr. Nelson is well known as one of the best Mixed Martial Arts coaches in the sport & is in high demand worldwide for seminars and specialized workshops.  He spends much of his time researching and developing techniques and training methods to build The Academy fight teams.   As a coach, he has developed numerous world champions in both MMA and Muay Thai, Mr. Nelson and the Academy team have produced numerous other international, national, & state championship competitors and medal winners in professional and amateur Muay Thai & sport Brazilian Jiu Jitsu/ submission grappling. The Academy fighters hold victories in all of the major fight organizations worldwide; including the UFC, WEC, Pride Bushido, EliteXC, Strikeforce, SengokuWVR, BodogFIGHT, Shooto, King of the Cage, Super Brawl, Hook-N-Shoot, Prince’s Cup Thailand, Sanshou Championships in Bejing China, All-Osaka Shoot Boxing Championships in Osaka, Japan and many more.  Mr. Nelson and the Academy Team have produced three UFC Champions at 3 different weight classes. These include Dave Menne, the 1st Middleweight UFC World Champion, Sean Sherk Lightweight the 2nd UFC World Champion, and Brock Lesnar Heavyweight UFC World Champion. He holds the rare distinction in the MMA world of training them from the beginning of their fight careers to their title fights.

Over the years Mr. Nelson has taught defensive tactics to a wide variety of law enforcement and military personnel.  He  has worked with local, state, and federal law enforcement including the FBI, DEA, and Federal Air Marshals.  Currently, Mr. Nelson works extensively with various branches of the US military.  In 2010 he coached the Minnesota National Guard Combatives team at the All Army Combatives Tournament  in Ft. Benning GA.  He has assisted in the development of the Army Combatives Field Manual FM 31-25.150 and is a civilian member of the Modern Army Combatives Committee aimed at improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the Modern Army Combatives Program. In addition, Mr. Nelson is a combatives consultant for classified U.S. Army Special Forces units, the 75th Ranger Battalion, the US Army Combatives School Instructors and the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (SEAL Team 6).  Mr. Nelson is very proud to be one of the few civilians selected to work with the military and the soldiers that make our country safe.

Most importantly, Mr. Nelson is a husband and a father of a daughter and son.  In addition, he is a 2 time cancer survivor, first beating non-hodgkins lymphoma and secondly surviving a rare form of nerve cancer called neurolymphomatosis.  According to the Mayo Clinic, he was the first known survivor of this cancer and his case has played an instrumental role in the treatment of this rare disease.

Coach Josie Lidberg

Coach Josie Lidberg has 10+ years working with kids in education. She is energetic, patient, and loves learning/teaching! Coach Josie spent two years in Taiwan teaching English in elementary schools and in summer camps. After returning to the states she finished her Bachelors degree in music and began pursuing martial arts. She started studying Muay Thai at the academy in 2014, and had her first fight in 2015. Since then she has made 2 trips to Thailand, and racked up 12 fights. Besides pursuing her fight career, she teaches music at an elementary school, and teaches private violin lessons to kids and adults of all ages at a music studio. This is her second year leading The Academy Kids Summer camp, and third year being involved. Kids, Muay Thai, and teaching are some of her biggest passions!

Coach Jack Wu 

Coach Jack is one of our Little Dragons/Tiny Ninjas favorite instructors. Coach Jack can often be seen alongside other Academy students working on their knowledge of Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Judo. Outside the realm of martial arts, he has earned Bachelor’s degrees in neuroscience, and philosophy, as well as a Master’s degree in systemic relational therapy. Coach Jack challenges his students both physically and philosophically with his own exciting and unique approach towards martial arts study.

Coach Nat McIntyre

Coach Nat McIntyre

Coach Nat McIntyre
Coach Nat’s martial arts journey began as a youth doing traditional Tae Kwon Do. After receiving his 2nd Degree Brown Belt at the age of 17, he began studying Sil-Lum Kung Fu under Neil McRitchie (Canada), earning his Black Sash in 1992. He then went on to study other arts including Muay Thai, Jun Fun, Jeet Kune Do, Filipino Marital Arts, and ground-fighting, arriving at The Academy and beginning his training under Head Coach Greg Nelson in 1998. Coach Nat has since then competed in Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Shooto, traveling internationally and all around the U.S. to do so; he was even featured on the A&E network show, Dreamchasers, for his first fight in Thailand.

Coach Nat is currently the IKF and WKA United States Professional Lightweight Muay Thai Champion, as well as a TBA Kru under Ajarn Chai Sirisute (Thailand). He has faced such opponents as Lumpinee Champion Neungsiam Fairtex and Chinese WBC #1 Contender Li Ning, a bout that was showcased on Chinese national TV. In addition to his accomplishments in Muay Thai, Nat has proved himself a formidable BJJ contender. Now a Purple Belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu under Professor Pedro Sauer, Coach Nat is an IBJJF WORLD CHAMPION,  NAGA Midwest CHAMPION, and Submission Hunt CHAMPION.

Having competed for much of his life, Coach Nat now also plays a very active role as an Academy coach, teaching everyone from beginners to pros. Incredibly passionate about his craft, Nat not only inspires his students as a teacher, but as a fellow athlete as well, constantly striving to expand his understanding of martial arts as a whole and continuing to test his skills in competition. In addition to his instruction at The Academy, Coach Nat has assisted in teaching the Modern Army Combatives Level 1 course, in both Texas and Minnesota.

Coach Andy Grahn

Andy Grahn

Coach Andy Grahn

Coach Andy started training in Muay Thai, Jun Fan Martial Arts, & Kali at age 17. This early training inspired him to make a long term commitment to martial arts training, so in 1992 he joined the then fledgling MN Martial Arts Academy. In 1994 under Coach Greg Nelson’s guidance he began teaching Muay Thai. He is a former Amatuer Muay Thai fighter and currently competes locally, nationally, & internationally in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Coach Andy has spent many years coaching The Academy Muay Thai Team Singpraveah, including being the pad trainer for both ISKA Champion James ‘The Professor’ Cook and WKA/IKF Lightweight National Champion Nat Mcintyre. He is a certified T.B.A. Kru under Sadsadanajarn Chai Sirisute (Thailand) & Academy Head Coach Greg Nelson (USA). He has trained at numerous camps all over Thailand inlcuding Sityodtong, Kaewsamrit, Sitpholek, Lanna, and Tiger Muay Thai. He also speaks conversational Thai. Coach Andy earned his Black Belt May 2015. He is an IBJJF No-Gi Pan Am Champion & USBJJF Gi American National Champion. He also holds a Bachelors degree in Philosophy from the University of Minnesota. Andy truly enjoys teaching beginners and seeing his students make great strides in achieving their goals in martial arts and in life. He has taught & coached housewives, fathers/sons, CEO’s, Executives, M.M.A. fighters, & Military/Law Enforcement. He has taught martial arts seminars in Ireland, Spain, & the USA.