Shawn Williams is considered one of the top instructors in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and martial arts community due to his very detailed and thorough instruction style and depth of knowledge in BJJ and grappling. A native of Bluffton, Indiana, he relocated to New York City in 1996 to attend college and train under multiple-time Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Champion and Mixed Martial Arts pioneer Renzo Gracie of the legendary Gracie Family. After receiving his Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from Renzo Gracie, Shawn moved to the Los Angeles area and coached both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts. In 2010, he established 5 Star Martial Arts/Renzo Gracie Los Angeles in the Hancock Park and Koreatown area of Los Angeles. The academy has grown into one of the largest Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and martial arts academies in Southern California. His accomplishments and contributions to the BJJ and martial arts community includes:
Renzo Gracie awarded Shawn his Black Belt on April 2, 2002. He was the 5th recipient to be awarded the rank from the famed NYC Renzo Gracie Academy following such notables as: Ricardo Almeida, Rodrigo Gracie, Matt Serra, and Nick Serra (John Danaher and Shawn were promoted on the same night). He currently holds the rank of Fourth Degree Black Belt under Renzo Gracie.
As a member of the Renzo Gracie Team in the 1990s and 2000s, Shawn Williams had the opportunity to learn from and train alongside pioneers and legends in both BJJ and MMA. His early instructors included Renzo Gracie, Ryan Gracie, Rodrigo Gracie, Matt Serra, and Ricardo Almeida. Additionally, one of his top training partners and collaborators was John Danaher, who went on to develop the most influential foot lock systems in modern BJJ.
Shawn Williams has developed many friendships in the martial arts community. His technical and detailed approach to teaching and training has made him a sought-after coach and training partner for many world-class BJJ and MMA fighters. Through the years, he has served as a training partner/coach for training camps for top MMA fighters including Georges St. Pierre, Rodrigo Gracie, Matt Serra, Royce Gracie, and Frank Trigg,
Shawn Williams first met Georges St. Pierre when GSP would drive down from Montreal to train at The Renzo Gracie Academy in New York early in his MMA career. Shawn was working at Renzo's as a BJJ and MMA coach and the two became friends and training partners. Through the years, Shawn would work with GSP during his training camps and he served as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Grappling Coach for Team GSP on Season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck.
Shawn Williams' major BJJ and Grappling accomplishments include: 2003 black belt lightweight IBJJF Pan American Bronze Medallist, Ohio Pro Am Champion (2004), FILA Regional Qualifier (2008), ADCC Qualifier Bronze Medallist (2003), NAGA eight-man invitational champion, and Grapplers Quest Champion
Shawn is the long-time analyst and commentator for the top BJJ and grappling events in the world, including the Abu Dhabi Combat Club World Championships, Abu Dhabi World Professional Championships, IBJJF World Championships, IBJJF Pans, and Kasai Elite Grappling Championships
Shawn Willliams has developed an effective guard dubbed "The Williams Guard" by John Danaher. The guard is very effective in BJJ and MMA in its ability to prevent strikes from an opponent while setuping arm bars, triangles, and omaplata submissions.
Shawn Williams is a published author and authority in the Martial Arts community, contributing articles and video pieces for FloGrappling, UFC Magazine and Jiu-Jitsu Magazine and publishing The Williams Guard DVD with Budo Videos.
Shawn Williams moved to New York City to study at the famed Renzo Gracie Academy and majored in Exercise Science at City College of New York's Hunter College. In order to become a complete martial artist and grappler, he competed on Hunter College's varsity wrestling team where he learned and trained wrestling takedowns and techniques that he incorporates into his curriculum today. He has a strong interest in Exercise Science and continues to research the latest studies and methods in the field to optimize classes and athletic performance for himself and his students.