About


We are the premiere Asheville location. We offer everything from personal training to self defense.

And why are we the best?

Our lineage says it all:

American Top Team Asheville’s roots began in 2001 in Boca Raton Florida. A small group of like-minded individuals decided to build a training facility for MMA fighters. The tiny 900 square foot academy gained instant success with its expert training in MMA, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (“BJJ”), Submission Grappling, Kickboxing/Thai boxing, Boxing, Wrestling, Kids MMA, Women’s Fitness, and Self-Defense.

Demand for these MMA disciplines grew, and the small facility couldn’t handle the rush of new students everyday. American Top Team moved to Coconut Creek, Florida, and into a massive state of the art 20,000 square foot academy. It quickly became the #1 MMA Gym in Florida. And now, it has over 60 martial arts academies in 31 states and 3 countries!

American Top Team Asheville is the newest member, and we promise to deliver the same high quality MMA training found at the original Florida facility. We offer the best fitness training in whatever discipline. Our award-winning MMA trainers are some of the best in the world, and we cater to whatever sort of training you need.

Our main goal is to make you feel like a champion, even if you never step into a tournament ring.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu


"The word 'jiu' comes from 'wa,' which means accord. It's the art of accord, or doing things accordingly. That doesn't mean the application is gentle, but the philosophy is gentle — not using your energy; using theirs. Jiu-jitsu is not fighting. It's just that: not fighting, not resisting."--American Top Team Asheville Instructor Butch Marks

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is one of American Top Team's core training programs. The roots of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu come from Kodokan Judo in Japan. The premise of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is that a smaller, weaker person can defeat a stronger and larger opponent through leverage and proper technique. ATT has produced a multitude of champions in all types of BJJ competitions. This, all under the tutelage and watchful eye of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion and living legend Ricardo Liborio. Considered by many to be one of the most technical black belts ever to come from the famed Carlson Gracie academy. Master Liborio is a world class teacher and MMA coach, always striving to get the most out of his students. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is primarily a ground-fighting art where all practioner's train in and wear a gi or "kimono". This is similar to what is worn in Judo. ATT's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program also has a structured belt grading system for all classes (kids too)! Most techniques involve the students on the mat, with a heavy emphasis on positional strategy, live rolling, and drills to help with your submissions and techniques. Once in proper position, many different types of submissions can be applied such as: armbars, wristlocks, chokes, and leglocks. Some of the primary positions include, but not limited to are:

Guard: The person applying the guard is on the bottom with his back on the ground; his legs are wrapped around his opponent's hips (who is said to be "in the guard"). · Side control: Chest-on-chest but without the legs being entangled.

Mount: On top of his opponent (who "is mounted"), sitting on his chest, with one leg on either side of his torso.

Back mount: Behind his opponent, with his feet hooked around his opponent's hips and upper thighs. Specific techniques taught are designed either to improve one's position (for example, to "pass the guard", by going from being "in the guard" to getting around the opponent's legs, resulting in side control); or else as a finishing submissions. Most submissions are either chokes or arm locks.

Kickboxing/Thai Boxing


Muay Thai is a devastating striking art that blends techniques such as; kicks, knees, elbows, punches, and clinch work. Muay Thai (also known as Thai Boxing) is a fighting art that originated in Thailand (formerly Siam) 2000 years ago. Often called the "Toughest ring sport in the world" it is known for its powerful techniques of punching, elbows, knees, and kicks. The Muay Thai practitioner must have superior speed and conditioning through hard training.

Our beginner level Muay Kick Boxing/Thai Boxing class is perfect for the student new to martial arts training, and is one of our most popular classes. It will train the student in mental as well as physical conditioning. The student will also concentrate on offensive development that will prepare the practitioner for all other classes we offer, as well as the street. This class will provide beginners with the tools they need for the ring even though they may never do compete and the conditioning of a fighter!

The next level of advanced training requires additional protective equipment and will be an extension of the begiiner curriculum. here the Kick Boxing/Thai Boxing student will learn more advanced offensive and defensive strategies and combinations. This class can only be attended after completion of the beginner class or with your instructors permission. Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand. It is arguably the most sought-after kickboxing style in the world. Known for it's effective arsenal of strikes using kicks, knees, punches and elbows, Muay Thai has come to be dubbed "the Art of Eight Limbs". Not to be confused with mainstreamed cardio kickboxing classes, American Top Team Kick Boxing/Thai Boxing represents authentic fight training for practitioners of all levels.

Classes will involve the use of shadowboxing, footwork skills, padwork, heavy bag training, and various partner coordination drills. Traditionally, fighters all over the world seek Muay Thai to improve their effectiveness, and give themselves the edge in the ring. Here at ATT, this class is known for its awesome fitness and conditioning, as well as martial technique and strategy. ATT Muay Thai is the perfect stand up striking class that provides the student with the tools they need for the ring, even though you may never fight! Prepare to sweat and burn some serious calories, while you get lean and mean in this kickboxing class! Great for beginners to advanced students to learn proper kickboxing techniques.

Boxing


Known as "The Sweet Science", our boxing program will improve both your offensive and defensive punching skills through a series of drills. You will incorporate the heavy bag, speed bag, shadow boxing, and focus mitts to achieve these goals. Our spacious academy boasts plenty of room to work out.

Boxing is both a martial art and combat sport where two people throw punches at each other with gloved hands. Offensive techniques (aka the punch) include the jab, cross, hook, and uppercut. Defensive techniques include slipping, bobbing and weaving, clinching, and footwork. Boxing can be an effective training tool for moving on into mixed martial arts.

Our American Top Team Asheville instructor, Chris Sawtelle, has almost thirty years’ experience in boxing. He is an excellent teacher for those wanting to bridge the discipline of boxing to MMA.

Submission Grappling


Submission grappling is similar to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in that a lot of the same positions, submissions, and techniques are used and developed. The program combines elements from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Folkstyle Wrestling, Freestyle Wrestling, Judo and Sambo. One major difference is there is no kimono or gi used during training. Students will wear rash guards with grappling shorts or board shorts designed not to tear during the training. Submission grappling is sometimes referred to as: submission wrestling, sport grappling or No-Gi jiu-jitsu.

Wrestling


Wrestling is a combat sport involving grappling type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins and other grappling holds. A wrestling bout is a physical competition, between two competitors or sparring partners, who attempt to gain and maintain a superior position. There are a wide range of styles with varying rules with both traditional historic and modern styles. Wrestling techniques have been incorporated into other martial arts as well as military hand-to-hand combat systems. The rapid rise in the popularity of MMA has increased interest in wrestling due to its effectiveness in the sport. It is considered one of the core disciplines. Already in the early stages of MMA development, wrestling gained respect due to its effectiveness against traditional martial artists. There is no better base for entering into mixed martial arts than the highly successful competitor as a wrestler.

INSTRUCTORS


American Top Team Asheville instructor Kelly Anundson is a world grappling federation champion, and he specializes in wrestling and MMA.

Kelly Anundson, Wrestling/MMA

Kelly is our newest member of the Asheville team, and we couldn’t be happier. He is a professional mixed martial artist, who previously competed for Bellator. His overall professional MMA record is an impressive 9-2.

His past credentials are even more eye-opening.

Here are just a few of his countless awards:

  • Brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Master Ricardo Liborio
  • Fila Grappling European Grand Prix champion
  • Fila Grappling World Champion in the heavyweight division
  • World Grappling Federation champion
  • South Carolina Golden Gloves champion
  • Three time All-American wrestler at Newberry College
  • Nevada high school wrestling state champion
  • Bellator Light Heavy Weight Tournament Finalist
  • Season 19 Ultimate Figher cast member
Kelly@AmericanTopTeamAsheville.com
American Top Team Asheville Instructor Butch Marks specializes in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai.

Butch Marks, Jiu-Jitsu/Kickboxing/Thai Boxing

“The path is the most important part, and to be able to do this with your friends, to build relationships, to challenge yourself physically, mentally and progress, that's all we really can ask in anything we do. And in my life, I've found the best avenue for that: jiu-jitsu.”--Butch Marks

Butch is a true martial arts student, and he began his studies at the age of 4. By the age of 7, he was on the USA Karate National Team. In 1995, he was introduced to Gracie jiu-jitsu (the Brazilian form of jiu-jitsu developed by the Gracie family), and he continues to learn new methods of the jiu-jitsu discipline even after 20 years of experience.

His titles include:

  • 3 time Junior National Champ
  • 2 time NAGA National Champ Jiu-Jitsu
  • 3 time Bud Cup World Champ - Feather-Weight
  • USA Open, Grappling Quest and FILA Grappling Cup
  • 7-3 PRO MMA RECORD
Butch@AmericanTopTeamAsheville.com
American Top Team Asheville Instructor Chris Sawtelle specializes in Boxing and MMA.

Chris Sawtelle, Boxing

“Boxing helps people explore themselves in a way that they can see what they've got, to test themselves and get outside of their comfort zone, how they can get a hold of their emotions in a way that they're not used to. It develops a lot of courage in a person." --Chris Sawtelle

Chris Sawtelle is a bonafide veteran of the boxing world. For almost thirty years, Chris has either been a coach or a professional/amateur boxer. And for many young and upcoming boxers, he is a true mentor.

His credentials speak for themselves:

  • Fought under Olympic boxing coach, Anthony Chase
  • Four time Florida State Boxing Champion
  • Virginia Golden Gloves Champion
  • 2003 Toughman Contest Heavyweight Champion
Chris@AmericanTopTeamAsheville.com
American Top Team Asheville Instructor Cameron Sawtelle specializes in Strength and Conditioning.

Cameron Sawtelle, Strength and Conditioning

“How many times have we said we would go to the gym and get in shape? Don't live another day unhappy with yourself. It all starts with you. You have the power to change how you look and feel. Life is too short to let another day pass you by. Today is all you have, rest your head tonight knowing you gave your life your best.”--Cameron Sawtelle

Cameron Sawtelle is the Strength and Conditioning coach at American Top Team Asheville. He has 20 years experance as a fitness instructor with the ACE and IFPA personal certifcations. This is not the normal workout routine you'll get from other gyms. This is a full body program with high intensity workouts and will put you in the best shape of your life! Don't let high intensity discourage you though. Cameron will work with you at your own pace while encouraging you to do more so you can become a more fit, healthy and better you.

Cameron@AmericanTopTeamAsheville.com