Northern Colorado Jiu Jitsu’s instructors are passionate about our mission of improving and protecting the lives of others.

About Our Instructors

Our instructors have been so impacted by jiu jitsu and/or judo in their own lives that they desire to share it with others. Our team of high caliber instructors display exemplary BJJ/judo skills and instruction. They have also been trained in Northern Colorado Jiu Jitsu’s Leadership Jiu Jitsu Program™.

All instructors are vetted through a formal criminal background check. Be sure to click through the page and meet all of our instructors.

Master Rigan Machado

Master Rigan Machado is a living legend in the world of Brazilian jiu jitsu, and is considered by many to be the greatest grappler to ever walk the face of the planet. He is the nephew of the legendary Grandmaster Carlos Gracie, and himself holds the prestigious red and black belt. He achieved his legendary stature at the world championship level by amassing a record that no one has been able to match since.

From the age of 14 through 21, he won the World Championships every year and in every belt division. He amassed a record of 365 wins and no losses in BJJ competition. He also created a record by having 19 matches in one day and finishing all of them by submission.


Head Professor Troy Pettyjohn

Troy was born and raised in Colorado. After being bullied as a young child, Troy started his martial arts journey in 1981. Troy's initial interest in learning self defense grew to a pursuit of excellence and black belts in multiple martial arts.

Troy has studied several and competed in varying martial arts for the last 43 years, including kung fu, laido, kendo, boxing, kick boxing, judo and BJJ. For the past decade, Troy has been teaching judo and jiu jitsu.

Troy is currently the head professor of the adults jiu jitsu program and judo sensei. Troy continues to teach martial arts in hopes of passing on to others the same benefits that have enriched his life.

Troy currently holds his black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu (awarded October 2019) under Master Rigan Machado, and is a certified judo black belt under The United States Judo Association. He is also certified in Northern Colorado Jiu Jitsu's Gentle Art of Leadership Program.

Head Professor Matt Shoup

Matt has called Northern Colorado his home since the age of 10. Matt grew up being frequently bullied and remembers being constantly in fear of his next encounter with a bully.  To address this concern, Matt initially began weight training in high school and into college. Matt learned quickly that "gym muscles" do not equate to a self defense tool.

Matt began his BJJ journey in 2007, where he learned this lesson. Matt's first jiu jitsu class involved him being thrown, choked and beaten to submission by a student half his age, half his size and half his strength. Matt was instantly hooked on jiu jitsu and has been training ever since.

Over the past 15 years, Matt has competed in BJJ competitions both locally and internationally, and has instructed children's BJJ for the last 10 years. Along with a passion for teaching children, Matt also has a passion and heart for law enforcement.  Many of Matt's friends and training partners are law enforcement and first responders. Because of this, when Northern Colorado Jiu Jitsu was founded, Matt committed to designing a program specifically for them.

Matt is the head professor of Northern Colorado Jiu Jitsu's childrens jiu jitsu program, and the current head professor of the Law Enforcement and First Responders Defensive Tactics and Arrest Control Program™. Matt is the founder and creator of The Gentle Art of Leadership Program.

Matt currently holds his black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu under Master Rigan Machado.


Head Judo Sensei Greg Becker

Greg was born and raised in the Greeley, Colorado area. Greg’s love of the martial arts started at a very young age, but it was not until the summer of 1987 when a karate program started in his local town that he could pursue his passion. The karate program taught a Korean martial art called Tang Soo Do. Greg was instantly hooked and committed himself completely to his study of the martial arts, eventually earning his 3rd Degree Black Belt in Tang Soo Do.

Greg’s other martial arts passion evolved from his love of wrestling, which he competed in through middle school and high school. In 1995, Greg stumbled into a Judo Dojo in Fort Collins. He instantly fell in love with this new grappling art and continues his personal journey in Judo to this day. Greg currently holds the rank of 4th Degree Black Belt in Judo, and is a Renshi in the Iwayama Ryu school of Judo.

Greg’s sincere wish is to pass on the lessons and benefits he has gained from Judo. In his opinion, Judo lessons will benefit a student in every, and all, aspects of their life.

Greg is the head sensei for the Judo program at NOCO Jiu Jitsu. Greg is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Master Rigan Machado and is certified in Northern Colorado Jiu Jitsu’s Gentle Art of Leadership Program.

Professor Mike Durant

Mike's first serious exposure to the martial arts came many years ago while in college in Charleston, S.C.  During the eight year period he lived and trained there he earned his black belt.  After moving to Colorado and starting a family Mike discovered a local Brazilian jiu jitsu gym while looking for a place for his kids to train.  Since the effectiveness of the grappling arts had always been of interest BJJ was a natural transition to continue his martial arts education.

In addition to BJJ, Mike has gained further insight into the grappling arts by being an assistant wrestling coach for a local youth wrestling club.  Convinced that BJJ and wrestling compliment each other he constantly looks for ways to integrate these skill sets to elevate his own training and that of anyone he coaches.  Mike has studied BJJ for 10 yrs. and looks forward to many more years of training and coaching.

Mike is the head professor leading Northern Colorado Jiu Jitsu's no gi jiu jitsu program. He is also certified in Northern Colorado Jiu Jitsu's Gentle Art of Leadership Program.

Mike currently holds his black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu under Master Rigan Machado.