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St. Mary's


Robert (Bobby) Thomson

Robert Thompson, founder of Xequemate (Checkmate), is our schools leading instructor and Second-Degree Black Belt. Under Luiz Palhares. With over 20 years of training and teaching Bobby has forgotten more than we will ever learn. An amazing practitioner on and off the mats both in and out of the Gi. Still a student to the art, Bobby loves to teach and he rolls like a champion. 


Alex Abreu



Brent Higgins: Luiz Palhares Black Belt under Professor Bobby Thompson. With 16 years of martial arts experience Professor Higgins has not only earned his Black Belt in BJJ but also has a Black Belt in Jeet Kune Do and Kali. Brent has also trained under CSW and Catch Wrestling systems and is currently studying Judo under Sensei Lance Olson. He is a superb technician on the mats and always enjoys the roll.


Sidney Gills

Sidney Gills is a Black Belt with 15+ years’ experience. Coach Sid came to Xequemate as a 4th degree Relson Gracie Purple Belt under Phil Cardella. Sid has been a pillar of our coaching staff for the last 2 years. Sid is a detail-oriented instructor. He loves to roll and is also one of the lead instructors for both kids and adult. Coach Sid is a U.S. Army Veteran and has lived in the Jacksonville area for over 25 years. ​

Coach Ale is the lead kids' instructor. He is a Brown Belt who continues to grow under Professor Bobby. Coach Ale has competed through the ranks and won numerous competitions during his BJJ journey. Previously, he was a U.S. Navy dog handler, where he deployed downrange 4 times. During his time in the Navy, Coach Ale learned close quarter combat. When Ale isn’t rolling on the mats, he is a Behavioral Therapist that works with families. He enjoys working with kids both on and off of the mats. Coach has a masters in nutrition and exercise science. 

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