Chris Van Valkenburg: Exposed!

Mikey Triangles

Bending Joints the Wrong Way Since 1985
Aug 11, 2007
Reaction score
A few members of ATT in Florida went down to Chris Van Valkenburgs gym "Impact House" today to get an idea of what his level was and see if he had any evidence to back his claims. Here's what they had to say on another forum:

Cankles said:
Went there today. Nice guys, first of all. All of them are.

The guy is not a bjj guy at all. He is 100% catch wrestling. GoldenJonas tapped him in 30 seconds. He didn't roll with me.

Sort14 is correct. He is probably 3 or maybe 4 stripe white belt in bjj. He knows some stuff, but his bjj fundamentals are all wrong.

He can claim to be an MMA school, or a catch wrestling school all he wants. But he is NOT a BJJ instructor in the least bit.

He was showing attacks from inside a person's guard. That is something you are taught not to do on your first day of bjj.

I called Renzo's gym this passed week, and Rafael (the program director there) Has no idea who Dan Anderson, Mike Anderson, or Chris Van Vaulkenburg are.

We talked after class, and he agreed to take down the bjj stuff. He said he would come up here and say the same thing. If he doesn't, I will forward the e-mails, and his post here to Renzo's gym.

and better yet:

GoldenJonas said:
Hey guys, here is the class run down that Cankles and I went through.


30 Minute Stand-Up Warm-up

The warm up consisted of following the calls of El Guapo from his MMA/Boxing training CD.

For a warm-up it broke a sweat, but, there was little to no instruction on proper striking technique. Many of the guys training are pretty new to the sport and the warm-up looked like a lot of flailing.

Then again, it was just a cardio warm-up.

15 Minute Sweep Drills

These were done with minimal resistance. I got paired up with all of the guys who were there as we rotated partners each round.

For the most part the sweeps I saw from all of them was, 1) Scissor sweep, and 2) upa. The technique used to break my posture were very bad. Also, none of the guys seemed to understand the benefit of posture when in someone's guard. But, more on that later.

All of the guys were very interested in the sweeps that Cankles and I were drilling (oma sweep, hip heist, pendulum, taking the back with the arm drag or back door underhooks, etc) and were generally interested in having the techniques explained.

15 Minutes of Submission Drills

Basically this was run through the submissions you know from guard. Again we rotated partners and the extent of submission was pretty much limited to, 1) triangles, 2) neck cranks, and 3) shitty arm bars.

30 minutes of "new" technique

OK, the technique was passable, maybe, as catch-as-catch-can with the mantra of "Submission BEFORE Position". I don't think Chris has an actual CACC history. However, the style he is teaching appears to be more ballistic drives for neck cranks rather then technical positional set-up and opponent control PRIOR to trying to secure a sub. Here were the techniques that were taught.

a. No-gi Ezekiel from inside the guard;
b. Transition from front top turtle to take the back and RNC;
c. Arm bar counter to the can opener;
d. Face lock and neck crank from front turtle control, and;
e. Scissor sweep to mounted neck crank.


a. Never, ever, do this crappling submission attempt on anyone who has more than 2 months grappling experience.

b. There was nothing wrong with the thought. However,the hand placement and opponent body control was technically wrong, nonexistent and not explained.

c. Bread and butter technique and the only thing wrong with the instruction was that it completely ignored the necessity to break your opponents posture during the hip rotation by hitting the pendulum motion up into the arm pit of the arm not being subbed.

d. Awful technique. Unless you are able to simple out muscle your opponent this is easily countered by sitting into guard.

e. Complete crap. Yes, it is possible to scoop the head with your shoulder after the sweep. BUT, in a scramble, this technique would probably have less than a 5% success rate simply due to the guy being swept not simply laying flat on his back after being swept.

15 Minutes of live rolling

Both Cankles and I rolled 2 times.

The round set-up was 1 two minute round with the round ending by either submission or timed out. Chris said that if the sub was quick the guys would stay in and continue after a really quick break.

My first roll was against one of his students who appeared to have some wrestling in his back ground. He wasn't that bad and was obviously pretty new to submission grappling. From the get go he was 100% ballistic. It took me a minute to get used to the spastic dives for a neck cranks. I was, honestly going maybe 75% and even tried to pull a gogoplata for shits and giggles. We ended up rolling to a draw.

Cankles rolled with a smaller guy (Citizen I believe). Sweeps back and forth with Cankles controlling from mount. Cankles finished with an arm bar in just under a minute.

I rolled next against Chris. This time I was expecting the ballistic submission attempts and transitioned to tight arm bar at about 25 seconds in. Chris fought to the point I thought he was simply going to refuse to tap. His arm popped at the elbow and then I kept it tight and rolled over to a reverse arm bar and heard it crunch and pop again. From that point I held tight and continue smooth controlled application thinking he wasn't going to tap and his arm was going to get broken. He tapped after the third pop and when asked he said he was fine.

Cankles rolled with the guy I stalemated against in the first roll. About 45 seconds in, for some reason, this guy thought it would be wise to try and get Cankles with an Americana FROM INSIDE CANKLE'S GUARD. Much arm barring commenced and Cankles submitted him in less than a minute.


The gym was pretty cool, small, but adequate.

Mat space for grappling was approximately 15'x20'.

There were 4 banana bags that were hung a bit high, one heavy bag, and a speed bag.

The equipment was primarily Combat Arts International brand and was in good shape.

The gym space was similar to a large unit in a storage facility.

There was a cold water fountain and a half bathroom for changing. There was also a storage area that had t-shirts, medicine balls, a grappling dummy, and other equipment.

There was also one of those friggen Bob Dolls that was just peaking over the leather couch at the front of gym which kept freaking me the fuck out.


So, here is the good:

- Chris is genuinely a good guy. He is open to criticism and ask both Cankles and I what we thought after the training sessions; neither of us held back our opinions. I told him straight out that he was not, in no way shape or form, a BJJ black belt and Chris listened and accepted the criticism.

- Chris was very open about his grappling experience. He stated that Mike Andersen received his black belt from Renzo, or at least, that is what Mike told him. He stated that he is a Black Belt in Mike Andersen's style of jiujitsu which is primarily no-gi with an MMA focus. He readily agreed to change his marketing material to clarify. that he was a BB in "Andersen American Jiujitsu".

- The students were also good guys. No TapOut testosterone douchebaggery here. All of the guys on the mat were very cool and were interested in learning and rolling. I would happily roll with these guys again.

And, here is the truth:

1. Chris Van Valkenburg IS NOT a Brazilian JiuJitsu Black Belt. In BJJ I would place Chris at a Blue Belt level, at best, and more than likely, a high White on the cusp of a Blue. His technical knowledge of correct position and transition is severely lacking to be any higher rank in BJJ than that.

2. To Chris' benefit, he does have grappling knowledge that espouses to a CACC mentality, i.e., a heavy focus on odd neck cranks and low percentage locks. Although, I doubt he has any actual CACC training. More than likely he is just teaching the training he received from Mike Andersen; which should be the subject of another thread.


Well, that's it. If Chris hopes to get his business off the ground and not be the subject of ongoing scrutiny from the insular BJJ community in Florida, which will certainly affect his business, he MUST abandon the BJJ reference from his grappling credentials.

Honestly, if he had posted that he was a Andersen American JiuJitsu Black Belt, no one would have cared and this thread and investigation never would have been done.

I would, again, STRONGLY advise Chris to come clean and edit the grappling experience he is marketing. SORT, Cankles, and myself have told him point blank that he MUST do this; and, like I stated above, Chris is genuinely a good guy and I hope he elects to do the right thing.

Chris, thanks for having us on your mats, we appreciate your cooperation and understanding. I look forward seeing your credential change.


so apparently he is going to drop the claim. I hope his students wise up and train somewhere else. I mean the guy is teaching submission from inside the guard for christ's sake


Impact House & Chris Van Valkenburg - BJJ Blackbelt? - No BS Martial Arts

BJJ Police needed. Chris Van Valkenburg bb?

Renzo Gracie - Re:Chris Van Valkenburg????? BJJ BB?????? - Renzo Gracie Forums
personally I don't think he has any real training, and probably learned mostly from DVD's and lied about being a black belt and a pro-fighter. then some idiot with money heard his lies, and asked him if he wanted to open a gym with him, and he thought why not. who's gonna know the difference check my credentials, lol
great investigative job guys, way to keep the sport honest... I get sick of ppl trying to exploit the sport.
big surprise at the diagnosis of the gym hehe.
ATT? didn't they have some sort of dodgy mcdojo affiliate thing a while back?
American Top Team is one of the premier camps in the world. I hope this was sarcasm.
personally I don't think he has any real training, and probably learned mostly from DVD's and lied about being a black belt and a pro-fighter. then some idiot with money heard his lies, and asked him if he wanted to open a gym with him, and he thought why not. who's gonna know the difference check my credentials, lol

Absolutely. I cringed when they kept on saying he might be a catch wrestler though. In fact the entire article seemed to have a underlaying theme of bashing catch wrestling.
Never heard of this guy. Did he claim to be a BJJ expert or something?
So, maybe this Anderson fellow should be up for scrutiny?
Lets hope everyone can continue exposing these phony blackbelts. Sadly at some point there will be too many to expose. Having all of these Gracie Affiliates and affiliates of affiliates is only going to make BJJ turn TMA.
Lets hope everyone can continue exposing these phony blackbelts. Sadly at some point there will be too many to expose. Having all of these Gracie Affiliates and affiliates of affiliates is only going to make BJJ turn TMA.

Luckily competition will weed out some of the frauds. If you're a legit black belt you should have/should still be competing in at least some major competitions (Mundials, ADCC, NAGA, something).
Or have students who do well in competition.

Not all black belts do competitions.