Category Archives: NEWS + UPDATES

MARCH Student of the Month: Jennifer Tisdell

Jennifer Tisdell:  JP Martial Arts Student of the Month

JP Martial Arts Academy is pleased to name Jennifer Tisdell as our March Student of the Month3

Jen was one of the first people to walk through the Academy door when we first opened in January 2013, and she quickly became one our most dedicated students.  She originally walked in for the first class of the Saturday morning self-defense series offered at the time. She had no prior experience, but had had an interest in karate as a child. Jen also said that because she takes the T and walks everywhere, she had been thinking about looking for some self-defense classes, when one day she walked past our newly opened Academy and came in to try out self-defense class.  Not long after that Jen took her first Karate class, her first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class, and became one of our first members in February 2013.   

Jen has continued to train in both Karate and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  She earned her both her BJJ Blue Belt and her Karate Purple belt in September 2014.

Jen says, “What I like most about training in martial arts is the varied exercise and the fact that I’m learning something new every time I attend class.  Martial arts training has allowed me to continue to exercise regularly without getting bored. Also, I have had the opportunity to meet people that have a similar interest as I do and make new friends.  My confidence and awareness have gotten stronger since I began training; I feel I have confidence to avoid unwanted situations.

1I love the instructors and the other students and JPMAA. The instructors are knowledgeable and helpful, and the Academy has a very collaborative, friendly and relaxed atmosphere.  After a busy and stressful day at work, I know I will have a great workout.”  As an added note, last year Jen moved from Medford to Jamaica Plain to be closer to the dojo. That’s dedication!

Jen’s goals for her training include continuing to learn the history of martial arts and to become stronger and make the movements a part of her everyday life.  She also plans to continue her training to earn her Black belts in both Karate and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

This is what David Shim, JPMAA owner and Head Instructor has to say about Jen:

“Jen is an awesome student. Since the start of our school she has taken both karate and BJJ. She has a blue belt in BJJ in a purple belt in karate. She works diligently and attends so many classes. When she can she helps with the little kids which is always appreciated. I look forward to her attaining higher belts.”


JPMAA extends our sincere congratulations to Jen for her achievements to date, and we look forward to helping you continue your martial arts journey at JP Martial Arts.  Congratulations for being named our March Student of the Month!


February Student of the Month:  Josh Parker


Congratulations to Josh Parker, our JP Martial Arts Academy February Student of the Month!

Josh first began training at JP Martial Arts Academy (then Mass Bay Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) in September of 2014.  He trains in both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Karate, training BJJ three times a week and Karate once a week.  He is currently working towards the third stripe on his BJJ white belt.

Why did you first begin training at JPMAA?
I was always interested in learning jiu-jitsu and wanted to learn more about grappling. When I heard there was a gym on the other side of JP I had to come in and see what BJJ was and what was different about Brazilian and Japanese Jiu-jitsu.

Did you have experience with other martial arts?

Yes, I have a lot of different martial arts that I have trained in. I believe my first was Tae-kwon-do, which I did from when I was 8 until I was 11.  When I was 12 my father opened up his own Dojo in the Saco River area where he taught Tae-kwon-do, Jeet Kun Do (JKD), and Tai-jitsu.  I decided to start learning JKD which I thought to be the most realistic self defense martial art.  When I was 14 I moved to Virginia with my mom and I learned Fencing and Western Boxing for several years.  When I moved to Boston I took a couple of years off before joining JPMAA (then Mass. Bay BJJ).

What do you like most about training in (BJJ) (Karate) Martial Arts?
I like karate because it has a well rounded fighting style compared to boxing. Kicks I believe are very important, and a well-placed kick can win a fight. I also didn’t like boxing because I hate being punched in the face. Sparring in karate gives me the experience of fighting without full contact, which I enjoy.

I enjoy BJJ because it allows me do live training and when I roll I can try my hardest and not have to worry about hurting the other person or being hurt, which I think helps me know my limits and gives me probably the best cardio workout I can get.


What do you like the most about training at JPMAA?
I like the teachers and the students. They are all very supportive and I have seen a good martial artist community growing through JPMAA.

What are your goals for your training?
Well like everyone I would love a black belt. But more immediate I would like to compete and do well while competing.  I would like to add that since training in BJJ I am in the best shape I have ever been in.  And I can feel how much stronger I am now as opposed to last year when I had just started.  Training in Martial Arts has allowed me to focus more clearly when at work and to not get stressed about things others normally stress over.

Josh recently competed in a submission-only tournament held in December in  Richmond, VA, sponsored by US Grappling, and placed second in the Novice No-Gi Division.  He intends to compete in the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitusu Federation (IBJJF) Boston Open, to be at UMass Boston in April.

Josh is originally from Maine and regularly visits the Saco area. He moved to Boston in 2011. When he’s not training he works as a Baker at Blackbird Doughnuts.  He also enjoys cooking and blogging about food with his girlfriend.


Here’s what David Shim, our head instructor, has to say about Josh:  “Josh is a quiet but earnest student.  He works hard at his training and I have been impressed with his willingness to learn.  He is not afraid of mistakes or putting himself into vulnerable positions during training if he believes he will learn something from it.    He is also a really nice guy to know and I look forward to trying his baked goods!”

JP Martial Arts would like to extend our sincere congratulations to Josh Parker for being our February Student of the Month.  He works hard in his training and we look forward to seeing him continue his Martial Arts journey.



JPMAA has been open and operating at its current location since December 2012. Formerly known as Mass Bay Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy, our program has expanded which necessitated the name change. The academy was opened by Dr. David Shim who has been training in martial arts since 1972. Martial arts is a wonderful and enjoyable form of physical self defense training which has significant impact on one’s physical and psychological health.

At JPMAA, we provide a family friendly atmosphere where everyone is welcome to come and train and have a great time. We provide structured training programs for adults, children, and families. We offer programs in Karate and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Our instructors have decades of experience and the emphasis is on enjoying working with each other and attaining positive results both physically, mentally, and spiritually. Our head instructor, Dr. David Shim, is a clinical psychologist whose dissertation topic was on the psychological benefits of self defense training.

We offer separate programs for Karate and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and our Black Belt instructors are very competent and caring in their teaching approach. We offer student-centered instruction which aims to help you reach your physical and self defense goals. Our Karate program has a lineage which can be traced back to pioneers of Karate such as Gogen Yamaguchi, Peter Urban, Richard Kim, and Joseph Hess. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu taught at JPMAA has its heritage in the traditions of the Gracie family who developed the art. Our head instructor trained under Professor Roberto Maia of Boston Brazilian Jiu Jitsu who is first cousin to Renzo Gracie. Our programs are technical, proficient, and rigorous yet maintains an emphasis on enjoyment and health.


We are pleased to announce that our very first JP Martial Arts Academy “Student of the Month” is a family of four: Kevin, Karen, Teagan and Calder Townsend.

Teagan, age 11, first began training Karate and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with Sensei Shim at the West Roxbury YMCA 3 years ago, when she was 8 years old, and now has her Purple Belt in Karate. Calder, age 6, joined JPMAA 7 months ago, and was recently promoted to Yellow Belt in Karate. Karen began training 3 months ago, and Kevin just began one month ago in December.


We asked Kevin, Karen, Teagan and Calder why they began training martial arts and what they like about it:

Teagan says she began training in the martial arts because she wanted to be a strong girl and gain confidence and strength, and have fun at the same time. She says martial arts has “made me stronger and happier. It’s also helped me set achievable goals.”

Calder also joined the karate classes because he thought it looked like fun, and he says “it’s made me stronger.”

Karen says that she decided to begin training at JP Martial Arts because “I thought it looked like fun, and it would be a great work out and would give me some bonding time with my daughter. Training is giving me a new way to bond with Teagan and to release some of the stress of my day while getting a great workout.”

Kevin, who has some Karate experience, says, “I wanted to return to something that I began as a child and I thought it would be a great thing to do as a family. I’m also interested in the activities that are demanding of both the mind and the body. Because I am at the beginning of my training here, currently it is giving me a new ritual and new personal goals. It allows me to focus and escape my other daily obligations while still spending time with my family.”


What do you like best about training at JP Martial Arts Academy?

Teagan: “I like the community I train with, they feel like family, I mean I’ve known them for so long. They have all taught me something at one point whether it was showing me where I was open in sparring or teaching me a whole kata. They have all really helped me progress farther through the belts, but not just that they have taught me what karate really is.”

Calder: “I feel comfortable and confident training here, I know someone is always ready to help me.”

Karen: “I really like the community here. We talk a lot about the importance of training partners, and everyone I’ve met or worked with here has gone above and beyond to be a great training partner.”

Kevin: “For me, I think being part of a community of people who are here to better themselves but who are continually ready to help elevate and challenge each other. There is a fantastic feeling of mutual respect and a playful kind of rigor that allows the training to be serious and sincere.”

Congratulations to the Townsend Family for being our first
JP Martial Arts “Student of the Month”!