#40 Shawn Williams


Like so many other martial artists of his generation, Shawn Williams's view of the martial arts changed drastically when he saw BJJ. Shawn grew up playing multiple sports and training Karate but when he saw Renzo Gracie fighting he knew that BJJ was something he needed to learn.


As a young adult, Shawn made the decision to forgo other sports and dedicate himself to training BJJ. He was looking to train with the best in the world and was contemplating a move to California to train with Rickson Gracie, but while in New York City he met Renzo Gracie. Renzo's larger-than-life and welcoming personality made the decision on where to train easy, and in 1996 Shawn moved to NYC to train at Renzo's academy.


Shawn dedicated himself to BJJ and adopted a rigorous training schedule. It was not uncommon to find Shawn at Renzo's academy seven-plus hours a day and once he began instructing he was there more than twelve hours a day, six days a week. This schedule, and training alongside future Jiu Jitsu legends, John Danaher, Matt Sera, Ricardo Almeida, and more, made Shawn one of the most talented competitors of his generation.


All that training paid off for Shawn in many ways. As well as becoming a fantastic competitor he became a talented instructor and coach. His skills gave him the opportunity to coach on season 12 of TUF, and he has served as a training partner/coach for training camps for top MMA fighters including Georges St. Pierre, Rodrigo Gracie, Matt Serra, Royce Gracie, and many others. Shawn's incredible wealth of Jiu Jitsu knowledge has also made him a much sought-after BJJ analyst and commentator. He has worked the microphone for the biggest BJJ and grappling events in the world such as the Abu Dhabi World Professional Championships, IBJJF World Championships, IBJJF Pans, and the Kasai Elite Grappling Championships.


Shawn took his vast BJJ and MMA knowledge to California in 2010 and opened 5 Star MArtail Art/Renzo Gracie Academy, building it into one of the largest academies in Southern California. Now residing in Nashville, TN Shawn is opening another Renzo Academy and is dedicating himself to creating future champions of BJJ and MMA.


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