Professor Jim Thrift (3rd Degree Black Belt) is the founder and owner of Calvert MMA Academy in Sunderland Maryland (Calvert County) and Lineage BJJ in California Maryland (St. Mary’s County).
A favorite among students of all ages and levels, Professor Jim blends a deep respect for self-defense and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu with approachable humor. He holds both his schools to the highest standards of cleanliness, instruction and healthy culture. He teaches at both the Calvert and St. Mary’s locations.
Professor Jim’s passion for the martial arts dates back to the early 80’s when he started training in Moo Duk Kwan / Tang Soo Do / Hapkido / Tae Kwon Do, under the lineage / coaching of Ki Wang Kim, Mike Warren, and Amos Johnson. After earning his black belt, Jim Thrift began training in Japanese Kempo, Judo, and Aikido to expand his martial arts skills. From 1984 – 1998, Jim often competed in local, state, and national fighting competitions to include point fighting tournaments, full contact kick boxing, USTU, AAU, and Judo tournaments. In the mid 90’s at the recommendation of one of his co-workers at the United States Secret Service, Jim took his first Gracie Jiu-Jitsu class and he has been hooked ever since. Jim Thrift is a graduate of the Gracie Academy’s G.R.A.P.L.E.® course, now referred to as “Gracie Survival Tactics (GST)”® for Law Enforcement, by Gracie University in Torrance, California. Jim Thrift is also certified by the Maryland Police Training Commission (MPTC) as a law enforcement Defensive Tactics Instructor.
Jim Thrift retired (March 31, 2018) from a career in law enforcement that spanned over 25 years with the U.S. Secret Service (Physical Security Specialist and the agency’s 1st Technical Security Investigator / Technical Law Enforcement Officer*). On June 06, 2018, the Director of the U.S. Secret Service presented Jim Thrift with the first set of credentials for Technical Security Investigator, making him the agency’s first (Honorary) Technical Law Enforcement Officer.
During his time with the U.S. Secret Service, Jim Thrift was a member of approximately 250 protective advance teams around the globe. While traveling as a member of these protective advance teams, Jim was able to train with some of the best martial artist in the world, to include Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Sambo, Aikido, Judo, and Taekwondo practitioners. Jim Thrift is also a veteran of the U.S. Navy and a graduate of the University of Maryland.