(10 votes, average: 2.40 out of 5)
1 Review

At Elite Martial Arts of Brentwood, Tennessee, our Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) program teaches the skills used in MMA cage fighting but with a street defense mentality and without the “fighting gym” atmosphere. 95% of people who train in MMA gyms never enter the ring and don’t possess a street fighting skill set.  We’ll teach you how to defend yourself inside and outside the gym using Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai Kickboxing, and Krav Maga.

To defend yourself while standing, we use Muay Thai Kickboxing and Israeli Military hand to hand. Muay Thai is a combination of western boxing with the use of knees, elbows, low kicks,clinches, and take-down defenses. The hand to hand techniques from the Israeli military effectively defend from all types of hand-to-hand such as bear hugs, headlocks, chokes and stick/knife attacks.

“Stand Up” martial arts is only half of the self defense game. We use Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to control our opponent on the ground. Grappling skills are used to take an opponent down and submit them with a myriad of armbars, leglocks, armlocks, and chokes.

Daniel Klapheke, owner/instructor, has over 24 years of Martial Arts experience and more than 12 years of teaching experience. Mr. Klapheke is a 5th degree Black Belt in Shaolin Kenpo, a 2nd degree in Tae Kwon Do, a Black Belt in American Kenpo, and a Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He is also a certified Krav Maga instructor, has extensive training in Modern Arnis (Filipino stick and knife fighting), is continually training in the Muchado Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Masterclass, and is co-founder of the Mixed Martial Arts System, EM3. Always learning and bringing it back to his students, he has traveled the country to learn the latest fighting techniques from world renowned cage fighting experts.


  • John says:

    I am from a nearby martial arts school and thought it would be worthwhile to see what goes on at EMA for a few weeks. In a nutshell: their striking game isn’t bad, but isn’t good either, and consisted mostly of modified TKD and karate that the instructor passes off as Muay Thai or boxing. Seeing as that their is no one here with any high level BJJ/wrestling/judo, standup drilling is virtually non-existent here, thus, most of their students have horrendous TKD/TKD defense, which is only worsened by the fact students must start on their knees when grappling.

    As for the BJJ portion of their classes, the head instructor is only a blue belt (according to himself) and as such, the BJJ taught here consists of rather rudimentary, watered down submissions and positions. I only recently attained a blue belt in BJJ and wrestled back in my high school days, and although I readily admit I am no master, nearly all their students were exceptionally poor grapplers , including the ones that hold black belts under Mr. Klapheke. This is the one part which completely turned my off to this school: their are kids, some as young as 9 or 10 years old, walking around with brown belts, black belts, or even red belts around their waists! This is sadly a tell-tale sign of a McDojo, and it truly made me wonder why the instructor would devalue the prestige and dignity of a black belt by giving it to kids who aren’t even in their teens yet! There were also several adults that were wearing black belts, and, as said earlier, their overall grappling skills are hardly that of even a 1 or 2 stripe white belt in BJJ.

    After attending a belt promotion, apparently typically held on the weekends, it is obvious that as long as students show up to the “evaluation”, break a sweat or two, and pay the belt fee, they will most certainly get a promotion from the head instructor. With all this in mind, I’d rate EMA Brentwood a 3/10. It is a fine place to pay $100 per month to be extremely average at all aspects of fighting, but good in no particular area. If all you care about is getting a small sweat in, learn basic fighting moves, and not really care about competing/training under a reputable instructor, then EMA is good enough I suppose. If your goal is to compete and learn under an accredited instructor, there are much better schools than EMA in the Franklin/Nashville area worth training at such as Nashvile MMA, Brentwood BJJ, or Nemesis MMA in nearby Murfreesboro.

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