My name is Elliott Bayev, 3rd degree BJJ Black Belt, masters world silver medalist, and owner and head instructor of OpenMat MMA in Toronto.
Outside of the Philadelphia Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy, 1996

When I started Jiu-Jitsu back in 1996, there were no schools in Toronto and learning was slow, aided only by instructional VHS tapes and trips to the USA to train with the Gracies and their affiliates.

I quickly fell in love with Jiu-Jitsu and began competing in 1998, winning locally and abroad,, but outside of trips to the Gracie Academy in Torrance, California where I got to train under Royce Gracie, I felt I never really had properly structured instruction.

Finishing by triangle in the finals of the 2004 NAGA worlds.
Taking silver at the no gi pans at purple belt

Since I first began teaching in the early 2000’s, I’ve tried to give structure to what I knew. I’ve created curriculum after curriculum, flowcharts, checklists and instructional videos because I wanted to give my students the kind of organized learning I wished I had had.

In 2008, while in Los Angeles, I got to train with a number of well known black belts. After training with Renzo Gracie black belt Shawn Williams, I felt like I had found the kind of instruction I had always wanted. I soon affiliated under him, learned his blue belt curriculum and brought it back to my students at OpenMat MMA in Toronto.

Earning my black belt from Shawn Williams in 2008

It was always a dream to compete in Abu Dhabi, and in 2009, after many trials and tribulations, I won the first Canadian purple/brown/black belt qualifier as a purple belt, and got to represent Canada on the world stage for the first time.

Taking gold at the first Abu Dhabi Pro trials.
Training with the great Marcelo Garcia before competing in Abu Dhabi
In preparation for Abu Dhabi, I got to travel to train with the great Marcelo Garcia, also a longtime dream. It was there I also met another BJJ legend, Cobrinha, who I later got to train with a handful of times.
In 2012 after winning the IBJJF Toronto Open as a brown belt, I earned my black belt and in 2013 took silver at the no gi world championships in the black belt masters division. In 2014 I again took silver in the same division at the no gi pans. In 2016 I won the Ontario Open, Canada’s largest tournament, and in 2017 I took double gold at the Rickson Gracie Cup.
With the great Rickson Gracie after taking double gold at the Rickson Gracie Cup.
Teaching at Hayabusa Academy/OpenMat Kingston.

Throughout the years while competing myself, I have been running my school and coaching my students, many to high levels of competition. I’ve also taught seminars and created highly regarded instructional videos with Stephan Kesting, as well as completing and releasing my first two courses, Intro To BJJ Course – The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to BJJ and The Blue Belt Curriculum. In 2021, I co-authored my first book, Sales Jiu-Jitsu – Champion Secrete for Black Belt Leaders.

Outside of Jiu-Jitsu, I’ve wanted to make a difference in the world and behind the scenes have been working on an impact effort, Global Unity, launching in 2023.