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Derek DiManno

Owner/Head Instructor

Derek DiManno is the head instructor and owner of Waza Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which he started in 2010.  Derek is a fourth degree black belt with 25 years of experience in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) and has trained under some of the biggest names in the sport.  In 2006, Derek became the first American black belt under World Champion, Cassio Werneck, and the third BJJ black belt in the Sacramento metropolitan area.  As a BJJ black belt, he has taken home three silver medals and one bronze at the World Masters Championships. He has competed in the Pan American BJJ Championships four times and medalled all four times. He has competed twice in Fight 2 Win, winning both times and taking home fight of the night honors both times.  Derek has over 30 years of combined experience competing in BJJ, Judo, and wrestling. 


Derek firmly believes that Jiu Jitsu has the power to change people’s lives for the better.  His goal is to bring the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle to people of all ages and backgrounds to enrich their lives.

Derek's expanded bio!


John McClean

Kids' Program Head Instructor

John McClean is an instructor at Waza BJJ, and runs the kids program.  He is a full-time professional martial artist with over 25 years of training in multiple styles of martial arts and over 20 years teaching martial arts to children.  His experience, enthusiasm, classroom presence, positive energy, patience, and high standards have made him one of Sacramento’s top martial art instructors for children. 

He began training as a child in Kenpo Karate under internationally renowned instructor, Dave Kovar.  Under the tutelage of Mr. Kovar, who holds the rank of Black Belts in 10 styles of martial arts, John was exposed to world class teaching principles and techniques.  During the next 2 decades, John managed two successful marital arts schools and earned four black belts in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kenpo Karate, Tae Kwon Do, and Filipino Escrima. 

John’s introduction to BJJ was from a who’s who of Jiu Jitsu masters.  He has had the privilege of training with some of the founders of the art including Gracie Family members: Royce, Royler, Rorion, Rickson, and Helio.  Several years later John began training under 2003 World Champion Black Belt, Cassio Werneck, and his first American black belt, Derek DiManno.

Chris Waza Kids

Chris Leonard

Kids' Program Instructor

Chris is one of Waza’s kids instructors and runs of the Little Samurai program (ages 4 to 6 years old).  He is a retired Master Police Officer with the City of Pittsburgh served in the U.S. Air Force.  He has been involved in martials arts for nearly 30 years, having trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu,  Wing Chun Kung Fu, Escrima, Western Boxing, wrestling, Tai Chi, Chi Gung, kickboxing, Practical Fighting Concepts, and police defensive tactics.

Chris has an extensive background as both an instructor, coach, and educator of children.  He has coached various youth sports programs (e.g., basketball, football, track and field.) as well as taught BJJ and Kenpo Karate to kids for approximately 10 years.  He also taught several self defense programs at middle schools, women’s shelters and senior citizen facilities.  Through the Police Athletic League (PAL), he worked with community leaders to curb violence and work with at risk youth by organizing sporting events for youths to bridge the gap of trust between police and youths.  He facilitated a program through the Coastal Health Alliance, where he worked with middle school boys in an effort to identify bullying and assist growth in social issues, as well as academics. He also has experience working with special needs students where he designed a specialized academic curriculum as well as incorporated martial arts into a specialized physical education program. 


Sean Wright

Adult Program Instructor

Bio coming soon...


Shilo Bacca

Adult Program Instructor

Bio coming soon...


Gabriel Gibson

Adult Program Instructor

Bio coming soon...

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