Our Instructors

Sam Joseph,

Head Instructor

Sam is an internationally decorated athlete who has trained, competed, and taught Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for nearly 20 years.  He earned his black belt from the esteemed Yamasaki Academy in 2007.  He was inducted into the NFC BJJ Hall of Fame on 1/18/2020.


He has trained with some of the world's best including UFC referees, Fernando and Mario Yamasaki, Francisco Neto, Dave "The Rock" Jacobs, Murilo Santana, Pablo Popovitch, Paul Creighton, and Shawn Williams.

Sam is a graduate of the University of Georgia and a Certified Personal Trainer.

Competitive Highlights

  • Masters World Championship: 2012 Bronze (black belt)

  • Pan American Championships: 2000 Bronze (blue belt), 2002 Gold (purple belt), 2007 Gold (brown belt)

  • US Nationals: 2011 Silver (black belt)

  • New York Open: 2013 Gold (black belt)

  • Dallas Open: 2013 Gold (black belt)

  • Atlanta Open: 2018 Gold (black belt) & 2013 Gold (black belt)

Competition footage on YouTube

Derek Kaivani,

Asst Instructor

Derek earned his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2013 from Jacare Cavalcanti and 7-time World Champion, Lucas Lepri.  Derek has also trained under 10-time World Champion and Hall of Famer, Rubens "Cobrinha" Maciel.

Derek helped create our Kids Program and remains involved as an assistant.


Derek has also worked on the business side of the sport as an athlete manager, academy owner, marketing advisor, and facilitator for self-defense/bully prevention workshops.

Derek has an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Competitive Highlights

  • Pan American Championships: 2008 Gold (purple belt), 2009 Gold (purple belt), 2010 Gold (brown belt), 2013 Gold (brown belt)

  • Brazilian Nationals: 2010 Gold (brown belt), 2010 Bronze (brown belt, Absolute)

  • Atlanta Open: 2013 Bronze (black belt)

Competition footage on YouTube


Daren Roberts,

Assistant Instructor

Daren earned his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2018 from Sam Joseph.  He has also trained under 10-time World Champion and Hall of Famer, Rubens "Cobrinha" Maciel, and 2-time brown belt world champion and ADCC veteran, Chris Moriarty. 


He has been competing and teaching BJJ for over a decade.

He is a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology, and when Coach Daren isn't at Buckhead Jiu Jitsu, he works at 360i Marketing and loves spending time with his wife Nichole, son Luca, and their dog London.

Competitive Highlights

  • Pan American Championships: 2007 Bronze (purple belt), 2009 Bronze (brown belt), 2011 Bronze (brown belt)

  • New York Open: 2009 Bronze (brown belt)

  • No-gi World Championships: 2007 Bronze (purple belt)

  • No-gi Pan Championships: 2008 Bronze (purple belt)

  • MMA: 1-0 in Georgia

  • Lutador Pro-division: 2010 Silver

Competition footage on YouTube


Kenneth Yeung,

Assistant Instructor

Kenneth earned his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2018 from Sam Joseph.  He started his Mixed Martiall Arts (MMA) training in South Africa in 2001 where he first fell in love with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and where he earned his brown belt before moving to the U.S. in 2012.

Kenneth is passionate about winning in everyday life, through play and self-discovery on the mat.  He is a software architect and loves anything tech related.

Competitive Highlights

  • Atlanta Open: 2016 Bronze (brown belt)

Getting Started at Buckhead Jiu Jitsu: Easy as 1-2-3


Check out the sport and us -- for FREE.  Take a free intro class at no cost with no obligation.  We'll provide everything you need - except you.  It's that easy.


If you decide to continue, select one of our membership options to become part of our jiu jitsu family.


Become a fitter, healthier, stronger, safer, more confident, and better person.