Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes in Olive Branch, MS. 

Call or Text 901-235-5701

3 Class trial for $49 and a FREE shirt!

Want to Get in shape and lose a few pounds?

Here is the problem at hand for most. You aren’t motivated to lift weights and run on a treadmill long enough to get that look you desire. Nobody is there to hold you to your goals and/or show you how to do it. You started a routine but got bored. Don’t know where to start. The list of whys and problems go on and on. Just think of a few that have stopped you right quick.
Imagine being in great shape dropping your body fat percentage low enough to start seeing more muscle definition. Having your muscles toned up and cardio like you never imagined you could achieve. Attaining static strength, muscle endurance, power, flexibility and everything you can think of or want.

Need something to do or want to meet some new friends?

If you’re new to the area, home schooled, aren’t able to get out, haven’t found a group, are shy, bored with the same old etc, whatever it may be that has you in search of that new life, new hobby, new passion or you just want to get out and meet some new people that have a similar interest but just haven’t found it

What if you were to get into an altercation tomorrow, would you be able to defend yourself?

If you were to face confrontation are you confident in your abilities to defend yourself? Just watch the news, altercations are happening everyday and could happen to you at any moment. What would you do if it does happen?


What if I told you that I have the answer to each one of those situations above?

Well I do!!!

I guarantee that if you’re wanting to get in shape that we can get you in better shape than you could have ever imagined and that we will show you how to and hold you to it. We have a very successful track record for getting people results! I guarantee that if you’re looking for a new hobby or to meet nice people that you will have a blast in MMA and meet some of the nicest people at our gym! And if you’re looking for real self defense, I promise you will get proven to work in real world techniques!


Our coaching staff is 2nd to none! We have the most experienced and decorated instructors in the area period! All of our coaches have over 50 years combined experience, have competed in some of the largest and most prestigious competitions in the world and are here to help you!
Our students are reaching their goals with amazing results! We have helped students lose weight, get in amazing shape, go from competing amateur to competing pro very fast and with success!And for those looking to compete…….Our track record speaks for its self!!

We are the ONLY gym in Desoto County to have done the following

  • Produced 5 professional fighters
  • Go on a 17 fight win streak
  • Have 6 fighters ranked locally in the top ten (plus they were all ranked at the same time!)
  • Have multiple undefeated fighters training
  • Have multiple title holders
  • Have multiple fighters hold multiple titles
  • Have a fighter hold all of the local fight shows belts for a weight division
  • Produced Multiple Grappling Champions
  • Gym Ran by the Highest ranked Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner in Desoto County that has helped UFC fighters train for fights !!


  • At Shackelford‘s Mixed Martial Arts Center, we teach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Sombo, Judo, Muay Thai, Kickboxing, MMA, Submission Wrestling and run fitness classes
  • We have classes for kids, teens, men and women!
  • We have classes for Beginners who have never trained before and for those who never want to spar!
  • We have classes for those who just want a great workout that’s different from the typical treadmill and weights but don’t want to get punched at, they just want to use the same workout as fighters use!
  • We have a teens only class!
  • We have Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Classes that teach how to control and escape every position you may find yourself in on the ground and apply or escape submissions using technique and leverage.
  • We have Muay Thai Kickboxing Classes that will teach you how to strike and counter strike with confidence.
  • We have MMA training that has helped our gym to produce the MOST SUCCESSFUL fighters in Desoto County!


I am the head instructor and hold a Brown belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu with over twelve years experience. I have competed as a professional mixed martial arts fighter and have competed in Elite XC, Fight Arena and the International Fight League. I was selected for season 9 of the Ultimate Fighter and was drafted by the International Fight League. I have been brought in for training camps by UFC fighter Alan Belcher and Roli Delgado. I was also brought over to Denmark by Royce Gracie’s striking coach Brian Talarek to teach Jiu-Jitsu for his Muay Thai gym Mikenta! I have trained with and helped coach some of the best camps and fighters in the world!
I won’t go over each instructors qualifications here but I will tell you the most important thing about our instructors that stands out above other gyms is our quality. Our coaches at Shackelford’s MMA Center are ALWAYS improving their coaching skills and know each and every one of their students and their goals! They ABSOLUTELY LOVE to teach and help people reach their goals! They are friendly, positive, helpful and care about their class and every student in it!


Are you out of shape?

Well it doesn’t matter! We have specific classes that were designed to meet the needs of a brand new student that is attending for the very first time. Many new students think that you should get in shape on your own before starting training. That is the furthest thing from the truth. You’ll absolutely love the easy and relaxed environment we have set up in our beginner fundamental classes. It will allow you to come in and learn no matter what type of shape you are in.

Haven’t worked out in years?

That’s Ok! That’s what we are here for! We have a lot of students who have came to us completely out of shape and now they are either in great shape or if they just started are in way better shape than they were before. We have a very successful track record for getting people in shape and keeping them in shape. We even have a NEW class designed just for getting people in fantastic shape!

Never done something like this before?

No worries!! We will start you off with a FREE private lesson to answer questions and help you get comfortable with starting the program! We also have a fundamentals program that will show you all of the basics and get you familiar with the terms and classes. This fundamental program is designed for the complete beginner in mind and there is no sparring or wrestling in this class.

A little worried about it being too rough?

This is a common worry that people who are interested in classes have. At Shackelford’s MMA Center you would first go through our fundamentals class where there is no sparring allowed and you can stay in that class as long as you please. In our Combat Athlete programs you never have to take part in the sparring sessions if you don’t want to and will never be pressured to do so. And if you do want to spar you will be paired up with similar skill levels and participate at a pace that you feel comfortable with. There are people who don’t ever want to spar, people who want to spar really light and there are people who want to throw down. Your coach will have to ok it and you would then be paired up with similar skilled students to spar if you wish to go that route. We are big on safety and do not tolerate any student who lacks concern for the safety of their teammates.

Is it only for fighters and Competitors?

Absolutely NOT! Martial Arts was meant for everybody! We have SEVERAL student who only train for hobby, fitness, interest in the styles, self defense or to meet new people.

Is it too hard?

I’ve heard that there are people that think MMA classes are WAY TO HARD and are hesitant to give it a try. This is the furthest thing from the truth. Actually it’s pretty funny. It’s a misconception. I guess some people think that if they come to learn that someone is going to throw them into the Ultimate Fighting Championships. WRONG!
MMA is FUN first and foremost and doesn’t require any previous experience. Anyone can do it, big people, small people, young people, older people, flexible people, non flexible people, experienced people, non experienced people, ANYONE.
If you have ever thought that Martial Arts training may be for you I would urge you to come in and see our program for yourself. I guarantee that you’ll absolutely love it; we can help meet any of your needs.

Do you have to be strong or in shape already?

No. We will get you stronger and in shape. Plenty of people come to us for that reason, to help them get stronger and in shape. Plus the styles we teach do not require you to use strength as their effectiveness is based on using technique and leverage to defeat an opponent/attacker who is much larger than you.

Will you have enough time to do it?

Everybody has different schedules. We have students who only train once a month and still see the benefits, we have students who train 5 or 6 days a week and we have students who do everything in between. We have a pretty wide selection of times to train.

Are you worried about safety or getting hurt?

We preach safety! All you have to do is tap out or tell the coach or your training partner that you want to go light. Sure there are the common bumps and bruises that come with doing any physical activity but you won’t get broken arms and noses unless you are training at that intensity and that is not an intensity that anybody should be training at period. Now the professional fighters and those wishing to fight at that level will train outside of classes at a much higher intensity that commonly produces a busted nose or lip and black eye but our classes where everybody trains you won’t see that level of intensity ever.
Are you worried about if the people in the gym coaches or students will be nice?
Our gym has the most friendly group of training partners and coaches you will ever meet at an MMA gym. MMA gyms typically have a tight nit group but Shackelford’s MMA Center goes out of its way to make sure that everybody in the gym feels welcome. Your coaches will know you by name and your training partners (the team) are some of the nicer people that you will ever meet. You will find no ego in our gym just a laid back group there to learn and have a good time!

Do I have the right body type for it?

The great thing about MMA and all of the styles we teach is that they fit to every body type! We have students who are very tall, short, small, large, young and older. I have student who weigh less than 100lbs and students who are well over 200lbs! ANYBODY can do ANY of our classes!



Competition isn’t for everyone. But if you have an interest in competition, want to train at a school that can prepare you for competitionor just want to experience the great mental and physical rush that comes with competition training we can help.
Now it’s a fact that Mixed Martial Arts & BJJ Fighting is a very demanding sport for those that plan to actually step into the cage or ring one day. This is a fact. But at Shackelford’s Mixed Martial Arts Center we also have many students that have absolutely no plans, hopes or desires to get into the cage to fight but still want the incredible experience of training in Mixed Martial Arts.
At the same time you’ll be able to train along side with our professional and amateur fighters, you’ll be able to do the same workouts without getting hit. But don’t be surprised if you get asked one day to throw some punches at the pro’s in a special training drill we do sometimes where you can hit them but they can’t hit you back. This drill is used to make the pro’s work on their defensive skills and gives the student that wants to get into the mix without getting hit a perfect opportunity.
Also no matter if you want to get into the cage or not, all new students have to go through the basic training phase before they are permitted to participate in the more intense workouts.

I know it may sound like I’m begging, but the fact of the matter is that I AM.

I would hate for you to miss out on the many benefits that our students are experiencing RIGHT NOW just because you are a little hesitant to give it a try. If that’s the case you don’t have to come in to try it, just come in to watch. Isn’t that fair? But if you want to try it, you should take advantage of my generous 30 Day Trial offer TODAY!
I don’t know what else I can do to get you to come to our school and see for yourself. If there is something that I’m missing that will get you to come in please call me on my cell phone to let me know what it is, here’s my cell phone number 901-235-5701. Trust me I’ll do all most anything to prove to you that our program is right for you and that we can help you reach your goals.


YES! No matter what your specific goals are, we have programs that will completely fit your needs. Do you just want to get in shape? Do you want to compete? Do you want to become a Champion in the Martial Arts? Do you want to push yourself to new limits? Do you want to actually reach your full potential? Do you want to fight MMA? Do you want to learn self defense? It doesn’t matter. We will help you reach your goal. We often hear about students who are only interested in getting into shape being forced or pressured to compete. That will never happen at Shackelford’s Mixed Martial Arts Center. Whatever your personal goals are, our instructors will bend over backwards to help you accomplish them.


When it comes to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, you’ve come to the right place! There are many different factors that play into choosing the right school. We feel that the most important factor should be getting what you pay for. What you are paying for should be first-rate instruction and a friendly environment in which to learn. Customer service is one of our main priorities. Whatever you need, our staff will be there to assist you. One thing that separates our school from all of the others is that we have a specialized system (curriculum) that we teach. This system is one of the secrets to our team’s success. Most schools have no curriculum and basically the instructors teach whatever may pop into their heads each night for class. We believe in setting short-, intermediate-, and long-term goals, and then putting a plan in place to reach each of these goals.

Call or text 901-235-5701


Coach Shackelford

My name is Nick wood. I’ve been training closely with John David for around 3 years. He’s responsible for the most drastic changes in my skill level. He spent the same amount of time helping me when I was very green in BJJ and MMA, as he did after I’d received my blue belt and was successfully competing in MMA. He brought light to things that I thought were way over my head. Things that he had me pulling off in fights and grappling.

He’s also helped me with every weight cut I’ve ever made. Talking to me daily, helping me with diets, and planning it step by step. Keep in mind The lowest cut I’ve ever made is 16lbs in a week. It’s closer to 18-19 most of the time. Thanks to John David I’ve never missed a weight. I’m also undefeated in MMA when JD is in my corner and helping gameplan. My only loss was before I found John David. He’s a big reason that I’m now a BLUE BELT in BJJ and my 4-1 mma record, with a championship and Me teaching BJJ and MMA at our home gym. I cant Thank him enough

Nick Wood

When I first started learning MMA, I wanted to learn the things the pros did. I did not think I had the time but I am so glad I made time. I found what I was looking for and more at Shackelford’s MMA Center. They’re a group of instructors with years of knowledge guided me. The people I train with became family and we helped each other achieve our own goals. We push each other and learn from one another making us stronger physically and mentally. I came in knowing nothing and after a year I know more than ever imagined. I weighed 165 lbs when I first started training and in 6 months I was down to 136 lbs. Now I have started to gain lean muscle mass and strength. My stamina and overall health has increased and I have never felt this good before. Everyone learns and progresses at their own pace. We look out for each other for the sake of having a training partner the next day so injuries are uncommon. The gym is constantly improving with every week and so are the people that train in it. This gym has become a second home to me, a place where men and women determined to push themselves and learn from some of the best mixed martial artists around come together.
I have lost weight and gained muscle. I have defended myself from an attacker using the knowledge I learned. I have gained friends and respect from the people I train with. All of this at Shackelford’s MMA. There is a 30 day trial free to come by and try first hand what it’s like. I greatly encourage anyone reading this to come by the gym and watch us train and see if you would consider joining."

Luke Blackwell - Senatobia, MS

“My name is Adam Poole. I’m a 31 year old teacher from Olive Branch. I found Shackleford’s MMA Center as I was looking for a way to stay in shape. I really couldn’t get motivated to go to the gym, lift weights, run, or any of the traditional methods of working out. I was a little apprehensive about joining an MMA gym, because I incorrectly assumed that the place would be full of meat heads with huge egos who were looking to beat up on new guys.. What I encountered at Shackleford’s MMA Center was completely the opposite. Upon my arrival, the instructors were extremely courteous and professional, and the students were friendly and welcoming. After speaking with head-instructor John David Shackleford for a while about my motives and goals for being there, I took part in my free introductory Brazilian jiu-jitsu lesson, and I was hooked. I’ve been training jiu-jitsu for about a month and a half now. Not only is rolling (the jiu-jitsu term for sparring) the best workout I’ve ever had, I’m learning an art in which I can set goals and work to reach them…and having fun doing it. The team atmosphere at Shackleford’s MMA Center is obvious. It starts with the instructors and filters down to everyone who trains there. Everyone I’ve trained with has been extremely helpful and patient in working with me to improve my skills. If you’re looking for a great workout or a place to learn real-world, practical self-defense techniques, I would highly recommend Shackleford’s MMA center!”

Adam Poole - Olive Branch, MS.

Hey I’m Shane Quick, I’ve trained at Shackelford’s Mixed Martial Arts Center for 2 years now and have gotten in better shape as well as learned some valuable skills in self defense and self discipline. I’ve been a body builder and fitness enthusiast for 8 years now and Shackelford’s MMA Center has opened my eyes to a whole new realm of what the body is capable of doing. The members are a great bunch of people, everyone is great about teaching those who know less and learning from those who know more. The coaches are always studying the best way to keep up with the new ideas and challenges that face the modern martial arts enthusiast. They always have an open ear to questions and show details very well. I have always enjoyed my time here and know you will too!

Shane Quick - Nesbit, MS.

My name is Howard Boling. I’m a 37 year old EMT/Fire fighter. I started training at Shackelford’s Mixed Martial Arts Center in October of 2010. The training I have received has been top notch. I have learned so much in just a short amount of time. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful and allow you to learn at your own pace. In addition to the training, I have also improved my cardio and lost 10lbs. Joining Shackelford’s Mixed Martial Arts Center was one of the best decisions that I could have made for myself!

Howard Boiling

"I started at Shackelford’s Mixed Martial Arts Center in October 2010. I had a few months previous training at another facility but wasn’t learning much. After joining Shackelford’s, I was very impressed with the level and details of instruction. I was out of shape when I first joined and since I have had tremendous gains in my level of fitness over a short period of time. The atmosphere is laid back but very motivating. The coaches and people who train here are great people. Learning MMA has also boosted my confidence in defending myself if the need ever arises as most self defense situations end up on the ground. I highly recommend Shackelford’s Mixed Martial Arts Center!"

Spencer Van Velsor

"The coaches at Shackelford’s Mixed Martial Arts Center are very experienced and have been involved with the MMA world for a very long time. I started training there a little over a year ago. I have learned many things to better myself as a fighter, but I have also grasped more than that. There is a lot to MMA that most of us don’t know and part of that is people train to better themselves and be better at the sport, not to hurt people.


Casey Hatley

"This is the best place I have trained at! I took classes at another gym for two years before and the out look I had before and the outlook I have now are completely different. Before I thought I just wanted to train to be a champion fighter but now I see not only have I learned so much about people and friendship. One of the best things about Shackelford’s MMA Center is they care more about you and how to get you better than a trophy. This is the best training and training environment that I have ever been in. Thank you so much Shackelford’s MMA Center!"

George Alvarez - Southaven, MS.

"Shackelford’s MMA Center in Olive Branch Mississippi is by far one of the premiere gyms in the mid south. John David Shackelford and his staff are a phenomenal bunch to work with. I achieved a blue belt in jiu jitsu a year from the time I began training and I owe a huge amount of that accomplishment to JD. Another area where JD and his guys helped me in is MMA. I currently have an 8-1 record. I definitely have to give some credit for my success to JD and his guys at Shackelford’s MMA Center. Not only did I receive a wealth of knowledge from JD, but he also was my corner man in several of my fights. If anyone has any interest in any kind of MMA, jiu jitsu, boxing, or kickboxing, I’d recommend that they look no farther than Shackelford’s MMA Center and see what all they can teach them."

Bryan Burse

"I highly recommend training with Shackelford‘s Mixed Martial Arts Center. They have great instructors and a great group of guys there in olive branch. I’ve already recommended others to train with Shackelford’s MMA Center and have had awesome feedback from them. Everyone there was a pleasure to work & learn from."

Pete Molly Ford

“My name is Jamie Cox, I’m 24 years old and I work in plumbing services. I’m a small guy at 160lbs and 5’9”. I started coming to train in October 2010. I got into it for a fun fitness class and loved it right from the start. I had no back history of any mixed martial arts before this. The guys here are awesome and are very dedicated to teaching you and making sure you understand. I would suggest to anyone who wants to have fun, get fit and/or learn some mixed martial arts. Great guys, awesome atmosphere, excellent gym all around!!”

Jamie Cox

““I have found the rewards of practicing brazilian jiu jitsu at Shackelford’s Mixed Martial Arts to be nothing short of spectacular. I began with no experience in martial arts whatsoever, and with the help of a great team and quality instructors, I was able to compete and win in grappling tournaments. When I decided to pursue Mixed Martial Arts, the experience of my coaches once again proved valuable in catering my jiu jitsu to deal with, and take advantage of, striking on the ground. From the beginning of my training when I was simply getting in shape, to my current career as a professional mixed martial arts fighter, Shackelford’s MMA has provided the skills and support I need to be successful.””

Tim Galluzzi, professional fighter (3-1, 2 submissions; 13-1 amateur, 11 submissions)