Our Team

Meet Our Team & Instructors



Marcus Soares
Marcus Soares
Master BJJ Instructor

Head Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Instructor

Bio: Master Marcus Vinicius de Macedo Soares was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro (Copacabana Beach), Brazil.  He has been a member of the Carlson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Team since 1970 (the first generation).

Marcus has had the opportunity to instruct and to spar with some of the best and finest Brazilian fighters of our time.  From 1970 to 1981, Master Marcus Soares was a very active and successful member of the Carlson Gracie Team, the #1 Team in the world for over 3 decades. Marcus was promoted to BJJ Master 7th degree black belt by Grand Master Carlson Gracie in 2005 and received his 8th Dan in 2012.  He is the most experienced Carlson Gracie Team Professor in the world and the head of the Carlson Gracie Team in Canada.


  • Highest ranking black belt in North America (red/black belt)
  • Trainer of UFC and Pride fighters
  • Head of Carlson Gracie Team Canada
  • A direct student of Carlson Gracie Sr. and member since the first generation of the original Carlson Gracie Team (Brazil)
  • Founder of the Canadian Carlson Gracie Team (1997) and Father of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Canada
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion from 1970 to 1981
  • Past senior and main instructor of the Carlson Gracie Academy (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
  • World class trainer of champions including Denis Kang, Ricardo de La Riva, Marcus “Conan” Silveira and many others
Toby McEachern
Toby McEachern

Bio: Coach Toby has over 30 years of martial arts experience and has been the head striking coach for the Carlson Gracie Maple Ridge Team since the beginning in 2010.

Prior to becoming part of the CG Team, Coach Toby made a name for himself  developing his own teaching style and producing some of the best local kickboxers around. His ability to break down the basic fundamentals of striking getting students to fully understand and properly execute is unparalleled. Toby also created his own “Crashfit” strength and conditioning class that has been the addiction of so many over the years. Long before the whole “Crossfit” craze, Toby began offering a class that combined specific weight training and cardio workout styles that showed fast results in those who participated consistently. Over the years Crashfit has continued to develop and is a program that the CG Academy still depends on to keep our members fit.


  • Head Striking Instructor at Carlson Gracie Academy
  • Nutritional expert
  • Fitness trainer
  • Over 30 years experience in martial arts
  • Certified by Shawn Tomkins (Team Tapout, Xtreme Couture)
  • Endorsed by Master Hon Lee
  • Certified by Training for Warriors
Jonathan Curtis
Jonathan Curtis

Bio: Jonathan’s passion for the progression of the Carlson Gracie Team goes unmatched. His loyalty, dedication and commitment shows clearly when he his teaching. Jon has always put the Team first and his positive energy leaves his BJJ students always wanting more.


  • Black Belt under Marcus Soares – Carlson Gracie Team Canada
  • Local and International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor
  • Competition Team Coach for Carlson Gracie Team Maple Ridge
Oliver Vajda
Oliver Vajda

Bio: Oliver is our most decorated student teacher at the Carlson Gracie Maple Ridge Academy. Oliver has been a long time student of Coach Toby McEachern since 17 years old and has practiced all his BJJ training under Marcus Soares. Oliver instructs many of our classes including working with our younger students ensuring the future stars of our Academy shine bright. Oliver has achieved many accomplishments with our Team but what stands out most is his humble nature and strong character.



  • Undefeated MMA Bantamweight Champion in 2 separate organizations.
  • BC Boxing Welterweight Champion.
  • Top Ranked BC Boxing Super Welterweight Champion.
  • Purple Belt under Marcus Soares – Carlson Gracie Team Canada.
  • Multiple BJJ Gold Medalist
  • Multiple BJJ Silver Medalist.
  • Multiple Submission Grappling Gold Medalist.
  • Multiple Submission Grappling Silver Medalist.
  • North American Grappling Association (NAGA) Absolute Champion
Shayla O’Connor
Shayla O’Connor

Bio: Shayla has been a core member of our Team for many years.                                         She has successfully competed in a variety of disciplines including Boxing and BJJ. Under the tutelage Master Marcus Soares, Shayla is a Purple Belt  who has taken charge in growing our Women’s Only Program.


  • Purple Belt under Marcus Soares – Carlson Gracie Team Canada.
  • BJJ Instructor for our Women’s Only class.
  • Local and International competitor.
  • Boxing and Kickboxing training under Toby McEachern.
Larry Rousey
Larry Rousey

Bio: Larry has been a loyal and eager student from day 1. Always having a positive attitude, Larry works extremely hard in and out of the Academy.  In the Academy, Larry can be found personal training members as well as working with our Youth.


  • Blue Belt under Marcus Soares – Carlson Gracie Team Canada
  • Multiple medalist in Gi/No-Gi grappling
  • Registered Coach – Coaching Association of Canada
  • Interdisciplinary Sport Science Diploma
  • Learn to Train certified – National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP)
  • Personal Trainer (Larry Rousey Sport)
Brett Harwood
Brett Harwood

Bio: Brett has been with our Academy since the beginning and has trained under Toby McEachern for many years. Always a fitness enthusiast, Brett worked his way up to becoming the Strength and Conditioning Coach at the Carlson Gracie Academy. Many sports teams have sought after our Academy for cross-training with Brett. His positive and encouraging demeanor has made his classes a favorite of many loyal students. Students will always get a very challenging and rewarding workout participating in one of Brett’s sessions.


  • Personal Fitness Trainer
  • Strength and Conditioning Coach for sports teams, individuals and groups
  • Certified through American Council on Exercise
  • BCRPA Certified
Julio “Rasta” Monteiro
Julio “Rasta” Monteiro

Bio: Julio Monteiro (in the Capoeira world known as ‘Rasta’) was born in Salvador, Bahia, Brasil, the very place Capoeira was born many centuries ago.

 At the age of 9 he started training Capoeira with his cousin in the backyard of his house. At that early age he had the privilege of meeting many famous masters of Capoeira on the streets of Bahia, including Mestre Boa Gente. Rasta’s farther, also a Capoeirista and a musician, passed away when Julio was 7 years old. His farther was and remains his inspiration to move forward and Rasta continues his farther’s passion for Capoeira and learning. In 1994, Rasta’s passion for Capoeira led him to join ABADA capoeira group. ABADA Capoeira is now the largest Capoeira organization in the world, and is led by legendary Mestre Camisa.

In 1999 Rasta came to Canada and stayed to start his work in Vancouver, BC. He had met with a lot of challenges but continues to learn, train and teach Capoeira movement classes, Music, Maculele, and everything that is related to Capoeira. In short – Capoeira is his life. Rasta is also a skilled percussionist, who from the early age of 9 years old played in many parades in Brasil. He received his latest “verde/roxa”(green/ purple) corda during Mestre Camisa’s Batizado at Jogos Mundiais 2009 in Rio de Janeiro.