5th Dan | Minami Ryu Jujitsu - Dojo Cho
At an early age, Darryn began learning self-defense—striking and wrestling from his father Jerry Melerine (Marine Veteran), and Uncle Johnny “Bub” Martinez (Army National Guard Veteran). Jerry talks fondly of raising two sons, Darryn, and younger brother, Chad. He reminisces about teaching them to work hard, never give up, and the importance of good character and loyalty. Seeing their physical ability and to focus on their physical development, Jerry developed a strength & conditioning “cross fit”-like training course (before cross fit was a thing) and challenged Darryn and Chad with exercises such as rope climbs, chin-ups, hand-over-hand’s, speed, balance and coordination routines in their back yard. He tutored his sons at an early age, “You never start a fight, and always stick together. Know how to defend yourself and each other if necessary.” Darryn took that message to heart. He continued to train in community boxing gyms and at home. Being extremely competitive, Darryn regularly assessed his skill set against Golden Gloves champions and high-level martial art black belts of a range of styles.
Darryn is a flag football multiple time State Champion, 2x Collegiate National Champion, 10x Open National Champion, 2x World Champion. Awarded First Team All American & MVP (offensive & defensive) numerous times during each of these championships. A collegiate (NIRSA) Flag Football Hall of Fame Inductee.
Darryn’s work ethic has proven to be successful not only in athletics, but as President/CEO of two successful businesses. He is well respected in the insurance industry, as a Brand Ambassador and Social Media Influencer. He is largely known throughout the continental U.S. and has quickly grown into a recognized international public figure with an active lifestyle in fashion, business, travel, martial arts and fitness. Darryn truly lives life to the fullest!
Intrigued with advancing his Budo knowledge, skill set, learn more about martial arts and dedicate time to practice, Darryn studied multiple styles but only focused, after thorough evaluation, in systems he felt were practical and affective in real life applications.
Darryn began studies in the discipline of Minami Ryu Jujitsu, judo and working with weapons in 1989 under Kancho Sensei Jack E. Garrett. Jack was a disciple of Jacques Lagrand, legendary 9th degree black belt, student of Kawashi-Awazu, and jujitsu, judo, hapkido under Frank Curtis. Sensei Curtis was one of the highest-ranking instructors in Kito Ryu Jujitsu in this hemisphere. He was affiliated with the Nippon Budokikai (Validation References: Kosutaka Osuka (Chief Instructor of Wadoryu Karate / Japan), Yasuhisa Shioda (Soka of Yoshinkan Aikido / Japan), and Nobuyoshi Higashi (Kokushi Budo / New York)). In addition, Darryn trained Eskrima with James Wilson (Lakan Dalawa) a first-generation Filipino American and Filipino Martial Arts Guru.
Darryn has had the honor to train and share the mat with many great masters such as: George Kirby (Budoshin Jujitsu), Gene LeBell (Judo/Grappling), Hayward Nishioka (Judo), Wally Jay (Small Circle Jujitsu), Burrell “Skip” Koepke (Seki Ryu Jujitsu), Dennis Palumbo (Hakko Densho Ryu Jujutsu), Sam Exnicios (Judo), Carlos Machado (World Master's Champion in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)), Rigan Machado (Pan American Champion (BJJ)), Sam Combes (Yoshinkai/Kadokan Aikido), Robert Carver (Heiwashin Kai Jujutsu), Larry Pohlman (Sand Drift Aikika (Aikido)), Myron Gaudet (Minami Ryu Jujitsu), Jim Mahanes (Niseido Ju Jitsu), Gokor Chivichyan (MMA/Grappling), Frank Shamrock / BJ Penn / Daniel Cormier (MMA World Champions) and Jack “Hogman” Garrett (IBJJF World Champion).
Darryn has a strong presence in Louisiana with solid affiliations throughout other states; including, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Utah, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Kentucky, Illinois, and New York; international affiliations in Canada, Japan, United Kingdom & Mexico. Other honored affiliations include the Kodokan (Japan) (Life Member), Budoshin Jujitsu Yudanshakai & American Jujitsu Association, United States Jujitsu Federation & United States Traditional Kododan Judo (Life Member).
In 2002 Jack Garrett, Sensei (Kancho Sensei of Minami Ryu Jujitsu), promoted Darryn to the rank of Ni Dan (2nd Degree) and appointed him as Dojo Cho of Minami Ryu Jujitsu and currently holds the rank of Go Dan (5th degree) with a Renshi title. Darryn also holds the rank of Go Dan (5th degree) in Budoshin Ju-Jitsu under Professor George Kirby Ju Dan (10th degree) and Marc Tucker, Sensei Hachi Dan (8th degree). Darryn’s rank is recognized by organizations worldwide such as the American Jujitsu Association and United States Jujitsu Federation.
Nominated by Bruce Bethers Ku Dan (9th degree) President -United States Jujitsu Federation (USJJF) and USA Unified Martial Arts Hall of Fame Inductee for “National Jujitsu Sensei” in 2022.
Darryn has performed many self-defense & awareness (women’s self-defense/anti-bullying) corporate engagements and defensive tactics clinics/seminars for local community general audiences and multiple law enforcement agencies, SWAT teams and all branches of the military to include special forces, domestically & internationally. He regularly teaches classes at his home-based dojo, (Zanshin Dojo) located in Mandeville, LA, and also travels to conduct classes, seminars and clinics with other martial arts domestic and international organizations.
Darryn continues to seek tutelage from Jack Garrett, Sensei and George Kirby, Sensei through present day.
JACK E. GARRETT
9th Dan | Minami Ryu Jujitsu - Kancho Sensei
Jack Garrett began training in the discipline of judo in 1967 with Jacques Lagrand, legendary 9th degree black belt, student of Kawashi-Awazu, in New Orleans, LA. Jack continued training with Lewis Vinot, 5th degree black belt, in the art of judo in 1969.
Jack was eager to learn and practice. During his young days of training Jack would have his Aunt drive him to the Port of New Orleans to meet Japanese ships. When they arrived, he would ask for people with budo skills and whether they were interested in working out; if so, Jack would get them dinner and a six-pack of beer in exchange for working out. Most of the time he would get ShoDans; however, occasionally, he would draw a tough Japanese YoDan.
In 1970 Jack was introduced to Frank Curtis who was instructing jujitsu, judo and hapkido. Eager to expand his martial arts knowledge and skill set and with the desire to gain as much information as possible about these and multiple other ryu, Jack began training under Curtis in those disciplines. He began reading and acquiring an extensive library of martial arts books and instructional videos to improve his knowledge and ability. In addition, during this time, Jack trained weapons with Roy Osborn. He has also had the honor to train and share the mat with many great masters such as: Vince Tamara (Judo/Jujitsu), Minority Mochizuki (Ypsilanti Budo), Gozo Shioda and his son, Yashisa Yoshinkan (Aikido) and Hayward Nishioka (Judo). Jack went on to train in Aikido, Karate and Shorinji Kempo.
In 2007 Frank Curtis, Sensei, appointed Jack the honor of Kancho Sensei of Minami Ryu Jujitsu. Minami Ryu is a traditional form of Japanese Jujitsu based on Kito Ryu Jujitsu; the system studied for over 47 years with Curtis. Sensei Curtis was one of the highest-ranking instructors in Kito Ryu Jujitsu in Northern Hemisphere. He was affiliated with the Nippon Budokikai (Validation References: Kosutaka Osuka (Cheif Instructor of Wadoryu Karate / Japan), Yasuhisa Shioda (Soka of Yoshinkan Aikido / Japan), and Nobuyoshi Higashi (Kokushi Budo / New York)). Jack continued to seek tutelage from Frank Curtis, Sensei, including acquiring the skills of acupressure and acupuncture, until his death in 2010.
Throughout his martial arts training Jack was evaluated by Sensei Frank Curtis multiple times, Satahiro Sato, the IMAF board in Las Vegas, NV, Soke’ Burrell “Skip” Koepke (Seki Ryu Jujitsu), and the United States Ju-Jitsu Federation. Jack has a strong presence in Louisiana and affiliations throughout Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Utah, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Florida, and New York; with an international affiliation in the United Kingdom. His latest recognition was by the United States Ju-Jitsu Federation (USJJF) who certified Jack at 8th Dan in 2011. All evaluations resulting in promotions were honored by Frank Curtis, Sensei.
Jack is also a Hall of Fame Inductee as “Jujitsu Pioneer”, 2022 by United States Ju-Jitsu Federation (USJJF) and USA Unified Martial Arts.
3rd Dan | Minami Ryu Jujitsu - Sensei
Introducing Cliff Melerine, a distinguished martial arts instructor with over 30 years of expertise in various disciplines. A 3rd degree black belt in Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, Cliff also holds rank in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Capoeira, and kickboxing, establishing himself as a prominent figure in the martial arts community.
From an early age, Cliff showcased exceptional talent, achieving the status of a 2-time AAU Junior Olympic Judo Champion. His accomplishments extended globally, earning him the title of a 2-time World Jiu-Jitsu bronze medalist and the prestigious position of US Pan-Am Sanda/San Shao National Champion.
Specializing in self-defense instruction, Cliff seamlessly blends traditional martial arts techniques with contemporary strategies, empowering individuals with the tools they need to navigate real-world scenarios. His commitment to self-defense education has made him a respected authority, and his expertise extends to training law enforcement professionals.
Notably, Cliff has been featured in Blackbelt Magazine, showcasing his contributions to the martial arts world. Recognized for his excellence both in and outside the dojo, Cliff has become a sought-after mentor for MMA fighters, contributing to the success of athletes in renowned organizations like UFC, PFL, Belator, and BKFC.
Beyond his instructive roles, Cliff and his team embark on a global mission, conducting self-defense and awareness seminars for major corporations and universities. Notable institutions such as LSU have benefited from Cliff's expertise, reflecting his commitment to spreading knowledge and empowering individuals worldwide.
With a remarkable legacy, Cliff remains a formidable force in martial arts, leaving an enduring impact through instruction, mentorship, and global outreach.