Stephen Plyer

head instructor

Stephen Plyler is the co-owner and head instructor of Elevated Studios in Wilmington, Delaware. After over a decade of dedicated training, he earned his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from Phil and Rick Migliarese in 2013 and his first degree black belt in 2017. The Migliarese brothers are the founders of Balance Studios, headquarted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and have been paramount in Stephen’s high-level training style. Today, with more than 20 years of training experience, Stephen continues to take weekly trips to train with his coaches. His passion for the art shows when he trains as well as when he is teaching.

“Steve is one of the best black belts to come out of Balance Studios! If you are from the area and are looking for "real deal" BJJ with a smile, Elevated Studios is your spot!”

– Phil Migliarese, 5th degree Relson Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt

While Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is Stephen’s primary passion, he has worked hard to become a well-rounded martial artist. For over a decade he was the head instructor at Ernie Kirk’s Premier Martial Arts. During this time, Stephen earned his 2nd degree black belt in Krav Maga, 4th degree black belt in Premier Martial Arts, and 2nd degree brown belt in Judo under Joe Condello. Stephen has won multiple Expert No Gi/Black Belt divisions at NAGA, Grappler's Quest, The Good Fight, The United Grapplers Association, is a multiple time No Gi Pan Am medalist (Silver at Purple Belt, Bronze at Black Belt Master 1), and is multiple time champion at Fight to Win. These exposures and experiences have helped to expand his understanding of the martial arts and have greatly influenced the building blocks of Elevated Studios.

Renee Plyler

program director

Renee Plyler is the co-owner and program director at Elevated Studios. Renee's attention to detail and focus on organization has shown to be the perfect compliment to Stephen's intense passion for the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Together, they have built a martial arts academy that truly stands out from the rest.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education, Renee taught for over ten years. During that time, she received her master's degree in reading education and thoroughly enjoyed guiding first graders on their literacy journys. When Renee met Stephen and discovered the art of jiu-jitsu for herself and the empowerment that it provided, she found her direction in life shifting. Not only did she find this martial art to be like an extreme sport for the mind and body, but she also found a greater understanding of her husband's passion and wanted nothing more than to help him make his dreams come true.

Renee is currently putting her time in on the mats as she works her way to black belt. Let's be honest, she's got a ways to go, considering she is attempting to run the business while simultaneously chasing, teaching, and loving their two sons, Anton and Odin.

Kevin Lynch


Kevin Lynch is an instructor at Elevated Studios in Wilmington, Delaware as well as the lead instructor at Elevated's satellite locations in Valley Forge and West Chester, Pennsylvania. He has been training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for ten years and earned his black belt from Stephen Plyler in 2020. In addition, Kevin has also been training Judo for a decade and earned his second degree brown belt under Joe Condello. Kevin’s easy going approach to life spills over into his ability to train with a remarkable flow. His training partners and students enjoy his playful nature on the mats and Elevated is truly fortunate to have Kevin apart of the team.

Kevin has competed in various gi/no gi jiu jitsu tournaments. Some of his accomplishments include:

Fight 2 Win Professional Jiu Jitsu (record 3-1)
Gold 2015 grapplers quest championships expert masters no gi
Gold 2015 masters brown belt featherweight naga battle at the beach
Gold 2015 expert no gi diamond state games
Gold 2015 purple belt good fight King of Prussia
Gold 2012 liberty bell judo tournament sankyu and below
Silver 2015 purple belt diamond state games
Silver 2015 purple belt good fight Broomall
Silver 2015 purple belt good fight Langhorne
Silver 2015 expert no gi united grapplers association
Silver 2015 expert no gi naga Pennsylvania
Silver 2014 purple belt naga battle at the beach
Silver 2014 purple belt naga Pennsylvania
Silver 2012 men's expert feather weight naga Pennsylvania

Jimmy Morrison


Jimmy Morrison is an instructor at Elevated Studios in Wilmington, Delaware. Jimmy’s lifelong love of professional wrestling and karate movies drew him to combat sports at a young age. He was first introduced to jiu jitsu after watching UFC 1 live in 1993.

Jimmy started training Brazilian jiu jitsu in October 2000. In 2005 he began training with Phil and Ricardo Migliarese at Balance Studios in Philadelphia and earned his black belt there in 2011.

In addition to teaching, Jimmy has competed successfully throughout his jiu jitsu career. He also has extensive experience coaching MMA fighters; both amateur and professional. Notably, UFC veterans Tim Williams and Marc Stevens, CFFC vets Travis Wynn and Joe Stripling, and several amateur fighters. We are extremely fortunate to share our mats with Jimmy and benefit from his high level of expertise.

Matt DeVito


Matt DeVito is an instructor at Elevated Studios in Wilmington, Delaware as well as the lead instructor at Elevated’s satellite program in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Matt began his training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Stephen Plyler in 2009 and received is his Brown Belt in 2020. In additional to his BJJ training, Matt trains in a variety of other martial arts including Krav Maga, Judo, Kick Boxing, Wresting, and Sanda/Sanshou. He eventually followed in Stephen’s footsteps to become a Black Belt in Krav Maga and a self-defense instructor. In recent years Matt has taught several seminars at multiple Krav Maga schools and International Krav Maga Camps. He continues to teach striking and BJJ every week and has made it a personal mission to bring higher level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and grappling techniques into mainstream self-defense curriculum. Matt’s passion for the martial arts helps to make his students more well rounded practitioners.

Rob MacNamera


Rob MacNamera is an instructor at Elevated Studios in Wilmington, Delaware and often assists in teaching the youth program classes. Rob has been training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu since 2006 and received his black belt under Stephen Plyler in 2017. Rob has medaled at IBJJF, Grappler’s Quest, Grappling Industries, US Grappling, and The Good Fight Tournament. Rob’s calm demeanor and dedication to his training is what makes him an invaluable member of our community.

Vladamir Bazan


Vladamir Bazan is an instructor at Elevated Studios and often assists in teaching both the youth and adult classes. Vlad has been training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu since 2006 and received his brown belt from Stephen Plyler in 2018. Vlad’s bottomless pit of patience and unique ability to articulate the intricacies of the art help him to provide his students and fellow practitioners with an optimal training experience.

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