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 third degree black belt in 2022. 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 journey. 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. 


Kevin Lynch

instructor

Kevin Lynch is an instructor at Elevated Studios in Wilmington, Delaware as well as the lead instructor at Elevated's satellite location in Valley Forge. 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

instructor

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

instructor

Matt DeVito is an instructor at Elevated Studios in Wilmington, Delaware as well as the previous 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

instructor

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

instructor

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.


Chris Dunlap

instructor

Chris Dunlap is an instructor at Elevated Studios in Wilmington, Delaware and often assists in teaching both the youth and adult program classes. Chris grew up playing organized sports his whole life and was introduced to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2014 and received his brown belt from Stephen Plyler in 2021. Chris has medaled at numerous competitions including IBJJF, Fight to Win, The Good Fight, NAGA, Grappling Industries, and Fuji Bjj Tournaments. Chris is incredibly technical and controlled, making him a perfect training partner and coach to anyone that steps onto the mats.

Blaine Schrader

instructor

Blaine Schrader is an instructor at Elevated Studios in Wilmington, Delaware and often assists in teaching the youth program classes. Blaine started out his martial art journey in the early 2000’s with boxing and Sanshou. He got away from training for a few years until his wife accidently signed him up for a jiu jitsu class instead of the mixed martial art classes he was accustomed to. However, he gave it a try and ended up falling in love with the sport/art in 2007. Blaine currently holds a blue belt in Judo and a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He has medaled at numerous competitions including IBJJF (Boston, NY, & ATL), NAGA, US Grappling, Good Fight, and USJF Judo. Blaine taught Gracie Self Defense Jiu Jitsu as a certified instructor for over four years in Middletown, Delaware. This, coupled with Blaine’s love for the art and it’s non-stop problem solving opportunities, makes him an absolute asset to our community and we are so lucky to have him apart of our team.

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