Professor David Kama (4th Degree Rickson Gracie Black Belt) – A private, low key individual who always preferred to operate “in the background,” so to speak, when it came to his Jiu-Jitsu. Dave is one of only a handful of American Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belts who have trained directly under Master Rickson Gracie from white belt to black belt. Professor Dave is one of the famous “Dirty Dozen of Jiu-Jitsu,” making him one of the first 12 non-Brazilians to receive a black belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Prof Dave Kama and Prof Chris Saunders are the only members of the Dirty Dozen to earn a black belt from Rickson Gracie. Dave is acknowledged to be one of the best practitioners ever to be produced by Master Rickson; American or Brazilian. Dave was for many years in the 90s, Master Rickson’s “go to” student/understudy. In the late 80s – early 90s, when the Gracie Brothers would issue challenges to other marital arts academies, it was often Dave Kama they would take as their “game cock,” to take on the challengers. Dave never lost a challenge match. The rationale was, “If our student can do this to your best fighter, imagine how much better your school will be if you add in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu concepts to your art.” Dave was asked by Master Rickson in 1993 to take over the primary duty of running Rickson’s 2nd school in America; Rickson Gracie Laguna Niguel (Prof Chris Saunders managed his third school, Rickson Gracie Oxnard, CA). Rickson also asked Dave to travel the world with him to conduct his seminars, where as many as 400 people attended. The practice then, was for Rickson and Dave to train with (and submit) at least once with every single attendee, to show the effectiveness of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. In these situations, Dave never failed to submit his opponent.
In the mid-2000s, the TV show “Fight Science” approached Master Rickson to do a segment on Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. MMA and grappling superstar (under Master Fabio Santos) Dean Lister was slated to be his partner for the show segment’s demonstration (you can see Dean in the background at 3:10).
Instead, Master Rickson brought in his most trusted understudy Professor Dave Kama to help him share Rickson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu with the world.