High Ground Jiu Jitsu

Pittsburgh Area Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Tommy Costa is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Brown Belt and USJA Judo Brown Belt. The son of a former Golden Gloves Boxing champion, Tommy has been involved with combat sports his whole life. As a young boy he trained in Tae Kwon Do and also learned boxing from his father, eventually becoming a student of  Mark “FightShark” Miller at his academy, Iron City Kickboxing. Tommy has trained extensively under the Master BJJ and Judo Black Belt Damon Umholtz as well as World Champion BJJ Black Belt Dustin “Clean” Denes. Tom has taught Jiu-Jitsu and MMA internationally for the University of Bologna in Italy and is also an alumni adviser to the Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Club. He is a student of Ken Perry and Gerry Brown at the Philly Muay Thai Academy and is still an active competitor in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Submission Grappling. Tommy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Film and Media Arts from Temple University.


Alex Bednenko is a Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under BJJ Black Belt Josh Griffiths (Clockwork BJJ). Before making High Ground Jiu-Jitsu his home, Alex was an instructor at Clockwork BJJ in Manhattan, NYC.  Alex is a true technician and his attention to detail is unmatched. His wealth of knowledge and ability to teach simply and effectively are what makes him an invaluable asset to his students and this academy.


Justin Scalzo is our academy’s Real-World Defensive Tactics instructor. Justin is a K-9 Police Officer for the City of Jeanette with well over a decade of law enforcement experience.  A Police Academy instructor, he holds a plethora of awards and certifications through the state of Pennsylvania and other various sanctioning bodies. Justin is a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a Black Belt in Kouchi Kalikar. He is a former amateur kickboxing champion and high school wrestler. Justin is expertly trained and certified in many forms of self defense tactics including the use of improvised weapons, firearms, knives, tasers and pepper spray. His vast martial arts knowledge combined with his ongoing real-world experience has created a unique and dynamic self defense system that draws from many different styles. Justin’s classes are perfect for law enforcement personnel to continue their education and acquire new skills, as well as individuals or families who want to learn to protect themselves. Click Here to view a complete list of Justin Scalzo’s qualifications and certifications.


Greg Olsen is our resident Muay Thai / Boxing coach. A lifelong fitness enthusiast; he competed in amateur power lifting contests through his teens and 20’s; daily cross training with surfing, ocean swims and trail running.  His first venture into martial arts was Kempo karate, which eventually exposed him to mixed martial arts (MMA) and he has been hooked ever since. Intensive training began at Und1sputed in San Diego, Ca. and progressed over the last decade to the preeminent southern California MMA fighting school; San Diego Combat Academy. The focused training regimen of legendary 7 time WBO feather weight champion Priest ‘Tiger’ Smalls and BJJ Black Belt & Vale Tudo fighter Manolo ‘Hurricane’ Hernandez, UFC fighter Liz ‘Girl-Rilla’ Carmouche and the rest of the SDCA staff was an unparalleled learning experience in the hands-on philosophy and physiology of ‘fight’. Greg is a vocal proponent of holistic health, organic diet, functional strength training, intensive cardio work and that fight training is for everyone regardless of gender, age or health limitations!

Please contact us today for two weeks free unlimited training and 24/7 gym access!

(412) 607-0305   HighGroundBJJ@gmail.com