Black Belt Judo & Sambo Instructor

Brown Belt Jiu-Jitsu Instructor


Serhiy Vitko

Serhiy was born in Soviet Union-era Ukraine.  His grandfather was a Cossack, a warrior class of people who were trained in various military tactics and martial arts.  When Serhiy was 5 years old, he started receiving training from his grandfather.  He began wrestling at 7 years old.  A few years later, Serhiy got into a grappling match with an older boy who knew Sambo. Although he was winning in his mind by pinning his opponent to the ground, he became caught in an armlock and was forced to submit. In 4th grade he had achieved the age required to train Sambo and joined a local gym. When Serhiy was 15 years old he started training and competing in Combat Sambo. By 1991 the Soviet Union had dissolved, and Martial Arts became much more prevalent. This led to more training opportunities. In 2000, he began learning Systema and eventually became an instructor.

Serhiy moved to Charlottesville with his family in 2004.  In 2006, after Serhiy’s parents passed away, he needed something to focus his energy on, so he joined the Judo club (Charlottesville Judo Academy, and later SSJ Judo) in Charlottesville. He immediately became very passionate about the art.  Because of his extensive background in Wrestling and Sambo, he was able to compete in the US Open representing Ukrainian Judo Federation as a brown belt in 2007. He has an extensive record of competitions and was even awarded an Outstanding Competitor Award in 2010 at Virginia Open Championship. He received his Black Belt at USJF in 2011. Serhiy was also active in the UVA Judo Club.

Additionally, Serhiy holds a Brown Belt in Jiu-Jitsu.. Serhiy began experimenting with Jiu-Jitsu 2007 under Lamont Tyler at the local Charlottesville YMCA and at the UVA BJJ club.  He joined Gracie Charlottesville in 2019 and now leads the “takedowns” classes. He is a wealth of knowledge with countless techniques to share.

Serhiy holds MS in engineering and MBA degrees, and works as an Infectious Diseases Project Manager at UVA. He is married with two daughters, both who are competitive in martial arts. He enjoys outdoor activities such as swimming, windsurfing, skiing, and climbing. He has climbed Mt. Fuji and Mt. Kilimanjaro. Serhiy loves to travel around the world, meet new people, and learn about different cultures.