Gi/No Gi Specialist

Keenan Cornelius

In 2019, Legion AJJ founder and head instructor Keenan Cornelius was ranked #3 in the world (pound-for-pound) by the IBJJF for the 2018/2019 season. He is one of the best known American grapplers in the last decade. 

Instructor Bio Headshot Keenan

Inventor of Lapel Guard


Multiple Time IBJJF World Champion


Multiple Time ADCC Silver Medalist

No Gi

Keenan's Biography

Born in 1992 in Hawaii, Keenan started training martial arts when he was four, losing interest in them as a youngster. Thankfully he did find jiu jitsu when he was 14, some would say it found him. He started training at BJ Penn’s gym in Hawaii, as well as his dad’s gym. When he was 15, he met another jiu jitsu obsessed kid by the name of Andris Brunovskis, who would end up playing a big part in his career. 

By the time Keenan was a purple belt, he felt like he needed to go all-in on jiu jitsu. It was Andris who recommended that they both start training in Maryland at TLI. During this period, Keenan broke through the ranks and started to show that he is one of the best purple belts in the world… to say the least.

When he was a purple and brown belt Keenan Cornelius won all of the major competitions on the IBJJF roster BACK TO BACK!

At purple belt, his record was 109 WINS – 1 LOSS.

At brown belt, his record was 118 WINS – 1 LOSS. Needless to say… by the end of his brown belt career, there was little doubt that Keenan will be an absolute force to be reckoned with once he receives his black belt.

After switching academies and moving to San Diego, Keenan was awarded his black belt by Andre Galvao on September 14th, 2013. 

Since then his official black belt record stands at 176 WINS – 32 LOSSES. He has only been submitted twice in competition at black belt, by a blonde from New Jersey. 

As a black belt competitor, Keenan Cornelius has conquered multiple European, Pan American, World Nogi titles in addition to a vast number of regional competitions. He also medaled 3 times at the “Olympics of grappling” ADCC tournament. In addition to tournament wins, he has won numerous superfights (professional matches) at most of the top grappling organizations


That’s all nice and good, but the sad reality is that many of the top competitors in jiu jitsu aren’t great teachers.  It’s a different skill that needs to be mastered through time and practice. Thankfully Keenan has years of experience teaching seminars. More importantly, he has been teaching very actively since 2016 via his popular websites/app &, which more recently merged into Jiu Jitsu X. There, thousands of people from around the world improve their jiu jitsu digitally. He has taught hundreds of concepts, techniques, approaches, counters and more in preparation for the day when he can teach YOU at his own academy. 

In November of 2019 that finally became a possibility for Keenan with Legion AJJ opening on Miramar Road in San Diego. If you are a local resident you have an amazing opportunity to learn from one of the most respected instructors and competitors in the game. 

Come visit or set up your free trial class right now!

Three fun facts about Keenan Cornelius

  • He is also the founder of Jiu Jitsu X
  • He can talk about Tesla or Space X for days.
  • He is the owner of Legion.

Watch Keenan in action:

KC Website Pic
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KC Website Pics
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How can you learn from Keenan?

Due to a busy schedule Keenan isn’t available for private classes, but there are still plenty of ways for you to learn from him.