North South Jiu Jitsu is at 555 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair, New Jersey led by Karen and Adam Peterson. They offer their extensive knowledge and years of competition experience to provide a unique and ego free environment for whatever goals you’re aiming to achieve. North South BJJ has a kids program designed to teach your kids self defense while also gaining important social skills, but mostly a new avenue for them to have fun and learn something new and different! North South has a variety of adult classes for those of all ages and skill levels, from the totally green to black belt level.

Karen Peterson - Head Instructor

Photo by T.B. Elements

Photo by T.B. Elements

Karen started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2004 , looking for a new way to exercise that could be useful for self defense too. BJJ was exactly that and she was hooked. She competed for the first time in 2005 and despite losing that first competition, she loved the unique journey of preparing for it and went on to compete more, winning multiple international titles.

In 2007, she started a Women Only BJJ and self-defense program. Additionally, she taught co­ed and mixed level classes for her instructor. She still gets so excited to watch students change through BJJ through weight loss, improved skill, belt promotions, competitions, or in the confidence they gain from doing Jiu Jitsu. In 2010 she moved to New York City to train with Josh Griffiths at Clockwork Jiu Jitsu, receiving her black belt a year later. In addition to teaching classes, Karen also offers private teaching for those students who enjoy one-on-one lessons. 

It was at Clockwork that she met Adam Peterson, her future husband. Moving back to Adam's hometown of Montclair, NJ with their daughter Josephine was the natural next step in starting their dream of opening a school together in the town that Adam loves so much. Karen is looking forward to sharing this dynamic martial art with you in a comfortable, fun, and ego free environment.  All are welcome!

Adam Peterson - Head Instructor

Adam started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2009 while working as a Construction Manager for his family’s contracting firm. After his first class at Mrkulic BJJ, he was hooked. He decided to try his hand at competition --with only three months of training under his belt-- at the Grapplers Quest US Nationals. He competed in ten matches, winning all of them, taking home two gold medals in both Gi and NOGI.

Since then, Adam has traveled around the country learning from the best teachers the sport has to offer, such as Andre Galvao and  the Mendes brothers.  After moving to Brooklyn, NY he found a great home at Clockwork BJJ under the tutelage of Josh Griffiths.

Adam has enjoyed much success as a competitor, but more importantly his most cherished accomplishments and great relationships have been found through Jiu Jitsu. He met his future wife, Karen Miller, at Clockwork where their love of Jiu Jitsu expanded into love for each other.  Together they have a beautiful daughter Josephine. 

It is these relationships that Adam believes is the most important aspect of the sport and hopes to continue to grow them at North South Jiu Jitsu.  As a teacher, he strives to make positive connections with the people he trains with daily.


Karen's Competition Titles:


  • Bronze IBJJF World Championship Purple Belt
  • Silver IBJJF Pan American Championship Purple Belt
  • Silver IBJJF World Championship Purple Belt
  • Gold IBJJF Pan American Championship Purple Belt
  • Silver IBJJF Pan American Championship Brown/Black Belt
  • Silver Abu Dhabi Pro Trials brown/Black Belt
  • Silver IBJJF New York Spring Open Black Belt
  • Gold IBJJF New York Spring Open Black Belt

Adam's Competition Titles:

  • 3x IBJJF PAN AM medalist Lightweight Adult (Blue Belt weight and Absolute & NOGI Weight)
  • Abu Dhabi World Pro trials Champion Adult Lightweight (Brown Belt)
  • IBJJF Masters II Lightweight World Champion (Brown Belt)
  • IBJJF NY BJJ PRO Lightweight Adult Champion (Brown Belt)
  • IBJJF Boston Open Lightweight Adult Champion (Purple Belt)
  • Big Apple BJJ 2x Champion (Purple/Brown Belt)
  • Multiple times Grapplers Quest Champion Gi and NOGI(all belt levels)
  • NAGA Advance Adult NOGI Champion
  • Multiple times IBJJF medalist (all belt levels)
  • Multiple times Abu Dhabi Pro Trials Medalist (all belt levels)
  • Student of the year award MBJJ