Meet the team


Ron Jarman

Owner / Retreat Coordinator

Ron started training BJJ in 2011 under Carlson Gracie Jr in Chicago. As a white belt and blue He competed regularly in local and national tournaments winning multiple medals in IBJJF, Naga, grappling Games and other organizations. What started out as a way to get back in shape for him quickly turned into something much more improving nearly every aspect of his life. He and his wife Holly moved to Tamarindo in 2017 and adopted a pup, Choco.

For him, coaching the kids has been an amazing experience passing on what he has learned to the next generation.


Jason Shireman

Owner / Head Kids Instructor

Jason has been doing martial arts most of his life and holds belts in multiple arts, with a very successful competitive background in Olympic wrestling. He is a purple belt and has been training BJJ for 3.5 years. Both of his daughters are national BJJ champs and both excel in martial arts. Jason finds it very rewarding giving back to a sport which has given him so much.

Holly Hetzel

Owner / Head of Humanitarian Programs 

Holly has a long history of leadership in non-profit organizations. She now leads Hero Academy's Humanitarian efforts. Our TamaFeeds and Family Food programs are organized under her guidance. Her role is pivotal in how we give back to the community. 

Martha Alvarez Mendez


Martha is the heart of Hero Academy. Her daughter was the very first student we ever had. Her role is instrumental as a keystone into the local community. She runs the gym for us, leads our partnerships with area non-profits, governmental bodies and other organizations.

Jerad Ports

Founder / Instructor

Jerad is a brown belt and has been practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over 15 years. His vision, time and dedication are instrumental in the development of this project from the beginning. 

Ignacio 'Nacho' Pacheco Madrigal

Instructor HeroKids Program

Nacho has been an amazing addition to the team bridging the gap between Hero and the community with our terrible Spanish skills. He has been instrumental in the recent development of our HeroKids program. 

Rome Za

Founder / Instructor

Rome is a brown belt and has been practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for since 2007. Rome, Lola and Jerad are the reason that Hero exists today. Rome continues to advise Hero Academy on curriculum and support us on our growth as an organization.  


Lola Dranker


Lola is instrumental in the humanitarian path that Hero has taken. After Hurricane Nate she took on the role to lead us in our role of a disaster relief agency. Without her leadership and guidance Hero would not be what it is today for the community.