David Cainas


David Cainas is our Judo Instructor and Sensei. In 2008 at age 12 David began training MMA at Gracie Tampa under the instruction of Professor Rob Kahn. Since his beginnings he trained with the adults because he was considered too big to train with children his age. That gave him an advantage over the other youngsters in competitions and allowed him to place first in multiple BJJ tournaments, giving him the nickname “prodigy”; he also had the opportunity to compete in several Muay Thai fights. According to his parents the only thing missing in his training was the sport of Judo, which David immediately wanted to try.

In 2009 he began his journey in the Judo world training under Sensei Jose Fonseca. After almost 2 years of training Sensei Fonseca suffered a knee injury that forced him to have surgery and be out of the sport for a while.

In 2011 a World-Class Japanese Champion named Shinjiro Sasaki was brought over from Japan by Tampa Bay area residents, Hugh and Kayoko Hickman, Sensei Fonseca saw this to be perfect for David and told him he could not miss the opportunity.

After a full year of training under Sensei Shinjiro Sasaki he relocated to Orlando which left David without a dojo (Judo Gym) to train in, but thanks to Sensei Fonseca’s speedy recovery from knee surgery, David and his Sensei joined forces once again and under the blessing of Professor Rob Kahn, Gracie Tampa Judo was born. Although teaching the arts of Judo and BJJ, David still trains Judo with the best of the best, three x’s Olympian and mentor Sensei Dr. Rhadi Ferguson and trains strength and conditioning with Sensei Jose Fonseca.

Due to David’s hard training and great mentors he was part of the USA Judo Cadet Elites and had the honor of representing the United States in the Harnes France Judo International Tournament in the year 2011 with only 2 years in the sport, making it to the quarter-finals. He has competed and obtained extraordinary results not only in Judo but BJJ in GI and No-GI modalities. Aside from being a USA Judo Certified Coach a few of David’s achievements are:

  • 2016 Silver Medal @ USA Judo Nat’l Scholastic and Collegiate Open
  • 2014 5th Place USA Judo Nationals (Judo)
  • 2012 Florida Open Gold Medalist (Judo)
  • 2012 USA Judo Youth and Scholastic Bronze Medalist (Judo)
  • 2011 Florida State Gold Medalist/State Champion (Judo)
  • 2011 Junior US Open Bronze Medalist (Judo)
  • 2011 NAGA Pan Am Silver Medalist (higher weight division) (Bjj)
  • 2011, 2010 MMAC Champion (Bjj)
  • 2010 Grappler’s Quest Champion Gi and No-Gi (Bjj)
  • 2010, 2009 Copa America Nationals Champion Gi and No-Gi (Bjj)
  • 2009 NAGA Champion Gi and No-Gi (Bjj)

Although he has taken over teaching at Gracie Tampa Judo since 2012, David continues to compete in BJJ and Judo and dreams of being able to represent Gracie Tampa Judo and the USA in the Olympics and in BJJ World Tournaments. He was USA Judo Coach of the Year 2015 and Coach of the Month of November 2015. He holds a Nidan (2nd degree) rank in Judo, is a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt under Master Rob Kahn, is a USA Judo Certified Coach, USJF National Certified Coach, Nage-No-Kata Instructor C, CPR Certified, USOC-Team USA Safe Sport Training Certified, CDC’s Heads Up! Concussion in Youth Sports Certified.