Fighters in Combat Series: Coach Chris Luttrell – by Trula Howe

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Coach Chris Luttrell MMA Trainer – Photo by Will Fox

Coach Chris Luttrell is the epitome of a homegrown, hometown hero.  Although he’d be the last to place himself in that spotlight, a long line of folks are quite happy to see him there.  Luttrell is a member of the Albuquerque Police Department Gang Unit, coach and teacher at Jackson’s and Mean1 MMA, mentor and role model, and family man.  Graduating from Manzano High School(where he spent 4 years on the varsity wrestling team, winning State 3 times) he went on to obtain his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from UNM.  In 1995, he became a Reserve Deputy for Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, where he stayed until 2000, when he went over, full time, to New Mexico State Police.  He served the state in that capacity until 2007, when he moved over to Albuquerque Police Department, where he has been ever since, and a little over a year ago, he became a member of the APD Gang Unit.
From the time he graduated from high school and throughout college, he trained in judo at a local gym, which is where Coach Mike Winkeljohn found him.  Winkeljohn had been looking for someone with strong grappling skills to expand the training of his AKKA students, and Luttrell’s skills were exactly what he was looking for.  He offered to teach Luttrell standup fighting (kickboxing, boxing, Muay Thai), in exchange for his coaching, and Luttrell agreed.  Sometime later, in 1993, a student from Greg Jackson’s Gaidojutsu Academy came to one of Luttrell’s judo classes, and challenged him, wanting to test his skills against the notable wrestler.  The two met and sparred at Jackson’s, and that was when Luttrell met Greg Jackson for the first time.  After talking with Jackson and learning about the principles of Gaidojutsu, a martial art founded by Jackson which loosely translates to “technique of the streets”, Luttrell quickly came to the conclusion that Jackson and Winkeljohn needed to meet.  Both had seen the future of combat sports in the form of mixed martial arts, and had begun training their students to master multiple skills and arts.  Where Jackson’s strong suit wassubmission grappling, Winkeljohn was the master of standup (kickboxing, boxing, Muay Thai), and Luttrell completed the trifecta with his American wrestling and judo.  Together they came up with a belt system for Gaidojutsu, and in 2000, Luttrell, along with Tom Vaughn and Brad Ahresnfield, were the first three Gaidojutsu blackbelts to come out of Jackson’s.
For the last 15 years, Luttrell has been teaching Groundfighting as a leg of MMA, coaching and cornering each student with equal attention, whether it be the big names in the UFC like Johnny “Bones” Jones and Carlos “Natural Born Killer” Condit, professional fighters for smaller promotions like Shark Fightsor  Evolution, amateur fighters just getting into the sport, or perhaps one of his favorites, boys and girls from his kids’ class at Mean1 MMA & Fitness.  Mean1 was founded by “The Dean of Mean” Keith Jardine, who approached Luttrell, and presented the idea to him, of opening up MMA to the public, as a means of better, well-rounded fitness, self-defense, and a way for folks interested in the sport to become a part of it at whatever level they desire.  He asked Luttrell if he would like to be a business partner and head MMA coach; “It was something I’d been asked in the past by others, but the timing was right, and I jumped at the chance!” Together with Coach Winkeljohn and long-time friend and retired policeman Greg Richardson (who has years of business and fitness experience, a master of strength & conditioning, including kettle bells), they opened Mean1 MMA & Fitness a little over a year ago.  They have seenthat fitness is evolving past the old gym style, of minimum cardio and weight –lifting, to the functional strength and fitness that MMA training develops.  For the last year, they have been developing theMean1 MMA belt system, which will be implemented into the Mean1 franchise for future facilities, opening in other locations.
An experienced hand at multi-tasking, Luttrell continues to teach and coach for Jackson’s and both Mean1 facilities(Rio Rancho and NE Albuquerque), cornering fighters all over the United States and other countries around the world (Japan, Russia, Australia, to name a few). He is inundated with requests for cornering, but if there is any way he can make it, he WILL be there, with no preference given based on fame or experience, “I’m happy to be there. I’ve learned so much about cornering from Greg and Mike.”  In fact, he tends to prefer the smaller promotions where “you see people just putting their hearts and souls into the sport.” He is frequently asked to put together entire camps for fighters, such as Carlos Condit for his upcoming UFC 143 appearance, and if he is able, he agrees, usually consulting with Jackson and Winkeljohn, as well as many other gifted coaches and instructors at both gyms, to put together the best camp for each individual.  He’s also been working with several fighters from Mean1 and will be cornering them at their upcoming appearance at Evolution 2, in Clovis, NM, December 10, 2011.  For more information about that event, see

Photo by Will Fox

This hometown hero balances a tough and dangerous job in public service, teaching, coaching and cornering, and on top of all that, he is a husband and father of four children, who hold his highest priority.  “After my family, there are two things I love: my job and MMA.  I’m so blessed!  I work with the best, most highly-trained police department in the Southwest, and Jackson’s and MMA have been very good to me. I love what I do!

For more information about Mean1 MMA & Fitness, visit, or Jackson’s at