Christopher Garber is the owner and lead instructor in self defense techniques and firearms training for The Self-Defense Center based in Philadelphia. The Self-Defense Center has been in operation since 2009 after Garber returned to the United States from competition in martial arts in Brazil. Garber was the 2008 Brazilian National Champion for the Confederaçao Brasileira de Jiu-Jitsu where he earned the title at the National Championship held in Rio de Janeiro. 

Garber, a Black Belt, has been practicing Helio Gracie Jiu-Jitsu for over a decade under the strict direction of Professors Pedro, Gui and Joaquim Valente at Valente Brothers Jiu-Jitsu Academy in North Miami Beach. The Valente Brothers began their instruction as children with the founder of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Grand Master Helio Gracie. They have the unique distinction of being only a handful of Black Belts to receive the title of Professor from the Grand Master himself.

Garber has also had the privilege of training with Grand Master Pedro Valente Sr., Grand Master Relson Gracie, Master Rickson Gracie, Master Royler Gracie, Master Royce Gracie, Ryron Gracie, Rener Gracie, Fabio Gurgel and the founder of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Grand Master Helio Gracie.

​Previous to competing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Garber was the Army III Corps Wrestling Champion for the United States Army based in Fort Hood, TX and Fort Polk, LA as well as a member of the varsity wrestling team at Kent State University in Ohio.

Garber has taught self-defense / combatives to civilians, law enforcement and military personnel including those in the Special Operations Community.  Internationally he has instructed in Brasil, Northern Ireland and Uruguay.

Garber is an NRA certified firearms instructor and has taken advanced firearms instruction from some of the top firearms instructors in the world. He is also active and certified in Executive Protection and available upon request. Please see the Contact page to inquire.

Garber graduated from Kent State
University in 1999 where he majored in Education and recently completed the 
Veteran's Entrepreneurial Business Program at St. Joseph's University. He has also been fortunate to travel to nearly 50 countries and all 7 continents.


The Self-Defense Center's objective is simple:  Provide the most effective self-defense techniques to deal with today's real life scenarios.  Whether unarmed or armed we will provide you with the tools to survive today's threats.  

Executive Protection during the 2016 DNC Convention

Executive Protection during the 2016 DNC convention

the self-defense center