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Check out what is going on with the Arizona BJJ Scene

When many people think of high quality jiu jitsu in the United States, Southern California and New York immediately come to mind. While these places are undeniably hotbeds of jiu jitsu talent, Arizona is also home to amazingly talented instructors and competitors. What often separates one area from another in terms of the level of its jiu jitsu is the presence of high quality tournaments, as they challenge practitioners to continually strive to achieve better performance and results. The AZSBJJF and GD Events have been hosting top quality tournaments in Arizona for well over a decade. What started as a 40 person in house tournament in 2001 has expanded into annual competitions for adults, kids, and master level athletes. These tournaments include the AZ Open, The Copa Bella/Kid’s Cup, The AZ State Championships, the Southwest Classic, and the Master’s Cup. Just as the Arizona jiu jitsu scene has come a long way, so has my personal journey to the Grand Canyon State. My name is Danny O’Donnell and I moved to Arizona from Chicago in search of high level jiu jitsu instruction and competition. I will be contributing to the AZSBJJF.com blog in an effort to bring you more awareness about the instructors, athletes, brands, and tournaments that make the Arizona jiu jitsu community so unique. This will include interviews, tournament recaps, seminar reviews, and any other news or information related to Arizona jiu jitsu. These blog entries should provide you with a better understanding of how special our community is and how it fits into the bigger picture of the growth of jiu jitsu in the U.S. Stay tuned and be sure to connect on Facebook and Instagram.

Marcio Andre teaches “X” Guard Pass

The Arizona BJJ Scene keeps getting stronger by the day! Another high level competitor has moved to the valley in 2017 to keep elevating the level even more in Arizona. Marcio Andre, Black Belt from Fabio Andrade (Nova Uniao) is currently living in Tempe. Here are some of his main accomplishments:

  • 4x Abu Dhabi World Pro Champion (All belts)
  • 4x IBJJF World Champion (Blue,2x purple & brown). Runner up at the 2016 IBJJF Worlds Black Belt division.
  • 2016 IBJJF Worlds No-Gi Black Belt
In this video Marcio teaches an “X” guard pass in Portuguese and English 🙂 Check it out!

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Flavio Almeida on Motivation, Competition, and Gracie Barra in Arizona

By Danny O’Donnell

AZSBJJF supporter, Professor Flavio Almeida of Gracie Barra, comes from a rich Jiu Jitsu lineage. Having earned his black belt from Carlos Gracie Jr., one of the founders of Gracie Barra, Flavio has always had the representation of his team at the forefront of his mind. Therefore, it is no surprise to see Flavio’s active involvement in coaching and motivating his students. “I believe motivation is the starting point of achievement. Most people think motivation is something we have or we do not. Every instructor should take upon himself the role of a teacher and the role of a motivator. We put too much energy into teaching how to fight and not enough energy into teaching people why to fight.”

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Izzy Juarez on the Pros and Cons of Owning a Jiu Jitsu Academy

Many Jiu Jitsu practitioners dream of one day owning their own academy. While this is certainly a praiseworthy goal, it is important to recognize various business considerations before embarking on this journey. It is often said that “location is everything” and in terms of attracting students, there is some truth to this for Jiu Jitsu academies.

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Gordon Kimura Interview

Inverse Jiu Jitsu owner and head instructor Gordon Kimura was first introduced to Jiu Jitsu while enlisted in the Air Force. A friend of his had trained in Hilo, HI and showed Gordon a series of moves when they had down time. “We were mechanics working on F-15 fighter aircraft together in Florida, and in between jobs he would show me basic submissions like keylocks, kimuras, and RNCs.” I was born and raised in Honolulu, HI and currently I reside in Tucson, AZ.”

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Getting to Know Tucson BJJ’s Daniel Grippaudo

Daniel Grippaudo is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under Demetrious Ramos. Having trained since 2007, Daniel trained amidst one of the biggest periods of growth for the sport in the U.S.

“I was always interested in martial arts growing up, but it wasn’t until I was an adult that I heard of Jiu Jitsu. I saw the Ultimate Fighter season one and Jiu Jitsu was made out to be this super weapon that could win any fight. I told myself if I ever got into martial arts it would be BJJ.” During this time many Jiu Jitsu schools were significantly smaller than nowadays, so those who showed commitment to the art often got involved with teaching early on in their development. “I teach Jiu Jitsu as well. I started helping with the kids’ class as a white belt, but I started teaching as a blue when I was asked to.”

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Andrew Gardineer on Competition and the Arizona Jiu Jitsu Scene

I still remember my first Jiu Jitsu Competition in a cramped, smelly gym in Mesa, Arizona. I showed up early to get weighed in and bracketed. I sized up everyone in line as I wondered who my opponent would be. My first match was against a purple belt and I was a brand new white belt. I didn’t win. I have had the pleasure of watching the Arizona Jiu Jitsu Competition scene grow over the past 12 years. No longer do we depend on tournaments that weigh you in morning of and find a bracket to be thrown in.

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The 3 Greatest Lessons I Have Learned from Competition

My name is Jake Michael Watson, and I am a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu purple belt under Andre Maracaba. I have competed in BJJ tournaments since I was 9 years old, and ten years later, I can say I have learned many things from participating in tournaments around the globe. I would like to share 3 of the things that I have learned through competing over the last decade.

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Jiu Jitsu and MMA With Arizona’s Own Daniel Madrid

Text: Danny OD

Arizona MMA and Jiu Jitsu standout Daniel Madrid started his martial arts journey early, at the age of 8. Although he first started learning traditional Western Boxing, he eventually branched out to other arts after being exposed to the UFC. “Once I saw it, I had instantly become obsessed with what Jiu Jitsu was. Watching the greats like Royce Gracie, Bas Rutten, and Sakuraba (just to name a few) had inspired me to start training seriously and learn the gentle art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.”

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2017 AZ Kids Cup and Copa Bella Results

Text: Danny OD

The 2017 AZ Kids Cup and Copa Bella tournaments went down on Saturday April 29th at Phoenix College and were the most exciting edition yet. Nearly all of the main teams in Arizona had women and youth competitors challenging themselves on the mats, including One Jiu Jitsu, CTA, Maracaba BJJ, Ares/Nava BJJ, Gracie Barra, Lotus Club, Daimyo BJJ, Gracie Arizona, Carlos Farias Jiu Jitsu, Carlson Gracie Team, GD Jiu Jitsu Academy, JCBJJ ad Cannon BJJ. The kids kicked the day off with plenty of parents and coaches cheering them on.

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Training and competition mindset with world champion Matt Gillette

Text: Danny OD

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Brown Belt Matt Gillette has a long list of accomplishments in the sport, including a Master’s World title, 3 Pan American titles, 6 U.S. National titles and multiple IBJJF and AZSBJJF regional titles.

“I’m a third degree brown belt under Professor Andre Maracaba. I was introduced to Jiu Jitsu 6 years ago by my friend in the Marines. He gave me my first beat down and after that I was hooked.”

Although it is clear that Matt places a heavy emphasis on the competitive aspect of Jiu Jitsu, he notes many other benefits of practicing the gentle art.

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