Awesome job to all the competitors that competed in the 2014 US OPEN! Thanks to all the Smash Gyms Coaches and training partners that got them ready. What an amazing team we have! Another dominating performance!
People who know Mario Rios know two things about him. He is super nice and he knows A LOT about grappling! Mario is a very caring and passionate instructor. He has been involved in wrestling, judo and BJJ for almost 20 years. This incredible experience in grappling provides a wealth of information anyone interested in advancing his or her grappling knowledge. If you take Mario’s classes you can look forward to highly detailed technical instruction explained in a way that you can easily understand and implement right away. He has helped many people advance in the grappling arts with his organized and systematic approach to grappling.
Mario started his training with grappling in 1995 while he was a student at Fresno State College. In Fresno, there were no Jiu-Jitsu studios, so he started working out his house with Jason Hannen, now a black belt at Pacific Martial Arts. Most of the techniques were drills based on Renzo and Craig Kukuk videos, since youtube was nonexistent, and information was hard to come by.
In those early days Mario sought out other Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu students who were commuting long distances to train at some of the Gracie Academies and began training regularly with them. Some of these partners were wrestlers from Fresno Pacific and Fresno State. During this time, Mario was also training at the Fresno Judo Club before moving from the area.
After completing college, Mario was faced with the decision to relocate. He had two requirements, finding a job, and finding his passion, Jiu Jitsu. Mario found both and moved to the Bay Area in 1996. In the beginning, he took classes with Claudio Franca. Although he enjoyed the classes because of such a long commute to Santa Cruz, he decided to train in Mountain View at Ralphs. Training at Ralphs was a great experience. Mario was able to train with some of the premier grapplers at the time and began to really understand the dedication necessary to excel at this art.
In 1999 began training with Michael Jen. Michael’s unique approach and attention to detail was different from the Jiu-Jitsu he had experienced in his earlier training. Mario was impressed with Michael’s highly detailed instruction and his openness to share techniques.
In 2010, when the first Smash Gyms opened Mario immediately became a leader in the gym and helped many people in different programs. The environment and resources that Smash provided motivated Mario to focus and push himself until he received his Black Belt in 2011 from Michael Jen. Mario believes Smash Gyms amazing instructors and members helped push him to reach his long-time goal of becoming a BJJ Black Belt. After seeing the incredible growth of Smash and the value that it has brought to our members, he decided he wanted to help open another Smash in San Jose. Mario is co-owner of San Jose Smash Gyms and will be working full-time and teaching BJJ classes along with fellow BJJ Black Belts Rudy Sanchez and Michael Jen. Mario’s goal is to bring as much value as possible to Smash members in Evergreen and East San Jose.
Beginning Monday February 10th 2014 Sam “The Ram” Spengler will begin teaching beginner friendly MMA Fitness & Self-Defense Classes at the new San Jose Smash Gyms. Smash Gym San Jose is located in Evergreen right down the street from Quimby Oak Middle School where Sam has taught for over 12 years.
As a veteran PE teacher, wrestling coach, athlete, and role model Sam Spengler has contributed to the East San Jose and Evergreen community in many ways. As a teacher Sam’s positive attitude is contagious and he is extremely popular with his students and fellow staff. Sam has had huge success as the Quimby Oak Head Wrestling Coach. He has led the Quimby Oak Lobo’s wrestling team to win their league for 12 years in a row. As a coach Sam has helped students fulfill their potential by guiding them in their athletic careers. He has created countless champions. Many of Sam’s students have gone on to receive scholarships, become coaches themselves, and be contributing members of the community.
Sam has been wrestling since he was 5 years old. As a senior in high school he earned a bronze medal in the Montana State Wrestling Championships and also received a scholarship to play college football where he earned a degree in Education. A seasoned martial arts veteran, Sam has been competing in kickboxing and MMA since 2003. He began training kickboxing over 10 years ago at West Valley Community College with Brian Kuhn. Shortly after Brian introduced Sam to Cung Le’s Martial Arts in San Jose where Sam began training MMA. Sam continued his MMA training with Cung Le and supplemented his training by learning BJJ at Smash Gyms. Sam has trained with many world-class competitors and instructors over the last 10 years.
Sam has competed in hundreds of wrestling matches, 22 kickboxing matches, dozens of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu tournaments and 9 MMA fights. Sam is also the head of his Physical Education Department in San Jose. This competitive experience in kickboxing, wrestling, brazilian jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts coupled with his teaching background lends him the unique ability to transfer his knowledge to eager students in a structured and systematic way. Sam’s organized and fun classes will help students of all skill and fitness levels learn technique and improve their fitness level due to a format and curriculum designed to create an optimal learning environment. Sam is happy and excited to pass on his experience and unique skill set to the Evergreen and East San Jose community at Smash Gyms.
2011 Jiu-Jitsu by the Sea Champion
2011 Jiu-Jitsu by the Bay Champion
2011 San Jose Open Champion
2011 San Jose Open Absolute Division Champion
2012 American Cup Champion
2013 US Open BJJ Champion
In our quest to develop the best jiu-jitsu program for our students, the Thursday 5:30pm class is now going to a BJJ core fundamentals technique class. In this gi class, Head BJJ instructor Michael Jen and his purple belts, Crystina Coats and Lou Noble, will be covering the fundamental techniques of the Smash BJJ curriculum that every white belt needs to know to get to blue belt. This class is also highly recommended for colored belts. Though colored belts will recognize all these basic techniques, this class is an opportunity to really get down the fine details. If you look at what separates higher belts from lower belts, it’s the understanding of those fine details. Those who attend the class will be given a copy of the basic curriculum so students can see exactly what it is they know and don’t know.