The Jacob Palomino Story

We have so many amazing people at Smash, so it always feels strange singling out any particular individual. I often have the feeling that I can never repay all those who have helped, so I feel that the least I can do is share with everyone the history and behind-the-scenes workings of some of these great people. One of these people is Jacob Palomino.

Ever since I met Jacob, he made it clear that his top goal has been to share the skills and knowledge he has acquired. The wrestling program at Smash Gym San Jose has become one of the top programs in the area because Jacob and his assistant coaches go way beyond the call of duty.

For example, yesterday, Jacob conducted a free clinic for all local high school wrestlers. After the free two hour practice, he grabbed the 14-year old son of one of our Brazilian Jiu-jitsu coaches who has just begun his first year wrestling in high school. Jacob spent 20-30mins showing him details on the front headlock. Then he played with my 3 year old son, along with his son, and taught them how to get into a wrestling stance and sprawl for another 20 mins after everyone else left.

Free Wrestling Clinic at Smash San Jose

This is not uncommon behavior for Jacob. He is probably the hardest working coach I have ever met, and that’s saying a lot because I know a lot of amazing coaches. A typical day for Jacob may consist of teaching two classes and coach up to 5-6 private lessons. During wrestling season, he brings local high school kids to the 6am strength and conditioning class at Smash San Jose. He is often working at Smash San Jose until 9pm.

As many of you know, Jacob comes from one of the greatest wrestling families in the state of California. When Jacob, his older brother Jason, and his cousin Ricky were in high school their legendary uncles, Anthony and Rick Palomino committed themselves as coaching staff for Independence High School. They created one of the most legendary high school team’s in California history. Under the Palominos, Independence won the California team state title, produced future NCAA champions, and Olympians such as Eric Guerrero. Their technique, work ethic, and heart were incredible to watch in action.

Jacob Palomino as a freshman at Independence

In 1998, Jacob was the youngest of his generation in the Palomino family and made history by becoming the first freshman to become a state champion in California EVER. Typically a 14-15 year old competing against 18-19 year olds would not stand a chance. He proved it was possible and, amazingly, became a 4-time state finalist and 3-time champion.

As if this wasn’t incredible enough, those that were close to him knew his story was even more inspirational than you could possibly imagine. About a month before the State Championships, Jacob’s young and healthy mother suddenly passed away. Jacob was devastated. Most people thought his season was over. Just weeks after this tragedy Jacob stepped into the toughest high school wrestling tournament in the country and did the impossible by becoming the first freshman to win a California State Championship. You can imagine the inspiration that his friends and family drew from that victory. Jacob’s story inspired the wrestling community all over California. He dedicated his historic championship to his mother. At 15 years old Jacob Palomino became a legend.

Jacob was also a teenage father, having had twin babies his Junior year in high school. Either one of these things would have easily derailed someone from achieving excellence. Jacob, through incredible determination somehow continued to march forward and made a history as one of the greatest high school wrestlers ever.

First Freshman State Champ – Jacob Palomino

If you’re not aware of what a California State Championship really means I’ll do my best to explain this amazing accomplishment. There is only one kid at each weight that becomes a state champion in all of California. This year in California there’s about 2 million kids in high school in over 2,500 schools. It’s a dog fight every step of the way to move up in qualifying tournaments to and then get to state. Only one kid at each weight in his whole school gets to wrestle varsity. High schools are split into a league tournament of about 20 schools, top 2-3 winners at each weight in each league go to our section tournament, where about 120 schools compete against each other. The top 3 athletes that place at sections in each weight get the honor of going to State. The California State Tournament is truly a tournament of champions.

Right before we were going to open Smash Sunnyvale I ran into Jacob at CCS. I mentioned that I was going to open a gym soon. Always humble, he said, “if there’s anything you need let me know, Not sure what I can do, but seriously I want to help so just please let me know.” I tried to keep an acceptable level of excitement and I told him I’d give him a call.

He began teaching a wrestling class Monday night and would not accept any money. For a year, no matter how often I asked, he would always brush it aside. Finally, I started putting money in his shoes while he was still on the mat. Even then I would have to reason with him that it would be good to at least let us pay for his gas. After all, he was driving over 25 minutes to get to Smash Sunnyvale.

Jacob and his youngest son Ezra

That first year Jacob rarely participated in jiujitsu. Although, he had never attended one jiujitsu class, sometimes jiujitsu students would ask him to roll during his wrestling classes. He never said no. Late one evening near the end of Smash’s first year, about two weeks before the BJJ US Open, I got a text from Jacob. He asked me if I thought he could win it. I would never bet against Jacob, so I said yes. We did a few private lessons around a game plan for the US Open and of course, he won his division.

When Filip, Mario, Eli and I partnered to open Smash San Jose, Jacob was working full time at a local cemetery. Jacob began teaching some classes at Smash San Jose, getting requests for private lessons, and word started getting around to local high school coaches and wrestlers. Soon enough, they were asking him for help. His schedule quickly filled with private lessons. He began to realize that it might be possible to teach wrestling full time. Jacob told everyone that was now committed to becoming the best instructor possible. His passion and dedication to servicing student athletes in the community showed. People began to say Jacob might even be a better coach than he was a wrestler. Their support provided him with the opportunity to finally quit his other job and start teaching wrestling full time.


Coach Jacob and one of his students

Jacob has developed a very close following of supportive parents and students. They are loyal and thankful for all that he does for the kids in the community that seek out his guidance. Jacob has significantly influenced the local wrestling scene. Entire junior highs and high schools have better teams because of his efforts. A lot of local hardworking coaches are very thankful for the help he’s given them.

Having Jacob at Smash full-time is a blessing to everyone. He is always inspirational, honest, and hardworking. Because we were so thankful for his contributions Filip, Mario, Eli and I decided to make Jacob our partner and co-owner of Smash San Jose.

Jacob is one of my personal heroes. He’s one of the most giving people I’ve ever met. Very few people inspire others to be better in so many different aspects. Jacob motivates everyone around him to be a better leaders, parents, athletes, and coaches. I hoped by sharing his story you can find as much inspiration from it as I do.

Rudy Sanchez

Smash Gyms | CEO & Founder


Filip Novachkov – Smash Gyms San Jose

Eastern Europe is known for producing some of the best wrestlers in the world, but growing in the Bulgarian city of Radnevo, Filip Novachkov was into another national pastime; Bulgarian Folk Dancing!

Filip & Boris Novachkov

His younger brother, Boris began sneaking away to go to wrestling practice, telling his parents that he was playing with friends. At home he would practice his moves on Filip, which is what convinced the older brother to trade his dancing uniform for a singlet. “I knew he was sneaking away to go to wrestling classes. The only reason Boris began training is because he heard they gave you a free pair of sneakers if you signed up for the wrestling team.” Filip said, “I didn’t think anything of it until my little brother started kicking my butt. That didn’t sit right with me so I signed up as well.”

Filip is part of our Amazing Staff of Wrestling Coaches!

The brothers excelled in wrestling ever since, winning multiple cadet national titles in Bulgaria. In 2003 Filip’s mom, Zhivka, received a green card package for the family of four and they made the move to California. “I was excited for the whole journey. I’ve always wanted to see what the other side of the world looked like” Filip mentioned. They moved to Sunnyvale and the brothers went to school at Fremont High School.

Filip won three CCS titles, was a three time state placer and California State Champion. He also took 3rd place at Nationals Championships. Filip was also an outstanding student having a 3.9 GPA. He was named the student-athlete of the year awarded from San Jose Mercury News in 2005. His accomplishments drew interests from university wrestling programs across the nation but ultimately he chose Cal Poly, where he received a full scholarship. As a Mustang, Filip was ranked as high as 3rd in the Nation and defeated a couple of National Champions. Filip placed 3rd in the PAC 10 conference as a Junior and earned a Silver Medal as a Senior. John Azevedo, Cal Poly’s Head Coach described the brothers as typical American brothers, but different in a way that they wrestled. “The European mentality definitely showed up when they wrestled”, Azevedo added.

Cal Poly Stand Out Filip Novachkov

After graduating from college with a degree in Industrial Technology, he began working for Space Systems Loral in Palo Alto. Filip feels that wrestling helped him earn the engineering position. He explained that the company was especially interested in the fact that he was successful student athlete who had excelled both in sports and academically. Being a part of a large space technology company is definitely an incredible experience, but something was missing.

Novachkov’s passion for wrestling brought him to Smash Gyms. Filip began training wrestling and BJJ at Smash and was immediately impressed by the friendly environment and high level of skill by the students and instructors. He began teaching wrestling classes and competing in BJJ competitions. Filip noticed the amazing growth of Smash and eventually he decided he wanted to open his own Smash Gyms location.

Two D1 Wrestlers and a BJJ Black Belt!

Novachkov jumped at the opportunity to help open a second Smash location in Evergreen and East San Jose.  He now is part co-owner of Smash San Jose. Smash Gyms is ran by an all-star team of martial artist including D1 Wrestlers, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belts, Pro-boxers and MMA Fighters. Filip hopes to use the resources at Smash to reach his goal of making the World and Olympic Wrestling Team and earning a black belt in BJJ. Filip’s brother Boris is seeing tremendous success on Bulgaria’s National Wrestlng Team. Boris’ success in international wrestling motivates Filip to keep on training; the long time brotherly rivalry that has helped them both see amazing success.

Filip runs wrestling classes at both Smash Gyms locations. Smash has two Bay Area locations. One on the border of Santa Clara and Sunnyvale near Levi Stadium and Great America and one in East San Jose and Evergreen across the street from Eastridge Mall. Filip is excited to share his amazing wrestling technique with the students and instructors at Smash. He is part of an amazing staff of wrestling instructors including Jacob Palomino, Eli Sanchez, Scott Clymer, Tina Linhsamout, Sam Spengler and more!

Smash Gyms Wrestling Coach

Kids Classes NOW at Smash San Jose!

Beginning Monday (2/10/14) our NEW Comprehensive Kids and Teens martial arts program will begin! We are so excited to launch our new Kids Martial Arts classes at the East San Jose & Evergreen location! Our kids program will feature Kids Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Kids Wrestling, and Kids Judo classes taught by World Class Instructors. This comprehensive grappling program will not only prepare your son or daughter for any self-defense situation but will help them gain the discipline and respect to become a winner in their day to day life. If your child chooses to compete in Judo, Wrestling, or BJJ our program and coaches can guide them along a path to becoming an exceptional athlete and role model. Through this program your child will gain the confidence to overcome any obstacle they encounter. We will make your child a winner.

Wrestling, Judo and BJJ for Kids

Program Instructors include:

Filip Novachkov- D1 College Wrestler (Cal Poly), Pac-10 Finalist, California High School State Champion, 3x CA State Placer, 3x CCS Champion

Scott Clymer- NCWA National Champion, D1 College Wrestler at Liberty University, Pennsylvania High School State Wrestling Champion, NCAA Wrestling Championships Competitor, MAC Conference Champion (“Most Valuable Wrestler”)

Eli Sanchez- D1 College Wrestler at Liberty University, San Jose Open Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Medium Heavy and Absolute Champion, 2011 BJJ by the Sea Champion, US Open Championships 3rd place

Vince Rodriguez– 5th Place High School National Championships 1985, 3rd Place California State Championships 1985, 2x Freestyle State Champion

Jacob Palomino– 4X California State Wrestling Championship Finalist,  2011 BJJ US Open Champion

Sam Spengler– Quimby Oak Junior High School Coach, Pro-MMA Fighter, Montana State Wrestling Champion

Dave Williams- SJSU Judo Instructor, Judo National Champion

Come in and try a FREE WEEK of Classes! 

Kids Judo, Wrestling, BJJ

As of Monday the current kids schedule will be as follows…

Wrestling (Kids and Teens)

4:30pm  from Monday- Thursday

Judo (Kids & Teens)

4:30pm on Tuesday & Thursday

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (Kids and Teens)

5:30pm from Monday-Thursday


We will also have later Wrestling options for teens and adults at 6:30pm on Tuesday and Thursday. 


Facebook Fan Page:

Smash Gyms Coming to Evergreen and East San Jose

Smash Gyms in Evergreen and East San Jose


New Smash Gyms Location right across the street from Eastridge Mall in East San Jose and Evergreen! Cross streets will be Quimby Road and Capital Expressway!

Please LIKE Smash Gyms San Jose Facebook Fan Page:


Sunnyvale Fan Page:

Also sure to check San Jose Gyms website for updates:

Smash Gyms San Jose 

2268 Quimby Road – Suite C  (Building A)

San Jose, CA 950122

Smash Gyms San Jose will offer the same great fitness and martial arts classes we offer in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara! Every class is taught by experienced professionals for a unique fitness and social experience that will allow you to reach your physical and mental potential. Smash Gyms instructors take a systematic and beginner friendly approach to teaching, with a focus on the individual needs of each student. Smash instructors are excited to help you reach your personal goals!

Specialty group fitness classes like Strength & Conditioning, UJAM, Yoga, Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Grappling, MMA (mixed-martial arts), Self-defense, Circuit Training, Bootcamp, Zumba, Wrestling and more!

After School Martial Arts & Tutoring Available for youths in addition to world class martial arts instruction.  

To accommodate everyone’s needs we offer monthly memberships, annual memberships, drop in, and prepay options. We have special discounted rates for Police, Firefighters, Teachers, Students and Military Service Members.


Be Inspired at Smash!!! Quotes and Pictures!

Javier Wins the US Open without Giving up One Point!

If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. Tony Robbins


If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on. Sheryl Sandberg


Get out of your comfort zone! Safe & Fun!

I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough. Marissa Mayer


If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big. Donald Trump


Pearls don’t lie on the seashore. If you want one, you must dive for it. Chinese proverb

Patrick Kong in another dominating performance!


You can’t outwit fate by standing on the sidelines placing little sidebets about the outcome of life. Either you wade in and risk everything you have to play the game or you don’t play at all. And if you don’t play you can’t win. Judith McNaught


If things seem under control, you are just not going fast enough. Mario Andretti


Bootcamp, Circuit Training, Personal Training!

Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it. Oprah Winfrey


Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing. Denis Waitley

Smash Gyms' 3-time US Open Champ Brian Kuhn

Go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.Jimmy Carter


The universe has no restrictions. You place restrictions on the universe with your expectations. Deepak Chopra

Anyone Can Learn Kickboxing! Beginner Friendly!


Do one thing every day that scares you.Eleanor Roosevelt


In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. Bill Cosby


Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Steve Jobs

Smash helps Wrestlers Succesfully Transition to BJJ

If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary. Jim Rohn


There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing. Aristotle


You get what you settle for. Thelma and Louise


Kids Judo!

If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs. Dhirubhai Ambani


I refuse to accept other people’s ideas of happiness for me. As if there’s a ‘one size fits all’ standard for happiness. Kanye West


The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself. Mark Caine

US Open Champion!

Always go with your passions. Never ask yourself if it’s realistic or not. Deepak Chopra


You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.Steve Jobs


Leap and the net will appear. Zen Saying


I don’t think you’re human if you don’t get nervous. Sidney Crosby


Beginner Friendly

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for. John A. Shedd

Think big and don’t listen to people who tell you it can’t be done. Life’s too short to think small.Tim Ferriss

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. Michael Jordan


Women classes!

Your dreams are ballbusters; they’re not the yellow brick road. Kelly Cutrone


When you take risks you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.Ellen DeGeneres


Ujam, Yoga, and other Fitness Classes

If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go into business because we’d be too cynical. Well, that’s nonsense. You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down. Annie Dillard


When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. Lao Tzu

Right Across the Street From Eastridge Mall!


Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. T. S. Eliot

Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. Ralph Waldo Emerson


Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. Robert Louis Stevenson


It is never too late to be what you might have been. George Eliot


Often the difference between a successful person and a failure is not one has better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on one’s ideas, to take a calculated risk – and to act.Andre Malraux


Every man dies, but not every man really lives.Braveheart


It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might has well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default. J.K. Rowling


Fun for all age groups and fitness levels!

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. Chinese Proverb


Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try. Jack Canfield

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover. Mark Twain

Martial Arts and Fitness


Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear. George Addair


Screw it, Let’s do it! Richard Branson


You can’t have everything you want, but you can have the things that really matter to you.Marissa Mayer


Strength & Conditioning!

Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else’s.Billy Wilder


I am thankful for all of those who said NO to me. It’s because of them I’m doing it myself. Albert Einstein


Only those who play win. Only those who risk win. History favors risk-takers. Forgets the timid. Everything else is commentary. Iveta Cherneva


And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. Anais Nin


Life is being on the wire, everything else is just waiting. Karl Wallenda


The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me. Ayn Rand

Eastridge Mall San Jose Jiu-Jitsu Gym


Smash Gyms – The Home of CCS Wrestlers!

Smash Gyms Head Jiu-Jitsu Instructor Michael Jen promoted some very tough competitors to Blue Belt this week!

Jacob Palomino – US Open Champion

Filip Novachkov – American Cup Champion

Cainan Munsell – American Cup Champion

Stephan Thalin – American Cup Medalist

Isaiah Fernandez- American Cup Champion


Smash Gyms is the best place for CCS wrestlers to make a successful and fun transition to BJJ. Many former Bay Area wrestling stand outs have made Smash their home to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and see old friends from the wrestling community. It is a great opportunity for all Smash members to have elite level athletes help them with their wrestling while the Smash BJJ team and instructors help the wrestlers expand their grappling knowledge.

7pm Monday nights at Smash, 4x California State Finalist Jacob Palomino leads our wrestling class! Following Jacob’s class, open mat is often full of wrestlers drilling their takedowns.



Smash Gyms wrestlers make some noise at the San Francisco State California Collegiate Open!

At the last minute, a few of our Smash Gyms teammates decided to enter the California Collegiate Wrestling Open. This was the last college tournament before the prestigious College Pac-10 tournament. Although our guys are no longer training and competing at the college level they did an amazing job without any preparation. Some of the best college wrestling teams in the country were at this tournament. Filip Novachkov talked Eli Sanchez and Cainan Munsell into entering the tournament two days before the event. They decided to just go have some fun.

Filip won his weight class! He registered under “Team Smash”. He dominated all his opponents with amazing technique. He was exhausted in the 3rd period of all his matches but controlled the pass with pressure and really outclasses all his opponents in an amazing performance. Thanks to Filip for winning Smash Gyms’ first Gold Medal at a major collegiate level wrestling tournament.

Eli decided not to cut weight when he got home the night before and saw a steak sitting on the counter. 🙂 Eli weighed in at 180lbs but the weight class was 184lbs. His opponents were cutting 10-15lbs. It was hilarious how much bigger his opponents were! A fresh Eli came out strong his first match and won with a technical fall (16-0) over his first opponent. Technical fall is a mercy rule when you’re winning by so many points they just stop the match. In the quarter finals Eli ended out losting to the number 2 seeded wrestler in his weight class. Eli got the first takedown on the opponent and was winning the match until his opponents size and Eli’s lack of conditioning took over in the 3rd period. Eli eventually lost the dec. after becoming exhausted from returning his opponent to the mat over and over. Great performance!

Cainan also dominated his first opponent pinning him in about one minute. In the quarter finals had to face the number one seeded wrestler in his weight. Cainan took it to this guy. He beat the guy up the whole first period. Taking him down and putting him on his back. Cainan was winning 10-1 going into the 2nd period. That’s a huge lead in a college wrestling match. lol.. unfortunately Cainan’s conditioning caught up to him and the other guy ended out winning the match.

Congrats to all the competitors! We have amazing wrestlers on our BJJ Team at Smash. Coach Jacob Palomino, David Anderson along with these other guys are great resources for the team. Take advantage of these knowledgeable instructors at Smash! Jacob Palomino teaches wrestling Monday nights at Smash. Filip and Eli lead the Saturday Competition practice along with Smash Gyms Head Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructor Michael Jen.

Filip Novachkov added to Smash Gyms Staff

Highly decorated Division 1 Wrestler Filip Novachkov has been added to the Smash Gyms coaching staff.

Novachkov is originally from Bulgaria where he wrestled until he moved to Sunnyvale. While he was in High School his family won a lottery to bring them to the United States. He became one of Fremont High School’s most technical and decorated wrestlers of all time. He then had a very successful college career at Cal Poly University, defeating 10 of the top 20 wrestlers in the nation in Division 1 rankings.

Filip began training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Smash in January. Filip has been interested in adding Jiu-Jitsu techniques to his grappling knowledge for quite some time. After completing his Senior year at Cal Poly he is now living and working in Mountain View. He began looking for a Jiu-Jitsu gym and heard that Smash was the best place for CCS wrestlers to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the Bay Area.

He was immediately impressed by the technical knowledge of the instructors and the detailed instruction at Smash Gyms. “I really like all the details they show while teaching technique,” Filip said. “They are very very good at what they do. I knew right away this was the right place for me. It was nice to see so many people from the local CCS wrestling community training in one place. ”

Filip is eager to continue to learn Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and to pass on his amazing wrestling knowledge to the students at Smash.

Filip’s impressive wrestling resume includes…

-D1 College Wrestler
-Pac-10 Finalist
-Bronze Medal at High School Nationals
-California Wrestling State Champion
-3X California State Placer
-3X CCS Champion


2011 Was an Amazing Year for the Smash Gyms BJJ Program! Watch out 2012!


2011 was an amazing year for all the programs at Smash. I’d like to take a moment and point out the amazing growth of our BJJ program in particular.

The Smash Gyms Jiu-jitsu program is headed by Michael Jen. Michael had been teaching a small group of loyal students out of his garage for nearly 10 years. Most of his students grappled recreationally for exercise, fun and self-defense. He did have one student that liked to compete in Sport BJJ. Seo Perales was only the second person ever to be promoted to Black Belt by Michael. Seo took 3rd and 5th in the World Championships and won his division in the US Open twice. Michael’s students were all complimented on their solid fundamentals when training at other schools and Seo’s success was impressive but still Michael was largely unknown in the younger Sport Jiu-Jitsu world. Michael was one of the first 50 American BJJ Blackbelts but only the “old school” guys knew who he was since he had been not publicly teaching for ten years.

The Smash Gyms Jiu jitsu program officially started in January 2011. We were excited and happy to share the system of BJJ that we had spent 10 years in Michael’s garage helping to design. The system went through many iterations where techniques were changed, thrown out, and replaced. We were confident that we now had a system of teaching BJJ that would help the average person turn into a very good grappler in a short amount of time. We also knew it would help a talented person turn into a monster even faster.

Many of Michael’s top students came and helped lead the new program at Smash. Seo moved to the Bay Area for a few months to help get the program started. Mario Rios a brown belt, was in almost every class teaching the system of jiu-jitsu to beginners. Louie Noble and Andrew Yao purples and all of our blue belts were happy to help everyone. Before opening Smash we were fortunate to have relationships with talented people and training partners with a variety of skill-sets and backgrounds. They all came to help. My younger brother Eli who was a D1 College wrestler came in and combined his wrestling with our BJJ and made some noise. Pretty soon we had state champions like Jacob Palomino, all-american wrestlers and Judokas like Patrick Kong and pro-fighters like Sam Spengler all join the team to train, learn and pass on their existing skills to the students at Smash.

With such a great group of talented and giving instructors our brand new Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program literally shocked the Sport BJJ world in 2011. The very first team tournament the Smash competitors attended they brought home 3 Gold Medals. Sam, Seo, and Patrick dominated their divisions at BJJ by the Bay. After a few months the influx of new and motivated faces found Smash to be a place where they could learn and excel. Guys like David, Sam Jung, Rogelio, Joe, Harry and Ruben joined and helped rally the team. A couple months later was BJJ by the Sea and we brought home 7 medals. 4 gold and 3 silver. Exceptional growth but it did not stop there. In July Smash brought a team to the San Jose Open and won it. The Smash Gyms competitors brought home 8 Gold medals, 2 silver, 2 bronze and the Team Trophy. It was phenomenal feeling to have such remarkable success as a new gym in the Bay Area, which is known worldwide to be a BJJ Mecca of top schools. How would we do at a national level tournament though? We found out at the US Open 2011. Smash Gyms had 6 people place in the top 3 at this nationally recognized tournament. This is unheard of for a brand new school.

We are incredibly proud of each and every person on our team. Even more fulfilling than tournament wins is watching someone go from “the nail” to “the hammer” during a practice. 2011 was amazing because of everyone that stepped on the mat and tried to help each other get better. There are too many people to thank in this post but I can honestly say I’ve learned from every single one of the students at Smash. Thanks to everyone that has helped us with the struggle to improve ourselves both on and off the mat. With everyone’s help 2012 will be even more amazing.

World Class & Beginner Friendly BJJ, Judo, and Wrestling Instruction at Smash Gyms

The Smash Gyms Brazilian Jiu-jitsu program incorporates the most effective techniques of BJJ, judo, and wrestling.

Highlights in this video are from the June 2011 Jiu-jitsu by the Sea and July 2011 Jiu-jitsu by the Bay competitions.