The Brazilian Jiu-jitsu competitors of Smash Gyms have done extremely well in competition and we often share their great results and highlights on this blog. Some may wonder if competing is a necessary part of training in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Here’s Smash Gyms Sunnyvale’s head BJJ instructor, 4th degree black belt, Michael Jen, sharing his thoughts on this subject.
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.
A few weeks ago, Sam Jung represented Smash Gyms at the East Bay Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Open. Sam put on a great performance and placed 1st in the gi division and 3rd in the no gi division. That same weekend, Jonathan Bialoglovski competed in the Calfornia Black Belt League: Victory Challenge and place 1st in his division.
Then this past weekend, Christina Apatow represented Smash Gyms Women’s BJJ and competed in the KO Finisher Series Submission Only Tournament. With no competitors to go against in her division, Christina moved up 2 weight classes. She did awesome and placed 3rd. Christina finished two of her matches by armbar and gi choke. The most memorable moment was when her opponent refused to tap to the gi choke and ended up being put completely unconscious.
While Christina was competing in BJJ, Smash Gyms’ Strength & Conditioning instructor, James Cebedo, competed in the Redwood Empire Weightlifting Competition. James threw up some big weight and placed 2nd in his division despite only weighing 157lbs in the 170lbs division! This was James’ first weightlifting competition so he decided not to cut any weight and still took home a silver medal!
A big congratulations to all the competitors!
Check out the highlights of Christina at the KO Finisher Series!
A big congratulations to Chad Himeda, Juan Romo, Ben Hyatt, BJ Barrow, John Valdivia, Jack Lai, and Calvin Hawkes on earning their blue belts in BJJ. These students have been dedicated to their training and have shown good improvement over the past years.
Patrick Kong and Brian Kuhn also earned their well deserved purple belts. Brian and Patrick have consistently shown their skills by competing and medaling in virtually every major competition in the Bay Area since white belt.
Once again, congratulations to all who were promoted and the Smash BJJ instructors look forward to your continued progress.
More Pictures Here !!!!
Smash Gyms BJJ competitor, Doug Ancey, took 1st place and brought home gold at the Jiu-jitsu by the Bay tournament. Held in Alameda, CA, this tournament has consistently grown and become a staple for local BJJ competitors. Doug did a great job in representing Smash Gyms. Winning his matches in a dominating fashion, he finished most of his opponents by submission. Big congratulations!
Smash Gyms Kids Martial Arts students, Derek and Aaron Jen, competed this past Saturday at the San Mateo Boys and Girls Club Judo Development Tournament. This was Derek’s first judo competition and he was in a division where he was the only white belt. He had 7 matches, all against colored belts, and ended up taking 2nd place. Aaron also had some really tough opponents in his division. He won all 4 of matches and took 1st place. Big congratulations to the brothers for taking home gold and silver!
Here are the highlights from the event! To watch in HD, simply change the quality setting when the player starts.
Santa Clara – The Smash Gyms Brazilian Jiu-jitsu team had a great showing at the 2012 Brazilian Jiu-jitsu US Open held in San Jose CA at Independence High School. The US Open is one of the largest and most prestigious BJJ tournaments in the US. After two days of hard fought competition, the team brought home 4 gold, 3 silver, and 1 bronze medals. At last years 2011 US Open, Smash brought home six medals with only being opened for less than a year. We expect Smash Jiu-Jitsu to have continued success as a program and a growing medal count every year in both local and nationally recognized sport jiu-jitsu tournaments.
Big congratulations to everyone involved with the Smash Gyms BJJ program. Our success is the result of a team effort from all the competitors, coaches and training partners!
The success Smash has had since we opened in January 2011 is a testament to the dedicated team of instructors and amazing members we have training every night at the gym. Most of our Jiu-jitsu students choose not to compete regularly. We believe that our training environment is unique in that both competitors and hobbyist can find a supportive, friendly, and knowledgable staff and training partners ready to help anyone reach their personal goals.
Here’s a highlight video of some of our Smash competitors in action!
On April 5, Smash Gyms Head Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Instructor, Michael Jen, awarded Christine Ho the rank of blue belt. Christine joined Smash Gyms last year upon seeing the dominating performance by our team members at the San Jose BJJ Open Tournament that won us the team trophy for the event. Though Christine had some grappling experience, she opened herself up to learning a completely new system from scratch and began to make phenomenal progress.
Big congratulations to Christine. The promotion is well deserved. Christine is generally very serious during training so it was nice to see her with a huge smile for the rest of class. 🙂
Christine helps teach the Smash Gyms Women’s BJJ class on Sundays at 10am!
“Our BJJ competitors have been extremely successful in competition in the short time that Smash Gyms has been opened. We consistently have had numerous people win or medal at every competition we have entered. What have I learned from our competition success? It does not reflect one’s entire knowledge or skill in the art, but rather who can play this “game”. While winning is great, competition is only very small part of the entire art of BJJ.
The rules of competition have changed over the years. This basically means a person or small group of people have begun to change the definition of what BJJ should look and be like. In my opinion, if one is true to the art and has integrity, they will stick to what they believe the art should be rather than change their views based on what a small committee decided.
My students will continue to go out on the competition floor and have fun. But for me, I judge my students by what I see on the mat every class they attend, year after year, not from 5 or 6 min. at some event.” – Michael Jen, 3rd Degree Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt
Most people begin taking Brazilian Jiu-jitsu as a martial art. This was especially true in the past when Sport BJJ tournaments were much more rare in the US. Many people who began training with the Gracie family in the early 90’s did not even know that BJJ Sport tournaments existed in Brazil. As more Brazilians moved to the US and more people reached Black Belt level it was natural for the sport jiu-jitsu to grow in the US as well. Sport BJJ is fun and many BJJ practitioners are competitive. Plus, the nature of the art is a that of a “show me” mentality. In BJJ you are able apply your skills with 100% live resistance and no one gets hurt. We do it in our training rooms together so it makes sense to have events where people from different schools can test their skills.
Jiu-jitsu was originally designed to be effective in a fight. BJJ evolved from a Japanese prize fighting teaching Kano Jiu-Jitsu to Brazilians. The art continued to progress and evolve until the Gracie family showcased the art in the original UFC’s as the best martial in the world for a one-on-one fight. The UFC started as a infomercial to show the effectiveness of BJJ against other styles. Before the UFC: the Gracie family used “Gracie in Action” videos showing hundreds of victories in their bare-nuckle no rules challenge matches against other martial artists. This campaign from the Gracie family left little doubt that BJJ was an incredibly effective martial art.
Jiu-jitsu has split into two very different directions: Sport vs. Martial Art. Some of the most effective techniques commonly used in today’s sport BJJ would be ridiculous to try in a fight. Many very effective grappling techniques are no longer allowed in sport BJJ. Jiu-jitsu for fighting has changed to Jiu-jitsu for grappling.
High level sport BJJ has turned into a beautiful display of grappling that no one could have imagined. It has turned into a legitimate sport and is growing rapidly. The popularity is partly because it offers a unique option for anyone to compete against people who are the same age, same belt and same weight as themselves! This has turned hobbyist into competitors. People who like to compete in individual sports can continue to do so in a level playing field far passed high school or college. Sport BJJ has created communities , friendships and families within teams. This is a beautiful thing.
Other arts have followed this path and often the sport flourishes and the art dies. Many other martial arts have become great sports but lost much along the way. As more rules are introduced, the less effective the sport is as a martial art. Most top sport BJJ practitioners would still be very effective in a one on one fight against an untrained and unarmed attacker. New BJJ practitioners trying to mimic sport jiu-jitsu technique in a real fight could get hurt.
If you look at the evolution of BJJ vs Judo one can argue that same art changed radically under different conditions. The Gracie family learned the same art that was practiced in Japan in the early 1900’s. In Brazil very few rules were added and the environment supported creativity and innovation. Meanwhile in Japan traditions and rules took the sport in an entirely different direction. These rules helped the sport of Judo grow all the way to the Olympic games. But the rules obviously hurt the effectiveness as a martial art. Meanwhile in Brazil practitioners were not forced to stand straight up, they did not add time limits for ground work, or rounds. The absence of rules made the art much more effective in a fight and led to BJJ. The addition of rules made the art of Judo much less effective in a fight but lead to it becoming an Olympic Sport.
This of course is not to say Judo guys can’t fight. Top Judoks are some of the toughest guys to walk the Earth. Same thing with collegiate or olympic wrestlers, boxers and who ever else practices full force sparring. As a martial art though you would have to be terribly biased to think the sports of wrestling or judo match up with BJJ as a stand alone martial art for the average person.
At Smash we believe that it is important for students that attend our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes to remember that Jiu-jitsu is a martial art first. Royce Gracie didn’t pull guard in the first UFC. Royce took people down, punched them then submitted his opponents. We give our students the ability to do this first.
At Smash we teach a very definitive system of Jiu-jitsu. Our core system consists of carefully chosen techniques and systems designed to be effective in MMA, Sport BJJ and a one-on-one self defense situations. Once our students are proficient in the core system then they will be taught supplemental techniques based on their goals.
Is the Sport BJJ good for the Jiu-jitsu as a martial art? Yes! The sport definitely helps raise awareness of BJJ. It helps teams and schools with retention and team camaraderie. In the end every practitioner needs to decide why they train and find a school and instructor that fits their goals.
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.