Sam “The Ram” Spengler Highlight Video

Thanks to Smasher Romanjeet S Nahal for making this highlight video of Sam Spengler’s MMA fights! Sam has a title fight scheduled in February!

Sam Spengler is one of the most liked and respected members of the wrestling and martial arts community. Sam has successfully competed in Mixed Martial Arts, Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, and Kickboxing. Because of his experience and the example that he sets for everyone around him, he is co-captain of the Smash Fight Team.

Aside from being a great athlete Sam is also one of the most popular teachers at Quimby Oak Junior High School. As Quimby’s Head Wrestling Coach he has lead many young athletes to championships and had earned a school record with countless team titles.

Coach Spengler is also a Kickboxing and MMA Coach at Smash San Jose. He is known as one of our most popular class instructors. His classes are always fun and packed!

Sam “The Ram” Spengler is a hero to many people in the East San Jose and Evergreen community! Thanks for all you do Sam!


Kickboxing Classes! Expert Instructors in Beginner Friendly Classes!

Smash Gyms is known for our unique variety of fitness and martial arts options! Our kickboxing program is a favorite class to participants of all ages and experience levels. Smash Gyms Kickboxing classes are filled with people from different backgrounds who come together to get a fun workout while learning from amazing instructors! East San Jose Kickboxing and Evergreen Kickboxing Classes are available at our Quimby Road and Capital Expressway Location! You can also train kickboxing near Levi Stadium on Tasman and Lawrence Expressway at our location on the border of Santa Clara and Sunnyvale!

Come try a Free Week of Unlimited Access to all our classes!


Santa Clara & Sunnyvale :

East San Jose & Evergreen: 

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

Smash Gyms Jiu-Jitsu Team Highlights from American Cup

Below are some of the highlights from The Smash Gyms Jiu-jitsu Team’s dominating performance at the American Cup in San Jose at Independence High School. A vast majority of our Jiu-Jitsu students choose not to compete and grapple recreationally for fun and fitness. Those that choose to compete have done very well. In our beginner friendly BJJ program we do not push our students to compete, but if they choose to we help to provide them all the tools necessary to be successful.

Smash is fortunate to have top level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instruction with very high level wrestling and judo combined into a comprehensive grappling program that will safely progress beginners at an accelerated pace. Our system is designed as a path for the average person to progress safely and quickly into an expert grappler.


Smash has another amazing performance at the American Cup!

The 5th Annual American Cup is over and the Smash Jiu-Jitsu team made some noise again! The Smash Gyms Jiu-Jitsu Team brings home 6 Gold, 3 Silver, and 4 Bronze medals!

Amazing performance by all the competitors in a very tough event. Many of our competitors were just promoted to a new belt level in December and still brought home the hardware!

Congrats to the entire team of competitors, training partners and coaches. You made the whole gym proud!

Gold Medalist

Brian Kuhn

Patrick Kong

Filip Novachkov

Isaiah Fernandez

Sam Spengler

Cainan Munsell


Silver Medalist

Eli Sanchez

Christian Reyes

John Valdivia


Bronze Medalist

Jess Ramos

Harry Handono

Christine Ho

Stephan Thalin


Great job everyone!


Sam “The Ram” Spengler beats undefeated opponent in MMA!

Smash Gyms Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor and professional MMA fighter Sam “The Ram” Spengler dominated a previously undefeated opponent to win a Unanimous Decision Saturday night at the Kezar Stadium in San Francisco. Sam’s experience, hard-work, and focus on improving his grappling game was showcased in this Mixed Martial Arts bout as he positionally dominated his opponent throughout the fight. Sam took down and controlled his opponent in every round, which allowed him to dish out an onslaught of knees and elbows. Sam is a fierce competitor known for his awesome conditioning and heart which he displayed to everyone on Saturday night!

Sam Spengler, a purple belt, is a competition team co-captain for the Smash Gyms Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu team. He also teaches kickboxing at Smash on Wednesday nights. See below for a full bio!


Sam Spengler is a physical education teacher, wrestling coach and professional fighter. 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 bachelor’s degree in Education. A veteran of Strikeforce, Sam has competed in kickboxing and MMA since 2003. Sam is a dedicated and talented wrestling instructor who has produced many champions while teaching and coaching wrestling at Quimby Oak Junior High School in San Jose over the past 10 years. Virtually every year his wrestling team consists of state and county champions.

After trying a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu class at Smash Gyms, Sam began attending classes regularly. “I was super impressed by the detailed instruction and high level of skill from instructors and students at Smash Gyms. In my opinion for Jiu-jitsu, they are the best around. When I attend a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu class at Smash I can often immediately implement their techniques in my MMA training. My ground game improved extremely quickly since I started training there. I’ve found that the Smash Gyms system of BJJ is very applicable to MMA.”

Sam has competed in hundreds of wrestling matches, 22 kickboxing matches, dozens of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu tournaments and 6 professional 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 kickboxing classes have helped students learn technique and improve their fitness level extremely fast 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 students 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

Beginner Friendly, Advanced, and All Levels Kickboxing Classes at Smash

A quick update on all these awesome new kickboxing classes. Before the New Year, Smash only had two kickboxing classes throughout the week. In 2012 every kickboxing student will have access to at least 4 classes throughout the week.  We now have kickboxing classes Monday through Saturday! To accommodate everyone’s goals and all fitness and skill levels there are now 3 different kickboxing Levels at Smash. All three levels may not be for everyone but all three are for someone. 🙂

Smashfit Level 1 – This is what we’ve always had and there are no real changes to these classes. You will continue to learn and progress in technique and get a great workout without ever getting punched. The focus will be on getting a great workout and refining offensive technique as you develop.

Level 2 Kickboxing – This will be an advanced kickboxing class. There will be a test in February for students that are interested in the Level 2 classes. If you choose to test for Level 2 you must get headgear, shinguards, your own gloves and a mouth piece. Get these asap! The test will consist of the combinations, technique, and timed body weight exercises to ensure those students are at a minimum required fitness level. We will announce the test dates soon!

All Levels Classes – These will continue to be on Friday and Saturday will focus on both conditioning and technique (without sparring) and be similar to the classes Brian is currently instructing.

If you enrolled in the kickboxing program you are welcomed to attend the Level 1 and All Level Classes with no testing. To prepare for the Level 2 Testing in February all kickboxing students may attend all the classes until the first test. Once testing is done only those advanced students will have access to the Monday and Wednesday classes.

Tuesdays and Thursdays is SmashFit Level 1 Kickboxing (pads and mitts; no contact); Level 2 (advanced) is on Monday and Wednesday (pads and mitts; light sparring); All Levels is on Friday and Saturday.

SmashFit Level 1- Tuesday and Thursday at 6pm

Level 2 – Monday and Wednesday- 6pm

All Levels- Friday at 6:00pm (changing to 6:30pm on February 3rd) and Saturday at 12:00pm

Open Sparring- Saturday at 1:00pm and Friday at 7:30pm


Holiday Party and Promotions!

Smash Gyms in Sunnyvale would like to thank everyone that attended the Smash Gyms Holiday Party and Potluck! We had a full house, tons of great food and lots of fun.

Head Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Instructor Michael Jen awarded some much deserved belts!

New Yellow Belts

Christian Reyes

Junior Zuniga

New Blue Belts

Patrick Kong- 2011 San Jose Open Champion, 2011 BJJ by the Bay Champion, 2011 BJJ by the Sea Champion, 2011 US Open Silver Medalist

Brian Kuhn- 2011 Brazilian Jiu-jitsu US Open Champion

Joe Gonzalez- 2011 BJJ by the Sea Silver Medalist, 2011 US Open Bronze Medalist

David Armstead- 2011 BJJ by the Bay Champion, 2011 BJJ by the Bay Absolute Champion, 2011 San Jose Open Champion

Sam Jung – Sam Jung is one of our most dedicated and fastest rising students! He earned his blue belt in less than a year!

Harry Hardono-  2011 San Jose Open Champion

Bruce Geoff Nardone- 2011 Modcom Submission Grappling Champion , Most Technical Award

New Purple Belts

Sam “The Ram” Spengler – 2011 BJJ by the Bay Champion, 2011 BJJ by the Sea Champion, 2011 San Jose Open Champion, 2011 San Jose Open Absolute Division Champion

Eli Sanchez – 2011 Jiu-Jitsu by the Sea Champion, 2011 Jiu-Jitsu by the Bay Finalist, 2011 San Jose Open Champion, 2011 San Jose Open Absolute Division Champion, 2011 US Open Championships Bronze Medalist

New Black Belts

Mario Rios – Smash Gyms Assistant Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructor

Rudy Sanchez – Smash Gyms Assistant Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructor

Smash Gyms also presented Jacob Palomino with an award for his contributions to our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling program. Jacob represented Smash Gyms while winning a Championship at the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu US Open in San Jose, California. He also tirelessly helps people in our grappling program learn his sophisticated and technical system of wrestling that he perfected on his way to becoming a Four-time California Wrestling High School State Championships Finalist.

Head Smash Gyms Krav Maga Instructor, Opher Har-El awarded Level 1 Certificates to members of the Krav Maga program. This realistic system of fighting with a focus on self-defense is taught by the 28-year practitioner . Opher teaches the true Krav Maga system he learned in the Israeli Military and his students feel privileged to be of such an authentic lineage.

New Krav Maga Practitioner Level 1

Alex Lupon

Gabrielle Blanc

Hallie Fowler

Jess Ramos

Teddie Aguiniga

Cris Neckar

Chris Long

Erik Archer


Also three awards were given to some of the most dedicated and consistent members of the Smash Gyms fitness program SmashFit! These three young ladies consistently participate in up to 3 classes a day! That’s 3-4 hours of training 4-5 days a week! Amazing effort and dedication!

SmashFit Award of Excellence

Gabrielle Blanc

Debbie Sanchez

Naomi Har-El



All our students from Milpitas, San Jose, Santa Clara, Mountain View and all around the bay area had a great time!

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.

Smash Gyms dominates another Jiu-jitsu Tournament!

On July 30, 2011, 8 Brazilian Jiu-jitsu competitors from Smash Gyms in Sunnyvale, CA went to compete at the San Jose Open. The team finished with 8 gold, 2 silver, and 1 bronze medal and became the 1st place Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Team Champions of the event.