Team Texas: James Markle


Name: James  Markle

Rank: Black

Where you train: Markle Gold Team & Bernardo Pitel BJJ

How long have you been training? Submission grappling since 1990

Favorite Gi: Fuji Suparaito

What’s in your gym bag? Lots of tape and maybe some tacos 😊

Favorite submission? Loop choke

Favorite thing about the Jiu-Jitsu community in Texas? We have some of the most open and accepting gyms in the world filled with top level competitors.

What’s one thing you would change about the Texas Jiu Jitsu community? We still have a lot of gyms not participating in community events open mats, these are amazing and I wished we had them when I was a lower belt coming up, Texas is very lucky.

What is your biggest accomplishment? Becoming the first American black belt under Jorge Macaco Patino and not dying in the process.

What has been your biggest struggle in Jiu Jitsu? Jumping into the black belt division at 38 (now 43) and going against monsters that have been black belts longer than I have been doing BJJ.

 If you could give any advice to your white belt self, what would it be?  Stop giving excuses on why you can’t make it to train, we get it.  Just show up and get on the mat when you can.

 What motivates you train on days when you just don’t feel like it? BJJ is like my mood medicine, if I miss a day I feel “fine.” Others say I am a real pain in the a#@ specifically my wife.

If you could take a private lesson with any Jiu Jitsu practitioner who would it be? I am not big on privates and have been able to train with a ton of big name guys, I am more honored to have a newbie step on the mat and take up BJJ with me.

Who is your favorite Texas BJJ Practitioner to watch (outside of your current team/affiliation):
 I love watching the kids tear it up, Mona Bailey is one of my favorites!

What’s your perfect Jiu Jitsu playlist? Old school hip-hop played at high volumes!

What do you remember about your first day of Jiu Jitsu? It was so long ago but coming from a wrestling background, most likely damn this gi is hot!

What do you remember about your first tournament? I thought I killed a guy after hitting him with a huge Uchi Mata and knew that this would be something I would be doing for a long time.

Anything exciting coming up? Training camp and prep for World Masters in August!


Team Texas: Kevin Entrades


Name: Kevin Entrades

Rank: Yellow

Where you train: Ground Dwellers

How long have you been training? Almost 6 years. I started when I was 5yrs old. I started in Pennsylvania with Tiger Shulmanns MMA. Then I started training at 10th Planet Bethlehem before moving here to Texas and now I’m with Professor Eddie Avelar at Ground Dwellers.

Favorite Gi: Don’t really know any. I did most of my training in NoGi.

What’s in your gym bag? My Gi, my Belt, sometimes I’ll bring some medals I’ve won in tournaments to show my teammates.

Favorite submission? I have two. I like Triangles and Armbars.

Favorite thing about the Jiu Jitsu community in Texas? I like how with the kids divisions there’s a lot of sportsmanship. We can compete against each other and play and hang out afterward like we didn’t just try to choke each other out.

What’s one thing you would change about the Texas Jiu Jitsu community? 
I don’t know I guess more local super fight opportunities for kids.

What is your biggest accomplishment? I can’t just say one thing. I think just my journey itself and how far I’ve gotten and how much I’ve improved. I have so much more room to get better.

What has been your biggest struggle in Jiu Jitsu? I guess taking my training seriously. I always use to play around and not listen but now I feel my focus is better and I will get better.

If you could give any advice to your white belt self, what would it be? You're not always going to come in destroying everyone on the mats. It’s going to take time. You have to be patient. It will just click one day and you’ll see how much better you’ve gotten since you started.

What motivates you to train on days when you just don’t feel like it? My dad will push me to keep training. He trains also, so if I don't feel like not training he says we have made a commitment and we need to honor it. Obviously unless your injured then yea get better but just not feeling it doesn’t fly in my house. Lol

If you could take a private lesson with any Jiu Jitsu practitioner who would it be? Eddie Bravo

Outside of your current team/affiliation, who is your favorite Texas BJJ Practitioner to watch?
Victor Pozas from Darkside. I love how good he is at leg attack’s and that’s something I want to get good at.

What’s your perfect Jiu Jitsu playlist?
Playlists would have, Panic of the Disco, Fall out Boy , Eminem , Post Malone and Xxxtencion.

What do you remember about your first day of Jiu Jitsu? I was the biggest most annoying kid. I didn’t know what was going on so I just took it as a big joke.

What do you remember about your first tournament? I got smashed. The kid just sat on me the whole match. I wasn’t nervous I was actually kind of hyped, but I didn’t want to lose so I was mad.

Anything exciting coming up? I’ll be doing some local tournaments maybe. I know I’ll be doing Fuji and Submission only In Austin.  I will also be doing my first IBJJF Tournament on June 22nd.  I’ve never been able to do it since we can’t afford to fly to California or Las Vegas so I’m excited they’ll be in Houston.  I hope to have a super fight again sometime soon. My dream is to be invited to Onnit.

Team Texas: Nico Echeverry


Name: Nico Echeverry

Rank: Brown Belt

Where you trainACS MMA

How long have you been training?
I've been training consistently for about 9 years now.

Favorite Gi?  I'mma be honest witchu. It's the gi I'm wearing at the time.

What’s in your gym bag?
Well, I tend to use a grocery bag for it so I guess just my no-gi clothes.

Favorite submission?
Anything that the coach warns the class with "now be careful guys. You could tear your training partner's [insert body part here]."

Favorite thing about the Jiu Jitsu community in Texas?

The fact that there are so many people from different walks of life. I love the diversity.

What’s one thing you would change about the Texas Jiu Jitsu community?

There are some egos. I get that you're confident in your game and that you're super proud of where you train and stuff, but dude chill.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

2017 Dungal Absolute Champion

What has been your biggest struggle in Jiu Jitsu?

Nothing really physical. Just lots of self-doubt and lack of confidence in the past.

If you could give any advice to your white belt self, what would it be?

"Stay out of mount dip weed.  Tire him out in side control, THEN go to mount."

What motivates you to train on days when you just don’t feel like it?

I always ask myself, "Nico, when has there been a time when you regretted going to training? None. How many times have you regretted not going to training when you could have? Every time. Now go train you pansy."

If you could take a private lesson with any Jiu Jitsu practitioner who would it be?

Keenan Cornelius

Who is your favorite Texas BJJ Practitioner to watch (outside of your current team/affiliation)

Evan Gideon, Dean Zaino, or Jason Soliz.

What’s your perfect Jiu Jitsu playlist?

Anything that has a rock and R&B feel to it. For instance The Heavy. Love their stuff.

What do you remember about your first day of Jiu Jitsu?

If I start in his guard and get tapped I won't feel as bad. Proceeds to get swept and put in a can opener

 What do you remember about your first tournament?

It was at U of H and it was so much fun. I met some co people and fell in love with competing.

Anything exciting coming up?

I'm fighting for Fury FC on June 29th. The following day I am gonna eat myself into a Donut coma.


Ode to the Women of Jiu Jitsu



Here's to the girls who train even when they're the only female on the mat
and those who embrace other women without question when they are not.
Here's to the women who refuse to fall into the "female cattiness trap"
or the "women don't get along" narrative.
Here's the women who let go of their ego and embrace the sisterhood, but still battle fiercely.
To the women who will roll with anyone, at any time and any place.
Here's to the women who come straight from work, jump out of heels and makeup and into a gi.
Or those who roll with a full face, setting spray and eyebrows on point.
To the women who tie their hair up onto their heads in a tight warrior knot
or those who constantly adjust it while they train.
Here's to the women who stuff themselves into spats and rashguards
refusing to let insecurities stop them from the grind.
Here's to the girls who pour every ounce of themselves into their training-
and proudly earn their rank with no excuse or exceptions.
Here's to the Jiu-Jitsu mamas, raising tiny mat terrors in gis
and to those who train when they can and those who never miss a class.
From the gentle giants and the little mercenaries-
To the A0 ladies and the A6 curvies.
Here's to the women who call into work to make those out of town competitions
and the women who budget tournaments in with groceries and graduate school.
Here's to the women who continue to defy stereotypes,
who put up so much resistance that new divisions and weight classes were created.
Here's to the women who demand equality and call for a seat at the table,
but make their own space without apology.
Here's to the women of Jiu-Jitsu.
May we know them, may we raise them, may we be them!




The Jiu Jitsu Struggle is Real: Game of Thrones Edition

Showing up to practice in a new gi....

When you're trying to roll but someone keeps explaining the moves to you.....

When black belts see you hitting the move of the day....

When you get someone in a submission and they say it was all strength....


How you walk back to the line after tapping your opponent just before time....

When you and your Jiu Jitsu ladies gang up on a dude with an ego......

When you heel hook a white belt.................

When my boyfriend double wrist locked me........

The seal of approval after the first roll with a worthyopponent....

When a male training partner treats you with kid gloves and asks if you're okay during a roll.....

When you've rolled off the mat and your partner uses it as an opportunity to go for a submission.....



You Should Still Make Jiu Jitsu Resolutions



This time of year we are likely to hear "Don't wait until 2019 to get your life in order" along with "Go hard year round, not just for a holiday." While these tropes are nice, they aren't realistic for everyone. Sometimes we need to fail to see where we should be. When you're on the bottom, the only way out is up. Going into a new year it is natural to question what you did, what you didn't do, do some introspection and readjust your goals. This is, in fact, a resolution.

The history of New Years resolutions can be traced back to the Ancient Babylonians. Just before the New Year, they would crown a new king, pledge their loyalty to said King and make promises to the Gods to tie up lose ends, pay debts and return anything they had borrowed from another person. They believed that if they kept their word for the entire year, the Gods would favor them.

So, you're asking, "How does this apply to Jiu Jitsu?" Simple really. When we set goals and keep them, we see results. Results are what we crave in Jiu Jitsu. That could be winning the World Championships or Pan Ams, it might be getting your purple belt or just promising you will make it to the gym one more day a week than you did in the previous year. What all of these things have in common is progress. As human beings, we have been obsessed with the idea of progress since the world began. Someone invented the wheel and we suddenly moved forward faster in motion, another discovered that we could make medicine from moldy bread.  We have tried and tested ourselves again and again to become the best possible versions of ourselves. Jiu Jitsu is no exception. Once you have tasted a bit of success- weight loss, confidence, winning one of the biggest tournaments in the world- it becomes an obsession. Sometimes, setting resolutions help us to realize, not where we failed or fell short, but rather areas we can strengthen to further our success. Some people train hard year round and make it look easy, while others struggle simply to get to class, day in and day out.


Often people will complain "Well it's January 1st, gym is full again. Let's see how long this will last!" In the New Year, the first weeks are full of people with good intentions, pledging to lose weight, do their first tournament or simply have the courage to try something they've been thinking about doing for a long time. If you are on the opposing side and have never struggled with motivation, you train consistently and you've competed successfully, I urge you to make a new goal. Make your goal to help retain those people who might otherwise leave. Make your goal to put in extra time with them, the way someone did for you when you were a white belt. We always say "Jiu Jitsu is for everyone." I challenge you to prove it! We are, all of us, in it to be better than we used to be. What will you resolve to do this year to be the best practitioner and training partner you can be?

The Jiu Jitsu Struggle is Forever Real- GIF Shenanary

When I see someone at a tournament that I was talking smack to online......

When I see the pictures and realize my spats were see through......

When I get to choose my favorite training partner.....

When I don't have to cut weight for a tournament for once and someone complains.......

When I've been zoning out during technique and the professor asks  "what comes next?"

When someone picks the training partner I wanted.....

What I imagine my brain is doing when I'm being smothered and forget all technique.....


When I order something from BJJHQ and it doesn't come right away.....

My favorite training partner and I before we get yelled at for talking......
When someone picks you during a competition training and then says "can we just drill?"