Jiu Jitsu in Paradise: Guam

3:44 PM Moo 0 Comments

June 30th I boarded a plane to Guam with my boyfriend (purple belt), Mike. We landed at 4:30 in the beautiful sunshine and went to train at 6:00PM. Adjusting to the humidity was brutal. Our first stop was Figo. Figo is a gym located in Anigua, owned and operated by brown belts Luis and Elijah Reyes. The affiliation is Bonsai Jiu Jitsu and this can be seen in their rigorous warm up and dedication to the purity of Jiu Jitsu.

I'm not ashamed to admit, I struggled with the warm up. The jogging and cardio was no problem but I am certainly the least acrobatic person ever. Students performed berimbolos and somersaults effortlessly, while I rolled down the mat like a drunken, beached whale! Luis, however is patient and always willing to assist. He is an incredible professor.

Once, we made it past the 30 minute warm up, the class was pretty awesome! We focused on guard passing and head to watch technique with plenty of time to repetitively drill. I loved Figo's emphasis on drilling and it's something I haven't seen emphasized in many schools I've visited. After, we rolled 6 minute rounds and ended class with introductions of new students and a group prayer.

The next session at Figo, welcomed Marcos De Souza, involved tons of positional rolling and  two techniques taught by Marcos himself. It was an awesome day and a great experience with the gym. I was still sore two days later!

While in Guam we also trained at Purebred with black belts, Stephen Roberto and Terrence Aflague. The first class we showed up to just so happened to be advanced, so Mike was pretty happy to roll with so many upper belts.Our warm up was minimal but the class was amazing. We worked on De La Riva, which is something I've been really wanting to work into my open guard game. Stephen came around, adjusted my position and helped me out quite a bit. After technique, we went into a shark tank activity with 20, 1 minute rounds, of rolling back to back. Initially, I didn't think this would be so difficult. I can't blame it on the humidity it was hard work rolling back to back and setting up positions knowing I had only one minute to do so. This was my favorite class, for sure and I even got to work my open guard with a blue belt world champ with some awesome pressure.

Since we didn't have a car we didn't think we'd be able to attend the next Purebred class at the Anigua location, but sure enough, Stephen Roberto offered to pick us up, bring us to the class and drop us off afterwards. Now I must say I don't know many places where a black belt would do this and it really says a lot about the nature of the gym and the type of people who train there. Everyone was incredibly welcoming and friendly even while they were kicking my ass on the mats! Being in Korea, it's quite rare that I am able to roll with female upper belts and all of the woman at Purebred  were just as tough as the guys. It was refreshing and challenging. It was also one of the first times I saw my boyfriend rolling with men of similar frames with heavy top game. Was cool to see him sweat a bit and adjust his style to compete with theirs.

The day we were leaving, Stephen Roberto was bringing in Keenan Cornelius for a huge seminar, open to every jiu jitsu practitioner in Guam. He is passionate about the art and it comes across in every interaction you have with him.

Figo Highlights: Figo is super family friendly and has an excellent kids program. Time is divided evenly between both adults/kids and those children are absolute warriors! In addition, Luis is pretty much as patient and kind as they come, as is his team which is a direct reflection of his awesome leadership. They work hard and they play hard. We were invited to the home of some of the members and they treated us as if they had known us for years. In addition to being training mates, they are a family.It was really encouraging and inspiring.

Purebred Highlights: You are guaranteed to be challenged and push your body much further than you thought possible. This is a gym fit for champions.  If I were ever gearing up for a huge tournament, Stephen is definitely the man I would want in my corner. He is so knowledgeable about Jiu Jitsu and well respected as a serious ambassador to the sport, in addition to just being a pretty bad ass and awesome teacher and all around person.

All in all, our trip was great and our time split between the two gyms was fantastic. They are both legit training options for beginners and advanced students in addition to Spike 22, which I visited on my last trip to Guam (look for a post about this gym in the near future). Training in Paradise soon? Where are you going? Let me know what your experience is like! Want to learn more about BJJ in Guam? check out Rolled Up: Episode 31. Oss!

Side note: While I am clever and the title is pretty awesome, it comes from Stephen Roberto's Personal blog, which can be found here.