Team Texas: Mayra Cardenas

5:48 AM Moo 0 Comments


Name: Mayra Cardenas

Rank: Purple Belt

Where you train: Renzo Gracie Houston

How long have you been training? Since September 2014

Favorite Gi? Shoyoroll

What’s in your gym bag? Workout clothes- Monkey Tape and body spray

Favorite submission? Chokes and wrist locks

Favorite thing about the Jiu Jitsu community in Texas?
We support each other regardless of team affiliation. But when it’s time to compete, we fight for our team.

What’s one thing you would change about the Texas Jiu Jitsu community?
 BrewJitsu (benefitting the We Defy Foundation) showed me there’s nothing to change. It’s amazing.

What is your greatest accomplishment?
Showing my kids that hard work does pay off.

What has been your biggest struggle in Jiu Jitsu?
My type A personality gets humbled a lot. But it’s made me realize I need to keep working to get better. No one is indestructible. We can all break, but we can all also succeed.

If you could give any advice to your white belt self, what would it be? 
Calm down! This is the sages environment to train in. Listen. Let them teach you.

What motivates you to train on days when you just don’t feel like it?
Street survival is my job. Not just safety for me but for the people that count on me.

If you could take a private lesson with any Jiu Jitsu practitioner who would it be?
Professor Jared Weiner from BJJUNITED Why? His style and size is something that mirrors mine. I respect him immensely and his desire to better everyone but is loyal to his team.

Who is your favorite competitor to watch? ALL of them 

Who is your favorite TX competitor to watch? (outside of your current affiliation)
Melissa Lozano from Team Tooke and Olympia Watts from Gracie Barra Webster

What’s your perfect Jiu Jitsu playlist?
Reggaeton, hip hop and some old school Rap

What do you remember about your first day of Jiu Jitsu?
 I’m about to get my ass handed to me. Let’s do this!

What do you remember about your first tournament?
My kids were there and I didn’t want to disappoint them. Also, I felt I didn’t know any Jiu-Jitsu

What is your post-competition meal/restaurant? Anything with pizza and/or tacos!

When you’re not training Jiu Jitsu, where can we most likely find you? Spending time with my kids and my boyfriend. Shooting. Watching movies. Eating at Mikes seafood lol

Anything exciting coming up?
I’m excited every day I get to train and do the things I love. Looking to continue to compete and get outta that damn 3rd place spot

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Team Texas: Roger Narvaez

12:04 AM Moo 0 Comments


Rank: 1st-degree black belt

School: Narvaez Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Corpus Christi, Tx

How long have you been training? 13 years

Favorite Gi?  Gameness Feather

What's in your gym bag? Mouthpiece, finger tape, MMA equipment

Favorite Submission: Rear Naked Choke

What do you like the most about the TX Jiu Jitsu community? 
The Brotherhood. Although there are some douchebags out there, for the most part, the community is close knit and very welcoming.

What is one thing you would change about the Jiu Jitsu community?
Get rid of all the egotistical people who are more concerned with calling their gym the best than doing what it takes and laying on the line themselves to be the best.

What is an accomplishment you're proud of?
For me being the first born and breed MMA fighter to come out of Corpus Christi and sign a UFC contract.

What has been your greatest struggle in Jiu Jitsu?
Believing that I belong, fighting the best in the world. Often times I build people up more than they are .I am finally past that point and will fight anyone believing that on any given day I could beat them.

What advice would you give your white belt self?
Focus on the technical aspect of the game. Not just how many people you can or can’t submit. Focus on the smaller intricacies of each and every position and technique.

What motivates you train on days where you don't want to?
I don’t really need motivation. I love Jiu Jitsu! I seriously can’t think of a day where I wasn’t excited about training Jiu Jitsu. One day I won’t be able to push myself the way I do now so until then I will cherish every single training session!

If you could take a private lesson with anyone who would it be?
Marcelo Garcia...as a large guy it amazes me the success that he had in his earlier years against the biggest and best monsters of the game. He is the definition of how Jiu Jitsu works!


Who is your favorite competitor to watch?
I enjoy watching Meragali, the tenacity and intensity at which he competes is unrivaled. I love it!

What's on your Jiu Jitsu playlist?
A little of everything...Tool, Rocky soundtrack, Kanye, with some J Cole...it’s kind of all over the place...lol.

What was your first day of Jiu Jitsu like?
I dislocated my shoulder while rolling with my coach. I came back the next day and did what I could, sat and watched technique and everyone else roll. I was hooked after day 1.

What do you remember about your first tournament?
It was in the RGV. I was a brand new blue belt. I closed out the gi and no gi divisions and had an absolutely amazing time!

What is your post-competition meal?
It depends....sometimes a good salad, soup, and sandwich from Jason’s deli. If it was an extremely hard practice and a cheat meal is due, then I'm scarfing a whole pizza from a locally owned pizza joint named B&J’s and drinking a few IPAs!

If you're not on the mat, where can we find you?
I’m a busy body. I’m always on the go, hanging with friends BBQing and traveling. I've been doing a lot more traveling lately.

Anything exciting coming up?
Defending my title against Inacio Neto. I’ve lost to him once before and am looking forward to the opportunity to redeem myself. Also, it looks like I’ll be stepping back in the cage sometime soon...like real soon!

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Team Texas: Alana Kai

5:08 AM Moo 0 Comments


Name: Alana Kai

Rank: Purple

Where you train: The Holy Grail in Victoria, Tx

How long have you been training? 4-5 years

Favorite Gi? I do mostly nogi, but the gi I do have is the Wartribe Ice Weave gi. It’s super light and breathable. I barely feel like I’m wearing a gi.

What’s in your gym bag? I try to keep the essentials in there. So I always have travel size shampoo/conditioner, body wash, extra contacts and contact solution, travel size hair styling products, body lotion, and body spray, makeup remover wipes and face cleansing wipes, extra hair ties, a towel, my nogi gear, and extra clothes. 😅

Favorite submission? My favorite submission is the Kimura. I especially like using the kimura trap system to link other submissions and positions together.

Favorite thing about the Jiu Jitsu community in Texas? I love how close the community is and how supportive everyone can be when someone from the state is competing, especially if they travel outside of Texas.

What’s one thing you would change about the Texas Jiu Jitsu community? I wish that more people would support sub-only, cash prize invitationals here in Texas. We have to travel out of state all the time to get paid to compete. I would also like to see more women compete.

What is your greatest accomplishment? My greatest accomplishment is winning my title match on submission hunter pro. I’ve always wanted to be a title holder. It’s nice to finally have a belt to hang next to the three Jordan has! 😂

What has been your biggest struggle in Jiu Jitsu? If I’m being honest, my greatest struggle is leaving my emotions out of jiujitsu. I’m an emotional person, so often times I’ll cry or get angry or both after a session. It’s been way less frequent lately, but it’s something I have to make a conscious effort at dealing with. It usually has nothing to do with the person I’m training with. I just want to be the best so if I ever feel like I’m not, I get emotional. I get more frustrated at myself over anyone else. I’m my own worst critic.

If you could give any advice to your white belt self, what would it be? I would tell myself that this journey is full of peaks and valleys. You’ll have good days and you’ll have bad days. It’s ok to not be perfect at something right away. Just trust the process and keep working hard for the results you want.

What motivates you to train on days when you just don’t feel like it? Jesus and Jordan (my fiancé) are my main motivation. What really drives me though when I just don’t feel like doing anything is the fact that I don’t want anyone else out there working harder than me.

If you could take a private lesson with any Jiu Jitsu practitioner who would it be? Why? 
Marcelo Garcia. He’s a legend and his game has had a big influence on my Jiu Jitsu.

Who is your favorite competitor to watch? I honestly have to say I love watching my fiancé, Jordan Holy, compete. I know how much work he puts in, so seeing it come to life in his competitions is truly incredible. ❤️

Who is your favorite TX competitor to watch? (outside of your current affiliation)
Aaron Morris. He’s a black belt that owns Parthenon Jiujitsu in San Antonio. He stops at our gym sometimes to train and he’s a great roll. Every time I watch him compete he gets better. I love seeing his progression in the sport. He’s also competing out of state now, too. His next match is Midwest Finishers in Chicago on June 22nd.

What’s your perfect Jiu Jitsu playlist? Anything with Twenty One Pilots, Minus the Bear, Deftones, and J Cole.

What do you remember about your first day of Jiu Jitsu? I remember getting swept every five seconds. Lots of frustration from not being able to do anything and not knowing what to do. However, it’s the first time something didn’t come naturally to me so I wanted to come back to get better.

What do you remember about your first tournament? I remember being scared out of my mind. I remember stepping on to the mat and not even really noticing my opponent because I couldn’t see straight. I didn’t even realize what was happening. I was shaking so bad. My forearms started cramping from gripping so hard.

What is your post-competition meal/restaurant? Pappasito’s for sure. Chips and queso are life! Post weigh in go to is always Olive Garden. It’s a great place to carb up before matches.

When you’re not training Jiu Jitsu, where can we most likely find you? I’m honestly not too exciting 😂. If I’m not training I’m either lifting weights, watching anime or some other show with Jordan, eating, or sleeping.

Anything exciting coming up? I’m competing in the Subspectrum 125lb Women’s Invitational on June 29th in Des Moines, Iowa.

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Team Texas: James Markle

8:01 AM Moo 0 Comments


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!

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Team Texas: Kevin Entrades

1:22 AM Moo 0 Comments


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.

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Team Texas: Nico Echeverry

12:10 PM Moo 0 Comments


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.

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