If you’ve watched any of the major BJJ events over the last couple years, there’s an American who’s name you’ve probably been hearing more and more: Josh “Hingertine” Hinger. His most recent accomplishments include winning the IBJJF adult black belt nogi world title in his weight division, which makes him one of just a handful of Americans to pull it off, fighting in ACB, and getting quadruple gold at the Chicago Open for 2 years running. He’s a gi and nogi Gracie Worlds submission-only champion and has won more medals than the average person can fit on their wall. What makes him most exciting is that the majority of his wins come by way of submission. He actually won via Go-Go-Plata in his last two tournaments! He’s also a writer and pretty damned smart. If you read any of his articles on FloGrappling, you’ll quickly notice that he doesn’t care about points or looking good. It’s just kill or be killed.
They say that you don’t truly know what class and style mean until you visit Paris. My wife and I took a trip there in the winter and I, of course, scheduled some time to train. Gracie Barra Paris has several gyms and a large and diverse group of practitioners. It is run by Julien Cazier, a black belt and probably the most prolific competitor in all of France. He and I met several years ago when we faced off in the Montreal Open. After the tournament we kept in touch on social media and he welcomed me like family when I told him I was visiting. Here is what you can expect if you visit and I even threw in a few suggestions for restaurants at the end so you can take full advantage of the Parisian experience.
A few weeks back, my good friend James Clingerman was in town on a road trip. James is the head instructor at Indiana Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy who, along with his wife AJ, who is a marketing wiz, have successfully operated the longest running and most successful Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Gym in Indiana.
James has been helping me out since I was a blue belt so when he said he was in town and was planning on training at the legendary Jean Jacques Machado gym in Tarzana, I was quick to sacrifice sleep and make the drive to meet him. He and AJ had already connected with the gym a few days prior. Jean Jacques has a very busy schedule, so they wanted to make sure he would be there. I met up with James, we got the guided tour of what is basically a Jiu Jitsu shrine, met some cool people, got in several rounds of sparring, and we got Punk’D by Ashton Kutcher.
I previously wrote about my trip to Fresno, California for work. I didn’t have enough time to hit all the gyms in the area but in my research I found Royce Gracie Academy and wanted to check it out. Tosh Cook, is the head instructor and has cage fighting experience as well as tournament success. He was recently involved in the Road to Metamoris and he juggles running a gym with a full time job.
Joao Assis is a huge name in BJJ, particularly on the NoGi scene. Among his many championships he holds an ADCC and NoGi Worlds title. I had been meaning to get to his gym in Huntington Beach for years but only recently had the opportunity to do so. It was an awesome experience and I really enjoyed the energy and friendly atmosphere of the gym.