The mixture of sun, sea, beautiful weather and a relaxed vibe seems to have attracted many of the best Jiu Jitsu practitioners to relocate from Brasil to California. Not only are some of the best academies and athletes based in California but also the IBJJF World Championships and IBJJF Pan Americans. Truly a place every Jiu Jitsu practitioner has on their bucket list. With so many academies to choose from, 5 is obviously not enough and our list isn’t exhaustive but without further ado here’s our favourite 5 academies to visit in California.
Atos Jiu JItsu Academy
Founded in only 2008 by Ramon Lemos and Andre Galvao, Atos has already become one of, if not the premier competition team in World Jiu Jitsu. Spearheaded by one of the greatest grapplers of all time in André Galvao it already boasts multiple IBJJF Team World Titles including being the reigning champion. The HQ based in San Diego California is a melting pot of some of the best talent in the world, not just Galvao himself but his students including current black Belt world champions, Lucas Hulk, Gustavo Batista, and other major IBJJF world medalists such as Kingz athlete Ronaldo Junior, Josh Hinger, Michael Liera Jr, and Progress JJ Athlete Kaynan Duarte to name a few. Not only is the Atos Black belt roster stacked at HQ but there are numerous killer coloured belts to roll with. It really is a champions factory, with classes going on throughout the day you should surely make it a priority spot to visit!
Cobrinha Jiu Jitsu Academy
Based in Los Angeles is the home of Rubens Charles, nicknamed ‘Cobrinha’. One of the greatest Competitors of all time, he recently completed the super grand slam, winning all four major IBJJF competitions in one year along with the ADCC, and at present the only person to complete this extraordinary feat. This alliance affiliate not only has Cobrinha gracing the mats, but other high level black competitors including his recently promoted son Kennedy Maciel. Kennedy has taken to black belt like a duck to water, winning the ACB worlds and the IBJJF Las Vegas Open in his first two competitions as a black belt ending 2018 winning the IBJJF World NoGi Championships. With the chance to take a class under a legend like Cobrinha and train with some future world champions, how can you not visit the academy !
Compared to other Jiu Jitsu academies, studio 540 is unique concept. The academy has no team or club affiliation open to practitioners from any affiliation. Headed by Joel Tudor, there is an solid line up of regular coaches which include world class wrestling coaches, UFC veterans, and Jiu Jitsu stars such as Leticia Riberio and Magid Hage IV. However apart from the regular coaching staff at Studio 540, the academy is known for regularly bringing in guest coaches. These include some of the best athletes in world Jiu Jitsu, such as Keenan Cornelius, Felipe Pena, Bia Mesquita, Rafael Lovato Jr and Leandro Lo. Even the the legendary Marcelo Garcia has graced the studio 540 mats, rolling with Keenan Cornelius ! With its world class coaching staff, world class facilities, guest coaching and their massively open door policy towards training, it’s one of our favourite places to visit in California!
Art of Jiu Jitsu
Probably the most aesthetically pleasing academy in the world with its all white colour scheme and modern art on the walls. Founded by two of the greatest Jiu Jitsu practitioners of all time, Gui and Rafa Mendes and RVCA founder PM Tenore this academy is well known to most practitioners due in part to the Mendes brothers competition record, style of Jiu Jitsu and of course, their extremely successful online training programme. Art of Jiu Jitsu also has one of the most successful kids programmes in the world, winning the IBJJF Kids Pans in consecutive years and also due to their ‘dream and achieve’ programme which gives kids from less privileged back grounds the chance to train and in many cases live in California to pursue their Jiu Jitsu dreams, with many coming from Brasil ! All this makes Art of Jiu Jitsu an obvious stop on a Jiu Jitsu pilgrimage to California!
99 Jiu Jitsu
One of the most relaxed academies in San Diego, 99 Jiu Jitsu is headed by the Turtle Master Eduardo Telles. Telles is a living legend of the sport, with multiple world medals, Pan titles to name a few of his accomplishments. Eduardo is known to be one of the most friendly and approachable guys in the sport and its always a pleasure to train with him. 99 Jiu Jitsu's 12pm competition class is famous for its hard rounds, with athletes such as UAEJJF World Masters champion Sergio Rios and Maeda athlete and world brown belt medalist Igor Tanabe training hard for their future competitions, you also have world class masters competitors such as the Munduruca Brothers taking part in these sessions. With its open door policy, you will see athletes from a range of different academies coming to train, people such as Francisco 'sinistro' Iturrallde and Jhonny Tama regularly make their way over to 99 to get some rounds in. You cant go wrong with a session at 99 Jiu Jitsu and expect a refreshing post workout drink as Kombucha is on tap at the academy !