After returning from Mexico and prior to departing for Rio De Janeiro, I had about 6 weeks to travel around the midwest, USA and get some training in between visits with family. While I was in Michigan visiting my mom and sister I got the opportunity to spend three days training at Triumph Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Grand Rapids, MI, U.S.A.
Full disclaimer: Triumph BJJ, Grand Rapids is a part of my team, SAS USA, and an affiliate school of Team Jorge Gurgel…Same as my home school, The Ohio Combat Sports Academy.
All that said, these aren’t really commercials so much as write-ups in hopes of helping Jiu-Jiteros on the road to find quality, welcoming BJJ schools in which to catch some great mat time.
So….What should I say about Triumph BJJ, Grand Rapids?
Well, for starters, I sent them an e-mail on Monday letting them know that I hoped to be in town on Tuesday and would it be cool to catch the Tuesday 6:00 pm class. I had an e-mail reply within two hours from ‘Charles’ saying “Absolutely! Come on out!”
Unfortunately, I hit traffic and got into town about 2 hours later than planned. But I was able to attend three classes between Thursday and Monday night. So here goes:
Where: Grand Rapids, MI, USA
BJJ: Triumph Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, SAS team USA – Team Jorge Gurgel
Schedule: FULL (7 days per week). Classes everyday including Adult BJJ, Youth BJJ and MMA classes.
Facilities: Triumph is a large stand-alone building on an easy to find street. There is parking in front and back with entrances to match. The gym consists of three main spaces: MMA cage and Ring area, Striking ad heavy bag / speed bag area and the BJJ area. The BJJ area is about as big as the other three combined. There is somewhere around 1800 sq feet of mat space. Mats are thick (2″) block style. Clean and soft, while still being fairly fast.
What to expect: The first thing I noticed about Triumph was the very welcome attitude of the instructor and the other students. I make it a habit of making a run around the mat to introduce my self to anyone there and as I did the same here I noticed everyone went out of there way to stop there stretches and say hi, and welcome me to the gym.
Owner and Head Instructor, Dan Andrus, is a Brown belt under Jorge Gurgel (of UFC fame) and has a good sized group of students with a good blend of belts, ages and genders. there were quite a few purples on the mat and many blues and whites as well when I was training there. There were also age ranges from teens up as well as several women on the mats too!
Over the course of three days of training I matched up with three different partners and each of them were equally helpful with the techniques and generally great training partners.
The biggest shock I got was the warm-ups! I’ve been on the road a lot for the last five weeks or so and my cardio was not what it should have been. This was a great wake-up call to me to make sure I am getting good mat time, regardless of being on the road or not.
Also, I should have expected the warm-up! This was a “good ole’ fashioned” Brazilian style warm-up! So many of us get caught up in the fun of exploring new techniques we skimp on the hard warm-ups, relying on the free-rolling to get our cardio going. Like a lot of the Brazilians from the old school, hard warm-ups are an infamous part of the Jorge Gurgel training regime and to be honest, I needed it and enjoyed it!
I would not hesitate to recommend Triumph BJJ, Grand Rapids to anyone passing through town. Wether it is one session or a month’s worth you will find competent instructors, an awesome facility and welcoming, “no-ego” Jiu-Jitsu here!
Contact: Dan Andrus
About Grand Rapids: Grand Rapids is a middle-sized city very close to Lake Michigan. Easy enough to navigate with major interstates running North / South and East West. It is also on a “grid” pattern which makes finding your way around just a little easier. There is no special draw to Grand Rapids, but it is a friendly, easygoing city overall.
Food: As I said before, I didn’t get much chance to ample the city offerings but driving around town shows there to be mostly standard American fare with family diners, chain restaurants and strip malls abounding.
The bigger draw here in Grand Rapids is CRAFT BEER. I discovered through conversation with locals that there are now so many craft breweries in Grand Rapids that the City Planning division is now turning down zoning requests for breweries. The biggest that I know of is the Founder’s Brewery, makers of some great beers! There is also a Bar / Restaurant know as the HopCat Brew Pub which gets the highest rankings nationally almost every year with over 60 beers on draught. If you are a fan of microbrews, then Grand Rapids would be a great add for any travelling itinerary!
Burgers: Didn’t even go there 😦 I had Mexican at a place called Cabanas, and it was lackluster 😦
Weather: Weather is typical temperate mid-west U.S., but with some lake effect you can get some pretty nasty winters! It will start getting cold around early October, snow fall beginning by end of November and spring won’t roll around until late May. Spring is generally wet with high humidity which can make the training even tougher for those not used to it.
Summary: If I ever get back to Grand Rapids, which isn’t a long shot since I have family in town, there is no question that I will be hooking up with Triumph BJJ. There are a couple other gyms in town, but I don’t feel the need to try them out. Once you find a place with solid instruction, good competition on the mat, welcoming, team oriented spirit I guess I don’t feel the need to look elsewhere!