Valor Martial Arts, Kota Kinabalu – Sabah

Friend of YoloBJJ, Ming Kern, sent us this write up of “Valor Martial Arts” in Sabah, Malaysia. Check them out if you head over that way!!!

Unlike the other gyms written up on our sight (Monarchy MMA, Budo Academy, Kombatives Fitness, and Team Armada), this gym is located in Malaysian Borneo…quite a distance from Mainland Malaysia. Check out Ming’s write up!

Attention travelling Jiu-Jiteros that are planning to visit Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, AKA Borneo: if you are eager to get some grappling training during your visit there, Valor Martial Arts can be the place to go.

Just after a hard gi session at Valor Martial Arts!

Just after a hard gi session at Valor Martial Arts!

It is located about 10 minutes from the city center. The gym is located at the 1st floor of a shop-lot, the shop-lot name is 88 Market Place. There’s a few option of getting to the gym, you can take a taxi from the city center which will cost you about RM20-RM25 (5-6 USD), or you can rent a bike/car and drive yourself, it seems like there’s UBER available now but I am not entirely sure about that.

SCUBA camp leaderboard

The gym instructor is Richie Ismail Celestial , a purple belt under Professor Alexsandro “Leke” Machado of CheckMat. Richie was also a grand finalist in Season 2 of MIMMA Lightweight division. A friendly and patient teacher, the class usual starts with a string of warm ups like jogging, hip escape, get ups, shoots and sprawl, followed by  drilling a few techniques and, lastly, a couple rounds of live sparring. Ego doesn’t really exist in the gym, people are friendly and kind, which creates an environment of camaraderie  for visitors to drop-in and train. The gym is not air-conditioned and it is pretty warm so your body can get warm-up pretty fast. Other than Jiu-Jitsu (Gi and NoGi) class, there are also MMA, Muay Thai and PointFit Circuit Fitness available. The gym itself is an affiliate of BJJGlobetrotters.


Traveller friendly: BJJ Globetrotters affiliation means "No Mat fees" for the first week!

Traveller friendly: BJJ Globetrotters affiliation means “No Mat fees” for the first week!

Getting around the city center of Kota Kinabalu can be done by renting a
car/motorbike, using cab or Uber. It is possible to explore the city center by foot but it might be tiring for some individuals and sometimes the heat can be very discouraging. The jetty at Jesselton Point provides water transportation to nearby island (Sapi Island, Manukan Island, etc) for diving, snorkeling or just relaxing on the nice beaches.

Sapi Island can be a bit crowded, but is beautiful!

Sapi Island can be a bit crowded, but is beautiful!

When travelling outside of the city center (For example going to the gym or somewhere else), it is strongly recommended to travel by any land transport (bike, car, taxi, uber) as it is very far to travel by foot and the public transport in Kota Kinabalu are not really traveller-friendly.

Gi Class!!

Gi Class!!



There’s a few hostels located at Gaya Street in the city center, the price is around RM30-50 (7-12 USD). Every Sunday there’s a Sunday Market along Gaya Street which vendors sell food, drinks, souvenirs and others from morning until noon.  Eating around Kota Kinabalu is fairly easy as there are a lot of food stalls, restaurants around the city center which can be easily assessed.


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