I still remember earning my black belt, and the incredible feeling of all that hard work, determination, and perseverance finally paying off. Everyday I think about the amazing journey I have been on with jiu-jitsu, and the countless new experiences it continues to bring me. Last Sunday, December 14th 2014, I had another first: the privilege of promoting not one, but three black belt students. They each earned every bit of it. I’m honored that they chose Bay Jiu-Jitsu as their home, and me as their coach.

Black Belt Travis Magalit: “Rolling with a Venomous Snake.”

That about sums up what it’s like to spar Travis. There are submissions from everywhere, every angle, every limb, and every joint. Nothing is ever safe. Travis is not only a fantastic fighter, but he is also a highly respected teacher known not only in the Bay Jiu-Jitsu gym, but in the entire bay area. We regularly get visitors from other gyms to learn under Travis due to his reputation as one of the best. Bay Jiu-Jitsu is proud to have him both as a competitor and teacher. He trains and teaches 6-7 days a week.

Black Belt Mark Warren: “Suffocating.”

If you’ve ever been under the pressure that Mark exerts while he passes your guard then you’ll know what I’m talking about. Slow, heavy, meticulous, and strategic, Mark is both a tough fighter and great teacher. We have been training together since 2000 at the Academy of Fighting Arts near the new Mission Academy. While he’s now sharing his time between Sacramento and San Francisco, I hope that he’ll continue to train with us as much as possible in the upcoming years.

Black Belt Stephen McDonald: “Fast and Furious.”

Stephen has only one speed: Fast. With dashing guard passes, lightning quick scissor sweeps, and speedy submissions, it’s nearly impossible to get anything on this guy. Stephen first began training at Bay Jiu-Jitsu in about 2009 when we were still housed at K-1 Fitness. While balancing his full-time job and family life, he continues to prove his commitment to jiu-jitsu by training at least 4-5 days a week.

It is a great honor for me personally to be a part of the awarding of black belts. A big thank you is in order for Leandro Vieira and all the Checkmat champions who have come onto our mats: Lucas Leite, Buchecha, Mineiro, Pedro, Joao Assis, Sharpei, and Sergio Silva. Bay Jiu-Jitsu is proud to be on a team that prides itself on respecting and supporting its fighters and students.

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