I am back! We returned from our honeymoon with my beautiful wife on Friday. We had an amazing time in Hawaii, where we visited the islands of Oahu and Kauai and I had a quick BJJ encounter while there that I wanted to share. (Did you seriously think I could completely stay away from Brazilian jiu-jitsu while on honeymoon?)
A little background: the Hawaiian islands are rabid for Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I don’t want to say that it’s more important than surfing but it’s big. Comprised of eight main islands, most people associate a few names in BJJ with certain Hawaiian islands already. Relson Gracie has been headquartered in Oahu for many years now, with a school run by Andre Derizans. Luis “Limao” Heredia is the biggest name in Maui (2009 black belt world champion Penny Thomas trained for a couple of years with Limao before arriving in San Diego last year).
But I was pretty ignorant about the BJJ scene on the island of Kauai, so it was nice when we were driving along a two lane road that lines the island’s perimeter and saw a new sign hanging from a business on the side of the road that read Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. My eyes lit up of course, and we pulled over. Inside I got to speak with black belt Jared Espina (pictured above), who was opening Power House Jiu-Jitsu (4-901 Kuhio Highway) that very day! Jared and his brother were busy preparing their new school for a big opening ceremony that evening. They were very gracious in speaking about the scene there a bit. It turns out that they are an offshoot of Bruno Ewald’s BJJ school which is about a half hour away on the top edge of the island. With Ewald, Heredia, and of course Relson’s school, it seems that Hawaii is firmly Gracie Humaita territory.
Thanks to Powerhouse Jiu-Jitsu for allowing me to talk jiu-jitsu a bit, which I sorely missed. Best of luck to them with their new school.
For those who are looking forward to our next show, the next episode of the FightWorks Podcast will appear on September 13! And don’t forget, we have a Dinner with the Family on September tomorrow in San Diego!