Arena Jiu Jitsu Student on Skateboarding, Guitar Playing and Art

Trevon Rogers, a blue belt under Baret Yoshida, talks about growing up skateboarding and creating in various arts, and how he views Jiu Jitsu tying into all of it.


Trevon Rogers:
Skateboarding, that was actually the gateway drug to kind of everything.

Started like at fifth grade, use to lurk around like after school program and some kids are playing in the yard with their skateboards. I was like, “Hey, like, what is that?” And I rode it for the first time and I was hooked. I believe I begged my mom for a year to get a skateboard and then after that I’ve been skating for like 10 plus years now. It’s super fun.

My name’s Trevon Rogers. I’ve been training with The Arena for just about two years. How I actually got here was through getting tattooed by Sergio Hernandez. It was literally all he talked about and I was like, “Man, what’s this all about man?” And I just pulled up one time for a No Gi class. It’s really expanded my mind to just learning life lessons and it’s a lot of fun.

How I think about jiu jitsu in relation to skateboarding is kind of like your opponent’s the skateboard, got make it do a bunch of tricks, foot placement, how you move your body. Honestly, like the moves are very complimentary.

Guitar playing was actually my mother’s efforts to keep me out of the neighborhood we lived in. So she got me a guitar and I’ve been playing for like 10 years and it’s just all fun. Literally like all these things I do, they kind of feel the same. I’m thinking the same way in jiu jitsu as painting or skating in the same manner as how I would maybe approach a role. It’s all free, man.

Baret Yoshida Armbar Drill Using a Baseball Bat

Check out this cool drill Jiu Jitsu Coach Baret Yoshida does at home to practice armbars using a baseball bat. Play around and figure out some other ways to practice submissions.


Coach Baret Yoshida:
So this technique is the arm bar, so using the bat. I’m going to use the short end facing me this time. And what I do, I bring one leg, one foot under the fat part of the bat, and I bring the other leg over here. Okay?

And, you’re going to kick with the bottom leg while you pull with the top leg here, okay? And I’m going to grab the short end of the bat like I’m doing an arm bar. I’m going to go over the side of my hip here, so I could go to my right side here, or I could even push it over to my left side here. So when you do this, you want to make sure you keep both your knees bent, and pulling your heels in, and you want to drive your hips into this.

Very, very similar to doing an actual arm bar, so you can feel that, so I get my foot under the fat part, and I bring my leg over. Both hands are going to grab that handle like so, and start prying it over your hip here just like an arm bar. Wrap your feet through, pull your knees in, and drive your hips up, so that was the arm bar.

What’s It Like Training Jiu Jitsu Under Baret Yoshida

You won’t find him without a smile when he walks into the gym and throws on his Gi for Master Baret Yoshida’s Jiu Jitsu classes. Tune in to this week’s Testimonial featuring The Arena’s friendliest and highly-skilled Mitchell Grip.


Mitchell Grip:
My name is Mitchell. I’m 26 years old. I’m born and raised in Sweden but I’ve been here for six years in San Diego. I’ve been at The Arena for three years now. I looked at the website and they have so many classes every day. You know, you can train at 6:30 AM, you can train at 9, 10, 11, 12:00 at night.


Also I saw that Baret Yoshida was teaching the Jiu Jitsu. It’s a lot of fun. Baret, he focused so much on the technique, like the small, tiny details in every technique that he teaches, and he won’t stop until you got them. The front desk guys, they’re awesome. They’re always happy to see you. There’s so many people that come here and train so you see a lot of people all the time, so you make a lot of friends.


If you come into The Arena and you never trained any martial arts before, just walk in. There’s so many new people training all the time, and the more advanced people they’re always willing to help. It’s awesome. Everybody’s awesome.

Fox 5 News Reporter Andrew Nomura Training with Baret Yoshida

When he’s not reporting live for FOX 5 San Diego you can find The Arena’s Andrew Nomura tediously sharpening his Jiu Jitsu skills with Master Baret Yoshida here at Baret Submissions HQ.


Andrew Nomura:
My name is Andrew Nomura. I’ve been training here at The Arena for almost a year now. It was a recommendation. I was training out in Atlanta. One of my professors recommended Baret Yoshida. I came in and immediately loved the culture here. They welcomed me with open arms. I’ve had a blast ever since.


Well, Baret is an interesting character. I loved his detail that he gives. He gives reasons why he uses those techniques and the reason why this detail is like the separation of getting a choke or not getting a choke.


I love training with everybody here. They’re extremely friendly. They are more than willing enough to help me out as a white belt and get me to an understanding where it’s like, “Oh, I get it now.” The highlight of my day basically is coming here on my day off on a noon class and training my hardest and getting better each and every day through trial and error.

Judo Youth Olympian Vandric Castro Transitions to Jiu Jitsu

Listen to what The Arena’s Vandric Castro has to say about his transition from a high-level Judo world to the foundations of his new journey in Jiu Jitsu.


Vandric Castro:
My name is Vandric Castro, I’m 22 years old from the Island of Guam. My first real love of Martial Arts came from judo, started when I was about seven years old. It’s taken me in a lot of places, I’ve competed mostly in the Asian circuits. Probably my biggest accomplishment being participating in the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China. About the age of 20, is probably when I made the transition into Brazilian Jujitsu. I started in the Academy of Purebred back in Guam, went to college four years, moved out here to San Diego, then I found The Arena. It’s been a really good experience learning from them rolling with the guys, sharing what I know of Judo and just taking in all the knowledge they have of Jiu Jitsu and just trying to blend it together to make a pretty unique style. My goal is to make the transition from the standup to the ground a little more fluid.

Coach Baret Yoshida:
Off to start, We could tell he had phenomenal judo. I watched him all the time. You make guys do somersaults and you just demolish these guys. It’s very fun to watch him. Sometimes it gets him in trouble when he misses a throw, he could end in a bad position. But I think he’s getting better at recovering. Slowly, he’s going for less and less higher risks rolls.

Vandric Castro:
A lot of times, my throws don’t go exactly how I want. So I end up with this guy just monkey holding my back, and that’s a recipe for disaster in the Jiu Jitsu world. So I think that’s one of my biggest challenges right now is to complete the throw in a way that I can land in a more advantageous position. I really wanted to jump into a new world where I could be a beginner again and just work on absorbing knowledge. I think it’s what motivates me and being in this new world, swimming with all these sharks, there’s just a lot of fun. Wouldn’t really trade it.

Black Belt Under Baret Yoshida Shares his Jiu Jitsu Journey

Ed Kang is has been training for 12 years and holds a Black Belt in Judo, as well as a Black Belt in Jiu Jitsu under Baret Yoshida. Here’s a little insight into how he ended up training at The Arena and why he loves it.


Ed Kang:
My name is Ed Kang. I’m originally from Seattle, Washington. I’ve been training about 12 years now. I started with a Judo background when I was about 15, and then I found Jiu Jitsu and I realized how effective the groundwork was. So I started at Foster Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, trained at Gracie Barra out there and then I moved over to San Diego. Then eventually found Baret.


I grew up watching a lot of his videos. I never imagined I would have the opportunity to train with him. Growing up, seeing a fighter in their forties still competing at that level, that’s what drew me here. The technical aspect of course is amazing, but the spiritual mental aspect, that’s something nobody else had ever taught me. I think that’s really what kept me.


I think some people are scared to walk into a Jiu Jitsu or an MMA gym. They have this mentality that, Oh, it’s like cage fighting or people are just going to be beating me up. It’s not like that. The mentality is to be the best version of yourself as you can. We’re all here to just help each other and grow together. We’re not putting each other down. That culture is not present at this gym.

Student Talks About Training Jiu Jitsu with Chris Leben

This is Joe’s story of why he decided to learn Jiu Jitsu and Grappling at The Arena, and what it’s been like for him to train with UFC Legend Chris Leben.


Joe O’Connell:
My name is Joe O’Connell, I’m from Berne, Connecticut. What brought me into here is I moved to San Diego. And I started doing security work downtown and realized security in San Diego’s a lot different than security anywhere else in the country because everybody kind of knows martial arts and how to handle themselves.

So one of the door guys told me to come here. I’ve been coming ever since, for the last two and a half years.

Where I come from, I’m more a bigger guy. I used to be 300 pounds. I’ve kind of whittled myself down to 200, but I’ve been in the 200 pound range. I’ve always been able to muscle people around. Here it’s a complete different story. Very humbling getting to see some of these little guys and technique and flexibility.

It’s really inspired me to lose weight and keep my flexibility up and work on technique just as much as strength, which is my go-to pretty much every time.

Chris is awesome. I’ve been working with Chris since day one here. Sometimes you forget that this guy was big time, but then when he throws you across the gym or takes you down doing something super technical, you’re like, “Oh yeah, that’s Chris Leben.”

But it’s just amazing that going from watching some guy on TV, now I get to roll with him. Keeps me coming back through every day.

Baret Yoshida and Andre the Giant

Here’s a fun clip with The Arena’s Jiu Jitsu and Grappling Coach Baret Yoshida discussing his recent fascination with The 8th Wonder of the World, Andre the Giant.


Coach Baret Yoshida:
When I was like nine years old, I used to stay at my grandpa’s house. He had Japanese channel, so the best thing is to watch were the samurai movies or pro wrestling or Sumo. So I always be watching that, and I would just fascinate on The Giant and the pro wrestlers, I mean, how big they were. They were like monsters. You know what I mean?

Recently, I just got really into Andrea and I watched his documentary. I read his books. Then I started buying his T-shirts and obsessing over Andre the Giant. So Vince was messing around and he found a picture of Andre, and he put the Baret Submissions logo on top of Andre’s T-shirt. They just fit perfectly. He just made a couple of shirts for fun.

When Andre was young, he was a superb athlete as well. He used to do back flips. He would exercise with all of the pro wrestlers and they kind of just recruited him from there, and then he essentially built the wrestling because he was the anomaly. Wherever he would go, the stadiums would sell out. At the end, he was all beat up, but when he was in his prime, I think he would tear people to pieces. I just figure he was probably the greatest grappler that ever lived. You know what I mean?

Mikael Yahaya Training for No Gi Worlds at The Arena

Listen to what elite grappler/ Jiu Jitsu Brown Belt Mikael Yahaya has to say about training here at The Arena Gym during his journey from Australia to compete at this IBJJF World Jiu Jitsu No Gi Championship.


Mikael Yahaya:
My name is Mikael Yahaya and I train out of Absolute MMA Australia. I first came to San Diego two and a half years ago for the No-Gi worlds and we came here and trained twice a day for the calm. The people here are so nice and generous that they said when I’m back next just hit them up and I’ve a bedroom to stay in, which is great. This is my fourth time being back and I’m excited to compete at the No-Gi Worlds too.

I think it’s really amazing that the arena hosts the Gi Worlds camp as well as the No Gi Worlds camp, the free training. It really helps all the people that have traveled so far and spent thousands of dollars. To one get here and a shot at winning a world championship, it’s nice to feel welcomed. And it’s nice to feel like I have smart training partners and good training partners to train with while I am here.

I really respect the people at the arena here, especially Barrett cause he’s like, he’s the man, you know? True modern day warrior. Once he gets his hands together around something, it’s almost impossible to get rid of it. So I’m always just constantly fighting the hands. It’s a slow death, really, but ultimately it’s a really fun role. It’s inspirational to see him throwing the math kicking ass. Really. It’s really motivating in that sense.

The Arena Jiu Jitsu Fundamentals Program

Learn about The Arena’s Jiu Jitsu Fundamentals Program from Coach Ryan Fortin. Fundamental classes are held Monday – Friday at 430 pm. Come in and get started on your Jiu Jitsu journey!


Coach Ryan Fortin:
The Jiu Jitsu Fundamentals Class at The Arena Gym is to bring someone in, no experience, they learn how to tie their belt, they learn the rules of the mat and the type of etiquette you should have. We get them on the mat and get them to start moving.

The first 15 minutes are warm ups and those warm ups are specific movements. I found that most people, when they first start Jiu Jitsu, their bodies can’t really even move the way they need to. So I spend a lot of time drilling specific movements into them so their body can do the techniques once they start learning more Jiu Jitsu.

Then we spend the next 30 minutes doing techniques and theory, fundamental type stuff, escaping the mount, learning how to frame correctly, getting your guard back from certain positions.

Then the last 15 minutes of the class will be specific training to where we’ll put them in the mount position and have them try to escape or try to do exactly what they just learned. The point is to get them hooked and start progressing them to be able to make it towards the advanced classes.

So spending the time to really slow down makes them feel more comfortable. Then hopefully they’ll want to stay with the art and be promoted one day and start moving on the journey. You know?

About The Arena

The Arena is the largest gym in North America for Combat Sports and Martial Arts instruction.

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3350 Sports Arena Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92110 USA

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