Life-Time Member Shares His Passion of Training at The Arena

The Arena’s “Life-time Member” JoJo Agorrilla has earned himself the title with all its benefits by sharing his martial arts passion with his friends and colleagues and referring them to join our family. Check out what he has to say.


JoJo Agorrilla:
My name is JoJo Agorrilla. I’ve been training here since October 2013, since I first got stationed back here in San Diego. I’ve trained at numerous MMA gyms here in San Diego, but this is the best one that fits for me, not just for my MMA, Jiu Jitsu, wrestling, all of it, all in one.

The Arena has a great referral program. I’ve referred many, many people here. That’s assisted me and helped me getting my lifetime membership here, where I don’t have to pay, and I just get to train for free. The vibe of the gym here is amazing.

Training with the people that I get to train with, not just the instructors, but my other teammates, whether it be BJJ, MMA wrestling, they’re all here to help. There’s no egos in here, because if you do it, you get checked real quick, and I mean that in a good way for you to learn, so that anybody from the entry-level, who’s a first time ever stepping onto the mats, gets to learn something rather than just being intimidated by someone who knows a little bit more. They’re sharing the knowledge and making all of us better as a team and as a group.

Sergio Hernandez Tattoo Artist and BJJ Black Belt

Sergio Hernandez started training Jiu Jitsu with Baret Yoshida over a decade ago and is a Black Belt competitor. He also is a super talented artist and has a tattoo shop in here in San Diego. Tune in and learn a little about his story.


Sergio Hernandez:
I hated my nine-to-five job and I decided I never wanted to work for anyone else ever again. I wanted to be self-employed somehow. So I told myself I was going to be an artist for the rest of my life. I wasn’t sure what that meant. I was painting murals, trying to do art shows, and someone asked me if I wanted to learn to tattoo. I didn’t even have any tattoos and I wasn’t even a fan of tattooing. But it was a sign, and one thing led to another, and here I am today, doing this for a living.

Well, they’re all very interesting in their own way. But I mean, I guess one example, something a little bit strange, is I have a friend that really enjoys French toast for breakfast. So he got a picture of a French toast slice. The French toast had a face on it, and so yeah, I had to tattoo that on my friend’s ass.

Yeah, I like doing big pieces. Whatever makes people happy. I just like making people happy, and I feel like I’m contributing something positive to people’s lives. I’ve been training with Baret Yoshida for like 13 years now, so when I heard he was going to be the head instructor at The Arena, I immediately wanted to be a part of that. It’s my only instructor I’ve ever had, and he’s such a cool dude, man. Been a great mentor to me and such a good teacher. I learned so much from him, and not just Jiu Jitsu. Just how to approach different situations in life.

As far as jujitsu goes, it’s really made me a better tattooer, because I know jujitsu and I immediately feel that I could treat everyone as equal, without having any sense of fear in my heart, you know? Which is important.

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.

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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