I find myself back in Hilo, where I grew up (yes that same Hilo where BJ Penn also grew up), for a few weeks before the journey across the Pacific begins. I contacted some friends and the consensus I received was that I had check out the new Charles Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy and Chris Smith. A Google, an email, and a phone call and I found myself making my way to the dojo where Tiger Martial Arts Hilo is located.
I was impressed by everything to say the least. If I was moving back to Hilo, I would sign up based on my experience there (without checking anywhere else out). Master Chris Smith, a certified Black Belt instructor under Master Charles Gracie, runs a tight ship and the vibe was really positive. I have cross-trained at a number of different places over the years and the way it was run here was really chill though well oiled, making for a good learning experience as well hard training. Master Smith, a 2x Pan American champion, also took the time to work individually with each student and correct the little details which seem to be the key to a successful Jiu-Jitsu game.
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The school has both a Children and Adult program with morning and evening classes throughout the week. The students were very cool to train with. No egos, just a love for Jiu-Jitsu. As much as Hilo has the “Just Scrap” mentality, the people here, both natives and non, really embrace the energy of Aloha.
To learn more about Tiger Martial Arts, check out www.tigerbjj.com or call (808) 430-8807. While you are at it, register for the upcoming Big Island Open Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Gi and No-Gi Championship. This event will held on August 28, 2010 at the Hilo Armory. See www.tigerbjj.com for more information and to register.