On a Tuesday afternoon, we got a call from a reporter from the San Clemente Times. I, Sensei Paulo Guillobel, was teaching my classes, so Esteban, our Program Director answered the phone.
The reporter congratulated us for winning an award again. He didn’t tell us exactly if we took first or second place, but he asked us “how do we do it?” “How do you get the award of Best Martial Arts Studio in San Clemente every year?”
Esteban answered his question by telling him a couple of things that we do here, but he didn’t tell him the REAL SECRET.
The year before when we won the best martial art school in San Clemente for the sixth time, I was the person that took the reporter’s call and when he asked me the same questions, I mentioned the real secret as the main reason for our success.
Apparently, he didn’t think much of it because he kept asking me what else we were doing at the Dojo.
So, I told him many other things we do at Guillobel Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu such as our work to provide a family-oriented environment, our focus on helping our students achieve their goals, our character development lessons, etc., and that seemed to satisfy him.
Little did he know that all these things I told him about were only possible because of the real secret that he took for granted.
Do you want to know what our real secret is?
Drum roll, please… The real secret is… EXPERIENCE.
Note: When I say experience, I don’t mean doing the same thing over and over for many years, I mean the consistent application of old and newfound knowledge related to our profession and observation of those results for many years.
Other martial art schools can copy everything else from us, but one thing they CAN’T is experience. Either you have it or you don’t. You can’t bypass it.
Why Experience Is The Real Secret Sauce of Guillobel Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
Imagine you need brain surgery. Would you use a new doctor with little experience that will be experimenting and gaining experience with you or a doctor that has been doing it for over 28 years successfully?
Well, I have over 28 years of experience teaching martial arts. Not practicing martial arts, teaching it. This experience reflects on how fast your family will learn martial arts and how enjoyable it will be.
I have made tons of mistakes in the past to get where I’m at today (thank God I’m not a brain surgeon), so, I won’t be using you and your family as my guinea pigs anymore. But new instructors with little experience will.
We don’t become great instructors just because we are black belts in martial arts, great instructors are made through thousands of hours of teaching.
I was fortunate to learn from many great martial arts instructors, such as Saulo and Xande Ribeiro, the Machado Family, Royler and Carlos Gracie Jr. Richard Bustillo, Dan Inosanto, Jorge Pereira, and a few others.
By doing and observing their classes I was able to learn what they were doing that was so special. I tested many things until we got to where we are today (and we are still improving every year).
So experience is the great differentiator and it has been giving us many local awards as the best martial arts school in our Area.
In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, it takes 24 years as a black belt to earn the 6th-degree black belt. Below is a picture of the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation’s Graduation System.
In Orange County, there are only two 6th-Degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts: Sensei Alan Goes and Sensei Paulo Guillobel.
With this promotion, Sensei Paulo Guillobel has become the highest-ranked Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt in San Clemente by far. The second highest-ranked is his long-time student, Andre Lucic, which is a 4th-degree black belt (soon to get his fifth).
Sensei Guillobel also promoted one of his instructors, Sensei Andre Pontes, to 2nd-degree black belt, and two of his students to 1st-degree black belts.
Guillobel Jiu-Jitsu Family BBQ
After the promotion, which was a small event because of COVID-19, Sensei Guillobel hosted a Brazilian BBQ for his students and families at San Clemente’s San Gorgonio Park.
The park BBQ event was a way to celebrate the promotion of all the Guillobel Jiu-Jitsu black belts with all the students in an open environment, and also a way to get the Jiu-Jitsu Family together.
“To give all my students and their families a chance to get to know each other is very fulfilling. My goal was always to make my Martial Arts school more than just learning self-defense, but to create a community where we can help each other and have a good time in and out of the Dojo,” said Sensei Guillobel.
A good number of students showed up for our BBQ and ate Sensei Guillobel’s delicious Brazilian BBQ and all the side dishes our students brought to the event.
Overall, it was a great day for the Jiu-Jitsu and the San Clemente community.
One martial art principle is to be adaptable to the circumstances. Guillobel Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu School in San Clemente is doing just that.
We are in the middle of a world Pandemic that no one has experienced in our lifetime. A good number of people are getting sick and dying, businesses closing, and people are being ordered to stay at home and away from others. Only the government declared essential businesses are allowed to be opened.
But the fact is, staying at home all the time is boring and unhealthy. People need to exercise and do exciting activities every day, even socialize with other people. But how, if you can’t get out of your home?
Guillobel Jiu-jitsu found one way to provide martial art lessons and a great workout to our community. It is through live-streaming classes using the Zoom App.
We are offering live-streaming classes every day to all age groups. Our instructors are teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and fitness lessons to young and older kids, women, and men.
By using Zoom live streaming, we are still able to have a personal approach with our students, where we can talk to them and correct their moves when they need it.
Parents are loving the fact that their kids can still train martial arts and do something positive and fun while they are forced to stay at home.
And adults of our community have the opportunity to stay in shape and learn self-defense skills in the convenience of their own homes.
“We’ve been enjoying the daily Zoom classes so much, so thank you for providing that during this time!”
– Katie Polivka
“Hello, thank you for being creative and finding a way to provide value in this crazy time.”
– April Sanchez
All of our students are getting access to our live online classes as part of their membership, but we are also giving free access every Thursday to some of our classes to anyone in our San Clemente community interested in learning and working out with us.
Adults don’t need a partner to participate because our Thursday’s classes are all about working out Ginastica Natural style.
And non-students from 4 to 7 years old can attend our Little Ninjas classes, but they need to have their parents as training partners.
If You Want to Join our Classes Just Send an Email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and age, and we’ll put you on our list for the next class available.
What is the Best of San Clemente People’s Choice Award?
Fourteen years ago, our local newspaper The San Clemente Times (SC Times) created an annual poll where its readers can vote for their favorite businesses in different categories.
After all the votes are counted the results are presented in its special “Best of” issue, and the “Golden Ole Award” is presented to the category winners as is the “Silver Ole Award” for the second placers.
The idea is to promote and recognize the city’s outstanding businesses and individuals who contribute to making San Clemente an amazing place to live. They call it The Best of San Clemente People’s Choice Award.
The Best Martial Arts School category was created 7 years ago. Since then, the SC Times readers have voted Guillobel Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy the best martial arts school in San Clemente for 6 years consecutively.
But this year (2020) something special happened for the Guillobel Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu family. We won 3 other awards. We also won the Best Overall Customer Service, Best Group Workout and Best Kids Camp.
I train my staff every week so we can give our very best to provide the best instruction to our students, which includes efficient self-defense techniques, personal development principles, physical training, and a friendly and caring approach. So, I’m not totally surprised when we get good feedback from our students and their families, but this time we surpassed our expectations by winning 4 ‘Best of’ awards.
One thing for sure, this result serves as a motivation to keep on finding ways to improve our martial art school. We know we still have room to grow, that is why we are always listening to our students’ and parents’ feedback about the things they like and don’t like about our program.
Improving the good and getting rid of the bad is our priority because we want to always be recognized by the San Clemente community as one of the best in the business.
Now, after winning these 4 awards, we have an even bigger responsibility to provide the best services in our categories.
In conclusion, we’re very grateful for having such an amazing group of people as part of our community, without them we wouldn’t be able to win these 4 awards. We promise we’ll continue to work hard to make Guillobel Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu not only the best martial art school in San Clemente but the world.
Our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school in San Clemente usually hosts a couple of In-House tournaments for our students every year. This year, we ran one specifically for kids.
There are many reasons why we host these In-House tournaments, particularly when they are for children. One of the most important reasons is motivation.
Although our students are motivated by the goal of achieving their next rank or earning stripes on their belts after successfully completing their character development homework or passing their monthly tests, nothing motivates them more than the possibility of earning a gold medal or a trophy.
Human beings need motivation to accomplish goals. Some have more self-motivation than others, but all of them will try harder for the right external motivation. In this case, a gold medal.
Competitors have a purpose. They want to win, and for that, they will focus more, try harder during practice, take care of their bodies, and go as hard as they can at their matches during the competition.
In our school in San Clemente, we notice that most of the parents don’t know how their child will react during a solo sport such as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition. That’s one of the reasons we like to motivate them to sign their children up for a tournament because we know their children will most likely exceed their expectations.
During regular martial arts classes, children are not always motivated. Sometimes they are not in the mood. So, if the parents have been watching their children during practice, they don’t know their real potential. But when they watch their children competing, they get a glance of that potential.
We can go on and on about the benefits of having children compete in martial arts. They become more focused and more determined. They become physically and mentally strong. But above all, they come back to practice a better student than before.
So, congratulation to all of our young competitors!
The hope of earning the black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu prioritizes itself each time one steps on the mat. Some practitioners discover it sooner than others. For Micah Gregory-Kai Ohlen, a brown belt under Sensei Paulo Guillobel, the end of the road to black is near, yet his journey in jiu-jitsu is far from over.
“I’m just trying to be a black belt already in my mind,” says Ohlen.
Sitting across from him at a local açai bowl establishment a few blocks down from Guillobel Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in San Clemente, CA, he reflects on his roots growing up in Kauai, recent recognition in his career and the battle for the black belt.
“Jiu-jitsu has to be the centerpiece of my life… It’s truly a vehicle to the success in anything I do,” says Ohlen.
Micah Gregory-Kai Ohlen, top, Paulo Guillobel (Brandon Drey)
“You don’t choose how you’re brought into the world, you have to navigate through whatever crappy situation you’re put in.”
– Micah Gregory-Kai Ohlen
He began training jiu-jitsu in high school on the island of Kauai with a group of friends.
He says, “In high school, everyone’s a tough guy. There were a lot of fights, especially for me growing up there with no Hawaiian blood.”
The need for self-defense introduced him to the world of martial arts.In addition to learning the art, he discovered the thrill of mounting his opponent correctly.
“And then choking them is the cherry on top,” he says.
By the time Ohlen completed high school, his level, and skill in soccer brought him to the mainland to play for Santa Barbara City College. At first, he dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player, unfortunately, the price to play is as high as the risk for injury.
“I realized that playing soccer was a privilege and it required you to have money. So, I had to work and think about other things,” he says.
Specifically, his academics.
Ohlen began taking advanced courses in sports medicine, finishing with the highest grade in his class. He also became a teacher’s assistant, where he realized his love for educating the future.
Soon thereafter, he transferred to Cal State Fullerton and graduated as the class valedictorian.
“One of the best days of my life,” he says.
Throughout finishing his Bachelor of Science in athletic training, Ohlen never forgot about Jiu Jitsu.
Training with other instructors and schools before joining Paulo Guillobel’s team as a blue belt in 2014, Ohlen testifies, “the academy itself is the most welcoming, warmest and friendliest group of people you can be around.”
He says, “The message is you always want to leave feeling better than you came in and I think that’s what really sets it apart from other ones.”
Prior to the açai-bowl fueled conversation, Ohlen and Guillobel briefly met at the dojo.
“It’s very important that we keep motivating him to become a black belt,” says Guillobel. “By making him better, he becomes a better person to train with.”
Guillobel’s theory in jiu-jitsu is to always be a student. Challenging them to become better practitioners of the martial art strengthens their character, physically and mentally. He believes in the potential in everyone, however, “it’s all about seeing how we are going to explore this potential that matters the most.”
Regarding Ohlen, Sensei Paulo deems the young, athletic brown belt respectful, professional and talented.
“That’s what happens at this part of his martial-art journey,” he says. “We help him, he helps us. Iron sharpens iron. We all become a challenge to ourselves and each other.”
Back at the restaurant, Ohlen finishes up the last few bites of his bowl.
“I look up to Sensei Paulo a lot,” he says. “I definitely look at him as a major mentor to me. He is someone that makes you work for respect and makes you work for recognition.”
As far as jiu-jitsu goes, Ohlen pinpoints the quality of Guillobel’s instruction.
“I think the thing that sets Sensei Paulo apart is that his jiu-jitsu has simplified and refined my jiu-jitsu,” he says. “He is a very disciplined guy and I think he is somebody that exemplifies a martial artist.”
It is no mystery that the higher belt one gets in any martial art, the tougher the instructors and training become. Ohlen accredits his best defenses and submissions to Guillobel, primarily because Guillobel uses them on Ohlen, himself.
“I know I can defend the mount a helluva lot better than I ever could, thanks to him,” says Ohlen. “So, thanks, Paulo.”
Paulo Guillobel, left, Micah Ohlen (Brandon Drey)
The recognition and respect Ohlen receives from Guillobel on and off the mat transcends into his career.
At the beginning of 2019, Ohlen was honored several awards from the Capistrano Unified School District, the state of California and the nation. Beginning with the Safe Sports School Award, Ohlen nominated San Juan Hills High School and won first place for the national award.
Coupled with the prestigious award, the CUSD nominated him for the Extra Miler Award in recognition of going above and beyond for his service. Displaying leadership and genuine care, Ohlen counsels students, parents and other instructors/teachers on how to prevent injury from occurring and the progression of restoring students who were injured.
“I believe that a kid that’s fourteen years old that breaks his wrist should be treated the same as a varsity player,” he says. “These kids need to be taken care of by a medical professional because there are other schools that have part-time trainers and the kids are getting part-time care.”
The praise didn’t stop there.
In February, State Sen. Patricia Bates of Laguna Niguel, made a resolution of San Juan Hills High School, recognizing their accomplishments with the National Athletic Trainers’ Association for their recent Safe Sports School Award.
Then, Ohlen was nominated as a Top 25 Employee in Orange County, making his way into the top ten and earning Athletic Trainer of the Year.
“January and February were jam-packed,” he says. “It was cool.”
Ohlen hopes the recent recognition will “opens doors not just for myself, but for all athletic trainers.” he says.
This community-minded mentality roots back to his upbringing on Kauai.
He says, “In Hawaii, aloha to most people means hi and bye, but the real word means ‘I share breath with you.’ So, alo means to share and ha means breath. When you show someone aloha, it’s like, I give you something, in jiu-jitsu or I give you advice, I don’t expect anything in return. I’m helping you because I can and I will.”
In each encounter and experience, Ohlen accredits his philosophy of life to Hawaiian culture and jiu-jitsu.
“At the end of the day, jiu-jitsu sells itself,” he says. “It’s a lifestyle. It’s the way you carry yourself. It’s the way you treat people. It’s all the principles jiu-jitsu stands for and it’s something you never stop learning too.”
As he continues toward his goal of earning the black belt in jiu-jitsu, he focuses on the fundamentals and principles of the martial art.
“I try to always put everybody before myself and I think that is a difference between a brown and a black belt,” he says. “Once you get that belt, it’s a lot of responsibility around your waist. Everywhere you go, you’re going to be a black belt and you’ve got to prove it.”
He plans to teach jiu-jitsu in the future while pursuing to become a firefighter.
“What is the best martial arts school near me?” This is a question many people have when looking for a martial art school.
The truth is, no one has the proper data to tell you exactly what is the best martial arts school in the world. What we do know is that Guillobel Brazilian Jiu Jitsu School has been voted by San Clementians the best martial arts school in San Clemente for the last five years.
Every Year since 2005, the number one San Clemente’s local newspaper, SC Times (San Clemente Times), has been giving to all the top local businesses of each category an award which they call the Best of San Clemente People’s Choice Ole Award.
For example, Guillobel Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was running in two categories, Best Martial Arts Studios and Kids Summer Camp.
Basically, SC Times opens a chance for its readers to go online and vote for their favorite businesses in San Clemente.
Last Year (2018), they ran their 13th Annual Best of San Clemente People’s Choice Ole Award, and Guillobel Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu won on both categories.
After winning the award for the fifth time, we got a call from an SC Times reporter asking us how we do it, how we win every time even though San Clemente has two big martial arts school franchises competing against us?
It’s always hard to pinpoint one thing that we do that set us apart. First, because we don’t know what other martial arts schools in the area are doing (or not doing). Second, because we believe it is a combination of things.
It could’ve been because we have over 25 years of experience teaching martial arts. When it comes to martial arts, the experience is one of the most important qualities. It means we’ve made a lot of mistakes in the past that we don’t make anymore, while less experienced instructors are still trying to figure it out.
Or because we consider all of our students our second family. One word that we hear a lot in our students’ testimonials is “compassion.” We believe the passion we have for teaching martial arts and the gratitude we have to our students for choosing us radiates back to them and their families.
Maybe because our mission is to teach more than martial arts. We like to share with our students the life skills and character development principles that a good martial arts program can offer. By helping our students in this way, we are not only helping them and their families, but we’re also helping our community and the world.
It could’ve been because of all of these reasons or other reasons that we didn’t mention here. Meanwhile, our motto is the “Pursuit of Excellence,” therefore, we’ll keep on trying to improve even more so we can win again next year.
Sometimes people may question whether Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu works for self-defense.
They see two people rolling on the ground and wonder what happened to punches and kicks? It usually happens when they only see the ground training, which is just a part of Jiu-Jitsu.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is much more than only ground fighting, although the ground fight is what makes Jiu-Jitsu unique from any other martial art style in the world.
Of course, there are Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu schools that only focus on one part of the style, such as the ground “game” for competition. That’s probably one of the reasons why people get confused when they watch a class in one of these schools. They don’t see the connection between BJJ and self-defense.
A complete Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu curriculum teaches Jiu-Jitsu as a form of self-defense and also prepares its students for BJJ competitions and Mixed Martial Arts – MMA fights if that is one of the students’ priorities.
The Jiu-Jitsu self-defense focuses 100% on defending from any kind of physical attacks. That’s why you don’t see professional BJJ schools teaching strikes as much as they teach how to defend from them.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu explores an array of self-defense situations that are beyond punching and kicking. There are defenses against knives, guns, chokes, an enormous variety of ways of grabbing and so forth.
Also, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the only martial art specialized at fighting on the ground, and real-life events prove that 9 out of 10 fights go to the ground.
A little-Known Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Story
Back in the days, when Grand Master Carlos and Helio Gracie were trying to make Jiu-Jitsu popular in Brazil, they challenged every possible martial art style to prove that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was superior.
Practitioners of other styles that accepted the challenge ended up losing, except by Kimura, a much heavier and younger Japanese who was considered by many the greatest Japanese Jiu-Jitsu fighter of all time.
When some members of the Gracie family came to the USA, they did the same. They called it the “Gracie Challenge.”
The Team Guillobel Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu San Clemente has been pretty busy lately.
In August, Sensei Guillobel and some of the Guillobel Team members were invited by one of the San Clemente Youth League Football coaches, Chris Culbertson, to share some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques to help their young football players improve their game.
Our team showed them how to have a strong and stable base on their feet, how to divert blocks and pushes, and how to take advantage of their opponents’ lack of balance.
We believe that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fundamentals can be applied in football, giving martial art students a little edge over their other Football teammates.
Also, in August, we took four students to compete in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Masters championship. James Letchford, Tony Amiglio, Michael Cobb and Prince Bustos.
James won the blue belt heavyweight division, which is a very competitive division, and Tony Amiglio took third at purple belt feather. So, we got two podiums out of four.
In September, our martial arts school sponsored the SC Open Skateboard Contest which is an annual event in San Clemente, CA.
Skateboarding is a big part of our community, and the City of San Clemente and the Friends of San Clemente Foundation have been putting a great effort to improve our city’s facilities to accommodate all the residents that are passionate about skateboarding. So, we decided to support them. A big thanks to Stephany Aguilar for organizing the SC Open.
We had a booth at the event where the crowd could try Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for the first time and even get a little private class with our Sensei Guillobel. At one point during this event, a good number of teenagers and some younger kids started to challenge one another for a grappling match under Sensei Guillobel’s supervision. It was fun to watch. We also had four of our students competing at this event.
Finally, Sensei Bernardo Magalhaes, who represents Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu in Australia, gave a seminar where he shared some of his favorite Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling techniques, and some of his experience competing in BJJ and MMA.
Preparing a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu demonstration with twenty-one kids, one teenager, and two adults is not an easy thing to do, but yet, every year Guillobel Brazilian Jiu-jitsu School does just that.
The preparation takes a few weeks. Our Demo Team has kids from 4 to 17 years old, most of them belong to our Black Belt Club program and some from our Little Ninjas Program.
During the rehearsal classes for the demonstration, parents excitedly watch their children going through the process of learning the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques they will perform, memorizing the order of their presentation and getting familiar with their teammates in their groups.
Some of these kids have never performed anything on stage before. The stakes are high. They’ll perform in front of a lot of people at the City’s biggest summer event, the San Clemente Ocean Festival.
It’s hard for anyone to predict how the demonstration will turn out. Anyone but our instructors. They’ve seen it happen many times before. They know that when the time comes, the kids will give their very best.
At Guillobel Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, we understand that when we give our students a purpose, they will be more motivated, and they will work hard to achieve it.
The Demonstration day comes and with it the expectations of a beautiful performance. Is my kid going to step up to the occasion or will she forget everything? The parents can’t stop thinking.
They finally come to the stage; the moment has arrived. The music begins, and the first group starts their first moves. The crowd applauds, and the kids perform one move after another, almost flawlessly.
In the end, they all put on a great show for the city of San Clemente, and one more time the parents leave the Ocean Festival proud of their children. And so did we.