Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu continues to gain traction across the United States, and Denver, Colorado, is no exception. With a rich martial arts culture, Denver boasts several outstanding martial arts schools and hosts numerous esteemed Jiu-Jitsu tournaments.
In this article, we’ll explore the best BJJ schools and competitions in Denver. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced practitioner, Denver has something to offer. Let’s dive in!
An Overview of Jiu-Jitsu in Denver
Denver, dubbed the Mile High City, is experiencing a huge surge in the number of people practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
With a wide array of outstanding schools and an energetic martial arts environment, Denver has developed into a hot spot for BJJ aficionados. The city’s high elevation is a bonus for training, as it can bolster cardiovascular endurance and strength.
Whether you’re a novice eager to launch your BJJ voyage or an experienced practitioner eager to sharpen your abilities, Denver has a variety of options to suit your requirements.
Best Jiu-Jitsu Schools in Denver
Denver is home to several high-quality Jiu-Jitsu schools, each offering unique features and benefits. Here are some of the best BJJ schools in Denver:
Way of Jiu Jitsu – Team Rigan Machado Academy in Denver, Colorado
The Way of Jiu-Jitsu Academy is an official affiliate of the Rigan Machado Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Located in Denver and Aurora, Colorado, the academy offers world-class training in BJJ.
The significance of this academy is deeply rooted in the history of Jiu-Jitsu, as Rigan Machado is the nephew of Grand Master Carlos Gracie, one of the founders of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and an 8th Degree Coral Belt. This connection ensures that students receive training straight from the source of this renowned martial art.
In terms of martial arts disciplines, the academy primarily focuses on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but also offers programs in Self Defense Martial Arts. They have specialized programs tailored for adults, kids, and women.
The academy is situated at two addresses:
- 7808 Cherry Creek South Dr. 205, Denver, CO 80231
- 9565 Montview Blvd, Aurora, CO 80010
Morning Star Jiu Jitsu – Denver
Morning Star Jiu Jitsu is a renowned martial arts academy located in the heart of Denver, Colorado. Situated at 4362 E Evan Avenue, Denver, Colorado 80222, this academy specializes in both GI and NO-GI Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training.
It offers comprehensive instruction in BJJ, Grappling, Submission Wrestling, Self Defense, Fitness, and other martial arts disciplines.
The Morning Star Jiu Jitsu Academy was founded by Tim Gillette, who is also the primary instructor.
Tim is highly regarded for his deep knowledge of jiu-jitsu and his emphasis on technique over brute strength. He has experience training a diverse range of students, from complete novices to highly experienced grapplers.
Aside from that, the school opened its doors in November of 2017 and has since become a hub for martial arts enthusiasts in the Denver area. Tim’s lineage traces back to Carlos Gracie Jr., followed by Mario “Busy” Correa, and then to himself.
Easton Training Center – Denver
Easton Training Center Denver is a renowned martial arts academy located at 1304 S. Santa Fe Dr., Denver, CO 80223. The academy opened its doors in 2007 and has since made a significant impact in the mixed martial arts community over the past 15 years.
This Denver BJJ facility is managed by Brown Belt Carlos Espinosa, with the guidance of Head Coaches and owners Amal Easton and Eliot Marshall.
Moreover, the programs at Easton Training Center Denver are spearheaded by Alex Huddleston for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Sean Madden for Muay Thai, Jordan Shipman for Kids Martial Arts, and Matthew Bloss for Kids Muay Thai.
The Easton Training Center Denver offers a diverse range of martial arts disciplines, including Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, and specialized classes for kids in both BJJ and Muay Thai.
The facility spans a vast 10,000 square feet, boasting features such as a 30-foot octagon, over 5,000 square feet of mat space, and a dedicated Muay Thai training area equipped with 25 heavy bags and Thai pads. The center also provides amenities like men’s and women’s locker rooms with shower facilities, a comprehensive fitness area, and a pro shop.
Easton Training Center Denver is not just a hub for learning martial arts but also a gathering spot for the Colorado mixed martial arts community. Professional fighters like Drew Dober and Bojan Velickovic often train in this facility in preparation for their upcoming bouts.
Mile High Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
Mile High Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is a renowned martial arts academy located in Denver, Colorado. The academy has been a staple in the Denver community for over 20 years, having been established in the year 2000.
The academy is situated in Lakewood, CO, and is conveniently accessible to residents of various neighborhoods including Denver, Wheat Ridge, Englewood, Arvada, Lakewood, Littleton, Westminster, Green Mountain, Broomfield, Golden, and Evergreen.
The martial art primarily taught at the academy is authentic Brazilian Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. This form of Jiu-Jitsu emphasizes self-defense techniques suitable for everyone, not just MMA fighters. The techniques encompass grappling moves such as chokes, joint locks, submissions, and take-downs.
The academy’s training approach revolves around the core principles of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, ensuring students build a solid foundation that can adapt to both traditional and modern martial arts styles. And, it is led by two accomplished instructors: Morgan Patnode and Matt Altschul.
Morgan began his training at Mile High Gracie shortly after its inception and took over the academy around 2007. He earned his black belt from the esteemed BJJ and MMA coach, John Crouch.
Matt Altschul, on the other hand, trained in Colorado before moving to the Gracie Academy headquarters in Torrance, CA. He earned his black belt under Rorion Gracie and returned to Colorado in 2018 to join Mile High Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
10th Planet Jiu Jitsu Denver
10th Planet Jiu Jitsu Denver is a renowned martial arts academy with a mission to create a powerful community of conscious warriors. It is located at 6161 W. 44th Ave. Suite 150, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033.
The academy was founded on the principle that by empowering individuals with technical martial arts skills, they can stand against violence, bullying, and intimidation, thereby reducing fear, pain, and suffering in the world.
The 10th Planet Denver is committed to producing the most technically advanced grapplers, ensuring that once an individual masters the system, they can move through the world fearlessly.
The academy was founded by Conor Heun, a lifelong grappler who began his journey on the wrestling mat at the age of 5. Conor trained with Eddie Bravo at the original 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu in Los Angeles and later received his black belt from Eddie Bravo. In 2018, Conor achieved his dream by opening the 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu Denver.
Another notable instructor is Heather Jo Clark, who received her black belt from Conor in 2023 and has since opened the 10th Planet Boca Raton in Florida.
Tri-Town Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy
Tri-Town Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy, founded in September 2021, is more than just a martial arts school. Situated at 4926 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80220, this community is dedicated to the art and discipline of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
The academy is passionate about BJJ, viewing it not merely as a hobby but as a way of life. They offer hands-on instruction from highly-experienced instructors in a modern training space. The primary instructors at the academy are Professor Charles, the head instructor, Professor Sergio, and Coach Mikey.
Otherwise, the academy’s mission revolves around dedication, inclusivity, respect, empowerment, and helping members achieve their goals. Thus, joining Tri-Town Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy promises not only growth as an athlete but also significant personal development.
Best Jiu-Jitsu Tournaments in Denver
Denver is not just home to some of the best Jiu-Jitsu schools, but also provides an opportunity to participate in thrilling Jiu-Jitsu competitions. These contests give practitioners a chance to put their abilities to the test and gain valuable knowledge from the experience.
Here are some of the best Jiu-Jitsu tournaments in Denver:
Grappling Industries DENVER
Grappling Industries is known for its smooth tournament software for combat sports. They offer a seamless way for participants to engage, organize, and follow competitions.
Grappling Industries hosts an exhilarating event in Denver in November at the Foothills Fieldhouse located at 3606 S Independence St, Denver, CO 80235.
This tournament stands out for its unique Round Robin Pool format, ensuring that all adult participants receive a minimum of 4 matches if their division fills up with 5 competitors. This format is particularly advantageous for those competing in both Gi and NoGi categories, as they could potentially engage in over 8 matches.
The emphasis of Grappling Industries is on providing competitors with a diverse range of opponents, enriching their overall experience. The matches are governed by a points system, devoid of advantages, and are known for being submission-friendly.
It’s crucial to note that the tournament is strictly for those who have pre-registered, with no provisions for late or on-the-spot registrations.
Colorado Grappling & BJJ Championship
The Colorado Grappling & BJJ Championship is a significant event in the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and grappling.
Organized by the North American Grappling Association (NAGA), it is part of the world’s largest mixed grappling tournaments, boasting over 700,000 competitors globally. These tournaments are renowned for offering both no-gi and gi divisions.
The NAGA Colorado Grappling Championship occurs in October at the Foothills Fieldhouse in Denver, CO. This championship is not just limited to Denver; for instance, NAGA also organized the Colorado Springs Grappling Championship at The Farm in Colorado Springs, CO.
Otherwise, competitors participate in these events either individually or as part of teams, showcasing their skills and competing for top honors in the grappling world.
Summit Submission Series
The Summit Submission Series is a renowned Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournament held in Colorado. The sixth edition of this series, titled “Summit Submission Series 6,” took place on Saturday, June 3rd, 2023, at the 10th Planet Denver, located at 6161 W 44th Ave, Ste 150, Wheat Ridge, Colorado.
This event promises a thrilling display of grappling skills, as it adopts the EBI (Eddie Bravo Invitational) style, which is a submission-only format. This means that there are no points or advantages awarded during the matches; the sole objective is to submit the opponent.
The tournament is meticulously organized to ensure maximum participation and competition. Depending on the number of athletes in a bracket, different formats are adopted.
Aside from that, the Summit Submission Series is not just about competition; it also offers lucrative cash prizes in all divisions. The entry fee stands at $100, with the champion of each division being awarded a whopping $1,500. Further, winners gain free entry into the subsequent tournament.
In the core of Denver, Jiu-Jitsu is not merely a pursuit; it’s a way of life, a fellowship, and an affirmation of the willpower of steadfastness. No matter if you are a skilled grappler or a novice, Denver provides an abundant selection of schools and instructors devoted to refining your techniques and intensifying your passion for the art.
As you start or proceed through your Jiu-Jitsu experience in Denver, remember that some of the top-notch dojos are the Way of Jiu Jitsu, Morning Star Jiu Jitsu, and Easton Training Center. Likewise, the best tournaments are Grappling Industries DENVER and Summit Submission Series, among others.
Denver is eager to greet you and invite you to join its lively Jiu-Jitsu environment. Take on the challenge and allow the experience to make you a new person.