It is well known by now that the sport of Jiu-Jitsu has taken our island by storm. Ask the younger generation and almost all will say how much the sport is a part of today’s culture.
Guam’s footprint in the sport extends throughout the globe with a huge indention in Los Alamitos, California where former Guam resident Chris Gutierrez has built Conde Koma BJJ into a formidable martial arts academy.
After moving to California in October 2000, Gutierrez picked up the sport from close friend Vince “Bear” Quitugua – founder of Shoyoroll Brand – and ‘has been addicted since’.
“When I started training Jiu-Jitsu, it was just a different feeling and quickly became passionate of the art,” the former Agana Heights resident said. “My wife and friends were very supportive of my decision to open up an academy and I know it was one of the best decisions I have made. We are blessed to have students that have grown into such a close, tight-knit team. We really have become like family.”
The doors to Conde Koma BJJ opened in April 2011 and in only 15 months, students have already won 30 medals combined in tournaments hosted by Kids Worlds and IBJJF Pan Jiu-Jitu, Gi and No Gi Worlds, NABJJF.
The St. Paul graduate has attracted about 20 Guamanians which most didn’t even know it was Gutierrez who was the head of the class.
“The funny thing is, the first few Guamanians who first inquired had no idea we were from Guam. Since we have instilled the friendly Guamanian hospitality in the school, it has set a warm and welcoming atmosphere to everyone who comes to train.” Said Gutierrez, who moved to the states after high school to attend college, where he has a bachelor’s degree in Business Management with a concentration in Business Information Systems.
“Our student base is a very diverse group that all train together as a family. I am proud to say that we have multiple families (father, mother, children) that train at the school and make training jiu-jitsu a family affair. We also have a very impressive competition kids and adult team. “
Like most of Guam’s BJJ camps, the technicality and fitness behind the sport has allured female interests as well.
“We also have a growing women’s program which my wife (Laura Linsangan Gutierrez from Dededo) is a part of. It’s great to know that our women know how to defend themselves if they ever find themselves in an physical altercation and it helps me feel a lot better knowing my wife knows some awesome moves. For those who are in it because they just happen to have the passion for the art without the desire to compete, it’s a great form of exercise for them and just as rewarding.”
Gutierrez hopes to travel back home to participate in the Nov. 10 GSPN Jiu-Jitsu Open at the UOG Field House.
NOTES: Conde Koma, which means “Count Combat” in Portugese, is the nickname of Mitsuyo Maeda. Maeda played a large part in evolution of the gentle art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu because was known to introduce jiu-jitsu to Carlos Gracie and the rest of the Gracie family…Conde Koma is affiliated with CheckMat, the #1 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and submission schools in the world, rated by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF). The CheckMat team is led by world class leaders Leonardo “Leozinho” Vieira (elected the 3rd best fighter of the 90s by Gracie Magazine) along with his brothers Ricardo “Ricardinho” Vieira and Leandro “Leandrinho” Vieira…Gutierrez is the son of former Guam senator Franklin Gutierrez.
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