Good Morning Grapplers of Asia (Part 2)

Jiu-Jitsu-Log (Manila,Philippines)

BJJ is growing at an incredible pace in Asia and definitely so in the Philippines. As of this writing (November 2020), 87 academies are running in Manila alone. Imagine having an academy every 1 to 2 kilometers in this city! With BJJ growing at this rate, demand for more training schedules have been definitely skyrocketed. Most BJJ classes happen in the evenings, as club members tend to be people getting off from either school or work.

There is also a group of people who prefer to have their trainings first thing before their day even begins and we will feature them once more as the 2nd part of the Good Morning Grapplers of Asia.

Jiu-Jitsu-Log, a group based in Manila Philippines, officially starts their training at 6 am, 7 days a week. They have an even select few who begin their drill session at 5 am – 1 hour before the majority of the crew bow in for the formal class. I am pleased to sit down with the 2 leaders of the team – Jan Vincent Cortez (brown belt under Atos Head Professor Andre Galvao) and Tanya Lim (purple belt under Atos black belt Professor Froilan Sarenas and Professor Hansel Co).

On to the interview.

BJJASIA: Good morning Jan and Tanya! Thank you for joining us on this interesting feature. Before anything else – what does Jiu-Jitsu-Log mean?

TANYA: In the Philippines, we have breakfast rice meals that include eggs, which in Filipino is called “Itlog”. Examples of these are Tocilog (Tocino with Itlog) or let’s use something universal – SPAM – Spamsilog is Spam + Sinangag (fried rice) + Itlog (Egg).

JAN: JiuJitsilog is Jiu Jitsu for breakfast in the Philippines.

Tap-Si-Log – photo c/o @SpoonfulOfButter

 

BJJASIA: How did your group begin?

JAN: It began with me and my friend and teammate Jok Gumiran (Purple Belt under Professor Froilan Sarenas). We started working in the Ortigas area and wanted to find a common place and time to train near work.

We were able to ask the permission to use the mat area maintained by Erwin Tagle of Submission Sport Philippines (one of the country’s premiere MMA teams). The area was probably just around 40 square meters located in a residential high rise in the vicinity.

We would start at around 5:00 AM so we can finish at 7:30 AM. Just in time for us to report for our respective work at around 8:00 AM. We didn’t have our own showers back then so we would go up to the swimming pool area and clean up at the worn-down showers. It felt like we were the only ones using those showers in the way it was maintained.

 

Throwback pic with the original crew – Jan Cortez & Jok Gumiran

BJJASIA: How many people do you have in the group so far?

JAN: We started way back in 2009 a few years after college and most of the time it was just me and Jok. Once in a while, other guys joined.

TANYA: Now, we have a pretty big group, more than 30 people are part of it and 15 people consistently train.

 

JJLog trains at Empower Training Center in Manila

BJJASIA: What do you think are the benefits of doing training in the early hours of the day rather than the typical night schedules?

JAN: Jiu Jitsu,  like many other physical activities and sports, bring so much energy and triggers good hormones. When you train early before anything else, the energy and other benefits are carried over in your day’s activities. My mind and body are awake and lively after JJ-log. The days I don’t train in the morning (quite rare), I’m noticeably lethargic.

 

Jan and Tanya, together with Mara Rafael, are also the brains behind Relenless Jiu Jitsu Round Robin Invitational – currently running in Manila and Bangkok.

BJJASIA: What do you think are the benefits of doing training in the early hours of the day rather than the typical night schedules?

JAN: Jiu Jitsu,  like many other physical activities and sports, bring so much energy and triggers good hormones. When you train early before anything else, the energy and other benefits are carried over in your day’s activities. My mind and body are awake and lively after JJ-log. The days I don’t train in the morning (quite rare), I’m noticeably lethargic.

TANYA: Similar to Jan, starting the day with Jiu Jitsu makes me sharper, calmer and more energized. It gives me a jolt of endorphins that makes my day more positive making me happier and loving everything I do. The discipline is good for my mind and body since I train myself to sleep early, eat right and avoid alcohol and junk food.

 

Post morning training pic – Tanya showing her loving alter ego… not!

BJJASIA: Can you share with us different “results” that you encounter with doing your training “differently” (meaning early in the day)?

TANYA: Training as soon as I wake up helps me absorb the lessons more. I have more energy in the morning to do the reps faster and more explosively. We train longer in the morning, we get to stretch well, get in our reps and roll for at least an hour. Our training lasts 2 hours, sometimes more. We also have more time to roll, so we get to do situational sparring that helps improve our game.

JAN: I train in the afternoon and the evening too but my mind and body is not as engaged as compared to early in the morning. I guess the concerns of work and life in general bugs me by that time. Jiu Jitsu requires a lot of mental exercise so I truly believe you have to be at your best mentally when training Jiu Jitsu. Personally, my mind is most engaged in the morning

BJJASIA: How do you think the jiujiteiros in the group are liking (or hating hehehehe…) the schedule you have?

JAN: I guess the biggest benefit of most of my students is being able to train before working and going through the day’s activities. 6 am is probably the most available time slot for most working individuals. No calls from your boss or clients at that time. The only downside is waking up early, which may be hard for those not used to it, but eventually most adjust.

 

BJJASIA: Enough about the group and let’s talk about yourselves – how did your BJJ journey begin? I’m also interested to know, how did your personal training wiggle itself into the morning sessions you have currently?

JAN: I started Jiu Jitsu back in 2006, when I realised I had to have some sports to make good use of all the muscles I was building being a gym rat back then. I’m probably more hooked and invested in this sport now than back then. As mentioned on how JJ-log started, I wanted to be able to train regularly during my corporate years.

“Stop the chit chat and drill!” Jan shouting out directions to the team

TANYA: I was going through a challenging time a few years back and while trying to rearrange my life and priorities, I stumbled on learning Jiu Jitsu. When I train, I feel like challenges and stress from work are forgotten, my main focus is not getting smashed and choked. When I put on a gi, I feel the tension and anxiety just go away.

I noticed when I train after work, I’m tired, sloppy and when I spar – zero energy. My mind would be the same – distracted, cluttered, closed. So, I really trained myself to sleep at 9pm, wake up at 5am and train at 6am. It made me feel really good to start my day that way. Say goodbye to late nights, drinking and Netflix marathons.

 

Me training in JJLog experiencing the morning buzz first hand

BJJASIA: OK, let’s go with rapid fire questions:

 Favorite BJJ athlete (male)?

  • JAN: Myself, Gordon Ryan next.
  • TANYA: Andre Galvao

 

Coach Jan being promoted by Andre Galvao to brown

Favorite BJJ athlete (female)?

  • JAN: None
  • TANYA: Livia Giles.
Tanya the Discipline Supervisor or “Bisor” as she is fondly called being promoted to purple belt by Prof. Hansel Co and Coach Jan Cortez

 

Favorite guard?

  • JAN: Whichever works for the scenario
  • TANYA: Sitting Guard

Favorite guard pass?

  • JAN: Whichever works for the scenario
  • TANYA: Over Under

Favorite submission?

  • JAN: Choke
  • TANYA: Armbar
Jans debut at brown closing out the Manila Open 2017 with team mate Gian Dee

 

Toughest opponent ever faced in competition?

  • JAN: No one in particular. My most frustrated loss was against a Kazakh.
  • TANYA: A lot. I’ve faced tough women especially at the Asian Open and Manila Open tournaments. Learned so much in competition and I’m so thankful for what each of them has taught me.

Favorite post training activity?

  • JAN: Breakfast
  • TANYA: Tea and work (my brain feels like it’s on hyperactive mode after training – perfect for work)
The JJLog crew surely love to eat

Best team/academy aside from your own that you’ve trained with?

  • JAN: Danaher’s gym – Renzo Gracie Academy
  • TANYA: I love training with the Gentle Art Academy in Singapore everytime I’m there, I was there frequently 2018-2019. Whenever I visit a country, the first thing I look for is the best Jiu Jitsu gym in the city I’m in. I visited different academies in Australia, Canada and Eastern Europe. In Asia, I visited academies in Phuket, Bali, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Every team, every academy, every community was amazing, warm and taught awesome technique and valuable lessons I will always cherish and remember.
The first people we greet in the morning, the last ones we party with at night.

 

BJJASIA: Can you share with us how people can learn more about your group? IG page? FB page?

TANYA: Currently, we train under Atos – Jiu Jitsu Manila.

You can check out @jiujitsumanila on IG and Jiujitsu Manila on FB.

https://www.instagram.com/jiujitsumanila/

https://www.facebook.com/jiujitsumanila/