A Yonkers, New York native, JoJo Guarin began his Martial Arts career in his late teens by studying Kenpo Karate. Later, a friend told him about a “new” martial art – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). At the Thornwood, NY academy JoJo met the man he considers his mentor – future ECU Queens founder Robert “Rob G” Gutierrez. From the time he first walked into school, JoJo has believed that BJJ is his “calling”.
Seeking to challenge himself, JoJo traveled to California to train and compete. He was eventually promoted to Blue Belt by the legendary Royce Gracie.
Later, JoJo traveled to Texas where he trained with the Pedro Alberto association under Eric Williams.
Returning to New York, JoJo began training with the Relson Gracie Association in Bronx, NY.
In 2002, JoJo followed “Rob G” and began training under multiple-time Abu Dhabi Submission Wrestling medalist Sean Alvarez. JoJo would eventually be promoted to Purple Belt, Brown Belt, and Black Belt by Sean.
As JoJo progressed, he began assuming more and more responsibilities as an instructor. Eventually, he became the primary instructor at the academy he trained at. At the same time, he made an impressive showing in competitions. Some of the highlights include:
- 2006 Pan American Champion;
- Multiple-time NAGA Champion;
- Multiple-time Grappler’s Quest Champion;
- Ring of Combat (MMA) Veteran; and
- Reality Fighting III (MMA) Champion.
Despite these impressive accomplishments, JoJo decided that in order to continue growing as both a teacher and competitor, he needed to train regularly with other highly accomplished BJJ players, such as Jared Weiner and Jonathan “JT” Torres. These experiences gave JoJo the inspiration to open his own academy.
When JoJo decided to open East Coast United (ECU), he not only named his school, but included a mission statement in that name:
“I chose the name East Coast United, because I wanted to create a school that was united with some of the best BJJ guys around. If I want to get better, I have to train with the best. I look for the best training partners I can find, and I encourage my students to do the same.”
As always, thank you for reading the ECU BJJ and MMA blog. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.