“We’d rather avoid having our photos published — SJJC is not about us; it’s about jiujiteiros who support us and the message,” Stanis wrote to me in an email after I requested pictures. I may sound suspicious talking about a sponsor this way, but man, that was badass. Should I even use their real names for this story? I suppose I’ll keep you guessing whether I am.
By SJJC he means Secret Jiu Jitsu Club, the San Diego, CA-based jiu-jitsu gear and apparel company founded in May of last year by friends and training partners Paul and Stanis. “We are two best friends who met on the mats of Victory MMA in San Diego,” Paul said. “We found that we share a mutual obsession and love for jiu-jitsu, and as a result wanted to express and share our message and taste for clean and minimalist jiu-jitsu gear to all.”
And the brand’s logo and archetypal leader, known as Silent Sensei, is… I’ll just show you.
You may have seen Silent Sensei worn recently, as they just brought on Kyle Boehm, and Boehm fought Gordon Ryan at a WNO event on June 5th. Ryan was seen shushing the audience after the match, possibly trying to replicate the logo, having (possibly) just been converted to the club’s philosophy. “We have assembled a team of talented jiu-jitsu smashers who exemplify our Club Rules (Represent Discreetly/Roll Fiercely),” Paul told me. The impressive SJJC Athlete roster includes:
. Black Belt Kyle Boehm (1Oth Planet Austin Texas: #6 ranked 99Kg nogi black belt, Bjj fanatics Grand Prix champ, SUG Tag Team Champ, King of the Mats Absolute Champ, EBI vet);
. Black Belt Hunter Colvin (Brothers Jiu Jitsu: AGF Challenger Series Champ, 3X F2W Champ, 3X EBI/CJJ Vet, 2X SUG Vet, F2W Brown Belt of the year);
. Brown Belt Matt Cox (10th Planet San Diego: F2W Middleweight Purple Belt champ, Submission Only Nationals Champ, Mat Warriors Vet);
. Brown Belt Justin Renick (John’s Gym: SubFC 175lb Champ, EBI vet, F2W, 3CG , Onnit Invitational/F2W FOTN);
. Purple Belt João Cerini (Alliance Campinas Brazil: IBJJF and Copa Podio vet).
As well as being enthusiastic about BJJ and their athletes and club members, SJJC takes pride in having their “compression gear, shorts, and streetwear made in America, not simply because of misplaced national pride (one of the founders is Polish anyway…), but because we want to keep a close eye on the quality of our gear.” They noted that they are very excited to announce that they have just launched pre-orders for their new boutique SJJC Edition 1.0 Atlas Gi and belts. Pre-orders are limited and will run through September 7th, 2020. You can check out SJJC on Instagram, Facebook, or their website — where you can get a 10% discount on their already-reduced pre-order price by using the code GM10. Shh…!
If you’ve read this far, it may be that you’re sensing the call of the Silent Sensei and would like to know more. Their manifesto and the rest of Paul and Stanis’ email — provided below — are well worth a read.
Fundamentally, what we love about Jiu Jitsu is the wide range of people who practice it. There are psychologists, attorneys, navy seals, construction workers, teachers, business people, graphic designers, men, and women, young, and old who all find Jiu Jitsu to be their personal sanctuary…their “Secret Jiu Jitsu Club” if you will. We all live our day-to-day lives, but when the time comes we all come together and practice a still obscure and gentle art, often not really being able to truly express the joy it gives us to friends and family because those who don’t roll, don’t know.
We find that Jiu Jitsu emphasizes how much we all have in common as humans. While we all have our subtle differences, Jiu Jitsu truly brings us all together and shows us that “We are all one!” – as MMA legend Genki famously displayed. One of the main messages that we look to convey is that through Jiu Jitsu we can all know that we are on a – Journey United.
Coupled with this is our strong belief in hard, no-nonsense rolling. We love the fierceness of Jiu Jitsu and find that only hard (yet respectful) rolls will allow one to see his or her true colors and reach his or her potential. Just looking for advantages or wins via points does not do it for us. In our opinion, hard rolling honors Jiu Jitsu as the elite martial art that it is, while also ensuring that it remains respected, and that promotions are based on true merit.
We aim to use our brand/gear to spread our message and unite all who roll. When one sees our “Silent Sensei” logo on the mats or street, they instantly know and recognize others who are a part of the truly special club that is Jiu Jitsu practitioners.
Our ultimate goal is not a financial one. We take great pride in having our compression gear, shorts, and streetwear made in America, not simply because of a misplaced national pride (one of the founders is Polish anyway…), but because we want to keep a close eye on the quality of our gear. We have just launched limited pre-orders of our new Edition 1.0 Atlas hand-crafted kimonos that reflect our aesthetic while providing a high quality tailored look that is both lightweight and durable. Our Athlete João Cerini has been battle testing our kimono prototype on the mats of Campinas, São Paulo Brazil for us. As a small up-and-coming brand, we could have easily just focused on our bottom line and looked to have our gear manufactured overseas, as many other brands unfortunately do. Instead, we prioritize business ethics over markups. We carefully select our sponsored athletes and make sure that they not only roll fiercely, but also represent the Jiu Jitsu community appropriately (not necessarily in a dull way 😉
Our customers (club members) are legitimately our brand; WE are all the Club. We look to celebrate our members on par with our athletes. If you take a look at our IG feed, you’ll see that we give shout outs to customers and have built really good rapport with a lot of them. What we think may be quite unique is that we don’t just want to sell our gear to anybody who wants to purchase it – we also have some basic expectations, check out our Terms of Sale to see what they are: https://www.secretjiujitsuclub.com/policies/terms-of-service.
We are not a juggernaut corporate brand, instead, we are two best friends who met on the mats of Victory MMA in San Diego, CA. We found that we share a mutual obsession and love for Jiu Jitsu and as a result wanted to express and share our message and taste for clean and minimalist Jiu Jitsu gear to all. In case of a dispute between us, we allow Jiu Jitsu to make the call, as we literally have written into our operating agreement, that any brand decision stalemates are to be determined via a best two-out-of three submission only NoGi match, to be refereed by our BJJ mentor and a bad-ass black belt – Andy Burke (Victory MMA).