The BJJ heart beats strong

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The GMA network has added another member in Phoenix, Arizona.

Strong Heart Academy is owned by Mike Martin, a black belt under Joe Moreira.

Mike has a 11 year experience with martial arts and is a teacher for the last eight years.

The academy website registers the commitment to excellence that drives Martin: “He strives to ensure that each student has complete understanding of techniques and their application. He loves teaching martial arts because of the positive impact it has on his students’ lives.”

For more info, go to

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There are 31 comments for this article
  1. Joseph Westbrook at 8:05 pm

    I have been going to SHMA for over 5 years. This school is a great environment to either prepare for competition or just as a hobby. Great people at this gym. I usually don’t go out of my way to write reviews but I will for this school. There is lots of rolling and personal attention to your game.

  2. Marcel Roshto at 9:42 am

    Like Mr. Westbrook below, I also do not go out of my way to write reviews. However, when I first moved back to Arizona after being out of the country for 2 years I wanted to get into martial arts again. I looked around at several schools none had EVERYTHING I wanted. A family environment, camaraderie, personalized instruction, competition, and an environment where people accepted you.

    I wanted to join the school the very first day. I got everything I wanted. Most of all I did not feel like the “new guy” people welcomed me with open arms, everybody would go out of their way to help me progress. People pushed you to become better and always invited you back the next day. Its a great place and Mike is a great instructor. Lots of guys are great at BJJ, but very few are great at BJJ and Instructing.

  3. Mike Burlaka at 11:23 am

    I have trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over 12 years, 6 of them being with Mike Martin. Mike has an unparalleled enthusiasm and love for teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Soon after joining the academy not only did I get a great Jiu Jitsu coach, I gained a great friend. Mike encourages us all to exceed what we believed to be our limitations. The atmosphere is a very competitive and technical environment with emphasis placed maintaining a high standard for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

  4. Kevin Finley at 4:30 pm

    I am 40 years old. I’ve been training boxing, Muay Thai or BJJ since my early 30’s. When I started boxing, it was very hard to find a boxing gym that didn’t want cash only because they were just shady operations. When I did get a fight, it was with someone who wasn’t quite in my weight class. It seemed nothing was ever planned or had a rhyme or reason. 3 coaches came and went and had to keep starting from scratch as well as it pertains to my training.

    When I moved to Muay Thai, my intructor was a good teacher and trained me well, but I gotta be honest, nobody even talked to me for nearly a year. I went purely out of wanting to learn, because nobody was friendly to either me or anybody else for that matter. Not too many people would have put up with that first year.

    I then started training BJJ with Mike Martin. Mike has a way with teaching, discipline, and comradery. In short, not just Mike, but everyone in the place wants everyone to get better. So few ego’s in there, just good training and people. I think Mike attracts these types of people or something. Who knows, but I like it. Due to life and injury, I haven’t been training lately, but can’t wait to return and wouldn’t train anywhere else when I do.

  5. Ethan Parr at 10:53 am

    Strong Heart BJJ is a fantastic school. I’ve studied under a LOT of different instructors throughout my education in a variety of subjects spanning a lot of different fields. This place is unique. Mike Martin (the head instructor) has a real personal-vested interest in every student that comes through the door. He really cares about his students and their growth within the art of jiu-jitsu and I’ve never met anyone who loved the art more than he does. Mike Burlaka, another instructor at Strong Heart is dedicated, technical, and has a great open mind when it comes to techniques and really takes the time to make sure his students understand the concepts he’s teaching. I’ve been training with both of these gentlemen for years and I look forward to continuing to do so. This place is my home.

  6. Drew at 1:32 pm

    Great instruction, great students, great gym. I have been doing BJJ for 13 years and have trained in many states at many gyms. The classes are structured perfectly for both recreation and competition.

  7. Eli Trujillo at 2:53 pm

    I’ve been a part of the AZ fight/ jiu jitsu community since the late 90’s, in that time I’ve had some really great coaches & training partners-

    I was lucky enough to roll at Strong Heart a few times. Mike is a great instructor, he’s technically sound, really smooth, knows his game and explains the moves and process really well. I really liked that even when he was showing technically advanced moves, he would show the set up and application in a very particle way that you could utilized the technique and add it to your arsenal almost immediately.

    There is a great group of guys on the mat, they’re tough and will challenge you to elevate your game but humble and friendly at the same time. The rolling is aggressive but smooth and in control. This gym and guys in it have a really good vibe. If you are looking to learn some solid BJJ this a great place to go-

  8. Jordan Nite at 4:48 pm

    I have been training with SHMA for over a year. This school is a fantastic environment to learn the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It provides great hands on teaching with an emphasis on personal attention to make sure you understand, and execute the technique the correct way from the beginning. Everyone at the school is fantastic to train and learn from as well. There is a feeling of family at this school. No one is looking to hurt anyone, just to develop their game and help others do the same. Plenty of people at the gym to match with for size and skill level at every class. Tons of rolling for each class gave me ample opportunity to apply what I’ve been learning. I recommend this school to anyone who is looking for a place to train and advance their game. I won’t train anywhere else.

  9. Mike at 11:17 pm

    Its like Cheers, everyone knows your name. Mike Martin is an amazing and dedicated teacher and all the senior students are always helping out new students.

  10. Mike Grandinetti at 8:58 am

    I have been around BJJ/MMA for lots of years. I have trained under several well known instructors. Mike is unique in that not only is he good at BJJ but he is a great teacher. He doesn’t just show you a move and tell you to do it. He can break it down so you understand the technical details.

    You will progress at a much faster rate then most other BJJ gyms when you train with Mike.

    Also the environment is a positive place and you can ask questions and get/give feedback.

  11. Todd at 12:10 am

    I have trained with Mike since he started BJJ. I could train anywhere, with anyone, but I choose to train under Mike. He has a great attitude and is tryuly dedicated to each and every student.

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