Featured affiliated academy: Abstract Jiu Jitsu, Houston

Abstract Jiu Jitsu, Houston

Where is the gym located?
Abstract is located in Kingwood, about 25 minutes north of Houston TX.

How many people train there?
So we have two parts to the business model. One part is of course Jiu-Jitsu which entails 4-6 year-old classes, 7 and up classes, women only, and adult gi/nogi classes. This would be close to 100 to 120 members. The other side is the acrobatics side where we work with a large amount of competitive dancers, cheerleaders, and gymnasts in the area. This program has between 90 and 120 students as well.

So 200 to 240 or so students total.

Is the gym growing – if so by how many new members each month or year?
We have grown a lot the last few months. We recently moved into a space nearly five times as big as our last one. I would say we’ve had 5 to 10 new members added each month.

What are the highest and lowest belt grades training?
White through black.

When did Abstract Jiu Jitsu, Houston open?

Some facts about you:

Name: Mat Brooks
Age: 34
Belt: Black
Profession: Acro coach and head Jiu-Jitsu instructor
Years in BJJ: 15
Other martial arts: Nope
Currently living in: Kingwood, TX, USA
Originally from: Sugarland, TX

Please tell us the story of how your gym came into existence
I trained under a local instructor until I was a purple or brown belt. It eventually came to light he was doing plenty of questionable things, so I couldn’t stay. I helped a friend when he opened his own space, but that quickly turned sour due to poor work effort and all the bad stuff Jiu-Jitsu culture can do to someone. I quit at brown for nearly a year. During that time me and my two friends Garrick Chan and Pedro Hermosa stayed in contact and often talked about Jiu-Jitsu. We talked about possibly opening our own classes mostly to train ourselves, since all the Jiu-Jitsu in the area was pretty bad. I linked up with a local karate studio and they let us work out of there from 9:30pm to 11pm two nights a week. That turned into some morning classes as well. Just us training turned into about 10 students before… a flood came and destroyed all of our mats.

We decided then that if we were going to do this we should find a space for lease. We made an LLC and found a spot. Signed a lease and I used the money from my father’s passing to furnish it. That was about one month before Covid. Lockdown shut us down for a month and then we started back up. After a year we expanded into double the space (2k) and worked the next two years building our acro program and kids/adults Jiu-Jitsu programs.

Fast forward to now. We have opened a 10k square foot space that is nearly everything we wanted it to be. I do this full time with two great friends/owners nearly every day. Life is good and moving in the right direction.

Tell us about the people that train in the gym – who are they?
We have a lot of interesting people in this space. From homeschool kids doing Jiu-Jitsu and dance working on becoming a better athlete. Moms and dads of these kids that have started training and become an integral part of this ecosystem. Young adults from several walks of life that train competitively or just to get a workout in. We have a solid group and I can’t say enough good things about them. We wouldn’t be here at all without the local support.

Why do they train in Abstract Jiu Jitsu, Houston?
Health, mental stability, because their kids train. Most just seem to like the community and time they get to spend together.

What are some of the challenges of running a BJJ gym in general, and in your area specifically?
Honestly we haven’t encountered too many aside from people just not liking the contact of the sport. The acrobatics side of this business has really helped give us time to grow. Like all good things there is a specific amount of time needed to grow.

How do you see the future for BJJ in your area?
Things are bright in this area. We are lucky to be in a spot easily accessible from several communities. We have a long lease so we are not going anywhere soon. Our goal is to show these kids and adults another outlet to be and live like an athlete aside from the usual means.

What’s the best thing about Abstract Jiu Jitsu, Houston?
How open and welcoming it is. You would feel lovely just walking in and seeing how open and clean it is. The amount of free space really shines here and gives you room to relax.

What would you recommend Globetrotters to see in your area apart from the inside of your gym?
Houston has some of the best Vietnamese, Indian, and BBQ around. There is a ton of food to explore not too far away. Aside from that, Houston doesn’t have a huge amount of nature to see or anything too great. I don’t say that in a bad way, but Houston is for the food experience for sure.


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