Where is the gym located?
The gym is located in Biberist, Solothurn, Switzerland. Ten minutes away from Solothurn main train station.
How many people train there?
We currently have around 10 people training.
Is the gym growing – if so by how many new members each month or year?
Since the gym just opened about two months ago it’s hard to give a specific ratio. The opening was a huge success, with 40 people from different countries and cities. I’m confident that we’ll reach about 50 by the end of the year.
What are the highest and lowest belt grades training in Joshimitsu BJJ, Switzerland?
I’m a freshly promoted brown belt, and a friend of mine, Chris Crawford, a 10th Planet brown belt from Florida, is visiting from time to time. Most of my students are white belts. Some of them used to train somewhere else until blue, then moved for work and now train with me.
When did the gym open?
April 10, 2022
Some facts about you:
Name: Aljoscha Hilse (most people in the BJJ community call me Scoobie)
Profession: Self-employed my whole life – teaching Jiu Jitsu, having an online shop and some side hustles
Gym: Joshimitsu BJJ, Switzerland
Years in BJJ: 6
Other martial arts: Did Muay Thai and kickboxing for about 8 years, and a little bit of MMA. Also Karate, Judo, and Kung Fu as a kid (doesn´t count)
Currently living in: Currently living in Freiburg, Germany, but I plan to move to Switzerland this year.
Originally from: I was born and raised in Cologne, Germany. My dad was British but I grew up mostly alone with my Mum.
Please tell us the story of how your gym came into existence
I’ve wanted to open my own gym for a long time. I started jumping in for my coaches and teaching quite early, and always enjoyed it very much. In 2020 I started to look around for a good place. Through friends of mine and my partner in Switzerland, I came across the object by chance. I live right on the border and Biberist is only 1.5 h away from my home. My girlfriend and I wanted to move anyway, and it was just perfect.
Tell us about the people that train in the gym – who are they?
So far our small group has been quite mixed. Most of them train for fun and are hobby athletes. Some have previous experience, some just want to get fit, and others want to defend themselves. But everyone knew what BJJ was and had seen it before and already had a certain picture in mind. Which is not always the case in Western Europe.
Why do they train in Joshimitsu BJJ, Switzerland?
Everyone is quite enthusiastic about it. They look at instructionals, ask a lot of questions, and want to develop a game. I myself regularly compete and come from a fairly competitive team. And I think that some of my new students also want to take part in competitions soon. I think they came for the usual reasons – getting fit, self-defense, and MMA – but stayed for the beauty of the game and the community.
What are some of the challenges of running a BJJ gym in general, and in your area specifically?
Since I’ve always been self-employed, the business part is not particularly difficult for me. Opening a business in another country always has some new challenges, but nothing particulary tough. I am the first and only BJJ gym in the area, which can be good but also bad. I only offer BJJ (Gi and Nogi) and the entry hurdle for BJJ is generally very high compared to other martial arts. But I am confident that it will develop well.
How do you see the future for BJJ in your area?
Switzerland generally has a very well-developed BJJ scene. There are many black belts, many tournaments, and relatively many gyms. I think BJJ has a great future in Switzerland, also because of the very favorable economic conditions.
What’s the best thing about Joshimitsu BJJ, Switzerland?
Apart from me, probably the look! :) White mats.
What would you recommend Globetrotters to see in your area apart from the inside of your gym?
Switzerland is a beautiful country. There is too much stuff to name. Bern is just 30 minutes away and is a beautiful city. Zürich is about an hour away, Basel about 35 minutes, Lausanne about 1.5 h, and Geneva about 2 h. Plenty of stuff to see depending on what you enjoy more – countryside or cities. Switzerland has both. There are great gyms in Bern and Zürich too, and it’s very easy to hop from gym to gym.