Last week, I had the opportunity to sit down and interview ECU founder JoJo Guarin, and the man he calls his mentor - Robert, “Rob G”, Gutierrez. Both JoJo and Rob G took the time to give detailed answers, to my questions, and even suggested some other avenues for me to explore. When we were done I had so much material that I’m confronted with endless possibilities, and will have to break the interview into several separate posts in order to do it justice.
I think that I should start with a little history, and finish up with a great mission statement from JoJo.
In 1994, Robert Gutierrez (“Rob G”) entered a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school in Thornwood, New York. Eight months later “Rob G” earned his Blue Belt.
Not long after the promotion, a young man walked into the academy. His name was JoJo Guarin. Rob recognized JoJo’s natural talent for BJJ, and did his best to help him progress.
Through the years, JoJo followed Rob G to academies in the Bronx, and later to an academy run by three-time Abu Dhabi Submission Wrestling Championship Medalist and UFC Veteran Sean Alvarez (both Rob G. and JoJo received their Black Belts from Sean).
JoJo and Rob G. have both had long journeys in BJJ. At times, their paths have diverged, but today, they are once again working together.
When JoJo founded East Coast United, he knew what kind of school he wanted to create
“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. When I ran into Rob G at the New York Open, we realized we could help each other.”
Re-UNITED, JoJo and RobG have been training together on a weekly basis. In addition, Rob G did an excellent seminar at ECU a few months ago. Working together, they improve both their own skills and those of their students.
Thanks again to JoJo and Rob G for taking the time for an interview. In a later post, I’ll let you know about the best quote I’ve ever heard about teaching BJJ –courtesy of Rob G.
Thanks for reading the ECU BJJ and MMA blog. As always, comments and suggestions are appreciated.