by Stefan Archuticz
Your friendly neighbourhood journalist covering local news, business reviews and opinions!
Passador BJJ is a martial arts academy specializing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Niagara. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a self-defense martial art focused on grappling and ground fighting. Unlike striking-based martial arts, BJJ training involves full intensity sparring that is inherently safe due to the lack of striking. BJJ practitioners develop real-world skills because they are constantly training in a realistic environment. Traditional martial arts spend the majority of their time practicing "kata" which is like a detailed pattern of choreographed movements. A good example of kata is a karate practitioner performing a series of punches and kicks in the air, solo. It is very difficult to safely spar with punches and kicks at full speed. The risk of injury is high so therefore the training effectiveness is decreased.
Since karate practitioners (and other striking-based martial art practitioners) cannot spend much time training for real-world, full speed scenarios, their true self-defense effectiveness is limited compared to BJJ. Of course, there are still many benefits to the striking-based martial arts and they are not to be discounted. However, there's absolutely no doubt that BJJ practitioners develop more realistic self-defense skills and a much higher level of fitness when training over a long period of time. There is simply no duplicating the intensity of a 90 minute BJJ sparring session with back to back to back 6-minute rounds with new training partners of all different skill levels.
Frank is the owner and professor at Passador BJJ. He holds the prestigious rank of 3rd-degree black belt. He started training BJJ in 1994. He opened the academy in 2007. It was a very humble beginning that was built on his passion for the art, the close acquaintances he frequently trained with, and his desire to escape the rat race by starting his own business.
The toughest thing Frank went through when he first started his business was learning the "business side" of martial arts. As a local business owner myself, I can attest to this experience in general. Often, we follow our passion when starting a business and this leaves us ill-prepared to handle the nitty-gritty details of our business. It took Frank about 10 years to really get a grip on the business side of martial arts. When he first started, BJJ was relatively obscure. It has only seen a surge in popularity in recent years. Also, in the last couple of years, Frank received significant help on the marketing side of the business from a colleague who runs a similar academy in a different city. These factors have resulted in the steady, sustained growth of Frank's business. Frank recently expanded to a new location for his academy. He has now positioned himself as the premier BJJ club in the Niagara region, with a large, clean, welcoming facility.
The number one way Frank brings in new customers today is Facebook ads coupled with his premium brand image and an abundance of 5-star Google reviews. He continues to grow his business, with the launch of a new toddler program, the increasing popularity of the Bully Busters kid's program and the continued popularity of BJJ as a practical self-defense martial art. Development of new residential units near his academy and a re-investment into more mats to completely fill his academy space are also positive signs for Frank and Passador BJJ.
Now, if only this coronavirus thing would pass already. To the question, "If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates," Frank answers, simply, "You did it your way, and here you are."