In True Fighting Form: Learning Brazilian Jiu-jitsu with Project Lifestyle Manila

Project Lifestyle Manila

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Looking for an exciting and challenging sport? Look no further than what Project Lifestyle Manila has to offer.  If you’ve been watching mixed martial arts on TV and have never understood what Joe Rogan was talking about, then this is for you.  For those sports couch potatoes, this is your time to shine and put those fighting words into action. Project Lifestyle Manila is offering you the chance of a lifetime to learn Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ).  It’s a martial art, combat sport, and a self defense system that focuses on grappling and ground fighting.

Learn Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

Project Lifestyle Manila is located at AIC-Burgundy Empire Tower on ADB Avenue, which is right across from Robinson’s Galleria in Ortigas.  It’s hard to miss and gives you no excuse not to visit since it is right across from the mall.  If you can visit the mall, you can visit the gym.

Inside the gym

The gym was started by Toffy Ilagan and Raymond Varilla as a means to introduce the sport to more people.  The team itself consists of members of Deftac Philippines, which is led by none other than Alvin Aguilar, black belt, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, and founder of the Universal Reality Combat Championship, otherwise more popularly known as the URCC.  You may even get the chance to train with some URCC fighters if you get lucky.  Project Lifestyle Manila’s aim is not only to introduce the sport of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu to the Filipino people, but to also instill a healthy lifestyle by providing access to different types of sports to the masses.  Be on the lookout for other interesting sports in the future from them.

Internationally recognized fighters

To subscribe to their BJJ classes, the fee is P3,500 per month and can be paid via PayPal from their website.  If you subscribe online, you can get free gifts from them.  For other incentives and payment methods, you may contact them directly by leaving them a message at their website ( or by calling/sending SMS messages to the listed phone numbers.

Are you ready for this?

The Uniform

Like other formal martial arts, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu has a standard uniform which is the Gi.  It’s an adapted uniform commonly used in Japanese martial arts.  It’s usually composed of heavy cotton and the trousers are reinforced so as not to rip during training.  The belt signifies the rank of the student where the beginning student wears the white belt, while the experienced practitioner wears the black belt.  In between you have the usual yellow, blue, and purple belts with varying degrees of stripes to show skill.  You may also notice that unlike more traditional Japanese martial arts, in BJJ you may see different colors of Gi’s.  The rules on this may vary depending on the school attended.

The Sports Experience

The best way I can describe the sport: “tough” and “challenging”.  Unlike other martial arts, such as Karate or Taekwondo, this sport is ground based.  Expect to do a lot of hip and abdominal exercises (intentional and unintentional) and rolling around on the mat.  It’s a lot tougher than it seems, and can even frustrate the experienced martial artist.  A smaller but experienced BJJ practitioner can immobilize a larger and stronger opponent by using scientifically proven moves such as the Kimura, Americana, and the pretty famous rear naked choke.

The class being instructed on the fine art of BJJ

After starting the basic warm up exercises you get to learn a lot of the history, basic moves, and safety instructions from the teacher.  The sport is challenging and the knowledge vast, that it would probably take you years in earning a black belt degree, even with constant training.  But don’t get discouraged, it is boat loads of fun and the instructors are friendly and patient.  As a beginner myself, the instructor started me off doing buddy exercises with another instructor, doing several moves and learning the different mounting positions.  

The full mount with a submission move

Unlike other martial arts where height and weight play a great role, BJJ relies more on experience, speed, and the different knowledge of manipulations of the body joints.  Due to this, female practitioners are able to tough it out even with the guys.  During my initiation we had a female fighter who dished it out with male partners and came out victorious.

A female BJJ practitioner manoeuvring her partner to submission

After learning some of the basic moves I got the chance to spar with the instructor to get a feel of the sport.  At first, I got to practice the moves I learned and it felt pretty good to submit the other person.  But I was in for a rude shock when the instructor started fighting back.  It took only a few seconds before I had to tap out! I got knocked around and submitted in so many different ways I don’t even know how it happened.  I was pretty much choked, arm barred--basically, schooled--in the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Going for the submission

It was an eye opener.  Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a sport that is practical and is great exercise.  Although I am trained in Karate, it was humbling to know that I have a lot more to learn. The sport is great for people of all ages and even for all genders.  If you’ve dreamed of taking up martial arts or would like to become a more rounded fighter, then Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is for you and Project Lifestyle Manila can get you into that fighting form you’ve always wanted to be in.

Project Lifestyle Manila, are you ready?


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