Academy Hunting Homework #5: Ronny Lis BJJ

I was so excited this week about starting out at my new school that I jumped ahead in documenting my experiences training at academies in Austin and left out a few very important experience I had. I want to take a step back and talk about Ronny Lis BJJ.  I was only able to take one class at S. Austin Gym before Ronny left to go to Brazil for an extended period of time.  The class I took was not instructed by Ronny but I did get to reconnect with a few old friends and learn a few new tricks. 

Randy Vera, a brown belt under Ronny Lis, instructed our class.  The warm-up had familiar elements to it.  However, this was the first school I visited that incorporates balance balls into the warm-up.  I am a white belt at the balance ball and could use a LOT of practice.  This experience inspired me to get a balance ball of my own.  I am still working up the nerve to stand on the ball.  I'll have to continue to work up to it. When I was googling videos for this blog I was really amazing to see how and what people can do with a balance ball.  Some of the exercises I learned and continue to practice at home can be seen in this video.

Randy and his fiancé brown belt, Tessa Simpson are no strangers to me on the mats.  We trained together for several years at Relson Gracie Austin.  It had been three years since I last trained with either of them.  It was nothing short of a happy reunion.  Outside of training with Sawyer Morris, Tessa was perhaps the second most instrumental training partners I  have had in my earlier years as a blue belt and an early purple belt.  Training with her had a huge impact on my training and development.  We would push each other to be better, faster and more technical.  People  always commented on how similar built Tessa and I are.  Not only do we share similar body types, we share similar work ethics and a common love for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  I consider myself lucky that I had her to work with as we strengthen each others abilities up the ranks.  Randy was also an extremely important training partner and teammate throughout majority of my training at Relson Gracie.  I was over joyed to be on the mats with both of them again.
Tessa & me @ NAGA Hawaii

Randy has been instructing Muay Thai and Jiu-Jitsu for as long as I've known him.  It came as no surprise that his expertise and strength as a teacher were apparent during the class I took at Ronny Lis.  I wish I could of taken a class with Ronny before making my finally decision, but I am grateful that I got to get a slice of life on the mats at Ronny Lis BJJ.  It wouldn't be fair to say I got an idea of Lis' style of Jiu-Jitsu which I understand has some very different elements to it. Ronny did make an appearance at the end of class just in time to conclude it with a prayer as I am told that is how each class ends.

 I am told that Ronny Lis is no longer teaching at S. Austin Gym.  To learn more about Ronny Lis and his association visit them online.  Big thanks to Ronny Lis, Randy Vera and Tessa Simpson.  Thank you for your hospitality and for sharing your insights with me.  I'm so happy I was able to make it in and train with all of you.  It was nice to take a walk down memory lane.  I hope our paths cross again.


  1. You had a great time there my friend!

  2. Aloha e Shama, I'm going home to Hawai'i to visit my ohana in May and would like to hit up a gym while I'm out there so I stay fresh; wondering if you could recommend a place? Mahalo!

    1. You have to hit up a few academies while in Hawai'i. There are so many amazing academies! You will not be disappointed!

      Depending on where you stay here's a guide for you:

      Mad Tiger Academy
      Black Belt Eric Goo
      95-119 Kamehameha Hwy. Suite D
      Mililani, Hi. 96789
      P: (808) 381-7838

      Brazilian Freestyle Jiu-Jitsu
      Black Belt
      University of Hawaii at Manoa Campus
      Honolulu, HI
      (contact to confirm times and location)

      Kapolei BJJ
      Black Belt Shane Agena
      Island Pacific Academy
      909 Haumea Street
      Kapolei, Hawaii 96707

      Gracie Technics
      Black Belt Rylan Lizares
      428 Mc Neill St. (Unit 4)
      Honolulu, HI 96817

      Central Oahu Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy
      Royler Gracie Association (Gracie Humaitá)
      Kai “Borg” Garcia
      Thomas Dumaoal
      455 Kilani Avenue
      Wahiawa, Hawaii 96786
      (808) 782-3963

      North Shore Jiu Jitsu Club
      Team lloyd irvin / Purebred Association
      Mike Fowler
      Boars Nest, North Shore

      Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Kailua
      Royler Gracie Association (Gracie Humaitá)
      Jason Izaguirre
      167 Hamakua Drive, Suite 202
      Kailua, Hawaii 96734
      Contact: (808) 261-4290

      Hope this list helps! Thank you so much for reading and enjoy your trip home! I'm J, I miss it so much! :)

    2. Won't let me use my open ID, but ....

      OMG, you're wonderful! Mahalo for the recs. I'll be sure to check at least one of these out while home.

      A hui hou!


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