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Pella BJJ: A history of new age Martial Arts in Pella Iowa

Members of Guardian BJJ, No Coast BJJ and Pella BJJ at Daniel's First Seminar


One of the Gems in the town of Pella, Iowa, our Jiu Jitsu/Judo/Kickboxing gym has been in operation since late 2021. Since that time, the members of Pella BJJ have attended 11 competitions and won a total of 25 gold, 17 silver, and 19 bronze medals. With great potential in the martial arts due in no small part by two of the original founders of the gym, Daniel Robbins and Matthew Trout, Pella BJJ has built a community and expanded to a large training facility in record time.

But how did we develop a martial arts gym suddenly and grow with such speed?

And what makes our Jiu Jitsu gym different?

Daniel laughing with good friend Levi of No Coast BJJ.

Starting as white belts together, they have both been promoted to Black belt and enjoy training Jiu Jitsu with each other to see how far they have grown.

Starting his journey in Iowa City under the training of Jason Clarke, Black Belt of Iowa City BJJ, Daniel found that Jiu Jitsu dwarfed all of the previous training he had been involved in since the age of 13. The complexity and abilities drawn from the art showed Daniel that he had only begun to scratch the surface of what was possible in the realm of martial arts. Operating on the core principle of learning from multiple instructors, Daniel Robbins, a current Black Belt in the art of Jiu Jitsu as well as 4 other Black Belts in various other martial arts, spent his years traveling the United States and training with several Jiu Jitsu gyms and honing his craft though various methods of instruction. In early 2021, shortly after the COVID outbreak, Daniel decided to move closer to family. He chose Pella Iowa because his older brother lived there with his wife and kids. This gave Daniel a chance to be close to his niece and nephews while also a return to his first Jiu Jitsu gym anytime he wanted.

During the same years, Matt Trout was living a similar life. As a young kid, he would often visit his older sister in Maine. She owed a Jiu Jitsu gym there with her husband and Matt would wrestle with his cousins every chance he could. However, without a gym in his hometown, he could only train while visiting family. Years later he would find himself training again, this time as a member of the Army in Korea. While enjoying the community that Jiu Jitsu offered, Matt found a gym anywhere he was stationed so he could keep up on his progression. After leaving the Active Army and rejoining the Iowa National Guard in 2020, he quickly got a job as an Iowa National Guard Recruiter for Oskaloosa, Iowa. He found a home in Pella and quickly made friends with David, Daniel's brother, through the Iowa National Guard.

Matt Trout training in Oklahoma with friend Cody while being stationed nearby for Army service

With different backgrounds in the art of Jiu Jitsu, both Daniel and Matt had a lot to teach each other. What started as friendly training in Matt's garage in the early morning hours, progressed to a larger group mixed with mornings and evenings. After looking for a gym that could accommodate the needs of Jiu Jitsu in the Pella area and not finding a suitable location, they made the decision to create their own. Daniel took the lead and became the owner of Pella BJJ while Matt took on an instructor role, teaching the next generation of warriors in the Pella, Oskaloosa, and Knoxville areas. Combined, they began to attract those warrior types that had similar backgrounds of wrestling and military service and started to learn new techniques while teaching their own.

Both men also sought out other Jiu Jitsu gyms within driving distance to Pella and became friends to many. Helping with open mats and having open doors with several gyms along HWY 163 and beyond. Having been Iowa natives, Daniel and Matt had trained with many people across Iowa and knew several ranked Jiu Jitsu members of other gyms. Pella BJJ quickly became a location for others to travel to and see how Daniel and Matt had been progressing with their students. As the membership grew at Pella BJJ, Daniel and Matt would often take members on trips to these other gyms and share in the training with others. Being able to train with Iowa City BJJ, Guardian of Ottumwa, No Coast of Des Moines, Old School of Kirksville, MO and many more, the members of Pella BJJ had been treated to the best Jiu Jitsu has to offer: fitness, technique, and a deep sense of community.

Rylen Priest, Owner of Pella BJJ

After 2 solid years of growth, Daniel passed the gym onto Rylen in order to presue higher training. Rylen being an established business man, young, and hungry for a challenge, took on the role of ensuring Pella BJJ would continue to grow. Rylen's main goal is to contuine training and to grow the membership of Pella BJJ. A Black Belt in Judo, Blue Belt in BJJ, and an accomplished competitor, Rylen understands the art and has no problem teaching multiple classes a day. Matt Trout took on the Competition coaching position and head BJJ instructor while Daniel is away training with old friends. Today, Matt and Rylen tackle the day to day operations of training with the continued guidance of Daniel.

Daniel and Ashley with Jocko Willink

Daniel plans on returning to Iowa in early spring of 2024 and being teaching and promoting the next generation of Pella BJJ members. Teaching all of the earliest members had been Daniel's passion, but gaining more knowledge from experts and the highest level of Jiu Jitsu instructors will allow Daniel to return with the newest and most cutting edge training. Currently spending time in San Degio at Victory MMA and 10th Planet, Daniel has zoom called during open mat, posted videos teaching new techniques, and called members of the gym to keep in touch. He keeps in regular contact with Rylen and Matt.

Pella BJJ is served by the desire to compete and the community that we enjoy throughout the state of Iowa and beyond. It is only with the extreme high level of expertise that has been found in all of the members of Pella BJJ that we all can learn and grow in this journey of physical fitness and mental toughness. Every member of Pella BJJ teaches us all in their own way and presents a challenge for even the most experienced instructors.

Jason Clarke of Iowa City BJJ Seminar at Pella BJJ

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