Michael Yi is a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Professor Renato “Babalu” Sobral. I started my Martial Arts journey while in High School. First starting with Tae Kwon Do for several years, then moving to Kenpo Karate for a few years afterward, and then moving back to Tae Kwon Do again. I have always enjoyed Martial Arts, and was looking for something more challenging and more fulfilling. I started my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training at Babalu’s Iron Gym (formerly Gracie Barra Cerritos) in 2009 and found the Martial Arts program that I have been looking for, and have been training under 3rd Degree BJJ Black Belt Renato “Babalu” Sobral ever since.
When my children were of age, I enrolled them in the kids’ programs at Babalu’s Iron Gym (B.I.G.) and they were both hooked. I wanted to get more involved with the academy and with my children’s growth and was given the opportunity to assist the instructors with the children’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program.
Under the guidance of Professor Babalu, I gained valuable teaching experience, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program methodology and given the responsibility of fully instructing one of the children’s BJJ class, and later the Adult BJJ Fundamental classes in 2014. During this time, the desire to teach others and share this art changed my life in many ways.
I’ve spent the following years understanding the details of the techniques, the growth of the students, the victories in competitions.
With encouragement and support from Professor Babalu, I was able to realize my dream of opening a Martial Arts school in 2018 here in Eugene, Oregon. My family and I love the family atmosphere and community here in the Bethel area, including Eugene Rec Center at “The Barn” on Royal Ave.
At Babalu’s Iron Gym’s 10th Anniversary Celebration (October 2018), I was awarded my BJJ Black Belt from Professor Babalu and became his 2nd student to receive a Black Belt.
With continual guidance and support from Professor Babalu and my family at Babalu’s Iron Gym, I am continuing this journey and I invite you to join this journey, to better ourselves and our community together.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Lineage:
Carlos Gracie, Sr. → Carlos Gracie, Jr. → Renato “Babalu” Sobral [1st, 2nd & 3rd Degree by Prof. Roberto Gordo Correa] → Michael Yi
Vulkan California Open Gi Silver – 2014
Vulkan California Open No-Gi Silver – 2014
Dream Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi Silver – 2014
USBJJF North American Gi Champion – 2013
USBJJF North American Gi Bronze (Absolute) – 2013