Meet the instructor for our Jiu Jitsu Program: Ivan Herrera. He is an accomplished brown belt under the Legendary Master Baret Yoshida and is looking forward to bringing Baret Submissions Jiu Jitsu to The Training Center. As a lifetime competitor with multiple MMA title bouts, and as the Jiu Jitsu World Champion of 2018, Ivan Herrera is no stranger to the world of Martial Arts. His uncle was pro boxer Lenny “El Pichon” Valdez, so Ivan says, “I always assumed I’d box too.” Which he did, amidst many other things too.
Moving to San Diego from Mexicali as a kid, Ivan started with Kempo Karate and then club wrestling at Mighty Mites at Mount Miguel High School under Dale Siscon. In the off-season, Ivan wrestled at Frank Gallindo’s ‘The Bull Pen’ where he was first introduced to MMA. From there, Ivan spent some time in Thailand competing and refining his skills in the art of eight, Muay Thai.
In 2007 after seeing Master Baret Yoshida fight for Shooto Japan, Ivan came to study Jiu Jitsu under the local superstar. While he began training with Baret Submissions in order to improve his MMA, by 2012, Jiu Jitsu had become Ivan’s primary competitive focus — donning usually two tournaments a month the past 7 years until the pandemic hit. When asked how he was able to sustain such a
rigorous regimen, Ivan attributes his discipline to diet, balance, and recovery practices. “Low inflammation. Lots of fermented foods. Mostly plant-based but I eat liver and make broths. Sauna, swim, cold water immersion and red light therapy. It’s crucial.”
It’s clear that Martial Arts is more than mere sport for him. It’s a lifestyle. To Ivan, it goes hand in hand with caring about our bodies and the environment. His passions outside the gym are seamlessly interconnected with this thread of balance and wellness. As a cyclist who primarily commutes via bike, it’s easy to see how he begins each day by surfing at dawn. Not surprisingly, he’s a minimalist who’s working towards self-sustainability on his off-the-grid property. He’s into music and art and enjoying the historic culture San Diego has to offer.
As far as his movement and teaching style goes, Ivan describes it as chain-oriented: standing to takedown or pull to sweep to scramble to finish position or set up. He explains, “I’m very into movement science and focus my workouts around kinetic chains and structural integrity.” This philosophy and background makes him perfect for teaching all levels, from first-day beginners and BJJ-hobbyists to serious competitors. He’s well rounded in No Gi BJJ and in the Gi as well. His Jiu Jitsu will also blend well with people looking to bridge the Jiu Jitsu-MMA gap.