Newspaper: Super Mario’s Gym Will Focus On “Fighting Fit”

Post-Bulletin Article by Ben Pherson
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For years, Mario Roberto ran jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts classes out of the Fourth Street Gym in Rochester.

But Roberto had bigger dreams. So after years of saving and planning, Roberto has opened a gym he can call his own.

Roberto, who originally is from Brazil, opened the Mario Roberto Jiu-Jitsu Academy earlier this year, with a grand opening planned for this month.

It’s a state-of-the-art facility, featuring a complete weight room, a wide-open mat area, locker rooms, an impressive range of cardio machines and a 30-foot MMA-style cage.

In short, it has everything Roberto envisioned.

Mario Roberto's new gymnasium in northwest Rochester has been designed to accommodate students of all kinds, from professional mixed martial artists to beginners who are simply looking to get into shape.

“I had been saving for quite a while, and I guess it was somewhat of a risk,” Roberto said. “I put a lot of money into the facility. But it was something that needed to be done. And now I get the satisfaction of walking in here and seeing the kind of gym I envisioned.”

Roberto’s new gym, which is located on the north side of the Slumberland North complex (4915 Highway 52, Suite B), has been designed to accommodate students of all kinds, from professional mixed martial artists to beginners who are simply looking to get into shape.

Members at MRJJA will have access to high level martial arts and fitness training, and Roberto said there will be a special emphasis placed on the fitness aspect.

Classes in jiu-jitsu, grappling, Muay Thai, self-defense and mixed martial arts are being offered. Roberto also would like to rejuvenate the kids program.

“We are going to be able to cater to people who don’t necessarily want to train MMA, but want to get into the MMA lifestyle,” Roberto said. “MMA fighters are probably the fittest athletes on the face of the earth. But you don’t necessarily need to be a fighter to train like one. We’re calling it ‘fighting fit.’ There’s fit and then there’s fighting fit.”

Roberto’s “fighting fit” starts in his meticulously designed weight room. There, gym members will find a full set of kettle bells, gymnastics rings, bumper plates, glute-ham raise benches and much more.

“We’ve tried to create a strength room that revolves around functionality rather than looks,” Roberto said. “We’re offering something that other health clubs or gyms don’t do. We are training for performance here and performance alone. The looks are just a side result.”

Roberto took the same approach with his cardio equipment, securing top-of-the-line “Life Fitness” machines.

While Roberto, who was a licensed and practicing medical doctor in Brazil before moving to Rochester in 2004, has some high-profile regular clients like UFC veterans Travis Wiuff and Tommy Speer, he said the majority of his clients will never compete.

“We want the layman to come in here and be able to train like a fighter,” Roberto said. “We want everyone to be able to go through the things that our pro fighters do to push himself or herself to the limit and to get to their goals. We feel like what we offer can do a lot more on a personal-life basis, with weight loss, self confidence, self-defense skills.”

Roberto always offers free trial classes for those simply looking to “check out” the gym. Plus, during the grand opening month of June, Roberto is offering a promotion — new members receive the first month free.

Roberto, who is the longest tenured Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt (1998) in Minnesota, is betting new members won’t be disappointed.

“Our goal is to provide the best experience for every single one of our clients,” Roberto said. “We want to provide the best fitness facility around, and we believe that the hard training that’s involved with martial arts can help anyone.”

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