Jiu Jitsu Improving University Avenue






If you want to learn self-defense or be a fighter, check out City of Champions – a quiet training gym for athletes from beginners to pros. Owner Dustin Thornton takes pride in making his place “beginner friendly” and has an able staff of coaches to guide a boy or girl, man or woman, toward their personal goals, whether it’s getting fit, losing weight, improving strength and conditioning or martial arts like Jiu Jitsu or Muay Thai.

Thornton, 37, has invested to make this gym into a pleasing and welcoming business, improving the lighting, equipment and restrooms, since opening in 2012. “We have a #1 rating on Yelp, which does a thorough background check on your business,” he says. “You can’t change any Yelp reviews at all, and all mine are A-1, five star ratings. We’re proud of that.” Comments include: “Neat place, clean floors, no messy equipment … dedicated instructors who inspire … it’s all business for a full hour.”The big challenge facing this business area, he believes, is “the lack of foot traffic. We need a coffee shop or café to attract people and get walkers to stop in.” Thornton knows what it takes to become successful. For over a dozen years, he’s dedicated himself to learning skills and honing his talents. “There aren’t any short cuts to a high level of functioning except old-fashioned hard work.”

Inspired in 2001 watching Royce Gracie, the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Mixed Martial Arts champion on TV from his home in Pittsburgh, Thornton moved to San Diego in 2005 after his coach told him that the most concentrated Jiu Jitsu schools were in southern California and eventually settled in El Cerrito where he and wife Yoko and 9 month old baby Kiara now live. On weekdays he closes the gym between 2 and 4pm to spend time with his family, doing chores, and relax. Then he returns to work until 9pm or later.

Jiu Jitsu or Judo (a gentle art) involves a throw or takedown by using the joint locks or “chokes.” It does not use kicking or punching, but involves quick, but studied moves and fast reflexes. “Limbs don’t often get broken because the opponent will tap out to concede. This system was started in Japan. It allows a small person to defeat a larger person.”

City of Champions also stresses the mental side of conditioning. “If you have the desire, we can train you,” Thornton says. He quotes Napoleon Hill: “Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man, but sooner or later the one who wins is the one who thinks he can.”

Free Trial Offer

Jiu-Jitsu / San Diego class added to the schedule

Question : So what can possibly be better than Jiu- Jitsu ?

Answer: More Jiu-Jitsu !

Yes, if you guessed more Jiu Jitsu you were right!  We already know that the 10 am class is a very popular time among SDSU students and members who work 2nd or 3rd shift.  We also realize the 7 pm works perfect for the 9-5 rs who come in to train Jiu-Jitsu after work. But can we serve our current students and future students better by offering an earlier class during the week? Maybe you have dinner plans after work but still want to train. Maybe you are a mom or dad and want to be home in time to read to your son or daughter before they go to bed . What ever the case may be we just made another option! Starting February 17th 2015 a 5 pm Jiu-Jitsu class has been added.

So far here is what to expect.

From the start a quick warm up and some technique to follow.

How long ? 1 hour to train and work on your technique that you learned from the day  or weeks prior.

Will there be live training/ rolling ? This 5 pm Jiu-Jitsu class will have an open mat about half way through so you will get some rounds to choke and arm lock each other.

Is this an advanced or beginner friendly class? Good question and all levels are welcome because this format helps beginners get their feet wet without being overwhelmed . This also pushes the advanced level competitors to think and work quickly with less time on the clock just like competition.

See you all Tuesdays at 5 pm .

Have any more questions or concerns , let us know feedback is always appreciated .







Free Trial Offer

Every parent should know this about Kids Jiu Jitsu

The kids Jiu Jitsu classes have really grown this past year, we’d like to thank all the parents who take a positive role in keeping their kids in the Jiu Jitsu program here at City Of Champions !

In our adult program the #1  thing said to our coaches after they begin is “I wish I trained Jiu Jitsu when I was a kid” What is the reason for this?

We see lots of children who have no discipline, are very over weight and have no self esteem, are being bullied at school and have no confidence because of this. It is a cycle that will carry into adulthood and become harder as they make it to middle and high school.
Our Job has always been to transform those into confident , in shape children with a discipline to conquer all the challenges they face while growing into a young adult like peer pressure from older kids, bullying,  childhood obesity and the need to “fit in” with the wrong crowd or gang.

Our kids team builds off each other to put each individual on a different level from when they arrived and to help them look up to each other and the coaches.We are always there with a strong positive reinforcement to build them into young leaders.

Kids get into shape and feel better because of it .Learn discipline, receive  a structured schedule along with “rules of the mat” that set the tone for the class .

This is our foundation , want to see more?

See it for yourself and let our actions speak for us !! Any  Mon- Wed – Fri at 5 pm . for a Free Class.


Free Trial Offer

Brand Spankin’ New


Hello! Gerald here and I’m so excited to start blogging about our Muay Thai team! We’ve recently decided to dedicate Saturday afternoons for team practice for our members who want to fight competitively or level up their ‘Art of 8 limbs’ skills. Most of our sessions consist of sparring, padwork review from the week, and critiques/feedback. The past few sessions have shown great interest along with high-quality training, encouraging both new and veteran members to become more passionate in the sport.

The experience level between new and veteran members reminds me of a teacher-student relationship. I’ve always found the bond between teacher and student to be fascinating. It’s an interesting relationship because you are constantly sharing knowledge, experiences, feeling empowered but also humbled down. The roles are constantly switched back and forth and it never gets boring. I’m very grateful to have worked with everyone I’ve met along my journey because it definitely builds your character; you discover more about yourself. Every time I see someone new walk through our door and meet them, I always imagine what they can potentially wind up to be. They could be the next world champ or the next most sought-out trainer! It truly boggles my mind when I think about it and that’s why I love our gym. We provide that kind of positive energy and setting where members can live and thrive.

Aiming high with that drive and determination is exactly what they’re gonna need when we host our 2nd In-house Muay Thai/Jiu-Jitsu Fight Night. Scheduled for November 22, we have a few cards lined up, mostly our new members showing off what they’ve learned. Our first event was a huge success with a full house, people crowding around the back alley, cheers and screams echoing throughout the gym, the atmosphere was hype! I’m stoked because everyone’s been helping each other work hard not just during class, but it’s the extra time spent after class, even outside the gym that we show each other respect, friendship, and camaraderie. I can’t wait to see what each participant gains after this experience. We look forward to hanging out and seeing you here!


Free Trial Offer

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Open Mat on Saturday

Jiu Jitsu open mat

Jiu Jitsu  open mat is now on Saturdays at 9 am . In the past we have always had open mat on Sunday but now we decided to switch it up for the  fall season. This Jiu Jitsu  open mat is open to the public for friends of students to come roll with us or even try a free class .

What is Open mat and how is it different from a normal class? Open mat is first a day where we show up and train, we set the timer and roll rounds to sharpen up on technique learned from the prior week . Its a perfect day to prepare for competitions also as competing on weekends is most common.

Are beginners welcome to this Jiu Jitsu open mat? Yes ! Beginners are always welcome to this class , we strongly encourage beginners to open mat because its a perfect way to improve very quickly and to meet a large portion of the other teammates.

This open mat is  with the Gi or commonly known as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu  so show up and train with us we would love to have you here!


Free Trial Offer

We all gotta start somewhere…

We’ve been getting a lot of new members recently, which is great!  We love beginners and people just starting out with martial arts.  First things first – are you nervous?  Good.  Because that’s normal!  Everyone was new at some point.  The difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary is that the extraordinary just kept coming back to practice.  Remember – one step ahead, one practice more than the other, makes for ‘extra’.  Here’s a picture of Head Jiu-Jitsu instructor Dustin Thornton as a white belt in 2003 to prove how this is true!

Free Trial Offer

Congrats Vince and Juan!

Big Congrats to Juan (3rd) & Vince (1st)  on their wins in the Dream Submission Only Jiu-Jitsu tournament on October 12th! Way to represent the City of Champions San Diego jiu-jitsu team!!

Photo: Big Congrats to Juan 3rd  & Vince 1st  today on their wins in the Dream Submission Only Jiu-Jitsu tournament ! Way to represent the Team !!

Free Trial Offer