Marin MMA Reviews and Testimonials

Brigette Barnato – Mikyo's 1st Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, 4x US Open Gold Medalist, IBJJF World and Pan Am Medalist

Mikyo Riggs first Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, Brigette Barnato!

I have been a student of Mikyo’s for over 10 years. I received all my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu belts from him, including my black belt that I received in December 2013. In my martial arts career, I have trained at many academies, including academies in Brazil, where Jiu-Jitsu was started. In all my years training, I have yet to meet an instructor with such attention to detail and foundation than Mikyo nor an academy with a more welcoming atmosphere than MarinMMA. Mikyo and his programs at MarinMMA are phenomenal. Mikyo is a kind and caring instructor who knows how to adapt his teaching skills to every goal, be it competition, getting in shape, or building community. He has been known to give everything to his students, which has fortunately and definitely been the case in my experience training with him. Not only does Mikyo give everything he has to my martial arts training and career as my coach, he cached me through the trials of high school and eventually into college, writing me a letter of recommendation that landed me admissions to UC Berkeley. The all-encompassing curriculum he has built for MarinMMA prepared me in earning metals at the World Championships for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu three times. Further, the community at MarinMMA is like no other. I have met some of my closest friends and training partners at MarinMMA and can easily call my team my family. I would highly recommend Mikyo’s teaching, curriculum, and expertise at MarinMMA to anyone interested in learning a new skill, self-defense, competition, or folks seeking community. It is all there!

Laith Salih - Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, IBJJF Pan Am Silver Medalist, Open Weight Bronze Medalist

Laith Salih IBJJF Pan American Silver Medalist in weight, Bronze in Open ClassI first started training with Mikyo Riggs in 2002 before moving to Southern California for school in 2004. Although I was only able to train with Mikyo for 2 years initially he has had a large impact on my life, including building my self-confidence, training me to go out of my comfort zone in martial arts and in life, making better health choices, and being supportive and helpful when I moved to Southern California to continue my martial arts training, so I can honestly say I am lucky to have been referred to Mikyo, not only for his martial arts expertise but to be able to now call him a very good friend. Mikyo is a well-know martial artist not only in the Bay Area but nationally; training in Southern California my training partners were aware of who Mikyo Riggs is because of the name he has been able to build in his years of competing and beating some big names.

When I moved back to Marin County, one of the first things I made sure to do was return to train with Mikyo and Marin MMA because I know he will continue to improve my life in martial arts, health choices, and self confidence among other things. The best thing about returning is seeing how Mikyo has built a school with the same focus and passion for all of his students as when he started in a rented space with a few students. If you are looking for a martial arts school second to none in the Bay Area to grow as a human being, make smart life choices, learn self defense, have fun exercising, and meet people you will call friends, I highly recommend Mikyo Riggs and Marin MMA. Thank you Mikyo!

Jason Boivie - Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, IBJJF Pan Am Champion, IBJJF Worlds Silver Medalist

Jason Boivie Mikyo Riggs Jiu-Jitsu Black BeltMikyo Riggs runs his school and teaches his art with more passion and fire than I have ever experienced from someone in a coaching position. From his inspirational and life mentoring “mat chats” to his absolute conviction of the success of his students in competition settings, Mikyo Riggs applies himself to his school with a full heart. I feel blessed to have had the pleasure of growing and learning under someone who loves what they do as much as Mikyo. Marin MMA students are known throughout the Jiu-Jitsu community for their high level of technical skill and their exceptional attitude. It is my feeling that Mikyo Riggs and the community at Marin MMA breed not only outstanding students in the art of Jiu-Jitsu, but also in the art of life.

Dave Kovar – Martial arts expert instructor with black belt degrees in ten different martial arts styles

I am so impressed with Mikyo Riggs and Marin MMA. The school is beautiful, the students are friendly and the instruction is first class. If you live in the area, it is THE place to train.

BJ Penn – UFC World Champion, Jiu-Jitsu World Champion, One of the Pound for Pound Best fighters in the world

BJ Penn and Mikyo Riggs TrainingI’ve known Mikyo for over 10 years. He has been a training partner, coach, and friend. With his knowledge of striking, takedowns, and Jiu-Jitsu he is a perfect teacher for anyone who wants to learn true mixed martial arts.

David Camarillo – Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, Judo Black Belt, Trainer of UFC fighters

Ralph Gracie's Competition Team in 1999 Mikyo 6th from the right, Dave Camarillo 5th from the right

Ralph Gracie’s Competition Team, 1999 Joe Moreira International Jiu-Jitsu Championships
Mikyo 6th from the right, Dave Camarillo 5th from the right

There are a lot of Martial Artists that can only fight and many that can only teach. The best situation for one’s training is to find someone that can do both. And Mikyo Riggs is that kind of Martial Artist!

JC Santana - One of the top trainers in the world

I have had the pleasure of seeing Mikyo Riggs at several of our seminars. Mikyo is what the prototypical combat athlete should be: dedicated to his art, to his students and to his advancement as a professional. I consider him a close colleague in the combative world and will be taking some private lessons from him on my next visit to San Francisco/Bay Area. Congratulations on your new school Mikyo -you deserve it.

Crosley Gracie - Pride FC fighter, Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, Pancrase Fighter

I’ve known Mikyo for almost 6 years and the words that come to mind when the subject is himself are: Friendly, dedicated, giving and outgoing. As a person, he has always been loyal to his friends and it s always looking to learn and improve not just as an athlete and a trainer but simply as a human being. As an athlete, he was always very technical and competitive, which in my opinion, every top athlete must be like, besides always looking to learn and add to his knowledge. Which explains why Mikyo has a group of such technical students. His dedications to teaching and to his students are shown at every tournament he brings his school to. Always screaming to his team on the side of the mat until there s no more voice as if he was the one competing. He’s a person that will add to you in one way or another!

Gabe Ruediger - 3X WEC Lightweight World Champion, UFC Fighter

Mikyo Riggs was one of my first training partners and coaches. He had the ability to teach and understand martial arts in an innovative manner well before it became a sport. With The help of Mikyo, I was able to enter my first two mixed martial arts events with success and the added help of a great coach. One of the true mixed martial artists, Mikyo’s understanding of ground fighting, stand up, and general martial arts is unparalleled. I would highly recommend anyone to train with the uncrowned champion of mixed martial arts, Mikyo Riggs.

James Cook - Two time world kickboxing champion

Mikyo Riggs is not just an old friend, but an excellent coach, instructor, and motivator. When I met Mikyo in 1996, I knew he was real deal when I asked him to show an escape from the guard and he made it look so beautiful and so technical. People don’t know this, but Mikyo also helped me enrich my boxing career and skills by introducing me to Front Range Boxing in Boulder, CO. If you are reading this, you need to stop here and register MARIN MMA. It’s the best kept secret north of the Golden Gate Bridge. What are you waiting for?

Sergio Silva - 3rd Degree Jiu-Jitsu Blackbelt, Team Silva

This man is the teacher with a master plan.I have been a black belt since 2003 and from the years of 2000 to 2003 I had an opportunity to train and learn from Mikyo Riggs.He helped me in my MMA arsenal tool box and today i still using a lot of the moves that he showed in practice and teaching of my daily life! If you have an opportunity to train with this man DO IT and you will be very happy that you have done-Things that will take for life forever-Mikyo is the man with a master plan!

Gregorio Marcellino Rivera, Ralph Gracie Chino Hills

I am a black belt under Ralph Gracie and have been training for over 20 years. Mikyo Riggs has helped define my learning capacity as a student and teacher of Jiu-Jitsu. Even to this day I continue to learn different aspects of theories and techniques from Mikyo that impress me. He is a true, caring and genuine person, friend and teacher.

Marin MMA has a distinct system in place that produces successful martial artists on and off the mat. Based on goal oriented values, the school is definitely creating solid foundations and structure in its student’s lives. I have been privileged to witness this first hand and be a part of it. The tight knit team atmosphere is one that I have tried to emulate at my academy. Everyone is there for each other to help grow as a unit. It’s a great feeling to learn top level technique and know that you’re part of something special. That’s what it’s like to be a student at Marin MMA.

Ben Russack - Brown Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, student since 2006

When I walked in the doors of the newly established Marin MMA over ten years ago I could smell the paint still drying on the walls. At the time I was grossly overweight, carried little self confidence and could barely look another person in the eye. As the business of Marin MMA grew and found its feet so too did its student. Over the next five years I would lose weight and come into myself as a human being. The debt I owe Mikyo Riggs and his school is truly beyond measure. At Marin MMA I have made friendships I am certain will last a lifetime, as well as re-invented my body, mind and spirit.

Erin Breslin - Brown Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

You aren’t going to find a more technical teacher than Mikyo Riggs. I was doing martial arts for 10 years before finding Marin MMA. I’ve trained at many different types of gyms. Some were in Marin County and some were in Southern California. Marin MMA is the cleanest, the most humble, the most technical, and the most life changing gym I’ve come across to date. When I say “life changing,” I mean Mikyo makes sure that what he teaches on the mat transfers to your every day life though group “Mat Chats” and one-on-one advice on your training.

Whatever you’re looking to do, Marin MMA can help you get there. I started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as a fun new martial art to try out. Marin MMA gave me the option to compete in MMA and BJJ tournaments. It was a great way to bring my martial arts to a whole new level. Not everyone in the gym competes though, so no one ever felt pressure to enter a tournament when they were doing Jiu Jitsu or kickboxing to lose weight or explore a new hobby.

Marin MMA’s classes are amazing work outs. If you have an injury from the past, Mikyo will make sure to modify your workout with you so that you can still participate in the class.

Marin MMA has one of the most supportive steady group of women who train there too. MMA is dominated by men, but is crucial for a woman to know. I NEVER felt unsafe or disrespected at Marin MMA. Always empowered and supported.

I trained with Marin MMA for 5 years. I just moved to Southern California and I am a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. People are always impressed at how technical I am and ask where I’ve trained in the past. I always tell them with pride that I learned under Mikyo Riggs. The usual response is “Well that makes sense then.”

I can not emphasize how great Mikyo and his staff really are. You have to go see it for yourself!!

Lauren Sacks - Jiu-Jitsu Purple belt, IBJJF Pan Am Silver Medalist

I sought out Marin MMA for the same reasons many people seek out martial arts training: self-defense, confidence, strength, and epic skills. Little did I know that I would not only find all of my initial needs fulfilled, but that I would gain so much more. In my years of training, Professor Mikyo Riggs has facilitated my growth from a lost college graduate into a highly focused jiu-jitsu machine and I could not be more thankful. Through positive coaching, over twenty years of martial arts teaching and training, and an extensive background in psychology, Mikyo helps his students make gains far beyond their own self-imposed limits. What I like most about his teaching and Marin MMA overall is that these gains are not solely in developing skills, although good technique is a hallmark of the school. Entering the path of the martial artist at Marin MMA is a lifestyle change that helps students become more healthy, confident, athletic, disciplined, and successful in all areas of their life while being supported by great teachers and a new family of similarly-minded peers. While it is intimidating to first walk through the doors of a school and see such a highly skilled group of individuals, I implore you to challenge your fears and doubts about entering the world of martial arts and remember that every student started exactly where you are today.

Daniel Wykowski - College Student

I never got in any sort of trouble with the law when I was younger, and for the most part I attribute that to you. I think that Marin MMA offers a fantastic outlet for the youth of the Bay Area, who strive to accomplish something more than the norm. It has been a long time since I’ve “officially” trained, but will readily admit that your studio has had a lasting impact on me. When I trained with you I refrained from smoking because I knew it would make the next jiu-jitsu class more difficult, and I didn’t drink because I didn’t want to be hungover for the next kickboxing class. Mikyo’s guidance has helped shaped the person who I am today, and I will truly be forever grateful. I am currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in accounting/finance at the University of Washington in Seattle, and I hope to return to the Bay Area some day. The lessons that Mikyo taught me about martial arts in terms of passion, dedication, work ethic have stayed with me since the day that I met you. I think that Marin MMA offers much more than a martial arts studio, it offers a way of life. I want to sincerely thank Mikyo for the lasting impact that he has had on my life, and I promise to repay the favor at some point in my life.

Geoffrey Gloisten - Aikido Black Belt, Jiu-Jitsu Blue Belt

When I started at Marin MMA I was looking for a school to learn jiujitsu. I was searching for a talented instructor and a positive school culture. At Marin MMA I found all of that and more. I found a school that offers all of its students the necessary tools to achieve their personal goals. Whether they want to lose weight, get in great shape, learn self defense or become a world champion. This is all made possible by professor Mikyo Riggs. Professor Riggs offers up his many years of experience and expertise as fighter, martial arts instructor and motivational coach to all his students. When I looked around and observed the consistent level of skill and physical conditioning the students possessed I knew the Marin MMA training program works for everyone. I was confident that if I attended class regularly I would see similar results and I have.

At Marin MMA I have found something I value more than my skill as a martial artist. I have become part of a family who helps me to become a better person every day. I know now that each and every time I walk out of the school I am a better person than I was when I walked in. I am not just a more skilled martial artist and more confident because of these skills. I am a better person. I have a more positive attitude. I appreciate life and my friends and family more. I feel better about myself, which makes it possible for me to care about others. I smile and greet strangers as close friends.

Noel Murphy - Jiu-Jitsu Purple Belt, Student since 2008

I have trained at other well-known academies but I have yet to meet a teacher, fighter and true martial artist like Mikyo Riggs. Some schools try to produce Mundial winners while others try to train the next UFC fighters. But Mikyo Riggs is unique in his ability to get the best out of whoever walks into his academy and makes the commitment to learn and develop. He makes a comparable commitment to you and I have seen him devote as much attention to the 40 year old paperwork pusher as he does to his 25 year old full time mixed martial arts fighters and jiu jitsu players. Marin Mixed Marital Arts is an extension of his personality. It is welcoming, gracious, and humble, but it also requires dedication, focus, courage, and very hard work. I have been training with him for five years and I owe him much respect and gratitude. He’s helped me on a path that I never tire of and lately always miss.

Kirsten Annell - Yellow belt, High School Student, Student since 2008

At Marin MMA, you will learn awesome techniques, whether you’re interested in getting into great shape, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, kick boxing, or even stick fighting. You’ll have very experienced and patient instructors to help you all along the way. Mikyo Riggs, the main man, has been my instructor through it all. He has helped me grow so much as a fighter, and as a person. He understands that no one starts off as some amazing black belt, and is there to help set you up for success. You’ll also get help and support from your incredible teammates. Some of the sweetest and most patient people I’ve met have been my partners though this. I wouldn’t trade my experiences for the world.

Dave 'Geezer' Daunell - Jiu-Jitsu Purple Belt, Student since 2010

I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude for the instruction I have received at Marin MMA. 
It has been over 6 years since I began at Marin MMA. When I first walked in I had no idea what to expect. I was quickly put at ease by the informal and friendly atmosphere. The kindness and esteem I was, and continue to be shown by all the instructors and fellow students are testament to the values and teaching skills of Professor Mikyo Riggs.
 I began jiu jitsu to take my fitness to another level. And hey, who doesn’t want to be a bad ass? The fitness and the martial arts skills are an ongoing roller coaster of challenge and fun. But, as it happens I am learning so much more. About myself and my way of relating to others. Whatever desire I had to be a bad-ass has been replaced by a more real sense of confidence. I am quite sure that this wouldn’t have come about in just any martial arts school. I look forward to my continued schooling at Marin MMA for many years to come.

David Ireland - BJJ Purple Belt, Student since 2009

I believe one of the best things that sets Mikyo Riggs apart from other instructors is that he is involved in our lives. As students, we are treated like part of his family. He knows all of us, and he believes in all of us. He believes in his students and everything we can accomplish with our lives both on and off the mat. As a fighter, I’ve seen Mikyo train for tournaments, literally putting himself through some of the hardest workouts I’ve seen. He believes in his training and his technique and instills in us, his students, that same belief in our ability. His technical know-how and tireless work ethic inspires all of us to be better martial artists. Hopefully that doesn’t sound too corny, but I believe that. He’s encouraged me to follow my dreams, set my goals, and work towards achieving my goals. Mikyo has always believed in me and what I can accomplish. I’ve seen him push himself and his body hard. It shows me what someone can accomplish when he/she works towards that goal. Mikyo’s technique is better than you can find at most places. He pays attention to the details in training. As far as privates go, I appreciate that. I wasn’t looking for that when donating for our team to go to Worlds or the Pan Ams, I just believe in Mikyo and our athletes and what they can accomplish.

Travis Wilson - Blue Belt, Student since 2007

I’ve been training under Mikyo Riggs for six years and have come to respect his unique style of instruction. The style he teaches in has evolved not only from his deep-set philosophical belief in technique, but also from his own personal accomplishments. Throughout my life I have encountered many individuals with the ability to teach and many individuals that perform at very high levels, but rarely can they do both. Mikyo is an exception to that rule. As the head instructor and owner of his own school he is also a decorated fighter. In addition to myself, all three of my children also benefit from training with Mikyo.

Peter Fugazzotto - Purple Belt, Student since 2008

Almost five years ago, I walked into MarinMMA and it changed my life. I came in wanting to learn the ground game, something that I had not been exposed to in the other martial arts that I had studied for more than a decade.

But what I have gained is much more than simply a knowledge of Brazilian jiu jitsu. I have also made great friends, gotten into the best shape of my life and grown as an individual by challenging myself to enter competitions despite being over 40 years old.

What sets the school apart from others is the solid instruction from Ralph Gracie Black Belt Mikyo Riggs. While he focuses heavily on the basics of jiu jitsu (the hallmark of a good school no matter what the style), he also breaks down the techniques from the best competitors in the world and guides his more advanced students in uncovering the theories beneath the techniques.

The school is a great mix of different people – men and women; adults and kids; older athletes and young competitors – and each of these different people is able to find a home at MarinMMA. And this great mix of people has become a second family to me.

Gareth Friedman - Professional Muay Thai Fighter, Marin MMA Student

I decided to train and fight MMA in the states. I was told by many people that Mikyo Riggs Jiu Jitsu (Marin Mma) was the place to go. I went to check it out and started to really like it. Everyone there is so friendly and welcoming that it really makes it a good training environment. The coach is Mikyo Riggs is a Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Ralph Gracie. Jeremy, who is also a jiu-jitsu coach, and Antone, the Muay thai coach, are all excellent coaches and I learned a lot from them: from stand up fighting to wrestling to BJJ and MMA. Not only did I learn martial arts, but they taught me a lot about life, respect, morals, manners and much more. Marin MMA’s saying is 100% technique and that’s what you going to get. My level as a fighter improved by 100% thanks to Mikyo and Marin MMA. He is a great teacher, coach, fighter and friend. He really knows what he is talking about he has been through it all as he is a champion himself. Not only does Mikyo teach you about fighting, but also about life in general, so it is very different from other gym, they really cares about each student and their goals. So If you looking to get in fit or be a fighter or just looking to have a good time and learn a lot Marin MMA is the place to go.