This is what it's all about, grappleros. We were stoked when our brother in Jiu Jitsu, Hywel Teague of BJJHacks, approached us with a badass idea for a DSTRYR/SG article. For the sad and unaware, Hywel is the jet-setting BJJ filmmaker and journalist behind BJJHacks.com. We've featured several of their films before. Visit them often for killer BJJ films and read what Hywel has to say below. Go:
Let's face it grappler, the closest you or I will get to elite status within the sport is stalking various BJJ'ers on the web. You don't speak Portuguese so you can't understand the back-and-forth on Twitter, and Facebook is just a non-stop stream of seminar ads.
Fear not! The biggest names in jiu-jitsu have finally discovered the iPhone photo-sharing app Instagram, leading to a non-stop stream of pics ranging from strength and conditioning sessions to plates of sushi.
We could wax lyrical about how inspiring it is to get such an intimate view into a champions day-to-day life, but we're probably enabling an addiction that may or may not have already gotten you a restraining order (the one you keep next to that lock of Marcelo Garcia's hair). Either way it's pretty cool, so download the app and follow these guys – and don't forget to add us too! (@dstryrsg and @hywelteague)
Andre Galvao (@galvaobjj)
Like most Instagramers, double ADCC champ, World and PanAm BJJ champ Andre Galvao veers wildly with his choice of pictures. You'll be treated to many shots from inside the ATOS academy but expect a healthy amount of cute pics of kids and pets too. Keep an eye out for various visiting pals, such as the Mendes bros.
Bear Quitugua (@shoyoroll)
You try to dismiss the trendy nature of the Shoyoroll kimonos and label anyone wearing one as a fashion victim, but we know you secretly covet the new release just as much as the three-stripe white belt with his finger hovering over the pre-order button on BudoVideos. Caution: Shoyoroll founder Bear's pics may cause you to salivate on your iPhone. You've been warned.
Dennis Asche (@connectionrio)
An American living in Brazil, black belt Dennis is one of the few people nuts enough to rid a bicycle around the streets on Rio. This means he posts some truly stunning images of the city, which he mixes up with pics from inside some of the best-known academies Rio has to offer. In a nutshell: street art, scenery and sweeps.
Who'd have thought the boss of Alliance is an Instagramer? When he's not pumping out world champs, the 'General' is snapping pics from inside his team's HQ in Sao Paulo. Interestingly, you will get to see a softer side of the great man. Pics of his loveable pooch sit side-by-side with shots of his many jiu-jitsu friends.
One of the more active Instagramers on this list, Gabi's pics show the ADCC and BJJ world champ in a light you may never have thought possible. Yes, you will see her famously large muscles coiled around fellow grapplers' necks. You will also see little black dress and lipstick. We'll leave it up to decide whether to be intimidated, aroused, or both.
Bouncing between the mainland US and various islands out in the Pacific, Fowler's pics are definitely some of the more enviable to be found on Instagram. When he's not kicking it with friends like BJ Penn in Hawaii, he's hanging out with his beautiful wife, brown belt Tracey Goodell. Guy's got it made.
Ice Cream Kron doesn't care if you think he's cool or not. He's too, err, cool for that. Check out some of his cool pics, made cooler by the fact they're just so goddamn cool. Cool? Cool.
You know you've not got a chance in hell with your number one jiu-jitsu crush, but that doesn't stop you from secretly hoping she may catch your eye at the Worlds this year and ask you to whisk her away from her terribly beautiful and happy life in Rio to your one-bedroom apartment in Fresno. Keep dreaming, grappler.
It's like it's impossible for Gui and Rafa not to smile in a pic. One look at their Instagram profile reveals rows upon rows of white teeth, smiling from sushi restaurants, from private gyms, from airplanes, from winners' podiums. How they get time to take so many pics between berimbolos isn't clear.
Romulo Barral (@romulobarral)
Romulo has some of the most impressive biceps in BJJ. It's like somebody has swept into a Brazilian steakhouse and grafted two chunks of cow thigh onto his arms. Hence, most of Romulo's pics are of various pieces of conditioning equipment, mixed up with academy pics and candid shots of BJJ and MMA celebs.
It's a hard life, travelling the world spreading the Gracie jiu-jitsu message. Of course, there are the obligatory vintage pics of Master Helio, but you'll also see snapshots of Ryron goofing around with his brothers, hanging out with Kron (who said those guys don't get along?) and there are thankfully less GJJ merchandise pics than you would expect from Rener.
The most medalled BJJ competitor in history, Xande Ribeiro's main choice of subject seems to be whatever is on the plate in front of him. If super-tasty looking food is the secret to his success, then he should release a recipe book instead of an instructional DVD. Features more training pics than many of the other guys, showing his dedication to the pursuit of said medals.
A black belt based in Tokyo, Japan, Ishikawa-san is an amazing photographer and his work on Flickr and Facebook is definitely worth checking out. His yellow-matted gym makes for some extremely photogenic shots. If you don't mind also seeing some random pics of Japanese day-to-day life and his incredibly cute little daughter, there are some gems here.