1st Annual Chokie Awards!!!

I was bored. Let's make up some fake awards.

I'm also too lazy to come up with some clever introduction.

And the categories/winners are:

Best Gym Managed by Andy Grahn
Winner: The Academy (Brooklyn Park, MN)

After seeing Andy pop up in places all over the United States and overseas, from gyms, to competitions, to cornering MMA fights, I, like a lot of people, assumed that he managed literally dozens of gyms.

It was with a great amount of surprise to find out that Andy Grahn only in fact manages the one gym.

Fooled the **** out of me.

Congrats, Andy.

Best Use of a Last Name in a BJJ Gym
Winner: McCune's Martial Arts (Brooklyn Park, MN)

Let's be honest, coming up with a name for a gym s***s. Who the hell wants to waste all that time and effort on a name that could just as easily be stolen, copied or just end up sounding stupid?

I would rather just look at my driver's license to figure it out (if the courts hadn't taken it away).

Chris McCune might have a lock on this category for a while. At least until I open up "Douchebag JJ".

I know, Paul Petushin might object to this win, but each person can only win once. Which leads me to...

Best Black Belt Judo Instructor That Will Coach Your BJJ In Russian
Winner: Paul Petushin of Petushin Martial Arts (Eagan, MN)

Listen, I have no idea why the INS keeps such close tabs on the number of Russian born judo instuctors that also own BJJ gyms in Minnesota, but there must be a good reason. And I'm in no position to question why.

After recently watching Eastern Promises I am mildly concerned that someone with Cyrillic tattoos is going to come to my door and just stare at me until I give them an award too.

Just in case, I keep extra vodka in the fridge. Okay, that's not why I have 4 liters in my freezer...

Best Greek-Sounding BJJ Gym
Winner: Spartan MMA (Woodbury, MN)

To be fair, I want to admit that originally, Spartan MMA didn't win this category. For almost a full minute I gave the award to Dino's Gyro's in Roseville, MN.

However, it turns out that all the damage done to my colon over the years didn't have anything to do with some invisible assailant. Just too much lamb and tzatziki that I left too long in the backseat of my car.

Of course, after meeting the guys from Spartan at local competitions, I might just as well deal with Gerard Butler's sexy, I mean, intimidating... no, I mean sexy, body wielding a spear and sword than the better part of their competition team.

Best Use Of A Misleading Word In A Gym Name
Winner: Mike Ellefson's Midwest Center for Movement (Hudson, WI)

Yes, Mike is a third degree black belt in Aikido and a Rigan Machado black belt in BJJ, so, by the title and resume, you get the idea that you will learn how to move.

I didn't. I barely moved at all as Mike seemed to move at will wherever the f*** he wanted!

I'm not bitter.

And I shouldn't be. Anyone his size that can pull off a Star Pass against ADCC Absolute Champ Robert Drysdale (yes, he really did), deserves a little leeway. I guess.

Cutest BJJ Instructor
Winner: Rodrigo Sul of Gracie Barra (St. Louis Park, MN)

Really? I need to explain this one?

Best Use Of A Number In A Gym Name
Winner: Land of 10,000 Strikes A.K.A 10k MMA (Forest Lake, MN)

Originally, this was a far more difficult category to compete in.

There was 99 Red Balloon BJJ.  

867-5309 Jenny's Gym.

2 Girls 1 Mat MMA.

But in the end, there can be only one. Way to go guys!

Best Gym If You Have Been Told You Are Too F***ing Flexible
Winner: Next Level Combat (Woodbury, MN)

I wanted the video of Eddie just spinning his legs and ending up in lotus position. This was all I found.
It was not my intent to imply that just because Next Level Combat is a 10th Planet affiliation that they are in any way associated to the movement or endorsing the usage of illegal substances.
Eddie, however, well, come on, if you didn't know already, where the f*** have you been? 

Best Gym To Learn BJJ and How To Drop Your Gloves At The Blue Line
Winner: Minnesota Top Team (Eagan, MN)

Well, when the owner/instructor Jeremy Clark goes around teaching professional hockey players (yup, the NHL) how to fight, I suppose that the category doesn't get quite so competitive. He'll get your **** lookin' like this:

And don't be fooled, just because a guy says "Eh" a lot and is missing a tooth doesn't mean he knows how to fight on ice or a mat.

Or that he will live up to his promise of NOT POSTING THOSE F***ING PICTURES ONLINE!

Play it safe, stick with Jeremy at MTT.

Best Gym Logo That Looks Like Two Dudes Hugging
Winner: Warrior's Cove (St. Louis Park, MN)

At first it was like one of those damn Magic Eye pictures and I couldn't see a g**d*** thing. Then, after I relaxed my eyes and tried looking past the picture, I saw finally saw it! Two dudes going in for a bro hug.

But be careful and watch this instructional video about the "Christian Side-Hug" before attempting it yourselves.

Best BJJ Gym That I Mistook For A Restaurant
Winner: Granite City Crossfit (St. Cloud, MN)

Well, I was in the mood for a Chicken and Bruscetta  Salad, what I ended up getting was a chance to roll with WEC veterans Jeremy "The Landlord" Lang and Brock Larson, who just so happens to also have a black belt in BJJ.

I showed up hungry, and confused.

I left sore and still confused. I don't live anywhere close to St. Cloud.

Best Gym To Train In Before My High School Reunion
Winner: MKG- Minneapolis (Minneapolis, MN)

Let me explain. It isn't so much that I will get a better workout here than other gyms (even though I do get a great time rolling on the mats). The operative word in the category is "my".

I hated high school.

I know, I know, it's hard to believe. I don't know how anyone with a degree in English Lit who thinks about choking people all the time could have had a rough time in high school, but it happens.

These guys learn to choke you (BJJ), kick you (muay thai) and beat you to death with sticks (kali) and possible stab you a couple times for good measure (also kali, but kinda gansta, too).

Who wants to turn me down for prom now!?!?

Okay, I'm sure I'm forgetting gyms, but I'm done.

Congrats to all the winners. You've earned my having a beer in your honor tonight. And a shot. And maybe a tequila popper.