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Fogolin not pleased with new Mendes Bros. Academy

Costa Mesa resident runs studio next door to new Art of Jiu Jitsu Academy and calls it awkward situation.

July 03, 2012|By Steve Virgen
  • Felipe Fogolin runs the Team Triunfo gym in Costa Mesa. It is next door to the newly opened Mendes Bros. Art of Jiu Jitsu Academy.
Felipe Fogolin runs the Team Triunfo gym in Costa Mesa.… (STEVE VIRGEN, Daily…)

Not everything was upbeat and positive during the grand opening of the Mendes Bros. Art. of Jiu Jitsu Academy in Costa Mesa on Sunday.

While a celebration took place in the new studio, other fighters did their best to ignore that party and trained at Team Triunfo gym next door.

A driveway separates the front doors of each studio.

Team Triunfo, a gym for jiu jitsu and mixed martial arts with about 100 members, has been on the block in Costa Mesa for the past year. The new academy has moved in next door, making it hard to avoid any type of controversy.

Felipe Fogolin, who runs Team Triunfo, is not pleased with the situation.

The Costa Mesa resident said he didn't think the city would allow a new jiu jitsu studio to move in next door and have access to the small parking lot that also has spaces for the Beach Pit restaurant.

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"But it passed; I got frustrated," Fogolin, 29, said Sunday in his studio during the grand opening next door. "Wow, it's such an awkward situation, putting two martial arts studios so close. If it's across the street it's one thing or down the street, but sharing the same parking lot and we're door to door, it makes it much more awkward.

"It's an awkward situation for me now ... I know it's free enterprise, but, for my beliefs, I believe in karma and energy. It's bad karma for them. I feel bad for them. I feel bad for their option, their choice."

Pat Tenore, who sponsors the Mendes brothers as the president of RVCA in Costa Mesa, declined to comment about the situation. He said he found out about the open space from "a lady who lives down the street," from his home in Costa Mesa.

Tenore said he wished Fogolin the best and hoped he could improve his business with the new Mendes brothers academy. But the reality of the situation is it will be difficult for the smaller Team Triunfo gym to stay in business.

Paul Song, who said he is the lease owner of Team Triunfo, also declined comment about the situation. Song seemed friendly with Tenore and visited him during the grand opening.

Fogolin didn't attend the grand opening. He trained at his gym. He noticed some potential members of the Mendes brothers academy look over at the Team Triunfo gym with a puzzled face and some others who shot mean looks.

The jiu jitsu community is a small one and they are known to have respect for one another. However, it's a competitive sport that attracts alpha males who don't step away from confrontation.

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