Show Your Stripes: MJN Journey BJJ

Based in St. Cloud, FL, MJN Journey BJJ’s mission is simple: they want to be your home away from home. This academy is home to the Goldsborough family (Diane and John and their two sons, Nathan and John Jr., and they have extended their love of BJJ to their community. They not only teach people of all ages the art and culture of BJJ, they also teach humility, integrity, professionalism, dedication and respect.

MJN Journey BJJ and the Goldsborough family were kind enough to invite Zebra’s Sales Director, Charlie Blanski into their academy to help make it a true home away from home for many people in their community. After Zebra helped design and outfit their new facility with new mats and fitness equipment, the Goldsboroughs were more than happy to share their experience with us. 

How did you get started with (your martial arts discipline/s)?

Both of our sons are Jiu Jitsu athletes. Our 13-year-old travels the country to compete in Jiu Jitsu tournaments and our 23-year old is an engineer and Student of UCF. He looks to Jiu Jitsu for life balance and stress relief. Jiu Jitsu has become a huge part of our lives both inside the academy and out. We strongly believe that Jiu Jitsu is much more than a form of martial art; it’s a lifestyle.

mjn mats

What differentiates your facility and approach to training?

Our facility was designed with consideration for all involved. Jiu Jitsu can bring families together and be a bonding experience. Our facility has a comfortable lounge where parents and family can watch their loved ones excel in Jiu Jitsu in total comfort. Our academy also offers a fully stocked strength and conditioning area with a personal trainer literally a phone call away.  We have private dressing rooms, showers and towel services as well.

However, our crowning jewel is our black belt professor Marcel Portilho. Not just anyone should teach the art of Jiu Jitsu, there’s much more to it than the color of your belt.  Marcel not only teaches his beloved art, he humbly embodies all that is Jiu Jitsu.

“A good professor teaches students how to fight, a GREAT professor teaches his students how to live.”

Everyone learns differently, and it takes a special individual to be able to master the ability to reach each and every student. Its inspirational to watch our professor and his assistant instructors during classes, which brings me to our great instructors that assist and support Professor Marcel. John (John John) and Nathan are both original students of Professor Marcel and are very knowledgeable in the art form and lifestyle. Both compete and represent MJN Journey BJJ proudly.

setting up mjn mats

How did you get introduced to Zebra?

Once we realized that we were going to open our own academy we started to do research and reach out to martial arts mat companies. We were blessed to come in contact with Charlie Blanski from Zebra. It was an instant connection, and from that point on we knew we were going to go with Zebra for all our academy’s needs. He made it simple and his customer service and follow through were exceptional. Our plans are to open multiple academies in the future and there is no doubt that we will remain loyal to Zebra in our future endeavors.

Why did you choose to outfit your gym with Zebra products? Which Zebra products do you have in your gym and what are some of your favorites?

We chose Zebra because we knew the quality was great. However, what sold us and closed the deal was truthfully Charlie and his drive to help us build the best academy in our area. We could feel that he truly cared and wanted our experience to be a great one. We decided that we wanted to fly him out to Orlando and meet in person to discuss our design. He was able to help us and relieve any concerns we had during this process. We purchased custom BJJ mats with our logo, cleaning equipment and our beautiful 14’ rig for the strength and conditioning area. Our mats are absolutely beautiful and what’s even more special is what happens on them; Jiu Jitsu.

mjn white zebra mats

Describe your experience working with the Zebra team?

During the experience of opening our academy Zebra was our “go-to” for anything and any questions we have had. We had no prior experience in opening an academy or gym, so the guidance was priceless. We needed the support and advice to not make costly mistakes or decisions we would regret later on. The Zebra team was always there to help answer questions and guide us through the process. Charlie became a huge source of information and wisdom for us.

What advice would you give to other gym owners who are considering a re-design of their facility?

I would HIGHLY suggest investing in quality products like the ones Zebra offers. Not only are they high grade, they also are a show stopper as far as esthetics go. Our academy looks beautiful while performing effectively.

mjn rig

What’s next for you and your facility?

Well, we plan on taking our academy to the next level. Our son will be competing heavily and representing MJN Journey BJJ all over the U.S. and abroad this coming year. We have lots of exciting times ahead and are very proud and honored to have Zebra along for the ride!

Learn more about MJN Journey BJJ on their website.


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