The martial art of Jiu Jitsu has been growing in popularity over the past 15 years, but experts say it's really exploded in northern Nevada over the past few years.

Our local athletes have been winning national competitions and drawing attention of fight promoters - who are bringing the Fight To Win professional match to Reno this month.

We watched as the athletes trained this week for the big day. For the inexperienced eye, Jiu Jitsu can look like a tangle of arms and legs on the mat. It’s a combat sport these men and women are devoted to; most of them have been at it for well over ten years and it still takes their breath away.

"It's phenomenal martial art,” says coach, competitor and Komainu Gym co-owner Jerry Hallert, “It gives all the practitioners a chance to show their skills.”

Nicole Johnson has been training in Jiu Jitsu for ten years. “It always has you growing, it's something that you never master, you always learn, it's challenge, it's physically demanding, it's mentally demanding.“

"It's a practical form of self-defense that is directly correlated to MMA,” says Shannone Callos, who’s been immersed in the martial art for more than 15 years.

And if you like mixed martial arts, Jiu Jitsu or grappling - you can catch some of northern Nevada’s best - competing against each other and out of state opponents at the Fight to Win Pro 60 in Reno on January 26th.

“It's the first event that we've had like this in Reno. The first major Brazilian Jiu Jitsu event that's ever been here, so, it's a big deal," explains Hallert.

"This is a combination of wrestling and that Jiu Jitsu side to create as close to a fight as you can get without the punching and kicking,” says competitor and FAST NV Gym owner, Carlos Madrid.

So to prepare for this big match at the end of the month, the athletes have been training together, even though they all come from different gyms. "We're at Komainu's gyms, located at the FAST facility and I teach at Freestyle Martial Arts, but there's people from Charles Gracie, Evolution. It's really the Reno Jiu Jitsu community,” says coach and competitor Andrew Bowers.

And with just a few weeks before the big match, the competitors are preparing in earnest. “I'm maintaining my conditioning and my strength training right now and I’m rolling as much as I was before,” says Johnson, one of the few women who will be competing.

The athletes are also excited about the future of Jiu Jitsu in northern Nevada

“A lot of guys do this for a living right now in other states. Here we have some great, professional grapplers who are good enough, that just don't have the platform yet” says Madrid.

They hope that will change with this upcoming bout.

To buy tickets, click this link.