Covid Crisis, BJJ Industry and Phalanx

Covid Crisis, BJJ Industry and Phalanx

Hello my Jiu Jitsu brothers and sisters, this is Chris, the founder of Phalanx. I've been at this since 2012 and realized something not long ago.... I have a very unique perspective on the BJJ game. I first stepped on the mat 16 years ago so I've seen the evolution of the ground game. I also own Phalanx so I've seen what the overall collective BJJ culture looks like from afar. I've also traveled to dozens of BJJ gyms over the years just for fun, connecting with everyone I can. AND, I also run the wholesale division of Phalanx so I'm connected to the gym owners as well. 

Being a grappler for over a decade,
Spending time all over the country with JJ players,
Connected to 100+ gym owners around the world,
= an interesting perspective. 

So here is my take on the state of the Jiu Jitsu industry. Although it's just an opinion, there is a fair amount of time and perspective within it.

State of the BJJ Industry

Month 1 we took a big hit. Several of the gyms I work with actually went out of business inside March. It was so sad to hear the words "It's been great doing business with you, but we have to close our doors permanently." The thing is, these gyms weren't operated buy large investment firms or business savvy individuals with large amounts of liquid cash at the ready. They were, and are, men and women who love Jiu Jitsu so much they wanted to make a life out of it. This is also the primary reason I started the custom rash guard/shorts help gyms make money and share my experience as a businessman. We lost several supporters in March and it was quite sad. 

Month 2 (April)... at the time of this writing it's 4/30 and this month extracted a heavy toll. Many more gyms have run out of cash...fortunately there are a lot who have students who are still paying into their memberships and that is helping a ton, but the cost of doing business with no students actually able to train eventually dries them up. It's been an extremely hard month for the BJJ gyms out there. 

Some good news...

The good news is there are TONS of gyms out there with students who are paying full price. They're doing everything they can to support their dojo, and of course we will survive this. BJJ isn't going anywhere as a whole and many of us will come back all healed up from those little injuries, eager to see the friendly faces and get that zen feeling we all have. You know what I mean, the post-rolling-drive-home-relaxed-state. Hopefully soon my friends. 

State and Future of Phalanx

This is a tough one... we took a huge unexpected hit aside from this Covid situation. At some time in March a customer DM'd me on Instagram and noticed everything was out of stock on the site. Everything? Sure enough, all the product went to zero overnight. We later learned the warehouse we use (Easypost + RubyHas) sold that portion of their business, or went out of business...they didn't really say... and moved all our inventory in the dead of night to some warehouse storage in Kentucky. We didn't know any of this, it just happened. So if you noticed the website was down it was because of this shady tactic. 

So overnight the Jiu Jitsu industry stopped and all our product disappeared. I'm working really hard to find the gear and get it back in our hands so we can open up again.

The hardest decision I had to make was laying off almost everyone on the team. Words cannot express the pain that comes from making such a decision.

I know you can't do Jiu Jitsu, but once we do open if you can find it in your heart to support us that would save us from some difficult decisions coming down the line. 

However, during this downtime I've totally pimped out the website, streamlined quite a bit of operations, am working on some dope designs, and a bunch of apparel. We got two sets of joggers.. a stealth pair and a black Street Ninja pair. Not to mention some tees and hoodies! 

Last we heard, we *should* be able to open up again in about two weeks (fingers crossed). When we do, I'll blast out an email letting y'all know. 


My brothas and sistas, it's really hard to tell when we'll be able to get back on the mat and we've all been hit so tremendously hard. I feel for my friends who own gyms, my JJ community who can't roll, but we're a very tight culture and let's hope in the next month or two we can get back to that special place of choking our best friends. 

I honestly miss hearing from you guys and gals. 

Much love and respect,

Chris Martinez
Phalanx Owner

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