BJJ Bend, Oregon by way of Rio de Janeiro: Connection Rio Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy has been years in the making. Bend, OR native and life long martial artist 3rd Degree Gordo Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt Professor Dennis Asche has dedicated more than twelve years of his life living on Brazilian soil in the cradle of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Rio de Janeiro.
As a life long martial artist, Professor Asche grew up practicing karate in his native Bend, Oregon in 1984. With aspirations of becoming a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, he moved to California to pursue his dreams and launched what would become an international career.
Moving from Bend to LA at the age of 18, Professor Asche’s Jiu-Jitsu training began in the late 90’s with PFS Full Instructor Patrick Lachman. At the time Patrick Lachman was a highly regarded PFS instructor, student of Sifu Paul Vunak, Jean Jacques Machado, Kru Pongsan Ekyotin and Sifu Dan Inosanto. There in Southern California is where Professor Asche’s first year was spent training primarily without the kimono.
Professor Asche spent a year in the greater Los Angeles area and the city of LA. He then returned to Oregon, continuing training by travelling to areas of the state where Jiu-Jitsu was to be found.
After several years it became apparent that moving closer to the source was important for advancement in Jiu-Jitsu. In 2001 Professor Asche returned to Southern California and began training directly under Professor John Machado.
Professor John Machado took Professor Asche under his wing and broke his Jiu-Jitsu down, only to build it back up stronger than ever and create a solid game for competition. The training with Professor John Machado is essentially what created the winning streak in competition that won Professor Asche’s passage to Brazil at the Gracie Open. During that time in LA, Professor John Machado encouraged Professor Asche to train at Renato Magno’s academy in Santa Monica, his brother Rigan Machado’s academy in Torrance, and at his other brother Jean Jacques Machado’s academy in Tarzana, which became a regular route for Professor Asche. Professor John Machado also encouraged Professor Asche to continue training in Muay Thai under Kru Pongsan Cheunniran (Ekyotin Gym) and Kru Santee instilling the importance of being well rounded (at a time when many BJJ academies where dead set on only training BJJ). Professor Asche’s purple belt was awarded to him by Professor John Machado after winning the IBJJF USA vs. Brazil challenge at the PanAms, just before moving to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Once in Brazil (2003) Professor Asche began training under Professor Roberto Correa de Lima “Gordo” (known for his contributions to BJJ with the development of the ½ Guard as an offensive position), who awarded him his brown and black belts.
There was a one year and three-month break in Professor Asche’s time in Brazil which landed him in Santa Cruz California where Professor Paul Schreiner made sure he stayed on the path bringing him into UCSC and training with Professor Garth Taylor.
Professor Asche also traveled to Madrid, Spain for three months where he trained part-time with Gremaldo Oliveira of the Edson Carvalho team.
Returning to Rio de Janeiro and training at Gordo Jiu-Jitsu, Professor Asche became the first foreigner to receive the rank of black belt under half guard master Professor Roberto Correa de Lima “Gordo” at Gordo Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Rio de Janeiro.
In addition to training with Professor Roberto Correa de Lima, Professor Asche founded and ran the worlds first Jiu-Jitsu hostel teaching literally thousands of athletes from Brazil and around the world at Gordo Jiu-Jitsu academy in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Living in Brazil for twelve years and operating the hostel put Professor Asche in front of many of Jiu-Jitsu’s greats who resides in Rio. Making the most of what was at hand, he learned from many of those professors and masters of the arte suave, adding a great deal of diversity to his teachings.
The diversity of lineage in Professor Asche’s teachings has allowed him to build a BJJ game from several completely different sources that formed a style of Jiu-Jitsu unique to him. Longing to return home, Professor Asche moved back to his hometown of Bend, Oregon in the USA and has now teaches his academy representing Gordo Jiu-Jitsu in the Pacific Northwestern USA. Connection Rio Jiu-Jitsu Academy flagship is now located in what years ago was the very same Kenpo Karate Studio where he began his martial arts journey. Coming full circle, Professor Asche now passes on the technique and philosophy he has attained from around the world to his loyal students.
In addition to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Professor Asche’s martial arts experience goes beyond the mat as he began his journey right here in Bend, Oregon at the age of 7 in Kenpo Karate under Jim Mitchell. Professor Asche has trained and competed in all of the following disciplines:
Karate- Muay Thai
Professional Mixed Martial Arts
Not to mention training without competing in both Kali and JKD. Other noteworthy accomplishments in Central Oregon and World Martial Arts:
Produced the first MMA events in Central Oregon (late 90’s)
Brought the first Muay Thai Kru to teach in Central Oregon (Kru Pongsan Cheurrinan 1998)
Founded the world’s first BJJ Hostel, Connection Rio, in Rio de Janeiro-Brazil