Welcome to The Garage!
Our names are Michael and David Zolondek, and we have opened Jacksonville’s only Jiu Jitsu gym focusing almost exclusively on No-Gi training. But we hope that after you visit us you will realize that this is not all that sets us apart. My brother and I were lucky enough to inherit a unique style of training from our teacher in Scotland, William Watson, who spends virtually all his time figuring out ways of getting students great at No-Gi Jiu Jitsu in the shortest period of time possible. We are now bringing this innovative style of teaching to Jacksonville, FL, and we are confident that the results will be much the same: you will get VERY good VERY quickly…and you will have loads of fun doing it!
We offer morning and evening classes, and lots of open mat time! But much more importantly, we offer extremely laid-back, friendly, and fun classes, taught by instructors who aim to foster a respectful and generous environment in which to train, with no gym politics and no pressure to compete.
So come visit us in North Jacksonville, sign up for our 6-class/3-week trial free trial, and discover how fast you can improve all while having a great time and making lots of good friends! We look forward to training with you!
The name of our gym, “The Garage”, is very meaningful to my brother and me. We have been working out and training in fight sports for virtually all of our lives. The most fun and productive training we’ve had has been in our garage, which we converted into our personal training area. We had heavy bags, speed bags, double-end bags, an area for benching, squats, and free-weights, and, of course, mat space. Unfortunately, when Mike went away to pursue his PhD, our garage became less of a regular training area and more of…well…a garage. But now that we have been given the opportunity to open up a training space to the public, we could think of nothing better than to name it after the place where all of our great training memories were made. We hope that when you visit us at The Garage, we will be able to give you the same great training experiences that we’ve been privileged to have.
Michael Zolondek, Owner & Instructor
Student of William Watson
Brown Belt under Daniel Valverde
Silver, Professional Division, under 76kg, ADCC Nationals, Miami, FL
Bronze, Professional Division, Absolute, ADCC Nationals, Miami, FL
Gold, under 170lbs, Advanced Division, Jax No-Gi Open
Silver, Black Belt Division, No-Gi British Open
Gold, under 76kg, Advanced Division, Vision No-Gi Open, Scotland
Silver (lost to my teacher, William Watson), Absolute Advanced Division, Vision No-Gi Open, Scotland
My name is Michael Zolondek. I am part owner of The Garage, along with my brother and sister-in-law. As odd as this might seem, two of my biggest passions are Biblical Studies/Ancient History and Jiu Jitsu. I was lucky enough to be able to pursue both of these passions simultaneously, earning a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland while also training Jiu Jitsu regularly. My time training has been extremely fulfilling. I have various personal achievements, winning numerous gold and silver medals in beginner, intermediate, and advanced divisions in both my own weight class as well as the absolute class, one of my more recent success being a silver medal in the black belt (over 6 years experience) division at the British No-Gi Open. But it’s not my individual success that’s important! Instead, the success of our team is what really makes me proud and demonstrates the effectiveness of our teaching and training methods.
The gym I was a part of has won several team championships, and at one of the larger no-gi competitions, we won gold (9 in total) in every single category that we entered, from beginner to advanced (I took home silver in the advanced absolute division, after losing in the final to my teacher. And yes, we actually fought rather than playing rock-paper-scissors!).
I consider my self extremely fortunate to be able to continue pursuing these passions, as I currently work as an online adjunct professor for Florida International University and teach and train Jiu Jitsu at The Garage. Please come by to introduce yourself and become part of the The Garage family!
David Zolondek, Owner & Instructor
Student of William Watson
Brown Belt under Daniel Valverde
My name is David Zolondek. My brother Mike and I have been life-long athletes. When we were literally just babies, my mom and dad would ball up pairs of socks and toss them to us like footballs (we never dropped a pass since then )! We have played organized baseball, basketball, football, trained in traditional Kung Fu, Muay Thai, and boxing in addition to Jiu Jitsu. I even played collegiate football early in my academic career before earning a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from the University of South Florida.
My interest in Jiu Jitsu began many moons ago in the early 2000’s, 2003 to be exact. I was attending Florida International University and was taking a “self defense” course as an elective. The instructor always made us grapple and I always had a blast during this time. Our course final was to participate in a Jiu Jitsu tournament held at FIU. At the time I had no idea how scoring worked, but I managed to ace the final by winning the tournament. And that was it; the seed had been planted and Jiu Jitsu is now a major part of my life.
Today, I co-own The Garage with my brother and family. Unlike the over-achiever Michael Zolondek (my YOUNGER brother), I don’t have many competition achievements, mainly because I’ve only done one. But what I do have is a very particular set of skills, skills that I have acquired over a very long career, skills that make me a nightmare on the mat, a nightmare for people like you (if you don’t get the joke, watch this). So come on out and visit our gym. I will teach you my particular set of skills and you will probably teach me some awesome skills as well. Let’s have some fun!