Travel – Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii – One of the top destinations in the world. I’m surprised it took me this long to get to Hawaii because it’s a place that I absolutely fell in love with. The food, people, beaches, and aloha spirit is amazing. Blue oceans, white sand, and the most chill people you’ll ever meet in your life. This is Hawaii! Aloha!

Travel Tips

  • The airport is a bit far from Waikiki so you’ll need to catch a ride into the main part of town.
  • Bring aloe vera and sunscreen since they tend to raise the prices of these on the island.
  • Shorts and flip flops is all you’ll need! I didn’t wear shoes or pants once while I was there!
  • Explore the whole island! Don’t limit yourself to only Waikiki or else you’ll miss out on a lot!
  • Meet the locals! Everyone here is really friendly and willing to help out. You’ll for sure experience the Ohana vibe while here.

Places to Visit as a Tourist

  • Diamond Head Summit
  • Hanauma Bay
  • Waimea Bay
  • Manoa Falls
  • Pearl Harbor
  • Polynesian Cultural Center
  • Lanikai Beach
  • Sandy Beach
  • Ala Moana Center
  • Sunset Beach
  • Kokohead
  • Byodo-In Temple
  • Dole Plantation
  • Tantalus Lookout
  • North Shore
  • Pillbox Hike
  • Don Quixote
Hawaii Sun!

The Food

Hawaiian food is heavy but amazing! Be prepared to have some of the heaviest but tastiest food ever! On the island of Oahu there are many Asians as well so you’ll find lots of Japanese, Filipino, and even Chinese or Korean food. Don’t forget the shaved ice while you’re here!

  • Waikiki Beach
  • Alicia’s Market
  • Rainbow Drive In
  • Zippy’s Diners
  • Ono Seafood
  • Shimazu Shaved Ice
  • Side Street Inn
  • Leonard’s Malasadas
  • Helena’s
  • Iyasume Musubi
  • Marukame Udon
  • Shirokiya
  • Honolulu Cookie Company
  • Cinnamon’s Restaurant
  • Yogur Story
  • Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
  • Matsumoto Shaved Ice
  • Foodland Market
  • 7 Eleven
  • ABC Stores

Mat Surfing

  • Tip for “Mat Surfing” is to always call or contact the school ahead of time to see if you are even allowed to take a drop-in class or come by for an open mat session.
Helio Gracie Mural

For this trip, I had the opportunity to visit multiple academies on the island. However, the main hub I that trained at was at Kekoa Collective in Ala Moana. Kekoa is a great place to meet people as you have people from academies all over coming to train at the mat in the store.

Kekoa Training

The store owners and workers are amazing as well. Dewey is amazing and has the most positive energy I’ve ever seen in a human being. I enjoyed my time at Kekoa so much I was there every single day of my trip. Archie and James are also two totally down to Earth guys that will welcome you and make sure you feel right at home. There I was able to connect so many people that led to great friendships such as Jose who kindly helped my friend and I get around the island and to the different academies. Dewey even took us to the North Shore in his van! One of the coolest experiences out of all of my trips so far!

Great group of people here

If you’re looking for a good open mat be sure to come on Sundays around 11am. You’ll find a large group there training. On Tuesday and Thursday mornings you’ll also get a lot of Black Belts coming to train as well so if you can attend one of those you’ll definitely learn a lot!

Making new friends!

In addition to Kekoa Collective I trained at three other academies as well while on Oahu. These included Workshop BJJ, Gracie Technics, and Mano Jiu Jitsu.

Workshop BJJ – Larry Hope is one of the most talented black belt instructors that I’ve ever seen. He comes from Renzo Gracie and runs his classes in a room that is connected to a fitness gym. The guys here are all tough and high level with great leg locking skills. Larry is extremely technical and other black belts on the island go take his class as well. In terms of the facility, there is a shower as well that you can use so be sure to bring a change of clothes. Don’t expect A/C here though! It’s going to get hot training here since it’s a bit smaller.

Larry Hope

Gracie Technics – Large school with lots of students in each class. There were about 50 students on the mat when I was there. Class this day was taught by Professor Matt Isoda. This school is also well known for being the home gym for UFC Fighter Max Holloway who trains here some days alongside all the students. Great place to train and very large facility.

Matt Isoda

Mano Jiu Jitsu – Class was taught by Professor Rod Amano. He’s known on the island as the crucifix specialist and you’ll definitely see why! Great training here and the other people you’ll be meet here are very friendly including Jun and Ted. Professor Amano (Rod) is very technical and teaches all his techniques conceptually or relates it to other martial arts as well which I really appreciated having come from a Karate background. Would definitely visit again if I were back in Oahu.

Rod Amano


Famous Rainbow Drive-In
Ono Poke!
Byodo-In Temple
Top of Diamond Head
Leonard’s Bakery
Bell of Byodo-In
Pearl Harbor
Loco Moco
Marukame Udon
View at the Top of Diamond Head
Fresh Pineapple Smoothie
Tantalus Lookout
Diamond Head Entrance
Shirokiya Food Court
Roadtrip to North Shore
Shrimp Trucks
Japanese Food at Shirokiya
Getting around the island
Best meal at Side Street Inn


Where do I start? I didn’t want to leave when it was time for me to head back home. Hawaii has become one of my favorite places. I would for sure put it in my top five of places visited so far. The beaches, food, and island atmosphere was definitely a positive but what made this place special for me was the people. I’ve never felt so at home with people I only had met for a few days. The Ohana here is real and I’ll for sure be back sooner rather than later.

Honolulu, Hawaii – August 2019

– BJJBug

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