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By Collin Breaux | Twitter: @collin_breaux

On a Monday afternoon, Todd Aimer walks around his gym and gives pointers to his kids as they drill grappling techniques.

Aimer is the owner of Evolve CheckMat Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu/Muay Thai Academy, a new martial arts gym in Rancho Mission Viejo. The gym, which includes mat space for the jiu-jitsu classes and heavy bags for the Muay Thai sessions, is in Los Patrones Summit—a new industrial business center in RMV where storage areas and other businesses gradually have been opening.

Classes are offered for kids and adults, and on any given night, you can find people of all ages wrestling each other on the mats or kicking the bags. BJJ is a grappling style in which the goal is to maintain control of an opponent on the ground and apply submission holds. Muay Thai is a fighting technique that allows punches, kicks, knee strikes, and elbow strikes.

Evolve is open Monday through Saturday, and people get confidence and self-worth out of training, Aimer said.

“They can become better than they were yesterday,” Aimer said.

Gym members can also become “friends through life” as they go through training, Aimer said. Aimer estimates they currently have approximately 250 students. He has operated gyms in other nearby locations, and the RMV gym has been open for several months.

Aimer chose the Evolve name because he felt it applied to his own journey as a martial artist. Jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai have physical benefits for those who study it, he said.

“Maintaining health helps maintain longevity,” Aimer said.

Classes and the overall vibe at the Los Patrones Summit location have been amazing since opening, Aimer said. He notes you can see the nearby hills during practice, and he is thankful to RMV and the Los Patrones Summit operators for the opportunity to open his academy.

“I love the area,” Aimer said. “I love the gym. I love the energy.”

Martial arts allows people to empower themselves and try something new, Aimer said.

“You’re able to stand up for yourself,” Aimer said. “It makes you walk a lot taller.”

Check out their website at for more information.

Collin Breaux

Collin Breaux covers San Juan Capistrano and other South Orange County news as the City Editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. Before moving to California, he covered Hurricane Michael, politics and education in Panama City, Florida. He can be reached by email at

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