Jiu Jitsu gym opening downtown in December

Contributed photos
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu trainer Diego Da Costa is taking over a large portion of the former Zee Lanes building in December and is opening a training gym for beginners to those looking to compete. Diego Da Costa poses in his former Detroit Lakes studio in front of a framed photograph of Carlos Gracie, who reinvented Japanese Jiu-Jitsu into a martial art more effective for a smaller person with his brother Hélio.
Diego Da Costa

By Robert Willams


Diego Da Costa is opening a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu studio in Frazee, moving into the largest portion of the old bowling alley before the end of the year.

Da Costa recently ran a studio in Detroit Lakes, before taking a year off in Florida.

Upon his return, he was looking for a new space and one of his students, former Frazee police officer Ryan Seeger, suggested the open space in the former Zee’s Lanes building.

Da Costa trained 30 students in his former Detroit Lakes location and currently has eight and is looking to expand, given the new space in Frazee has plenty of room.

“I want to reach as many as I can,” he said. “I love this space.”

Plans were to open in November, but remodeling will take the rest of the month

“It’s going to be about 4,000 square feet,” Da Costa said.

Hopes are to begin training in the new space by early December. Half of the space will be used for Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai training, along with Judo. Plans are still in the works for the remaining space.

“In the beginning it’s hard, but after you learn and build up it’s like another workout,” Da Costa said. “Jiu Jitsu is about repetition so you have to come to class so you learn. If you just show up one time a week, that’s not going to work out for you.”

Beginners are welcomed and Da Costa is flexible in providing training for the serious fighter or the newcomer who is just looking for a good workout.

“It depends on what the students want to do and what their goals are,” he said. “There are people who join Jiu Jitsu for the workout or to make new friends. There are people who join who want to compete.”

He also trains area police officers. Seeger is one of three officers currently training with Da Costa.

“They train and learn self-defense and other things to help them on the street and they like to compete too,” he said.

He also strongly encourages women to join for self-defense and workout purposes.

“For self-defense, it is perfect for them,” he said. “It’s better that you know and don’t have to use than you have to use and don’t know.”

Training with Da Costa is also a great complement to Frazee’s wrestling community. 

Da Costa is also looking to get back into competition mode.

“My focus is to make the gym go, but next year I’m going to start competing again with my students,” he said. “I had stopped competing for a while because I had a kid and had to focus on my family.”

A native of Brazil, Da Costa formerly trained and taught classes in California, where he met his ex-wife, who was from Vergas. That is how he got to Minnesota.

Da Costa has competed and was a top five finisher in the California world championships, a medalist at the Pan-American championships, along with competing in Mixed Martial Arts.. He holds multiple black belts and used to represent the world-renowned Jiu Jitsu champion Gracie family. A former coach was the director of the Gracie-Barra school.

A preliminary schedule includes kids classes from 4-5 p.m., Tuesday and Thursdays, along with a Saturday morning session. Beginner’s classes will run on the same schedule, but from 5-6 p.m., on weekdays. Advanced students will train from 6-7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The first 10 kids and adults who join the team will be given a free uniform.

Given the amount of space available, other plans are to possibly open a CrossFit area of the gym in the future.

Da Costa will be utilizing Instagram for future announcements and information under the handle GF Team Frazee (Grappling Fight Team).

Da Costa can be messaged by text at (218) 396-9845.