Are you planning a vacation in the near future? Do you want to relax but at the same time do not stop your BJJ training? We advise where to go and how to plan such a trip with common sense. Read Our BJJ Travel Guide with top locations and tips
Bjj Travel guide Top Destinations
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
You want some great weather? Dreaming about sun, beach, surf and great BJJ? Rio de Janeiro has it all! The city offers absolutely stunning beaches, fantastic nightlife, and the chance to be taught by living legends. What more can you wish for?
Just Imagine transporting yourself right into history, where it all started! Brazil is the home of the modern game and its most famous city hosts some of the oldest and most iconic academies. It is a holy land of BJJ. Basically, almost every main street has a BJJ academy. In every BJJ academy, you will find top training partners and lots of black belts to spar with. While being in Rio academies that should be visited:
are Alliance Jiu-Jitsu Headquarters run by Alexandre “Gigi” Paiva, 5th-degree black belt and the legendary academy of Carlson Gracie Team. Marcelo Saporito, a 5th-degree black belt now runs it.
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Sao Paulo is the largest city in South America and the southern hemisphere. However, it remains outside the beaten route of trips around Brazil. Sao Paulo has a very rich nightlife, world-class restaurants, a small colonial old town, and a great BJJ level. For example, Alliance Jiu-Jitsu it’s worth visiting here. Marcelo Garcia actually started training at this gym when he was younger. Alliance offers multiple classes 6 days a week. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a long-time professional, you’ll enjoy your training at the Alliance gym in Sao Paulo.
If not Brazil you can try going to the United States. The migration of top-level instructors to the United States during the 1990s and 2000s built the cities/metro areas listed below the top places to train in not the only USA, but the world.
New York City, United States
New York is a crowded city full of people from all over the world. Probably all possible cultures, languages , and cuisines mix here. Visiting this international melting pot is just extraordinary fun. You literally cannot get bored in New York, there’s so much to see, you’ll always have something to do. NYC is also home to some of the best BJJ academies on the planet. Classes at the big schools are usually massive, so you’ll have a wide variety of sparring partners at all belt levels. Unfortunately, it is kinda expensive, do not think as a guest you can train for free.
However, if the budget is not a problem, it is worth going for a few trainings to e.g. the Marcelo Garcia Jiu-Jitsu Academy which is one of the best BJJ schools in the world. Not only is it a great environment to train in, but Marcelo Garcia is one of the all-time great instructors for BJJ in the world. Marcelo Garcia teaches his unique technique to classes 7 days a week. A visit there will be a truly amazing experience.
Another place to visit is the Renzo Gracie Academy. One of the true martial arts legends, Renzo Gracie teaches at the academy himself. The big ” attraction” at the gym is also Professor John Danaher.
San Diego, California, United States
San Diego offers great weather, surfing, awesome food, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at a high level. While being there you should go to world-renowned BJJ academy ATOS Jiu-Jitsu HQ. It’s a great gym and at the same time one of the strongest BJJ teams in the modern era of the sport. They offer a wide variety of classes like basic fundamentals, advanced ones, Masters or just only Women’s training.
Another worth visiting place is the University of Jiu-Jitsu. Place Inspired by the Kodokan, the International Institute of Judo located in Japan was founded in 2007 by Hall of Fame brothers, Saulo and Xande Ribeiro.
The University offers classes 6 days a week and private lessons on Sundays. It’s something you should definitely check out if you’re in the San Diego area.
However, if Brazil or the United States is not in your climate, Europe is also full of places worth going to. Both because of the landmarks and the great BJJ academies.
London, United Kingdom
London is after Moscow and Istanbul the largest city in Europe, as well as the largest in the European Union and one of the largest in the world. Full of monuments and museums, London attracts around 30 million tourists annually. It is also the heart of BJJ in the UK.
While visiting the capital of Great Britain Roger Gracie HQ is a place worth visiting. It is the famous academy lead by no other than one of the greatest competitors of all time, Roger Gracie. Another place you can’t forget is Carlson Gracie HQ. In which you are always sure to get some very tough rolls and experience the smashing style that makes them so famous.
What if you don’t want to go to any of these places? Just do not give up. If the country or city you want to go to is not on this list, nothing lost. BJJ is becoming more and more popular and places to train can be found almost everywhere. Just do a little googling or look at Facebook, something will definitely be found. Maybe it will not always be a top academy etc., but just for rolling on a vacation it will be enough. Sometimes you can be surprised and a place you found, people there, the atmosphere, etc. will be so cool that you will not want to go back to your gym at home;)
When the choice of place is behind us, we decide where to go and where to train it is the high time to prepare for such a trip. Here are some tips on how to do it and not go crazy.
BJJ travel Tips
Don’t pack too much
You don’t need to bring as many clothes as you think you do. Since you’re going to be washing gis everywhere you go, don’t pack heavy. Your back will thank you for it. And also about gis, try to limit it to one, two maximally. You really don’t have to take everything you have with you. Remember it is just vacation rolling, not fashion shows.
Remember about washing machine
While looking for accommodation pay attention if there is a washing machine or some laundry room somewhere in a place. If you know a place where you are staying does not have a washing machine or a laundry of its own, you will need to try and find out where the nearest coin-operated laundry is. You don’t want to be turning up to a new academy and being the stinky guy.
Make sure you contact the academies you intend to visit beforehand to make sure they are ok with visitors. Some places will welcome visitors and get them regularly. Others may limit the classes you can attend or may not really want visitors.
Don’t get hurt
An injury is never a good idea. Injury on vacation can complicate our plans even more than it would normally do. Therefore, there is nothing to clasp too much, it is better to quickly tap than spoil your vacation.
Don’t limit yourself to BJJ, it’s not the end of the world if you miss training
Remember to do things apart from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It’s a vacation, a trip, an experience. Go sightseeing, eat something good, lie on the beach, just relax.