Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy: Review
”Fear does not exist in this dojo, does it?”
”Pain does not exist in this dojo, does it?”
”Defeat does not exist in this dojo, does it?!”
”Prepare! What do we study here?”
”The way of the fist, sir!”
”And what is that way?”
”Strike first, strike hard, no mercy, sir!”
”I can’t hear you!”
”Strike first, strike hard, no mercy, sir!”
Our bad. That’s Cobra Kai, not Renzo BJJ…
We recently took the plunge and participated in our first class at Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy here in New York City. If you don’t know who Renzo is (pronounced Hen–zo), as a 6th degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, he’s from the legendary Gracie family of BJJ and has titles, awards, and trophies in every major Martial Arts prestige from the UFC to the Pride Fighting Championships.
The beginners class includes a 30-minute tutorial from one of the school’s many talented instructors, a practice Gi, and 2 additional classes (either BJJ or Muay Thai). All of this is free! They don’t try to hustle or harass you into joining. There are no questions asked and they really give you the opportunity to learn and see for yourself if you like the academy and martial art before discussing any kind of pricing or packages.
After learning the basics in the 30-minute intro class (Stance, Falling, Rolling, Half Guard) we joined the hour-long white belt class. The class was full of people of all shapes, sizes, color, ethnicity, and gender. Even though we were clearly new to all this, everyone was welcoming and accommodating.
We started with the warm-up (if you want to call it that). We’re typically pretty active ourselves. Dougie Boxes at Gleason’s twice a week and Idris lifts and crosses fools over at the Y on Thursdays. He’s nice with the fadeaway (RAINDROPS!). But the warm-up was still enough to get a good sweat going. I can only really describe it as a lighter version of circuit training designed to work every part of your body and get the muscles that you’ll be doing while practicing BJJ engaged. We can’t lie, we were both a little gassed afterward. Honestly, that shouldn’t scare you off. The warm-up and full program are very accommodating and although it designed to give you a full-body workout, you can go at your own pace without any meatheads screaming in your face.
Warm-Up — Several rounds of jogging, push-ups, rolling, sit-ups, side crawls, knee highs, squats, shrimp , etc.
Idris Grey: Yo, this is the warm up? How many laps we doing?!
F. Dougie: Stick with me fam! Don’t leave me behind!
Idris Grey: I need some milk!
F. Dougie: You’re fine fam.
Idris Grey: I think I pulled something. Yup definitely pulled my groin.
F. Dougie: Damn, you won’t be fucking for 2 weeks at least!
10 minutes later…
Idris: I’m done. I don’t know if I can do anymore…
Dougie: I’m drenched in sweat…I thought I was in decent shape. Hold’up, there’s more class left?! How long were we warming up?!
Idris: It’s all good. Everyone else is sweating too. We got this.
Major Skills Learned
Headlock Defense (0:53)
Base, Posture, and Frame.
The basic principle of having a strong base is key here. This is so the opponent is less likely to be able to move or control your body. Keeping good posture is also paramount. This is done by keeping your head up, so your opponent cannot easily break your head down and control your body. Where the head goes, the body must follow. Strong frames keep your opponent at a fixed position and enable you to move in a fashion which will after proper positioning, allow you to escape the typical schoolyard bully strategy of headlock.
Keep your chin down to hinder their grips from reaching your neck. (You don’t want to get choked out. Your shoulders are up, making it harder for the opponent from choking you from behind. Your elbows are tight to your body and your hands are protecting your neck. We’re fairly certain that all members of the Wu-Tang Clan have mastered this technique. (“Protect ya neck!” ) Your head goes to the ground, your back moves to the ground. Here is where we look to escape. As soon as someone gets their hooks in, your head should be going down to the mat. Early prevention is best.
Better yet…never let anyone take your back. It’s the most dominant position in all of combat.
Renzo says it best. We’ll let the legend himself tell you how it’s done.
This one is more advanced but still worth a close look. Delariva is an old-school, new-school guard, named after BJJ legend Ricardo De La Riva. No guard is a real guard without the principle of kuzushi. A Japanese term which means to unbalance one’s opponent. Simply, no guard is a guard if it does not have a push AND a pull.
Overall, we highly recommend at least giving Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy a shot. It’s an amazing way to stay in shape. It’s a lot of fun too, once you get past that burning in your chest. It tests your cardio, flexibility, strength, and even your creativity. Like we mentioned, even the warm up had us looking for the nearest water fountain. But even more importantly, learning to defend yourself these days is paramount. Hate crimes are at record highs and people are more hostile than ever. People get into altercations on the subways and on the streets for as doing as little as accidentally bumping into one another.
We are not saying that you need to become a ninja or assassin or anything like that, but learning what you don’t know could help save you from bodily harm or worse. Do you know how to escape a basic headlock? These guys can teach you to reverse and control someone twice your size and strength with 2 easy motions. Learning not to panic in a difficult situation or knowing that the most simple technique can help diffuse a bad situation can give you greater peace of mind while you navigate through these mean streets.
We saw men women and even children with the confidence and determination to know that they were in control, and that is real power. Give ‘em a shot, and tell em OB sent ya.
We also noticed many of the students wearing what were called Rash Guards and Spats. These are base compression layer of protective wear that eliminate friction, rubbing, bruises, and are also antimicrobial & anti-fungal! They are like a layer of high-tech armor to eliminate damage and help you recover faster. Honestly, they are stylish and comfortable as well and are a great buy around $19.99 each.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won’t cost you any extra money, they will help us keep this site up and running. Thank you for your support!