Brazilian Jiu Jitsu continues to grow quickly and it seems that more and more new gyms are popping up. However not all gyms are equal. The quality and standards of teaching and training can differ greatly. In our list below we take a look at the best Jiu Jitsu gyms in the world currently.
These gyms are well known within the BJJ community and contain some of the top coaches and stars of the martial art. Many of the gyms below have their own digital channels where they showcase teaching and training for their subscribers.
Art of Jiu Jitsu, California
Judging the best BJJ gym is a very subjective exercise. People will always have a bias towards their own academies and lineage. In order to keep it as fair as possible we decided on the list below based on 3 simple metrics.
Head coach and instructors
The head coach and instructors that run the gym is the most important factor in any gym set up. The head coach sets the culture and leads by example. Their own reputation within the BJJ community is often the attracting factor for many students.
All the best coaches on the list are well known in BJJ circles and have demonstrated an ability to teach, organize, and inspire their students
The students that a Jiu Jitsu gym produce is reflective of the quality of the gym. It is no fluke that the best gyms in the world produce the best Jiu Jitsu athletes and students.
These students have benefited from the knowledge of their instructor and the quality of their teammates. Not all gyms are competitively focused but the best Jiu Jitsu gyms in the world tend to have a strong competition teams.
The success and strength of a Jiu Jitsu gym is very much tied to its reputation.
Successful BJJ gyms that have a good reputation tend to attract better students. Many of the gyms on the list below have acquired students who may have received their initial belts elsewhere. This is a reflection of the quality of these gyms and a signal that they.
Nearly all of the gyms below also contain a large number of hobbyist grappler’s. These gyms are also very welcoming to visiting students. The fact you can train alongside the best in the world is one of the best things about BJJ!
ATOS are currently the most dominant force in competitive BJJ. The team was founded by Ramon Lemos and Andre Galvão. In a relatively short period of time Galvao has built a team of killers that dominate most of the main championships. The team is based in San Diego and is part of the strong BJJ culture that has developed in SoCal.
The gym has a number of full time Jiu Jitsu practitioners and coaches that train alongside hobbyist grappler’s. The pro black belt team are supported by a strong team of color belt athletes, many of whom have traveled from Brazil to train with Galvao and his team at ATOS.
If you are a fan of MMA or BJJ you will most likely heard of Renzo Gracie. Renzo first achieved notoriety through his MMA performances in Pride in the early days of the sport.
The Renzo Gracie academy is also home to the Danaher death squad. This is the elite team of mostly Nogi grapplers that are trained by the legendary Renzo blackbelt John Danaher. The teams innovative approach to leglocks and training has seen them dominate the Nogi scene in recent years.
Head Coaches: Renzo Gracie and John Danaher
Notable Students: Gordon Ryan, Nicky Ryan, GSP, Roger Gracie.
Marcelo Garcia’s gym in New York is a place where every BJJ player and grappler should try to visit at least once in their lifetime. It is a mecca for BJJ.
Marcelo himself is one of the best competitors of all time and his passion for BJJ is infectious.
The academy is welcoming to all students and has a number of excellent coaches with years of BJJ experience. It is a also home to a number of top grapplers in the world who are happy to share the mats with visitors.
MGinaction is Marcelo’s digital channel and was one of the first online BJJ channels and contains a wealth of training and sparring videos.
AOJ is the home top lightweight grapplers Rafael and Guilherme Mendes. Both brothers are multiple world champions and are known for their highly technical and intelligent Jiu-Jitsu games.
The AOJ team is affiliated with ATOS and together they have become a dominant force in competitive Jiu Jitsu.
Despite their relatively young age both brothers have now stopped competing so that they can focus 100% of their efforts on developing their academy. The results have already begun to show.
One of the most striking thing about AOJ is the incredible branding they have. The gym has a distincitive all-white design with cool artwork and medals adorning the walls. The quality of their digital output is very professional and in many ways has set the branding standard for BJJ academies.
AOJ also runs a ‘Believe & Achieve’ program which workds to identify prospective BJJ talent who they then offer sponsorship, tutelage, and training at AOJ.
Unity Jiu Jitsu is another New York based gym and is only a short walk away from Marcelo’s. It is run by top BJJ black belt Murillo Santana.
In recent years the gym has built a very strong competition team of black and colored belts that have been very successful in all the major tournaments. Murilo Santana’s close links with Marcos Barbosa has allowed many top athletes from Cicero Costha to come train with him at NY and many of these athletes represent both gyms when competing.
The facilities are basic and there is limited amount of room to roll. However this seems to aid the intensity and focus of the training and sparring. If you are a top level level lightweight competitor, this is probably the best place to train in the world at the moment.
Apart from Pro training there is also a full timetable of classes that also allow visiting students.
Head Coach: Murilo Santana
Notable Students: Miyao brothers, Levi Jones O’Leary, Dillon Danis
Cicero Costha set up his own academy in Sao Paulo after receiving his blackbelt from Marco Barbosa.
Shortly after this he set up a charity project with the idea of helping kids from disadvantaged areas through BJJ. The idea was to give the kids a sense of purpose and keep them out of trouble on the streets. Costha named the project “Lutando Pelo Bem” (Fighting for Good).
The gym facilities are very basic but the standard of Jiu Jitsu is incredible. The intensity of the training is famous and the students push themselves extremely hard to be the best in the world.
Ribeiro Jiu Jitsu is the academy of the legendary Saulo and Xande Ribeiro. The brothers have 13 World Championships in the Gi between them and there is very few grapplers on the planet with more BJJ expertise than them. Ribeiro Jiu Jitsu has approximately 50 affiliates across the world and the brothers make frequent visits for seminars.
The two brothers also own the BJJ library online database and regularly update it with new content for their subscribers.
Roger Gracie is arguably the greatest BJJ competitor of all time. He is a 14x world champion and has won every other major championship. His game and style is based on solid fundamentals and a heavy pressure game which has also translated into a successful MMA career.
In the early 2000’s Roger moved to the UK. With the help of his father Maurício Gomes, he has built one of the one of the best academies in the country.
Roger Gracie Academy is the home to some of top competitors in the UK and has helped develop the martial art in that country. The gym is located in central London and also offers MMA classes.
Nova Uniao came to be when André Pederneiras and Wendell Alexander merged their two Rio based teams.
The team has since won several team world titles and has also produced some of the greatest ever Brazilian MMA competitors such as Jose Aldo and Renan Barao.
Nova Uniao is also famous for its work in the poorer communities of Rio. Over their years they have consistently waived training fee’s and provided shelter and assistance to kids who are less fortunate than others.
In the last few years the gym has moved more towards MMA . Despite this the gym still has a strong BJJ team and culture.
Head Coaches: André Pederneiras and Wendell Alexander
There are many more great academies and BJJ gyms in the world that perhaps should be on this list. Here are some of the other top academies in the world that have gained a reputation for excellence.
Absolute MMA (Melbourne, Australia) – Australia’s premier BJJ academy and home to Craig Jones and Lachlan Giles.
GF team (Paris, France) – Run by Julio Cesar, this Paris based team has quickly gained a reputation for producing top quality students.
Gracie Barra (Birmingham, UK) – Home of Braulio Estima.
Clube Feijao (Maringá, Brazil) – Run by Rodrigo Feijão and affiliated with Rio based Nova Uniao.
Checkmat (Signal Hill, California) – Run by Leo Viera
Lucas Lepri Jiu-Jitsu (North Carolina) – An excellent gym that see’s top athletes visit from all over the US.
LLoyd Irvin (Maryland, USA) – The gym of BJJ teacher Lloyd Irvin. Despite a number of controversies, the gym is still producing top quality students. Home to world champions Shane Jamil Hill-Taylor and Mahamed Aly.
NS Brotherhood (São Paulo, Brazil) – Leandro Lo’s team of killers. Watch out for their expert single leg X game.
Cobrinha Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (Los Angeles, California) – Rubens Charles Maciel has now taken a step back from competitive BJJ to focus on developing his already excellent gym.
Prana Jiu Jitsu Stockholm – Perhaps Sweden’s premier BJJ academy.
Herjer MMA in Haugesundt (Norway)– Current training spot of top European Blackbelts Tommy Langaker and Espen Mathiesen.