2/24/2008 4:43pm, #1
Robin Gracie's school in Barcelona
I've been to about three classes here so far, so I figured a review is in order.
The club is run by Robin Gracie, son of Helio Gracie. He is a very friendly guy personally, and was interested in my previous training and where i was from. He speaks Spanish, Portugeuse, French, possibly Catalan, and better English than my Spanish!
He has another instructor teaching under him, but I haven't trained with him due to my schedule. They also have a boxing instructor, but again my schedule prevents me from training with him.
The training is entirely Gi training, but during the summer months they go no-Gi (its extremely hot and humid in Barcelona during the summer).
The club itself is the nicest club i've ever seen, with a large downstairs training area with padded walls, with blue nylon-style matts, so not the toe jarring zigzag matts you might see elsewhere. The change room is quit large and has good private showers.
The class size is usually around 10-15 members, which is actually better than my original gym in Canada, and the members run the range from newb white belts up to brown and black. There is NOT a heavy work out or streching period to begin class, as is common in other BJJ clubs. They of course spar at the end of every class.
The instruction is excellent. As it should be expected from a second generation BJJ instructor.
The vibe in the class is identical to that back in my gym in Canada. It's very mellow and laid back, lots of joking around and talking about fights and UFC. It's nice to travel to another continent, and still be around mellow guys you can relate to. There can be a variety of languages spoken by the students, from English to Croatian and of course Spanish.
The first class is free and you don't really need a Gi to just jump in and see what it's like. After that it is 11 euros per class, or 40/month for once a week , and so on and so farth for other options. There is also a decent sized initial start up fee for insurance and stuff, which i wasnt crazy about, but it's nothing unreasonable.
A possible downside would be the lack a real focus on MMA training. I did see some guys before a class going no-gi with fingerless gloves, but i think this was more extracurricular fun.
In all, if you love jiu-jitsu and you're in the BCN area, you'd be a fool not to train here. If you're just interested in trying it out, this is also a great choice as you might as well learn from one of the best.