The 8 Best Jiu Jitsu Gyms In New York


New York is blessed to have one of the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu scenes in the world, outside of Brazil. There are countless Jiu-Jitsu gyms spread out across New York, but which gyms separate themselves from the rest of the pack?

Jiu Jitsu New York

Here is a carefully curated list of the best Jiu Jitsu gyms that New York has to offer.

Marcelo Garcia Jiu-Jitsu Academy

Marcelo Garcia is an absolute legend of the sport. He is arguably one of the greatest grapplers to ever step on to the mat, having won multiple world champions.

Not only is he one of the greatest of all times, he is a super nice guy and his gym is reflective of his achievement and his personality. Marcelo’s gym is competitive, yet welcoming.

The instruction here is top notch and you have high level competitors and hobbyists all sharing the mats.

I’ve had the privilege of dropping in at Marcelo’s and it was an awesome experience. Everyone was kind and welcoming and I have nothing but good things to say about my time there.

250 W 26th St, New York, NY 10001

Renzo Gracie Academy

Renzo Gracie is synonymous with New York Jiu Jitsu. He is a legend of the sport and someone who is carrying on his family’s legacy with the utmost care. Anyone that has ever met Renzo knows he is one of the gracious people you will ever meet.

Renzo’s school is smack dab in the middle of Manhattan and his school is massive. The gym has everything, Jiu Jitsu, MMA, Boxing, Wrestling, Muay Thai and its spread over 3 floors, so there is plenty of space.

I’ve also had the privilege of dropping in for a class at Renzo’s and it was a great experience as well. There were about 80 killers in the room intently listening to John Danaher teach technique.

While John Danaher no longer teachers Jiu Jitsu there, the school has plenty of high level instructors, including Renzo to pick up the slack.

224 W 30th St, New York, NY 10001

Unity Jiu Jitsu

Led by Murilo Santana, Unity is is a competitive gym that is focused on geting the best out of their students and getting them on the podium.

You will see a ton of full time competitors on the mat everyday, but don’t let the competition aspect scare you away, everyone in there will help you improve your Jiu Jitsu.

Murilo’s instruction is crystal clear and highly detailed. The gym space is large and the vibe is always fun. You can’t go wrong here.

144 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011

Clockwork Jiu Jitsu

Clockwork is a great all around gym that fits the needs of hobbyists, competitors, first timers and anyone just looking for a good workout.

They have a fantastic beginner’s program that will nurture white belts past the point of quitting and there is also a fairly active competition team.

All the instructors here are incredibly knowledgeable and friendly. The atmosphere is super positive and the people who train here are super friendly.

Clockwork is a solid choice for anyone looking to start Jiu Jitsu or advance their knowledge of this gentle art.

650 Broadway, 2nd Floor New York City, NY 10012

Team Fabio Clemente

Fabio Clemente is a living legend and a walking encyclopedia of knowledge. His gym is one of the first Jiu Jitsu schools to open in New York, alongside Renzo’s.

Fabio’s gym is dedicated to helping his students improve their Jiu Jitsu and become better human beings.

It has the feeling of a small school where the instructors actually remember your name and where you will get great constructive feedback. The gym nurtures a positive and healthy environment, which makes everyone feel welcome and at home.

They also have a serious competition team if you want to take your Jiu Jitsu to another level.

6 St Marks Pl 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10003

Vitor Shaolin Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Vitor Shaolin Ribeiro is a multiple time world champion of the sport. He is one of the best lightweights competitors to ever step on the mat.

Whether you are competitor or someone who is just starting their Jiu Jitsu journey, this is an awesome place to learn from Shaolin’s super technical style.

They offer classes for beginner and advanced and there are classes 7 days a week, with an open mat on Sundays.

780 8th Ave @ 47th St New York NY 10036

10th Planet Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – NYC

If you are looking for something a little different and unconventional, 10th Planet NYC is the place to go.

Their outside of the box approach with no-gi Jiu Jitsu works extremely well.

Reynaldo De Leon leads the 10th Planet pack here and he is an excellent competitor and instructor.

35 W 43rd St 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036

Essential Jiu Jitu

Just 45 minutes north of Manhattan in White Plains, is JT Torres’s brainchild, Essential Jiu Jitsu.

JT has all the perquisites you could want in an Jiu Jitsu instructor. He’s an Andre Galvao blackbelt, he’s a high level competitor, ADCC champ and he does an incredibly awesome job of imparting his knowledge to his students.

With that being said, Essential is an excellent place to learn Jiu Jitsu. The gym is incredibly clean and modern. The locker rooms have showers and there is even a small weight room to supplement your training.

Tips For Visiting Another Gym

  • Call ahead of time so they can help you make arrangements, provide more accurate directions/parking, give you an updated schedule, drop-in rates, etc
  • Get there at least 15-20 minutes early to introduce yourself, sign the waivers, and pay the mat fee.
  • Ask about rolling rules/allowable techniques.
  • Be polite, respectful, and humble. You’re not visiting to “represent” your school by winning or being better than others. You are there to train with new people and learn and experience a new gym culture.
  • Always roll at their pace, not your own. If they roll hard, match their intensity without going over. If they roll light, turn it down a notch and take it easy.
  • Bring some defense soap wipes just in case there are no showers.
  • If the experience was positive, leave them an awesome review on Yelp and Google!

Mariska Lee

Mariska is a recovering attorney who gave up her professional job to discover new perspectives of life while traveling in a 2009 Ford Transit. She has been living the van life for 3 years and has not looked back since.

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