There is nothing in the world like a freshly launched BJJ academy; excitement is in the air, anticipation of students signing up for memberships, and beautiful visions of students training on the mats!
On Sunday, November 17 Jeffrey Gallardo (John Danaher/Renzo Gracie Black Belt) opened up the doors to his Jiu Jitsu academy. We had the pleasure of receiving an exclusive invite to the soft-launch and are excited to share our experiences.
First off, the academy has showers! And separate ones for men and women!! For those that are not based in NYC and the tri-state area that may not seem like a big deal but trust me having showers at BJJ academies are not a given.
Now back to the experience. When you walk into the academy there is a front desk where you are greeted by the owners & employees. To the immediate left there is a sitting area for you to sit down and relax before training.
Not too longer after Jeff Gallardo greets me with the handslap and fist bump. You can see a range of emotions on his face from happiness, uncertainty, certainty, relief, and pure joy! This has been a dream of his for years and all of the ground work and planning has come to fruition.
As I walk into the training area the first thing I noticed are the extremely high ceilings, I absolutely love it! The mats are a vivid blue and beautifully cut to near perfection with each piece seamlessly fitting in with the next. The walls are aligned with quality white mats to ensure athletes are protected during training.
I see a host of Renzo Gracie students including former UFC Fighter Phillipe Nover, RGA legend Brandon Bennett, Danaher Death Squad junior member Katya Leontyeva, and RGA's Dancing Bear' Marlon Suarez fresh off his Grappling Industries gold performance the day before. To have 5+ black belts at the soft-launch of his academy is an achievement in itself and speaks volumes to the support that Jeff Gallardo has in the BJJ community.
We are going to commence training but before we do Jeff asks everyone to circle around him. He shares how this first step in his dream took a lot of planning, dedication, and hard-work. However, he was determined to make this dream a reality and he did. Everyone person in the room express how proud they are of him and look forward to the growth of his academy.
Now it's time to christian the academy. We first bump, slap hands, and...OSSS!