6.7.16

BJJ School visit: Gracie Barra Fulham in London, UK

Gracie Barra as a jiujitsu team have worked hard at spreading their brand of the art to all corners of the world. One such corner is Fulham, a South-London neighbourhood just a short cycle away from the school I work at as a maths teacher.

Stripe Promotions at Gracie Barra - Fulham

Stripe Promotions at Gracie Barra - Fulham

Stripe Promotions at Gracie Barra - Fulham
I had heard about Gracie Barra Fulham from two separate sources. One is from one of their instructors: Professor Paul Hartley who has worked tirelessly to promote Jiujitsu an Gracie Barra in the north of England, where I used to live. I had found out that Paul had recently started teaching down in London at his instructor's academy. The instructor being none less than the amazing Lucio "Lagarto" Rodrigues and the academy being the old Gracie Barra Knightsbridge.


Class breakdown at Gracie Barra - Fulham

Gracie Barra Triple Layer Curriculum at Gracie Barra - Fulham

The second source is a student at the school where I teach who had looked me up and mentioned me to Mr Hartley. One thing lead to another and I was invited to come visit and boy am I glad I did.

Legacy Wall: Maeda - Carlos Gracie - Helio Gracie - Rolls Gracie
Gracie Barra Fulham is no longer than 8-9 minutes away from work on my bike and when I got there, I was immediately greeted and welcomed in in true Gracie Barra spirit. Everyone was nice from the person behind the desk to the white belts killing it on the mat to the instructors: Paul, Lagarto and Arya Esfandmaz.
Professor Paul “Leão Marinho” Hartley teaching the details of the elbow knee escape from mount 
In fact, Paul used me as his demonstration partner for the drills and techniques he was showing. It was great to feel his weight distribution and movement patterns, not to mention witness his quality of teaching.

Professor Paul “Leão Marinho” Hartley teaching the details of the elbow knee escape from mount
The facilities themselves are top notch, as you would expect from a Gracie Barra branch and the class followed a pre-determined curriculum. I am fully familiar with this curriculum as I used a version of it to help design the fundamentals curriculum when I was assisting at Fighting Fit Manchester:




The fundamentals class ended with positional sparring and a traditional line-up and bow out before the advanced class started. This had a more 50-50 balance between technique drilling and free sparring. I took the opportunity to both drill and spar with the aforementioned student from my school which felt great. Not only is he getting super sharp in his jiujitsu, but was an intelligent player and an appreciated member of his academy. It's great for me to see children's character shaped by jiujitsu.

Professor Paul “Leão Marinho” Hartley 
I had a very positive experience at Gracie Barra Fulham. The fundamentals classes have a strong and healthy blend of self defence techniques and sportive ones, which always makes me happy. If you're in the neighbourhood, visit them. You won't regret it.

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