I’ve been a student at Gracie Raleigh for over a year now after a long layoff from BJJ. I resurrected my long-dormant Facebook profile pretty much solely to comment on this academy. Bottomline: This place is great. Everybody takes training seriously, but is very friendly. There’s no tolerance for jerks here, so if you’re concerned about that–don’t be. Everyone leaves their ego at the door. The main classes are all taught by one of the two BJJ black belts, a brown belt, or a purple belt. Everybody rolls with everybody, so nobody gets to pretend to be better than they really are, and nobody gets overly aggressive. They’ve got guys who do (or used to) compete in both pro and amateur MMA, as well as many BJJ tournaments. But they’ve also got plenty of folks who don’t compete. It’s up to you whether you want to be a competitor–no pressure. Membership prices are reasonable, fair, and fully disclosed. There are no bizarre rules about needing to buy expensive academy uniforms or rash guards, though they’ve got them for sale if you’re interested. There are plenty of class times to fit almost any schedule. They’ve even got a side class for beginners typically taught by a very competent blue belt (and sometimes a black belt), which is a huge benefit to new folks that was rarely offered at BJJ academies in years past. I’ve lost all of the extra weight I had put on prior to returning to BJJ. That’s 30 pounds folks. 30 pounds. You can’t help but get into shape pursuing this hobby, so if you want to gain some functional fitness that you can easily maintain because it’s so darn fun, this is an outstanding way to do it. I’ve trained and dropped-in at probably half dozen academies in various parts of the country over the years, and this is right up there among the best. I literally have no complaints, which is kind of amazing really. Come give it a shot.
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