Grappling Heaven: Check Out The Largest and Most Gorgeous Jiu-Jitsu GYMs Across the World

9 min read
Get ready to discover the top 13 best Jiu-Jitsu gyms in the world that are a must visit for any diehard Jiu-Jitsu practitioner

Mjolnir Gym, Iceland GYM

Grappling Heaven: Check Out The Largest and Most Gorgeous Jiu-Jitsu GYMs Across the World

Get ready to discover the top 13 best Jiu-Jitsu gyms in the world that are a must visit for any diehard Jiu-Jitsu practitioner

Location: Orlando, FL.

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Photo by: Mjolnir Gym, Iceland

We as human beings are unique and often strive for meaning, excellence, and that sense of wonder in our lives. Among other things, many of us find Jiu-Jitsu checks these boxes quite nicely in our day-to-day lives. However, some of us want more, that ultimate BJJ experience the world over, and if that’s you, below are 14 top-notch Jiu-Jitsu GYMs that you simply must check out along your journey through this fantastic martial art.

1. Art of Jiu-Jitsu Academy (Costa Mesa, CA, USA)

Website: https://artofjiujitsu.com/pages/aoj-costa-mesa

Headed by world champion brothers Rafael and Guilherme Mendes, Art of Jiu-Jitsu Academy gives off a clean, modern vibe. The HQ is located in Costa Mesa, very close to Newport Beach. AOJ has just over 6,400 square feet of training area divided into two separate mat spaces with male and female locker rooms, including showers. Laundry and complimentary towel service are yet another highlight of this epic gym. This beach-adjacent gym features world-class instruction and the option to have your Gi ready for you on your next drop-in. Truly a must for anyone looking to amp up their Jiu-Jitsu traveling experiences.

2. Temple BJJ in picturesque Phuket

Website: https://teamtemplebjj.com

Thailand, with its rich martial arts culture, is an environment designed to meet the highest demands of any martial artist.

Temple BJJ is located inside the luxury wellness retreat – Chivitr. Nestled on a hill, overlooking the lake, and only a short walk to Nai Harn Beach, Chivitr is situated in one of the most breathtaking locations on the Island. The facility was created to be a luxurious boutique wellness retreat that offers all guests a truly bespoke experience for body, mind, and spirit.

Their Jiu Jitsu room is the cornerstone of this epic retreat featuring FUJI’s Springfloor system, arguably one of the best BJJ mat systems in the world.

The sensational view, over the lake and surrounding fauna, won’t disappoint your desire to get the whole Thai experience while training.

In case you were wondering, air conditioning didn’t seem to be on the minds of the builders. However, the fresh ocean breeze blowing in is enough to keep you refreshed roll after roll.

Temple BJJ also offers a 3 month white to blue belt intensive BJJ camp if you’re looking to do a little more than just train.

3. Mjolnir Gym, Iceland

Website: https://www.mjolnir.is/en

Home to UFC fighter Gunnar Nelson, Mjolnir MMA gym is located in Reykjavik, Iceland. The gym, which interestingly was a theatre previously, is a 1,600 square meter complex with three main halls…. A world-class facility for any Jiu-Jitsu player with a one-of-a-kind Viking vibe throughout the halls. 

4. Evolve MMA (Singapore)

Website: https://evolve-mma.com

Evolve MMA is the largest BJJ academy in Singapore and the only Renzo Gracie affiliate nearby. The list of exceptional BJJ instructors goes on and on and on; however, some of the most famous include Shinya Aoki, Rafael Dos Anjos, and 4th-degree black belt Teco Shinozato. Evolve HQ also has an official octagon MMA cage to complement their grappling mats.

Also, if the training proves too difficult, you can always head over to the Juice/Protein Shake bar in the lounge area to reenergize. They are not a one-gym operation with three other locations besides the headquarters. With top design firms’ help, they created the ultimate BJJ experience in Singapore.

5. Arena Martial Arts (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)

Website: http://arena.sa

Arena Martial Arts GYM in Saudi Arabia
Photo by: Arabia Weddings

Inspired by American Top Team (ATT) facilities, Arena brought the first MMA and CrossFit instructional training to Saudi Arabia. The design to construct a gym that can be transformed into a fighting arena and then back into a training facility offers a unique atmosphere. 

A multitude of programs for all ages and significant affiliations ensure visitors get the best possible BJJ experience in the Middle East. As you would imagine, Arena offers a state-of-the-art CrossFit tower with Olympic lifting stations, Olympic rings, monkey bars, and other training equipment… you are not left wanting at this gym. Looking at the area of the mats, 400 square meters of mats cover 4 different squares, so multiple classes can be run simultaneously across their many programs. There’s also a 32′ Octagon cage to help provide the ultimate MMA experience. But then again, this is a strictly boys-only club, with Islamic culture being very prevalent.

6. Studio 540 (Solana Beach, California, USA)

Website: https://www.studio540.com

Studio 540 began as Gracie Academy Solano Beach – a certified training center for the Gracie Combatives program. Studio 540 first came to life from a desire of Robert Zeps to get into business with his longtime friend, professional surfer Joel Tudor, head of the Surfight Academy at the time. The multi-lineage apolitical environment these two fostered has been nothing short of exceptional. Soon after the founding of the gym, they started bringing talent for free seminars to their students…. they just didn’t like the idea of charging them for it. 

In fact, fighters often contact Robert for the chance to offer a seminar at the studio at no cost…. what a fantastic setup for Studio 540 and its students. While Leticia Ribeiro teaches every Wednesday, people such as Kenny Florian, Braulio Estima, AJ Agazarm, Tarsis Humphreys, and Durinho have held seminars in the past. The VIP list of seminar talent keeps growing and growing at Studio 540!

7. Frota Academy (Zurich, Switzerland)

Website: https://frota-team.ch

Based out of Zurich, Switzerland, Frota Academy is a new 850 square meters facility complete with high-end training equipment and world-class instruction. Their focus is competitive development as a fighter and fostering a healthy lifestyle. While the class instruction is primarily provided by Augusto Frota, Stephan Ruegg, and Alfred Sutter, you should contemplate the magnitude of the list of world-class players they’ve hosted in the past year. Some of the athletes inclued: Braulio Estima, Rodrigo Miotauro, Gezary Matuda, Rodolfo Viera, Marcus “Buchecha,” Leandro Lo, and Gilbert Burns “Durinho”.

8. Kron Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy (Culver City, CA, USA)

Website: https://www.krongracie.com

Kron Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy (Culver City, CA, USA)
Photo by: AttackTheBack

Something postmodern/industrial about the Californian academy design can’t help but pull you into the action on the mats. This gym features large mats as well as spacious locker rooms and showers. Ideally, you could even catch Rickson teaching a class at this exciting BJJ locale on your travels. The mats at Kron Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy are spring loaded, meaning they’re placed over hundreds of tires in order to prevent injuries from throw after throw… especially for judo training.

9. Gracie University (Formerly Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy)

Website: https://gracie-torrance.com

Gracie University (Formerly Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy)
Photo by: Gracie University

Gracie University of Jiu-Jitsu (is headquartered in Torrance, CA, and offers classes to an extraordinary 1500+- students every month! Led by the grandsons of Grandmaster Helio Gracie, Ryron and Rener, this academy focuses primarily on the self-defense aspect of Jiu-Jitsu and has pioneered the creation of several popular programs, such as Gracie Combatives for adults, Gracie Bullyproof for kids, Women Empowered for women, and Gracie Survival Tactics for Military/Law Enforcement to name a few. 

The Gracie Brothers have certified instructors at nearly 150 Certified Training Centers that offer their proprietary programs worldwide, not to mention their online platform, GracieUniversity.com, which boasts over 170,000 active members in 196 countries. Due to their rapid growth in recent years, they just recently moved their headquarters to a 30,000 sq ft state-of-the-art facility offering 15 showers, 220 all-glass lockers, and over 6,500 square feet of pure Jiu-Jitsu mat space. At this phenomenal rate, it doesn’t look like the Gracie Brothers are slowing down anytime soon!

Rener Gracie also explains:

“We fluctuate around 1300 consistent students between group and private students. Next week we have 95 police officers here for the full week for training in our GST course, and last month we had 105 instructors here for the ICP, and we have so many students visiting from the online university every month that it’s not uncommon for our total student load to hit 1500 in any given month.”

10. Team Nogueira (Dubai, UAE)

Website: https://teamnogueiradubai.com

These luxurious facilities cater to everyone regardless of skill or fitness levels/goals. The GYM features swanky separate showers for both men and women, a health café, top-of-the-line equipment, and the biggest MMA cage in the region, to name a few accommodations. This team was founded back in 2013 under the skilled guidance of Rafael Haubert. They also, as nearly every large academy has, many other coaches from different disciplines. However, even more importantly, they host a variety of superstars such as Marcus Almeida “Buchecha,” Rubens Charles “Cobrinha,” and Renzo Gracie… be sure to visit when one of these world champions is teaching on the mats. 

11. Renzo Gracie Academy NYC

Website: https://renzogracieacademy.com

Located in Manhattan is the Renzo Gracie Academy with a spacious 15,000 sqft. academy covering three floors with a beautiful layout throughout each floor. The academy is matted with all Zebra Mats, which seem to be an official sponsor. They provide students and visitors changing rooms, each with day lockers and showers.

They keep on staff a fantastic level of BJJ instructors and high-level grapplers such as John Danaher and his former Danaher Death Squad…. fighters like Frankie Edgar, Georges St Pierre, Eddie Alvarez, Rolles, and Igor Gracie often come to train as well. A proper celebrity gym in the BJJ world.

Renzo Gracie also explains:

“We have just over 1,500 students with 15 classes daily, making us the biggest privately owned BJJ academy in the world.”

12. Demian Maia Jiu-Jitsu: Sao Paulo, Brazil

Website: https://www.demianmaia.com/academies

The HQ for his BJJ empire is situated in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with a massive facility featuring 3+ mat training rooms. One exclusively for No-gi. Demian Maia is arguably the best MMA athlete representing Jiu-Jitsu, and the chance to learn from him should be a top priority. This facility features everything you could ask for, plus an açai bar, a 3D history wall, and a front entrance much like a first-class airport… very innovative and world-class, to say the least…. Check out this video tour here: 

13. Alliance Jiu-Jitsu (Sao Paulo, Brazil)

Website: https://www.alliancesaopaulo.com.br/jiu-jitsu-em-sp

The Alliance of Sao Paolo school is the team’s Brazilian jewel and headquarters. Cobrinha, Lucas Lepri, Marcelo Garcia as well as Michael Langhi and Tarsis Humphreys often call this academy their home. The instructor team is headlined by Fabio Gurgel, an 8x World BJJ champion. As if he needed more accolades in BJJ, he also boasts over 50 World Champions under his tutelage. In 2019 he celebrated 30 years of being a black belt.

There you have it! 14 of the largest and most gorgeous Jiu-Jitsu GYMs across the world to put on your travel list to have the most epic Jiu-Jitsu vacation. 

Did we miss one on this list? If so, comment below with who we should feature next.

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