Throughout the pandemic, one of the hardest hit industries was the martial arts. In general, martial arts requires close contact with another human(especially Brazilian Jiu Jitsu), and unless someone in your household also trained, your participation during COVID either greatly diminished or all together disappeared. And all those schools that offered sanctuary to the martial artist suffered tremendously during the lockdown, as well.
Similar to Broadway, owners & operators of these academies were given very little information as far as a timeline for reopening, particularly in NYC. With finances diminishing over the extended closure, many did not survive the 16 month shutdown.....but there are success stories.
This week I'm pleased to share the mic with Gregor Gracie to discuss the reopening of his Brooklyn academy along the Brooklyn Bridge Park waterfront. If there's one thing the Gracies are trained to face from a very young age, it's adversity, and this week we'll hear how Gregor's lifelong journey in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu prepared him for what is likely the biggest challenge his school will ever face.
Jeremiah introduces the episode by explaining where he is recording today, in the newly opened Gregor Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy before introducing the message of the week, “Jiu Jitsu is like a philosophy, it helps me learn how to face life”. He then introduces his guest for this week, Gregor Gracie the owner of the academy, and a well accomplished martial artist. Jeremiah and Gregor discuss Gregor’s first academy he operated that opened in 2018, before it closed down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Gregor explained how his first academy was a great learning experience that allowed him to be able to upgrade his space to his current academy’s location along the Brooklyn Bridge Park waterfront. Gregor goes in depth about what attracted him to that area to open his current academy. The two discuss the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in March of 2020, and where Gregor’s headspace was in regards to running his academy and how it was impacted by the pandemic. Jeremiah and Gregor discuss the Jiu Jitsu mentality, and how this mindset has helped them throughout the pandemic, as well as their daily and professional lives.
Jeremiah and Gregor discuss how for the longest time due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the fate of Jiu Jitsu was very fragile due to the nature of the martial art being a contact heavy sport. The two continued to talk about how the pandemic impacted business, Jeremiah bringing up the issues that occurred with leases and paying rent, as many businesses were unable to open because of the pandemic, leaving the owners unable to pay their landlords, leading to their permanent closure. Gregor brings up how sad it is to see all of the gyms that had to close down because of the pandemic, as he doesn’t like the mindset that one area only needs one gym within it, as he believes that the more gyms that are open and operating the more people that know about Jiu Jitsu. Jeremiah and Gregor discuss Gregor’s business strategies in opening his newest academy during this time, and expanding it at that. Gregor goes in depth at what motivated him to start his own business and open his own academy, rather than focus exclusively on professional MMA fighting. Gregor continues to explain why he enjoys operating a Jiu Jitsu academy, and that he’s happy that he made the transition to running a business because of how much joy it brings him.
Jeremiah and Gregor discuss what kinds of lessons are going to be available at his new Jiu Jitsu academy, and how he has expanded the kind of content available from his previous academy. The two continued to discuss the Jiu Jitsu community, and how the community impacts Gregor, and how it plays into how he operates his academy and what is offered at the academy. Gregor explains the kinds of classes that he offers for kids, and how there is a focus on both self confidence and self defense, both of which Gregor strongly believes that children should know. The two continue to discuss how Jiu Jitsu is very much about working together, and helping each other to improve their skills. Jeremiah explains how much he appreciates Jiu Jitsu because you can always improve and better yourself, and those who you train with are there for the journey with you. Gregor continues off of that point, saying that Jiu Jitsu helps to keep you humble, and to not judge a person by their appearance, an aspect of Jiu Jitsu and the community he appreciates. Jeremiah and Gregor discuss digital marketing, and Gregor’s marketing strategies when preparing for the opening of his academy.
Jeremiah goes in depth about the grand re-opening of Gregor’s Jiu Jitsu academy, as well as the environment of where it is located. Jeremiah and Gregor discuss Gregor’s thoughts on Jiu Jitsu going forward, as well as the future of the Jiu Jitsu community. Gregor goes in depth about his different endeavors within the Jiu Jitsu world, as well as the growth of the competition team he is on.