When I moved from Bangkok to Seoul, I knew I wanted to join a BJJ gym again to pick up my training. Never would I thought Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Seoul would become my second home, and never would I thought my training partners would become my friends. If you are in Seoul, and looking for a place to train, try Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Seoul, the official and first certified training center in South Korea.
Gracie Seoul is owned by Jason Park, a brown belt instructor under Ryron & Rener Gracie. Since September 2016 the gym is located in the heart of Gangnam, a few steps away from the subway station. Located in the basement, the gym is very spacious and clean. You won’t smell any bad gis or sweat as after training the mats are being cleaned at least twice a day. It’s nothing like any other BJJ gym in Korea for sure.
Besides the spacious mat space, there is a small room for private lessons. There’s a men’s and women’s locker room, each equipped with a few lockers, a sink, and a shower room. The ladies’ locker room has two showers whereas men have four showers (lucky them). The locker rooms are both on the smaller size, especially if you’re there for evening class. It can be very packed then.
Gracie Seoul teaches four different programs: Gracie Bullyproof, Women Empowered, Gracie Combatives, and Master Cycle. Each class is about an hour, except Master Cycle which is 1,5 hours. For the Gracie Combatives, you are taught 36 basic techniques. After 8 months you’re allowed to test for your combatives belt. This will advance you to Master Cycle classes. In the Combatives program there are no sparring sessions as they want you to master the 36 techniques first and it’s 100% self defense oriented.
In Master Cycle classes you are going more in depth and focus on different techniques and options in each position. You can only enter Master Cycle classes when you have a Combatives belt/Blue belt.
Women Empowered can be seen as introduction program to Gracie Combatives. Women Empowered is only for women and it covers similar techniques as the Combatives classes, but easier to understand and to remember. As a woman, you might not feel comfortable joining a class with men so Women Empowered is the perfect stepping stone.
What you need to know
– There are no warming ups, you have to take care of that yourself before class.
– Last 30 minutes is sparring time for the ones who wants to spar.
– Only white gis allowed. Gracie rule, Gracie standard.
– Classes are taught in Korean, but Jason or someone else will explain in English if you don’t understand.
– 80% are white belts. Highest ranked students are blue belts 3 stripes.
– Take a look at their website for schedule and more information: www.gracieseoul.com
How to get here
Take the subway to Sinnonhyeon station Line 9 and take exit 4. It’s right across the street, you can’t miss it!