London, England — “Do you guys also train BJJ?” asked Jack. I was meeting with my Matsurfing host, Joe, in his office in London, and Jack happened to walk by and started talking to us out of nowhere. Some of you who went to the BJJ Globetrotters’ camps might have met Jack as a yoga instructor, and that was my first interaction with him. He just happened to be working in that office that day when he ran into us. What are the odds? After easily connecting over BJJ, Jack invited me to his training ground, Roger Gracie Academy Gymbox
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London, the capital of the United Kingdom, is often considered a leading global hub for business, politics, culture, and art. It is one of the world’s oldest and greatest cities with a rich history. Combined with tourist attractions such as the iconic Big Ben tower, the London Eye, and the Palace of Westminster, it is obvious why London is one of the world’s leading destinations for tourism.
Roger Gracie Academy Gymbox Farringdon (RGA) is one of the Roger Gracie Academy affiliates in London led by Professor Cesar Lima. Started in 2007, the academy is now home to more than 250 athletes and it has various locations in the United Kingdom. Unlike typical Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academies, RGA offers classes in a Gymbox facility in Farringdon, a large franchise fitness club that offers additional perks including access to weight training areas, saunas, and other fitness classes.
Because of the short nature of my trip to London, I only had an opportunity to attend a lunchtime open mat at RGA. I met up with Jack prior to the session in front of Gymbox in Farringdon. Initially, I was rather confused as the facility is decorated with neon lights and pop music blasting over the speakers, and was not the type of venue I was expecting to find. I thought Jack invited me to go clubbing instead. Once I passed through a group of powerlifters doing their thing and Muay Thai fighters hitting heavy bags, I found a familiar mat space with people in their gis. Although the mat space was small, it was enough space for around 20 people.
As soon as I walked onto the mat, Professor Rogerio Lima welcomed me to the academy. A black belt under RGA, Professor Lima’s competition records vouch for his BJJ experience. He and his students offered a supportive environment during my visit to the academy and I never once felt like a visitor. Since it was an open mat, I did not have a chance to take a class at the academy. However, the level of students easily reflected the competency of the instructors.
RGA offers classes 5–6 times a day and the classes are led by a team of incredible black belt instructors under RGA. If you are looking for high-level instructors with years of experience and incomparable lineage in London, the Roger Gracie Academy is the right choice for you. Come pay a visit if you have a chance. Thank you, Professor Rogerio and Jack for an amazing opportunity to train with the team.
Location & Facility
RGA Gymbox (Farringdon) is located next to Farringdon underground station. The mat space is located within the Gymbox fitness center, which provides access to the rest of the fitness facility with various weight training equipment and other amenities.
The schedule at RGA Gymbox is perfectly catered towards busy Londoners. The morning classes start every weekday at 7 am, and the evening classes are offered 3-times after 6 pm with the latest class at 8 pm.
— Roger Gracie Academy’s Website
Things to do
- Tower of London — The Tower of London is a historic royal fortress located on the north bank of the River Thames. Its buildings and ground historically served different purposes such as a royal palace, a fortress, and a prison. Seeing its priceless Crown Jewels and Beefeaters will complete your visit to London.
- Tower Bridge — Adjacent to the Tower of London is Tower Bridge. The bridge is an iconic symbol of London along with the Tower of London, and the bridge is a truly unique and memorable spectacle.
- London Eye — The London Eye is another iconic tourist attraction located on the South Bank of the River Thames. It is Europe’s tallest observation wheel rotating over the river presenting 360-degree views of London.
- Big Ben — Commonly referred to as Big Ben, the Elizabeth Tower is among London’s cultural icons recognized all over the world. The clock tower presents a spectacular scene at night when the four clock faces are illuminated.
- Buckingham Palace — Located in the City of Westminster, the Buckingham Palace served as the official London residence and administrative headquarters of the British monarch since 1837. The building is one of only a few working royal palaces in the world.