Featured affiliated academy: Dahlonega BJJ, USA

Dahlonega BJJ, USA

Where is the gym located?
The gym is located in Dahlonega, GA (USA), a small town in the north Georgia mountains.

How many people train there?
We have about 25 students currently. We just opened two months ago.

Is the gym growing – if so by how many new members each month or year?
It is definitely growing. We are adding about 10-15 members a month.

What are the highest and lowest belt grades training?
We have white belts through brown belts.

When did Dahlonega BJJ, USA open?
March 6, 2023

Some facts about you:

Name: David Curtis
Age: 37
Belt: Brown
Profession: Jiu Jitsu Instructor/Gym Owner
Years in BJJ: 6 years
Other martial arts: No
Currently living in: Cumming, GA
Originally from: Pennsylvania

Please tell us the story of how your gym came into existence
After discovering my passion for Jiu Jitsu and truly falling in love with the art, it became apparent that not only did I love training Jiu Jitsu, I loved teaching and coaching Jiu Jitsu even more. I wanted to dedicate my life to it. After getting the opportunity to coach the no gi classes under my professor, Layton Wilcox at Canton BJJ, I felt that the next step of progression for me was to open my own gym.

Tell us about the people that train in the gym – who are they?
We have people from all walks of life. Dahlonega is home to one of the senior military colleges in the United States. It also houses one of the country’s Army Ranger training camps. So, we get a lot of members with a military background. We also have everyday people. Adults working your typical 9-5, moms, and other college students. Our kids program is starting to take off as well. Being a new, smaller school at the moment, we are excited with how things are progressing and the culture we are building. The gym is coming together better than I ever imagined that it would.

Why do they train in Dahlonega BJJ, USA?
The same reason that a lot of us train. They want something more in life. Something real. Many may want to feel empowered. Some come for exercise, self defence, or to sharpen their skills for their career. Ultimately, a lot of people come for that sense of camaraderie and community that comes with training at a good place.

What are some of the challenges of running a BJJ gym in general, and in your area specifically?
In general, the biggest challenge is learning the business side of running a gym. For instance, understanding marketing, advertising, and creating value for your members. Another big one seems to be just embracing the grind and responsibility. At the end of the day, the success of the gym hinges on you as an individual for a very long time and that feeling can be slightly daunting. Lastly, and maybe this is me specifically, but just trying to take care of my body while growing the gym. When there are a lot of people, you can pick and choose rounds, but when there are smaller classes you have to lead. You have to take the beating day in and day out.

The biggest challenge specific to our area is the rotating membership due to the college and military schedules.

How do you see the future for BJJ in your area?
Honestly, I see it growing quite a bit. We have seen a real desire for high level grappling in the north Georgia area. There are actually quite a few high level people who want to learn it not just for sport purposes, but for practical purposes as well. Be it for occupations and careers specific to this area, or to learn some self defence, or maybe just to get the kids off screens for a bit, it seems like north Georgia wants Jiu Jitsu in their lives.

What’s the best thing about Dahlonega BJJ, USA?
The people. Watching everybody go from strangers to each other to seeing them form friendships and bonds with one another. Watching them achieve their goals, not just with Jiu Jitsu, but with life. Seeing their confidence grow in different situations. Watching the growth of each individual. Those are the greatest moments.

If I had to pick just one though, it’s doing this with my wife and kids. One thing that hasn’t been discussed yet, is how much help you need along the way. If it weren’t for some very good friends, an incredible coach, a supportive family and an even more amazing life partner, I truly would not be given this opportunity. It is to them that this gym is, in many ways, dedicated to. We would be nothing without the help and support of those in our lives.

What would you recommend Globetrotters to see in your area apart from the inside of your gym?
The list could go on forever, really. From amazing local food to large community driven festivals, Dahlonega stands alone in its people and its beauty. You could get lost in the scenery forever. We did. That’s why Dahlonega BJJ exists and we truly hope to see you all on the mats.

To be more specific, you should definitely check out:

Gold rush (festival once a year)
Bear on the Square (festival once a year)
Amicalola Falls (state park)
Historic downtown
Golf Course
River Rafting
This truly could go on forever…


Thanks for sharing! If you’d like to visit Dahlonega BJJ, USA you can contact them here.