Featured affiliated academy: Fat Man Gym, BJJ Croatia

Fat Man Gym, BJJ Croatia

Where is Fat Man Gym, BJJ Croatia located?
Osijek, Croatia.

How many people train in your gym?
About 10-12, but not always at the same time.

Is the gym growing – if so by how many new members each month or year?
We are growing but not by much because we don’t have space (only 20 m2). So 4 people can train at a time, but when there are more than that it’s not so good. For now we are growing though – we started with 4 people and now we are 10-12.

What are the highest and lowest belt grades training?
Highest is brown, lowest is white belt.

When did the gym open?
The gym opened in 2021.

Some facts about you:

Name: Marko Torić
Age: 36
Belt: Brown
Profession: Special education teacher
Years in BJJ: 14
Other martial arts: Sambo, Boxing, Kickboxing
Currently living in: Osijek
Originally from: Zagreb, Croatia

Please tell us the story of how Fat Man Gym, BJJ Croatia came into existence
Four of us (Igor, Bojan, Želimir, and myself) started to train outside when all the gyms were closed. We bought some mats, found a place that no one was using, and after a few beers we were training.

Our BJJ gym, BJJ Prime (run by BJJ black belt Vedran Budetić) was also closed. After the first lockdown we went back to BJJ Prime, but vew few people returned since there was still the fear of COVID in the air. Then the second lockdown came and we were again hiding and training. During that time I was looking to buy a house, and one of the requirements was that it had to have space for a small gym. Nothing big, just for few people to come and train in case of a new lockdown.

A few months after the second lockdown, in May 2021, I bought a house with one more guesthouse in garden. The logical move was to renovate it and make a small gym inside. So from May 2021 we have been training there. We were planning on going back to BJJ Prime, but it didn’t feel right. We all love each other, I am a great friend with Vedran, his best man at his wedding. But the four of us started to train differently and learning different techniques (we were all doing techniques for heavy people!). We liked the relaxed training, watching tutorials etc. When you’re in a normal BJJ club you can’t usually do that. You have to have structured learning. So we parted ways and that’s how Fat Man Gym was created. We still go to Prime and hang out, but we are older and fat, so we can’t train like some 20-year-old competition BJJ player…

Tell us about the people that train in Fat Man Gym, BJJ Croatia – who are they?
Three people we have to talk about are Igor Dundović, Bojan Mikac and Želimir Gusak. They are the core founders of Fat Man Gym. All good people, they like to train and learn. They supported and helped financially me when I was doing home improvement in the gym. Other members are also Marin Šutalo and Tomica Mandić who are there every training and doing their best to improve. Our logo creator Ivan Janković, who is helping us by printing logos on t-shirts. Mauricio Lazarić is coming and training with us and in his original BJJ gym, Univerzum. And a few others who come and go, but these 7 are there on a weekly basis.

Why do they train?
We love the complexity of Jiu Jitsu and like to see how much our bodies can do when pushed. And it is a great way to get away from the wife and kids :D

What are some of the challenges of running a BJJ gym in general, and in your area specifically?
This is a small gym and we are all friends, so we talk every day about how to schedule a training session.

How do you see the future for Jiu Jitsu in your area? 
The area is good. In Osijek there are 5 Jiu Jitsu gyms and all are doing great. We are friends with all of them and are hoping that we can create massive open mats so all of our styles can come together and we can all learn from each other.

What’s the best thing about your gym? 
It is open 24/7 and we can have parties in there :D

What would you recommend Globetrotters to see in your area apart from the inside of your gym? 
Try the food here – it’s great! – and see the city and the countryside.


Thanks for sharing! If you’d like to visit Fat Man Gym, BJJ Croatia, you can contact them at [email protected]