Below is a list of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academies that I’ve visited throughout the USA and the world. I’ll be continuing to update the list with additions and my impressions as a visiting student.

New York, NY
Vitor Shaolin Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Head Instructor: Vitor Shaolin
780 8th Ave
New York, NY 10036
(212) 957-4045
This is my home academy and I love the scene here. Shaolin and all of his instructors are incredibly helpful and supportive. The level of training is quite high and high standards are always maintained. The school hosts elite competitors and hobbyists alike, though everyone is given respect. It’s an extremely friendly atmosphere and everyone is always eager to help a fellow practitioner, whether that involves drilling, offering advice, or offering a warm welcome to a visiting student.

Philadelphia, PA
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu United
Head Instructor: Jared Weiner
428 Old York Rd
Jenkintown, PA 19046
(215) 886-1079
Jared Weiner as his crew are serious! Instruction is rock solid here and so is the team. This school places a lot of emphasis on competition and it’s a great place to get your butt kicked (but in a friendly way). I found Jared and his team to be incredibly welcoming to visiting students and I’ve always walked away having learned a lot. I highly recommend BJJ United if you’re visiting the Philadelphia area.

Delray Beach, FL
Rodrigo Mendes Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy
Head Instructor: Rodrigo Mendes
1490 South Federal Highway
Delray Beach, FL 33483
(561) 455-2645
Professor Rodrigo Mendes and his wife Ashley run an incredibly friendly and welcoming academy. When in the area visiting family, I immediately felt at home. Instructors and students alike go out of their way to welcome visitors. Instruction is clear and solid, and the academy has students of all ages, abilities, and goals. This is a school where everyone can find a home. I look forward to training here again when I’m in town visiting family.

Chicago, IL
Brazil-021 Chicago
Head Instructor: Andre Terencio
1911 West Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(866) 977-7021
Professors Andrew Terencio and his wife Hannette Staack provide clear and supportive instruction in a quiet location in a quaint part of Chicago. The vibe is friendly and supportive, and the students are always eager to assist a visitor and make them feel welcome and at home. It’s obvious how much Professors Terencio and Staack love sharing BJJ and it’s truly a pleasure to learn from them.

Southern California
Hustle Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Head Instructor: Russell Cantorna
1631 East 17th St, #G
Santa Ana, CA 92705
(714) 486-1180
The scene here is welcoming, the schedule has many great options, and head instructor Russell Cantorna offer solid, clear instruction. The academy is easy to locate and has onsite parking. I learned a lot from the class I took here and will return home with some new skills to apply. Price per class is very reasonable and there’s a great balance between creating a casual training environment and commanding respect for the instructor and higher belts. I’m looking forward to returning here on my next visit to the area. This is a great location for those visiting Disneyland or events at the Anaheim Convention Center due to the proximity to those locations. Note that although the academy doesn’t offer showers onsite, it’s located close to area hotels, so it’s easy to get back to wherever you’re staying in order to get showered before heading off to other commitments.

London, England
London Wing Chun Academy
Head Instructor: Dr. Mark Phillips
2nd Floor Cypress House
2 Coburg Road
Wood Green, London
N22 6UJ
+44 07976 855 259
Mark Phillips has the distinction of being the only head instructor on this list who also holds a PhD. Needless to say, he’s incredibly intelligent and thoughtful. In addition to being a BJJ black belt, he’s a Wing Chun Sifu. Classes are well organized with clear instruction. Mark is an excellent communicator and I found his classes to be extremely insightful. It can get a little bit crowded (at least in the beginner classes), but it’s well worth the experience in order to train here. Mark also gives seminars in Wing Chun and self-defense all over the world. I highly recommend studying with him whether in a workshop or at a class at his home gym.

Hamburg, Germany
Tensho Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Head Instructor: Raimar Mohrdieck
Stresemannstrasse 52
22769 Hamburg
Deutschland (Germany)
+49 (0) 171 6237377
While I was in Hamburg on business, I was unavailable during the times that regular classes were being offered at Tensho, but as my hotel was just a ten minute walk from the academy, I made sure to schedule a number of private lessons with Raimar Mohrdieck. Instruction was clear and insightful, and as a relatively new BJJ student he helped to reinforce basic concepts I had been struggling to grasp. I gained a lot of insight and knowledge from my work with Raimar and I’m looking forward to my next visit to Hamburg so that I can finally participate in a regular class.

Tokyo, Japan
Tri-Force Jiu Jitsu (Ikebukuro)
Head Instructor: Mitsuyoshi Hayakawa
Piso-Ikebukuro Bldg 1F, 2-62-1, Ikebukuro
Toshima-ku, Tokyo 171-0014
Address in Japanese:
Japan, 〒171-0014 東京都豊島区Ikebukuro,
2 Chome−62, 池袋2丁目62−1 PISO池袋 1F
+81 03-6914-2947
Training here is solid, strong, and friendly. I was paired with an English speaking black belt who was very supportive and offered helpful translation. The team is very technical and rolls are well paced. As is the case with all gyms in Japan, the facilities are immaculate.

Carpe Diem Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Head Instructor: Yuki Ishikawa
Aoyama dojo:
4-26-16-1F, Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku
Tokyo, Japan 107-0062
+81 03-6427-4163 (日本語)
+81 080-9644-0081 (English & French)
Mita dojo:
5-1-13-B1, Shiba, Minato-ku
Tokyo, Japan 108-0014
+81 03-6435-4803 (日本語)
+81 080-9644-0081 (English & French)
Hiroo dojo:
5-14-2-3F, Hiroo, Shibuya
Tokyo, Japan 105-0012
+81 03-6721-9302 (日本語)
+81 080-9644-0081 (English & French)
I’ve now trained at all three Tokyo locations of Carpe Diem. They vary in size and facilities, but all are immaculate. Solid, technical rolling is to be found here. There tend to be more English speakers at Carpe Diem than at other gyms in Japan, probably due to the number of foreign visitors they receive.

Osaka, Japan
Tri-Force Jiu-Jitsu Academy
Head Instructor: Hideyuki Kawamoto
Debis Bldg 5F, Minami-honmachi 2-4-16
Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 541-0054
+81 06-4708-3150
This is my “home away from home” school. As I’m in Osaka several times per year, I always return to Tri-Force Osaka. Though Kawamoto-sensei doesn’t speak English, he’s an excellent communicator and I find his classes to be extremely valuable. His assistant instructor, Dan Tinsley, offers extremely impressive bi-lingual instruction in both English and Japanese. The students here are incredibly friendly and welcoming, and a ton of fun to roll with. I enjoy that there are a wide variety of skill levels here, so I’m always challenged, but don’t walk away completely destroyed. There are a number of students who speak at least some English, and they’re always happy to welcome visitors. The location is incredibly convenient, only about a five minute walk from Honmachi Station and a few blocks from the St Regis Hotel. Be sure to use Google Maps or Apple Maps on your way here as the building can be difficult to identify if using only the written address.

Paraestra Osaka
Address in English:
18-21 Kokubu-machi,
Tennoji Ward, Osaka-shi 543-0044
Address in Japanese:
〒543-0044 大阪府大阪市天王寺区国分町18−21
+81 06-4305-1741
If you’re coming here to train with Yuki Nakai, you’ll need to visit the Tokyo location of Paraestra. That said, you won’t be disappointed at the Osaka dojo. I took a beginner level class here that addressed various moves and concepts that were very helpful to my game. On the day I attended, there were very few English speaking students and the instructor didn’t speak speak much English either. That said, I’m very appreciative of how much he compensated through demonstration, and the couple of English speaking students in the class were very happy to assist in translating. The students in the class made for great training partners. The location is the only drawback as it’s not nearly as convenient as Tri-Force, but that wouldn’t keep me from taking class here again.

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