Gracie Barra academy hold lockdown classes - backed by world champions

Gracie Barra Hastings, the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy, has put on a full schedule of classes during lockdown – and even secured the backing of three world champions!

Tuesday, 28th July 2020, 9:27 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th July 2020, 9:30 am

The Earl Street school, which reopens on Saturday (July 25th), has used Zoom to teach 10 sessions-a-week since the Covid-19 outbreak in March.

And it even organised Q&A chats for students with Braulio Estima, Lucio Rodrigues and Carlos Lemos Jr – all very high profile names in the sport.

Paul Bridges, head instructor at GB Hastings, said he was thrilled to secure the ‘virtual’ presence of such successful competitors.

Braulio Estima and Paul Bridges

“It was a tremendous honour to have such influential people in BJJ willing to give up their time to answer questions and chat with our students,” he said.

Access to such senior figures is one of the benefits of being part of the international Gracie Barra organisation, which boasts 800 schools across the world.

The three professors have each enjoyed remarkable achievements in the sport, boasting numerous championship titles between them. They have also overcome adversity.

Lucio Rodrigues was told he’d never compete again after being struck down with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in his twenties.

However, he returned to training just weeks after starting chemotherapy and won the Rio de Janeiro State Championship the following year.

Braulio Estima is another who defied doctors’ warnings that his career was over after being temporarily paralysed in a freak training accident that required surgery on his neck.

However, just months later he beat arch rival, Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza, in a superfight.

Carlos Lemos Jr, meanwhile, was one of the main instructors of the legendary Gracie Barra headquarters in Barra da Tijuca Brazil, and has also built a number of GB franchises.

Bridges is looking forward to being back in the academy, having spent four months broadcasting BJJ classes from his lounge with wife, Ali, who is also an experienced BJJ black belt.

“It has been important for us to continue teaching classes from home in order to stay connected with students and enable them to continue learning,” he said.

Alongside sessions for gi, nogi, kids, street self-defence, and catch wrestling, they also put together concept tutorials to help students better understand particular moves.

The academy caters for all ages – members range in age from three to 78-years-old – and focuses on both sport and self-defence techniques.

If you are interested in finding out more information then ring Bridges on: 07967 659867 or visit

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