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Training with Renzo Gracie Academy Students – My Seminar Experience

Danaher Death Squad Seminar 2019

If you are a fan of BJJ then you must have heard about Renzo Gracie Academy. It is probably the current #1 BJJ spot in the whole world, mainly due to the massive success of their BJJ team in international/national competitions. The team is called Danaher Death Squad led by John Danaher. Read more about the Danaher Death Squad here.

How & When I Met Them

On May 2019 John Danaher and his team (Gordon Ryan, Nicky Ryan, and Garry Tonon) went to Singapore to teach BJJ seminars at Evolve MMA in Singapore for a week. I was fortunate enough to have the finances and time to attend the seminars. Starting from Monday and ends on Saturday with 2-3x training per day, it is one of the most interesting/exhausting BJJ experience in my life.

I went there with a friend from Indonesia and overall the trip to Singapore wasn’t that bad. However I do have some advice if you are looking to embark on a BJJ journey like me on another country:

  • Bring LOTS of rash guards: This will save you some space in your luggage/backpack and unless you are planning to attend a party why would you bring another type of clothing besides rash guards (Danaher approves this)
  • Prepare your phone for roaming: This is pretty crucial because it’s quite confusing to find directions to your hotel unless you have internet. I was almost lost when I landed but thankfully I still have some prepaid balance on my phone and was able to find my way to the hotel. Immediately buy a sim card when you do so!
  • Always bring your valuables with you: This is VERY important. I never left my passports, phones, and wallets at my hostel. I brought a fanny pack with me to store those and yeah I got funny looks at the gym but it is definitely worth it to know your belongings are safe and in your sight most of the time. Unless you are very sure the place is safe, do not leave anything of value at your hostel.

My Opinion About Training with Renzo Gracie Academy Team

On each day the seminar is split between a morning class at 9 and a noon class at 2, Danaher himself is almost always there both times, but his students are the main teachers at each class so I was able to grasp each individual styles of coaching.

Trainings are very well directed, starting with a theory and an overall idea of what we will be learning in that specific class and the technical movement instructions that is needed to execute it properly. There was never a warm up in any classes because Danaher told us that warming up should be done by soft drilling instead of doing the usual shrimping and bridging that I often see in most academies. After drilling we do live rolls in specific situations¸ there was never a free roll when I attend the seminar.

When asked about the topic Danaher told us that most of our time should be spent in refining skills first before live rolls, and honestly I agree with that statement. I was able to roll more effectively after I realized that not everyday of BJJ should be a hard training. One of the many takeaways that I received from the seminar.

Overall this is the best BJJ experience that I have ever had. All of the instructors are very nice and most importantly VERY competent in their field because ALL of them are current/former world champions in BJJ especially in the No-gi department (My favorite!)

If you are interested in a more detailed breakdown of each teachers, read my post about Danaher Death Squad

Important Info About Renzo Gracie Academy

Since I was very satisfied with the experience, I’m planning to go to New York and train at Renzo Gracie Academy NYC on 2020. Here are some important info that might help someone like me in planning/enjoying their experience training at Renzo Gracie Academy New York

  1. Renzo Gracie Academy price their mat fees at 40$/day, you get unlimited access to all classes for the day and realistically you could train 3x/day if you are a maniac
  2. Privates ranges from 100-500/hour that you could possibly split if you are bringing a friend along. Just ask the teachers directly and they’ll tell you the fees.
  3. Be prepared to spent 600-1000$ if you are looking to train for more than a week at NYC. This does not include plane tickets if you are from another country like me
  4. Allocate different budgets if you are also looking to be a tourist at NYC, do not mix your BJJ budget with other budgets.