Schools that are killing it during COVID

So with many BJJ schools being required to close or not allowed to operate during the last year due to COVID, some schools have put up curtains/black out shades on their windows and have been fully running even through the COVID pandemic
Since they are open against their government guidelines, many BJJ students looking to roll have flocked to the schools that are still running underground. Mainly, this consist of students who train at one school, but their home school is closed or doing training with family only or grappling dummies and because their own school (schools A) are following the guidelines. But then since school B is open across town, they run out there and have been training since

In a way, you can’t fault the students because their home School is not offering what they are looking for.

In another way, the school owners who are open and taking the students from other schools are also sleazy dirtbags. But then again, they also have rent to pay


Ultimately, it is a business and refusing students, especially during uncertain times, would be silly. Just because you know someone doesn’t mean you know their habits or history and you are any safer with the student body you know.

The trend that I have noticed are academies with a large student body that are mostly younger (20’s) are thriving and doing well. The schools with mostly older crowd (30’s+) are having a difficult time getting memberships to come back. Already hard during the best of conditions to keep people consistently training, let alone COVID as the ultimate excuse to stop training and pursue other hobbies that don’t wreck the body.

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Maybe it is different in some rare exceptions, or in different regions (like the south where things are more open) but I don’t think anyone is “killing it” during the pandemic. I manage a fairly large school with a big kids program and large adult program, and while we are open (with some restrictions) and have been for awhile, we took a tremendous hit. Classes are still at state mandated capacity, so to the unassuming eye it probably looks like we are doing great, but we are still very much recovering from the tremendous hit we took during the height of the pandemic, especially in terms of kids. You don’t realize how many people cancelled or froze their contracts unless you work behind the scenes for a program.

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turning down students might be silly.
but violating state mandates is scummy and getting students because of that isn’t the most ethical
Even with younger students…they’re still carriers.
This whole thing is like “tug-of-war” everybody needs to pull together at the same time otherwise you’re screwing the rest of the “team”


I’m not talking about recovering or operating at a limited capacity. I’m talking about being in a county where the restrictions are still quite strict and have a capacity limits and do not allow contact sports. But the schools the are killing it are doing just that. They are operating full and at 100%, with a complete disregard for any of the country restrictions. I’m talking like 40+ people on the mat in a single class, 3 classes back to back like pre-pandemic times.
They have a Lot of students due to other schools following the strict mandates and they don’t follow, making them the only school that offers what many students are looking for, real unaltered mat time.

Covid is the best thing that ever happened for some schools. And you’re right, it’s the gyms with the younger folks that are really killing it. The older, recreational guys and kids are still lagging behind.

Are there any actual examples of this as far as school that are doing better than ever during the pandemic? Or is this just supposition? Because mostly this thread seems to be dancing in generalities, and as I mentioned before, appearances can be deceptive when you don’t have eyes on the financial info.

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Sorry, I should have been more specific. And you are right, I have no financials on these gyms. But on speculation and the conditions looking in, they have to be. I won’t say names or locations but for example
In my county, contact sports and combat sports are not allowed. The COVID cases are low/medium in number but the government is not allowing it. The states next to me and above me are allowing contact sports in limited capacity, with restrictions.
Majority of the schools are adhering to the guidelines and are either closed or doing classes with grappling dummies.
One school opened during the lockdown last year. A local brown belt left the school (that adhered to guidelines) he was training at and secured a lease for a big big gym during that time, they built it out and opened. He took more than half the students in his home gym to his new gym, because he was allowing full training with no restrictions. The area he opened up formerly had 3 schools in the nearby area, 2 of which closed permanently because of COVID. All those students went to him. Because he is one of three schools allowing full BJJ training with no restrictions, lots of students from other schools flocked to him. He was open less than 3 months and bragged about having 250+ students, and seeing it online, classes seems to be 40-50 people per class, back to back classes.
Another school in the area basically has the owner actively seeking out students from other gyms to come to their gym to train, as this owner is allowing full training and luring BJJ-hungry students to his school. From what I’ve heard, he has gained quite a bit of colored belt students from other gyms. At least a dozen students of mine has told me they have been solicited by this instructor to switch to his school. Again, nearly all the school in the county are adhering to guidelines save for these 2 and maybe one more

In a way I understand as people have rent to pay and a business to run. But, I also feel like it is quite a dirty tactic that stresses everyone else to break guidelines just to stay competitive

A few schools in my area that have stayed open have had a noticeable jump in enrollment the late few months. From small groups to mats packed end to end.

If the people training don’t give a fuck, the owner of the school doesn’t give a fuck…let them all train. If they get busted or sick they knew there could be consequences. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Except for like 2-3 months at the beginning of COVID I’ve been training like normal. I did catch COVID a few months back. Stayed out of the gym for a few weeks and back to normal.

If you’re around high risk people or are high risk yourself you might not want to train but that should be a decision that you make, not the government.

Poaching students is never a good look but if their school isn’t running classes someone else will.

Talked with a friend tonight and his school has 4x as many students right now as it did prior to covid

Yes a friend of mine has 4x the amount of students as prior to covid, and they were doing well before everything happened

All the shitty schools being run by fraud retards doing the best too. There’s a terrible kickboxing guy around here who loves cosplaying a thai person who is killing it atm. People are just desperate to sign them and their kids up for stuff it seems.


I own an academy and lost around 140 students since the start of the pandemic.
We are one of the only gyms in the region actually following protocols to any extent. Most of the gyms in the area never wore masks, did capacity limits, etc etc. …classes with 30, 40 students on the mat multiple times per day.

What I dont understand is I have not heard of a single gym having a major breakout. Anyone know of any?

Just a guess, but two reasons:

1.> If/when outbreaks happen they’ll obviously be kept quiet. You won’t hear about it.

2.> If/when outbreaks happen they’re likely not too severe given that the practitioners will skew younger and be in shape (particularly the ones that are illegally/clandestinely training).

Given what we know about Covid at this point, age and obesity levels seem to be the biggest risk factors. So a bunch of fit, risk-taking, young guys training probably isn’t going to be a big deal within the gym itself.

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At my gym I rolled hard 2 rounds in a row with someone who ended up being positive. I was tested a few times over the next couple weeks and I was negative every single time.

I’m over weight, diabetic, and catch a cold when the wind blows.

Only people that I know that got it were either in a nursing home(my wife’s mom’s brother who died from it) or from traveling (everyone in my gym that I know that got it)

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I’m in Kelowna about 4 hour drive from Vancouver. We’ve been lucky as I haven’t heard of any out breaks in Kelowna. In Vancouver though there were multiple Covid out breaks in clubs in the summer and fall but low numbers. Most clubs closed for 2 weeks and people got tested and it didn’t seem to spread too bad.

Since November all clubs were not suppose to run group classes but some clubs just stayed open. Now i’m hearing of large out breaks in Vancouver from 4 + in one club and 14 and counting in another club.

Ontario is a mess with hospitals at over capacity and here in BC our positive numbers are going up faster than ever.

I’ve known of many gyms but they’ve kept it quiet. But I agree, as a whole it seems like they’ve managed to avoid the negative press.

Almost all have, it’s just the people flouting locks downs don’t talk about it when it happens.

Is part of it that the actual health challenges posed by the Covid virus have been massively exaggerated? The novel Covid virus has something like a 99.7% survival rate. Below 30 years of age, it is like 99.9%.