Jits and the City is a simple concept it combines a city break opportunity with the chance to train BJJ. We heard about it as its run by one of our friends from Stealth BJJ – Brown Belt Gaz Louth and his girlfriend. So as we were all in Barcelona for the European Masters it made perfect sense to meet up with Gaz and travel back to Madrid with him to explore all that Jits and the City had to offer!
So how to describe Jits and the City? Well, take a shared Airbnb, two single private rooms that is situated in Madrid with good metro access (and a travel pass included if you need it). Then add in all the homely mod cons such as WiFi that works, a nice bathroom, kitchen access and living room. Then thrown in the BJJ related bonuses such as training opportunities, gi laundry and breakfast. Plus your staying with a BJJ couple so they totally understand if you want healthy options for competition prep or in our case the post comp cravings for the delicious but not necessarily so nutritious!
I’m not going to do a day by day review but I will try to cover the essential BJJ and non-BJJ viewpoints. Firstly the BJJ side of things! We visited three gyms during our stay which were all arranged and coordinated by Jits and the City. This not only save us a lot of planning but obviously Gaz also has a lot of local knowledge. He planned out visits not only around our availability but also our training needs (e.g. ability, size and gender of training partners).
Stealth BJJ Madrid is based at a local gym that is only a short walk away from the accommodation and provides a range of gi and no gi sessions throughout the week. The classes are taught by Gaz himself and are delivered in both English and Spanish making them totally easy to follow. Unsurprisingly classes are structured similarly to classes in the U.K. with a warm-up consisting of movement specific drills and activities before moving into technique and rolling. As it’s a relatively new gym the classes are small but growing with a mixture of shapes and abilities on the mat over the week of our visit. I definitely had a lot of fun at both of the sessions we attended.
Crazy Team BJJ was the second gym we visited on Tuesday. Sessions are run by black belt Sito Martínez and the class was taught mainly in Spanish with a little bit of English to help prompt the key technical points. I have to say he gave clear instruction with the techniques shown multiple times from various angles and generally it was easy to follow. Sito also came and gave additional help and pointers throughout the class. The class itself had a mixture of grades in it but everyone was really lovely and as I later discovered many of them were high-grade and experienced judokas! I had the pleasure of rolling with several students as well as Sito himself who was great fun to roll with. It was also great to start so many of the rolls from standing and also to discover the benefit of learning some of my judo japanese terms (universal language!). The gym has a fantastic vibe and everyone was so welcoming. It is definitely a gym I’d like to visit again (although I may have been swayed by the sociable post training drinks and tapas around the corner!).
Wednesday was the training session I was looking forward to the most at Mathias Ribeiro BJJ. The head coach is Brazilian Mathias Ribeiro who took the class I was attending but I got the pleasure of being partnered with female black belt Charlotte Von Baumgarten. Charlotte isn’t just epically talented and was incredibly helpful and patient with me during the technical instruction (which was totally in Spanish). Mathias showed a beautiful omaplata set up with a range of transition options to a variety of armbars, triangles and looping back to the omaplata with multiple layers of details which I wouldn’t have managed without Charlotte’s help. Following the technical aspect of the session we rolled (again starting from standing) and I had the pleasure Charlotte tapping me multi times with a range of submissions – a great learning experience! Overall the gym was really friendly but its competition pedigree really showed through. There was no easy rounds when it came to rolling with lots of high quality technical and competition sharp jiu jitsu. It’s definitely a gym I’d visit again both for the technical input and the strength of their competition / women’s team.
I have only visited Madrid once before which was for a competition. That time I only saw the airport the metro, a hotel and a sportshall! So I was really excited to actually see the city and not just the inside of some lovely BJJ gyms! On our first evening Gaz and his girlfriend took us to a lovely restaurant which more than made up for our post comp meal the night before (mmm steak and sangeria) as well as showing us some initial key sites in the city so that we could get our bearing for the following day. On Monday we explored by ourselves enjoying both the tourists stops and a bit of shopping in the city whilst on the Tuesday Gaz joined us in the city for the afternoon and showed some some great food spots and scenic viewpoints. as well as pointing us in the right direction for some delicious tapas that evening (I won’t bore you with holiday snaps buts there is plenty on my social media!). On Wednesday training was rather exhausting so we enjoyed a siesta between sessions as well as the local area including a great chicken shop that gave Nandos more than a run for its money (look its post competition I’m obsessed with food!).
Madrid has a great metro system which is just a short walk from Jits and the City that made being a gym traveller and a tourist really straight forward and Madrid really is a beautiful city with something for everyone including some fantastic food options! Although we did see a large chunk of the city there is definitely much more to see which totally justifies another visit in the future!
Jits and the City is a great way to maximise your time in Madrid. Its got easy access to the city as well as Stealth BJJ around the corner. Plus being hosted takes a chunk of stress out of your stay. Gi’s and Breakfast is sorted and you have an instant introduction to both the city and the local BJJ community. If you are considering your next city break or want to tick off another city in your BJJ Globetrotting adventures I certainly would recommend giving Jits and the City a try – we will be back! 🙂