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Learn the 36 foundational techniques of Gracie Jiu-jitsu to defend yourself effectively.

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Ronin Athletics gym has been a pioneer in the education and training of Mixed Martial Arts, comprised of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Kickboxing in New York City since 2001. We are the official Gracie Jiu Jitsu Certified Training Center in all of Manhattan, New York City area.

We are conveniently located in Midtown Manhattan on 36th Street between 7th and 8th Ave, 2 blocks north of Penn Station and Madison Square Garden and 4 blocks south of the Port Authority Station. Many of our members come from all 5 boroughs of New York City as well as New Jersey and Connecticut.

Ronin Athletics

You’re fortunate to live in New York City because it offers a wide variety of MMA Gyms and Academies – inherent to the competitive nature of Manhattan, the quality of the instructors tends to be of high caliber. Ronin Athletics is considered the best Martial Arts Academy in New York City for those that want to learn: all aspects Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) including self-defense, sport and its concepts on the use of leverage, as well as Kickboxing techniques and footwork.

Contrary to how the sport of MMA (made popular by the UFC), Grappling Competitions or Kickboxing events may appear, the ‘full-contact’ aspect of these events only exhibit a very small portion of its benefits. Fighting has always been an entertaining spectator sport but those who compete typically train at academies who specialize in developing professional fighters – we do not. We believe we are the best Mixed Martial Arts Academy for the individual who wants to learn BJJ and Kickboxing to compliment and balance their lifestyle.

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Ronin Athletics

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is arguably the most important skill to any MMA fighter’s arsenal. It was originally created by Helio Gracie for self-defense. Grandmaster Helio modified the techniques used by Judo practitioners to fit his needs. He was a frail man and was considered too weak to practice Judo, which relied on athleticism with some amount of leverage. He modified his self-defense system by finding the most efficient way to ‘weather the storm’ to be in the best position to respond at the right time, with the right technique, with the greatest amount of leverage (Gracie Jiu Jitsu Philosophy) – he called his art Gracie Jiu Jitsu.

Gracie Jiu Jitsu

Gracie Jiu Jitsu is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) in its complete form, as it was intended by Grandmaster Helio. While the techniques taught share those with other Brazilian Jiu Jitsu schools, the differentiating factor is its emphasis on Self-Defense as its guiding principle during the students development. Without the Self-Defense principle to guide the practitioner, he/she can easily waste valuable time practicing techniques and concepts effective in competition but useless in practical application.

Present day – BJJ Academies abound in New York City. However they have evolved to primarily focus on the sport aspect, almost similar to high school wrestling training with submissions and reliance on a point system. It’s a new sport for the few strong and athletic type. Ronin Athletics enjoys the sport aspect as well but maintains the teaching methodology used by Master Helio.

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The Jiu-Jitsu I created was designed to give the weak ones a chance to face the heavy and the strong

Helio Gracie

So why is Ronin Athletics the best Mixed Martial Arts Gym in New York City? Because if you are the smaller less athletic individual looking to even the field, you are the person Grandmaster Helio Gracie created this for and we are the exclusive certified training center in New York City that follow his approach to teaching Jiu Jitsu as preserved by his grandsons Ryron and Rener Gracie and Gracie University.

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Kickboxing at Ronin Athletics

Kickboxing is probably the most varied and obscure Martial Art offering in New York City. Kickboxing is a single classification but can be organized into so many different experiences. From cardio/aerobics type classes, to a high intensity heavy bag hitting session, to shadow boxing paired with kettlebells or to the more ‘hard-core’ Muay Thai fight gyms complete with bruised shins.

Our Kickboxing program was originated by the gym’s founder, Christian Montes. Replicating the training methods he used during his years of experience fighting professionally in Kickboxing and Mixed Martial Arts. It is a blend of three types of striking disciplines: incorporating modern concepts of Western Boxing, Muay Thai and Dutch Style Kickboxing.

What sets Ronin Athletics Kickboxing program apart from all the Kickboxing Gyms in New York City is its perfect balance in applying the striking concepts: Technique, combinations, distance management, dynamic movement and timing – essential skills needed when training for a fight competition -without actually going to competition. Simply put – we do not train fighters.

Ronin Athletics provides the best Kickboxing training environment for individuals that want the middle road. We appeal to those that have interest in learning the technical concepts of Kickboxing and sparring in a safe environment, while not having to move towards the extreme fight gym environment. The technical aspects of the class is mentally challenging while the application of the techniques at a consistent pace is physically challenging. This approach to training Kickboxing provides sustainability in consistent practice – consistency is the key ingredient to proficiency.

Mixed Martial Arts at Ronin Athletics

Understanding the approach to the individual disciplines we offer: Gracie Jiu Jitsu and Kickboxing, it is a lot easier to grasp why Ronin Athletics has a unique approach to training Mixed Martial Arts.We are not simply teaching you how to wrestle while punching – each dimension of fighting come with its own set of principles and having them come together cohesively require in depth knowledge. Our founder and head coach, Christian Montes is the only Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt in New York City with Professional Kickboxing Experience and the only Kickboxing Coach in New York City that has competed as a BJJ Black Belt at the national level. His commitment to teaching every day individuals is the reason he established Ronin Athletics.

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How long does it take to get good at MMA?

 MMA is multi-faceted. Take Boxing for instance, the competitors need to focus on developing their hand speed and power striking, footwork and physical fitness.  However, there are concepts, theories and principles that (when combined) create different styles of boxers.  Now imagine, incorporating striking with hands, elbows, knees, shins and feet.  Also incorporating techniques in grappling that include clinching, wrestling and submissions.  The many dimensions, create more divers possibilities for MMA fighters. Your success in MMA really depends on your level of dedication, natural talent and athleticism.  It's not impossible to get good at MMA in one year, but it comes down to the effort your put in and how efficient your training is.

Can I train myself in MMA?  Do I need to take classes?

It is possible to train yourself for MMA competition, but it requires some level of proficiency in one or more of the components that make-up an MMA Athlete: stand-up, clinch and ground fighting.  For example, you may be a Division 1 Wrestler in college and so you would incorporate some cross-training with strikers to modify your base discipline in order to defend against strikes.  

However, if you do not have a base discipline it is a good idea to join an academy that can introduce you to striking, clinch and grappling.  Each dimension comes with its own techniques, principles and theories, so it is helpful to work with an academy that provides a structured learning environment.

How can self-defense help you?

Self-defense training can often be both empowering and beneficial. Whether it’s a child being bullied, or an adult dealing with the threat of being violently confronted or assaulted, having the ability to defend oneself and their loved ones can give one the confidence as an individual to navigate successfully navigate through such scenarios. This is a quality which usually permeates into other aspects of the their life and may ultimately help them improve as a person by building character, patience, and “piece of mind” that often helps them deal with the daily rigors of their life

What is the best Martial Art for a Street Fight?

In a street fight scenario, it is common to think that you are going to be confronted by someone bigger and stronger, where their intent is to do you great bodily harm and/or knock you out. In this situation, rather than risk being knocked out yourself by standing and trading blows, it is more advisable to neutralize the opponent in the clinch, smother their powerful strikes, and eventually take them to the ground where you can allow them to exhaust their strength advantage, from here the smaller person, has the option of neutralizing the opponent with a choke or joint lock, or even just escape, wait for help, get compliance and withdraw, etc 

Out of all the more common martial arts, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, embodies these strategies and technique. They don’t espouse striking against an opponent, unlike other grappling arts, their context and focus is the assumption that your opponent is bigger and stronger and trying to do you harm, rather than this is a grappling skilled opponent in a tournament setting.

What is the best method of self-defense?

The best method of self-defense is one that addresses the reality of real world violence. From the physical perspective – it is generally understood that most real fights happen in close quarters, in what is typically referred to as the clinch and in often making its way to the ground. Martial arts that specialize in dealing with range that most fights take place and the most common attacks (haymaker punches, headlocks, tackles, grabbing and hitting, WEAPONS etc) 

In regards to the non-physical – it should also promote psychological and verbal strategies, along with situational awareness to help someone deal with the realities of a confrontation and most importantly neutralize the threat or avoid it altogether. “The hardest fight is the one you walk away from” “Most fights are avoidable and the result of egos and alcohol” “If something is material and replaceable, give it up, it’s not worth your life”

Self-defense is a term that gets thrown around quite frequently in both martial arts and combat sports. Boxing and Wrestling, for example are very specifically competition sports (amateur, professional, and recreational) This does not mean that these skill sets aren’t useful if confronted in a street assault situation, on the contrary, the attributes developed in these areas of training are highly effective and rather useful, but the overall goals of the sport and context by which the training is presented, are not specifically meant to deal with all the other aforementioned variables of self-defense. Therefore, self-defense in that regard is a by-product, not the main focus of this training.

The pitfalls of systems that solely focus on self-defense training tend to be that they often fall into a martial arts (marketing) niche that tends to fetishize violence to some degree and rather than promote the confidence to walk away and avoid questionable scenarios, it almost feeds the paranoia that might lead one to it. These systems are often recognized by over-dramatic appeals to a fear of being assaulted, unrealistic physical results, claims of connections to a elite military fighting style, and ultimately training that is not testable or live, and ironically don’t resemble the real world skills that are attained through combat sports

What is self-defense?

Self-defense refers to various modalities of training that typically refer to, but are not limited to, martial arts training - empty hand fighting skill set. As the concept of self-defense training has evolved, a closer look at scenarios involving real world violence (bullying, muggings, robberies, ego fights/assaults, adductions, etc) takes into account things other than the most high percentage fighting tactics and strategies, this includes such things as … verbal and non-verbal assertiveness, reading body language, situational awareness, and boundary setting.  The physical martial arts curriculum of a self-defense system should also include tactics and strategies that address being attacked with a weapon and being confronted by multiple opponents

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The Gracie Approach to teaching Jiu Jitsu (PART 2 of 2): The Curriculum and a New Way of Sparring 17 Aug

The Gracie Approach to teaching Jiu Jitsu (PART 2 of 2): The Curriculum and a New Way of Sparring

in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by Ronin Athletics Team

Most educational programs are made up of different levels or grades. You begin at a low level, demonstrate your knowledge of certain material, and then move up (or graduate) to the next level. Jiu-jitsu is no different.

The Gracie Approach to teaching Jiu Jitsu (PART 1 of 2): ‘Sink or Swim’ vs. Gracie Training Philosophy 17 Aug

The Gracie Approach to teaching Jiu Jitsu (PART 1 of 2): ‘Sink or Swim’ vs. Gracie Training Philosophy

in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by Ronin Athletics Team

Most people who go to their first jiu-jitsu class are nervous. It’s difficult to walk into any situation wearing your inexperience on your sleeve, especially when this inexperience concerns your ability to defend yourself physically.

Kids Self-Defense: How the ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy helps Bullies 05 Jun

Kids Self-Defense: How the ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy helps Bullies

in Self-Defense by Ronin Athletics Team

Bullying is a major problem in the United States. It takes a massive toll on the physical and psychological wellbeing of kids from elementary school to high school and it can oftentimes lead to extremely violent and tragic events.

Martial Arts for Adults 15 May

Martial Arts for Adults

in Mixed Martial Arts by Ronin Athletics Team

We typically think of martial arts training that is something incredibly beneficial for children – and rightfully so, but those benefits are not exclusive to children as adults often stand to gain for more from martial arts training than children actually.

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Giau T.

Watching MMA fights like the UFC and Bellator, I've always wanted to learn Jiu Jitsu. Googled Jiu Jitsu gyms in midtown and did some trial classes from...


Mike K.

What a great place to train! I was visiting from out of town and train at Gracie location In MA. I came in for an afternoon class and found Christian's...


Lukasz S.

I've been training at Ronin for about a year now and I've been nothing but impressed by Christian and his team. I've taken trial classes at four other...


Jazmin Ortiz

Ronin Athletics, has hands down one of the best women’s self defense programs out there. The Gracie Women Empowered program is one I recommend to all young and older women. What I love about this...


Bella M

My mom and her friends took me to a free introductory class at Ronin Athletics in New York City for the Gracie Women’s Empowered program with Chris and Lora. I am a dancer and martial arts is not...


Aerik Von

Ronin is an amazing gym with an amazing staff! I miss being able to attend classes and hope to return as soon as I am able...


Eric Messenger

I recently decided to join Ronin after doing a few trial classes, where I was pleasantly surprised by the attitudes and vibe of the whole gym (starting with the instructors). Bart and Johnny teach...


Julius Jayasekaran

Having never done any martial arts in my life, i joined Ronin Athletics a few months ago. Since then i've enjoyed it so much that i have not missed a single class. It's so enjoyable and disciplined...


Nate Baranoff

A couple of months ago I walked into Ronin Athletics looking for a form of self defense. I never heard of Gracie Jiu Jitsu and didn’t know what to expect. Fast forward to today and I can’t...


Chris Malarkey

Amazing environment, knowledgeable instructors, excellent culture of learning with great organization and the home run of high quality customer service. I’ve been in martial arts for over 27 years...


Damaris Dias

I attended their Women Empowered seminar on 1/12/2020. The class was amazing! Very informative and gave me a basic understanding of self-defense. Would highly recommend to anyone interested!!