In the wake of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, large aspects of society have screeched to a grinding halt. Sporting and cultural events, businesses, and even government functions have been shut down, and in the United States and elsewhere, assembles of groups of varying sizes have been banned.
The combat sports world is no different; boxing and MMA shows around the globe have been postponed, held without fans, or outright canceled.
Dozens of MMA and Brazilian jiu jitsu gyms have been closed as concerns surrounding the virus’ spread and severity have continued to grow, as gatherings of people – particularly those involved in close contact – are increasingly impossible to be considered safe.
In response to the inability for jiu jitsu gyms to be open and in the interest of continuing to support the grappling community, several high-profile jiu jitsu stars and coaches have come out with free offers on instructional video training services.
Twelve-time IBJJF World champion Caio Terra, the founder of the Caio Terra Academy team, is offering two weeks of free online training through his website, which maintains over 1,000 instructional videos. The online training membership is typically offered at $25 USD a month, $250 USD for a year-long subscription, or $400 USD for a year-long subscription and an included gi.
On his webpage, beneath a headlining quote of “WE ARE ALL ONE | FREE ONLINE TRAINING,” Terra wrote, “I would like to personally thank each and everyone of you for your support over the years and your continued support in this troubling time. I thought about making my online site (caioterra.com) free to all the members of our gym, but this is a bigger issue than one gym, one town, one nation. With that in mind, I’ve decided to offer free online training for the next two weeks. THANK YOU AND THANKS FOR SUPPORTING ME!”
Additionally, Terra’s free plan option now includes the potential for a longer term of free access, noting that it was two weeks, “for now [but] maybe longer.” The sign-up for that free online training plan can be found here.
Likewise, nine-time IBJJF World champion and two-time ADCC silver medalist Lucas Lepri has offered a week of free online training on his website, which contains an equally enormous library of technique videos and breakdowns.
Lepri took to Instagram to announce the offer, including a detailed message in both English and Portuguese about the virus and his decision to make training free for a week.
“As you may have already seen, I have had to make the extremely difficult decision to temporarily close my academy due to the spread of COVID-19. I know how hard it is to stay off the mats but the spread of COVID-19 is a situation none of us has ever witnessed before. Within just a few hours of my announcement to my students to inform about our academy closure and I’ve been receiving so many support from them. They were extremely grateful for the opportunity to have access to the online program while we all go through this together!
“Therefore, we have decided to grant ONE WEEK free access to the entire, global BJJ community, starting today March 15th. I know it is no replacement for attending classes in person, but I hope this allows jiu jitsu practitioners around the world to continue their training. Click on the link in my bio to sign up and log in now! Oss,” he wrote.
Four-time IBJJF World champion Bernardo Faria made a YouTube video announcing that he would be teaming up with jiu jitsu company BJJFanatics to provide consumers with a 100%-off discount on one of his instructional videos, which jiu jiteros can earn by using the code “FARIAFREE” when checking out with one of Faria’s instructionals on the BJJFanatics site.
Faria explained, “I spent a ton of time thinking how I could support the BJJ community at this tough time, and this was a quick way I found. I hope you guys enjoy it and it takes your mind off this unfortunate situation – for a few minutes. It will be a HUGE HONOR FOR ME to have you all watching one of my videos while your school is closed. Ossss.”
Additionally, famed jiu jitsu coach John Danaher, the leader of the notorious Danaher Death Squad grappling team, joined Terra, Faira, and Lepri in offering free online training amid the global pandemic. The Renzo Gracie Academy professor will be releasing an instructional video in conjunction with BJJFanatics on different methods to train jiu jitsu techniques and related exercises by oneself at no cost to consumers.
On Instagram, the former Columbia University philosophy Ph.D. student wrote, “Special announcement: coronavirus: Over the last few days the Jiu Jitsu community worldwide has faced a situation that is entirely unprecedented in the history of our sport – the majority of students and schools will have to cease regular training.”
“Last night I called the team at BJJ fanatics and jumped on a train to Boston to film a video on exactly that question. BJJ Fanatics will release the video in the next few days (after editing) FOR FREE. It’s yours. I want to do this for the BJJ Community. Jiu Jitsu has given me the best times of my life and now I want to give something back to Jiu Jitsu during the worst time for the sport,” he wrote.
“I cover my favorite solo drills that I use whenever I’m beat up, traveling or just unable to get on the mat. I explain exactly what the link between the solo movement and the actual combat skill along with an actual workout program you can use solo to boost your skill level.
“BJJ Fanatics just needs to edit it and then release in a couple of days. I’m on the train home now, tired but happy – wishing you all the best – stay safe and stay on track,” concluded Danaher.
Faria and Danaher even j0ined forces on March 15 to release a roughly 15-20 minute YouTube video going over exercises to train during the coronavirus outbreak.
Renzo Gracie, the legendary jiu jitsu practitioner who gave Danaher his black belt, is also providing free online training.
Gracie took to social media to announce that membership to his website, featuring online training videos, would be “completely free for (at least) 30 days.”
Gracie wrote, “This is the least that I can do for the community. Our platform has currently over 600 lessons. But I will make sure to record many more and also add live seminars. Thank you for all the support. Jiu-Jitsu over everything,” in both English and Portuguese.
Noted jiu jitsu instructional maker Stephan Kesting joined the fray, offering anyone a free online version of one of his many instructional videos.
Kesting wrote, “One free #BJJ instructional for anyone who has stopped training because of #covid_19, no catch. To help you through these tough times I will give you any one of my instructional’s for free (one per person) in either an online streaming format or an app-based format. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of the instructional you want if you’re off of training.”
Michael Fiedel is The Body Lock's deputy editor, a staff writer for FloCombat, and a Russell-Rice scholarship recipient at Vanderbilt University.