Utah-based BJJ academy Gracie Jiu-Jitsu St. George has announced that they will be closing permanently due to a lack of financial support during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The academy, owned by Jake Johnston and Ian Abbott, released a statement on social media announcing the closure, adding that they will continue to provide private lessons until the academy closes its doors.
The academy later released an update, saying that some students had demanded refunds following the gym’s closure.
To our Jiu Jitsu friends and family,As most or all of you know by now we will not be keeping our doors open and providing a space to train. We know that everyone is feeling this pandemic and it’s subsequent economic downturn in their own personal and often painful way. Us at Gracie Jiu Jitsu St. George are no different. There is no way we could have seen this coming and we hope you understand we did all we could do to survive this. That being said, we won’t. We know that a lot of you chose to try and stick this out with us and we appreciate you so much. During the closing we have made sure to provide weekly webinars with Ryron and Rener Gracie as well as continued access to the full curriculum for training at home for children as well as adults. While we were open and fully functioning we were one of the 3 least expensive schools out of 160 worldwide. We always tried our best to keep Jiu Jitsu affordable and never turned a profit, even working full time at other careers in order to supplement the school. We did this because Jiu Jitsu has changed our lives and we want it to change yours. As we have been forced to close our location for good we have had some students demand a refund. We want you to know this pains us but we won’t be able to issue refunds at this time. That money went towards keeping the space paid for as long as we could and also provided all the opportunity to train at home through the online portal and curriculum whether you chose to use it or not. We are sorry if you don’t feel that you received the proportionate value for your tuition. We have never and will never try to take advantage of the trust of this community. We feel as though we did what we could to provide opportunity to train during the closing and consistent value to the community during our almost 2 years of service. Once again we are sorry for closing, and sorry for the lack of refund. We wish you the best and hope this is the largest loss any of us will suffer during this strange time. Please feel free to keep your gi and belt, we hope you continue to support other schools in the area and train online. Hope to see you on the mats again someday.Gracie Jiu Jitsu St. George
The gym, like most BJJ academies, had previously announced a temporary closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The development highlights a struggle that many other martial arts academies — and other businesses — have faced in the midst of the outbreak. Many students have voluntarily continued to pay their membership dues in some capacity to give their academies a better chance at making it through the pandemic without having to permanently close, though many others either haven’t been able to afford the additional expense or simply don’t believe in paying their dues when they’re unable to train.