The Bond is Strong at Marcelo Garcia Academy in NYC

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A sigh of relief from a student at Marcelo Garcia Academy in NYC / Photo by Erin Herle

Marcelo Garcia’s GMA academy has undertaken much stress in 2012 due to floods and multiple relocations. Today, they now have a brand new academy they know they can call home. Located at 250 W 26th St, the third floor houses one of the best Jiu-Jitsu champions in the world and his loyal following. was able to take part in the first of Marcelo’s classes on Jan. 2 at 7 p.m. The mats were put in place less than 20 hours previously by determined students who were adamant about having a place to train. Tatiana, Marcelo’s wife, manned the front desk and despite being up until the early morning hours, she made sure everyone felt welcome.

Despite the exhaustion shared between all involved, the mats were full of grateful students holding great company with those who purely came to watch. The plained-clothes comrades lined the walls and joined in on the elevated mood. As if Marcelo’s smile didn’t already light up the room, it was infectious that night. I don’t think it ever failed.

The class started with a warm-up that ran smoothly even though it probably looked like pure chaos. And when the time came for Marcelo to teach the technique for the class, it began with a speech. It was a speech that made the crowd boom, howl, cheer, whistle and pound the brand new mats with their fists in excitement. They made it. They made it through the storm.

Marcelo leads the first class at the new NYC location / Photo by Erin Herle

The tears accumulated in Marcelo’s eyes as he was forced to sit down and gather himself up in order to teach. It was a relief for him to have a home and be able to breathe again, even though at that moment he most likely couldn’t.

It was an honor to be present in the large, spacious room that was filled to the ceiling with weight lifted. The kind of weight that had accumulated from August when the first leak sprung. They didn’t know it would mean a complete rearrangement to their lives but they got through it together, showing just how strong a Jiu-Jitsu family and community can be.

What a relief.

Check out the photos below of the new location and the family that now has a place to call home after months and months of turmoil.

To learn more, you can visit

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