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вторник, 17 февраля 2009 г.

Clubs in Moscow, Russia for Judo and BJJ

Please see updated article here: click link 

For those looking to do some training in Moscow, I decided to write a little about this. When I first thought to do some Judo training, I was very surprised by how difficult it is to find a decent club where you can train at a time convenient for you.

Of course, as anyone else, I started googling for likely suspects on the Internet. What I was surprised to see that actually there are under-5 decent judo club websites devoted to Judo in the whole of Moscow and near Moscow region. None of these are in the centre of Moscow, and the majority require you to take a bus once the underground stops being available for the rest of the journey. The reason for this is that many of the dense populated areas are outside the city centre and given the extremely high property and rent prices, this is where they locate.

I would add that not only do their websites dont work, but it typically is just a phone number which when you call:

90% of the time: no answer!

5% of the time: the person that you start talking to doesnt know anything about the club, times etc

and finally! 5% of the time: you actually are lucky enough to speak to somebody, but more often that not you find out that what was written on the Internet has changed, there is no training etc etc

It is better to call though, because if you do turn up and dont call, you run a danger that nobody will be there and no one will know anything about this.

The other thing I thought really deserves a mention are facilities. When I lived in the UK and trained there for judo, the one thing I never thought was worth complaining about are the facilities. Normally clubs use fitness clubs which allow people to practice judo without purchasing a fitness club membership which normally is considerably more expensive.

In Moscow however, this is different. Having reviewed all possible websites, there are no serious clubs that use fitness centre facilities. By "serious" I mean that many of the fitness centre courses have 1-hour long sessions, once or twice a week which is not nearly enough to learn anything really about jiu jitsu or judo.

Instead, most clubs use state owned facilities whether these belong to a school, police, sport stadium etc. The fact is though that unless these facilities have been redone with private money, they tend to be dreadful, with no showers, changing rooms etc.

Now the places I normally go to but that of course does not mean that there arent other great places to visit.

For Judo:

1. Moscow Kodokan 7:00-8:30pm Mondays and Fridays. The address is Chistoprudniy Bulvar 14.

Good facilities and very nice teacher. Lessons are focused much more on sparring rather then on technique. There is also far more newaza (groundwork) than is normally, with 3-4 randori fights as part of the session.

Again, they dont have a website, but it is a good school and there are plenty of other martial arts classes in the same building including Aikido, Karate, Wushu, Sambo etc as well as Yoga. The owner is an ex-world champion judoka Sergei Kosorotov, a very well known figure.

The Sambo that is practiced here is combat Sambo. Most of the students are beginners but the teacher is very good. Sometimes we judokas spar against sambokas for practice.

Here is a link to their latest websites - Moscow Budokan is another option here taught by Kosorotov himself, not sure if I am a fan of his teaching methods though, a bit controversial:

2. Shabolovka. Mitnaya street 42/44. (tel. 236-03-66 )

This is a state facility where facilities are not to a high standard at all (I mean if you don't mind water from melting snow dripping from the roof on to your head while you train, then go here).

Nevertheless, this is a very spacious place to train and the teaching is very good, highly technique-focused. Training is monday, wednesday and Friday in the evening starting at 8:30 pm. Also morning lessons are available 8:00 am to 9:30 am on Mondays and Fridays.

This one is included in the Russian Judo Federation website list at www. judo.ru

Many of the data there is clearly out of date however. The other website to check is www.judo-moscow.ru but the situation with their list is just the same.

I used visit these guys on Tuesdays and Thursdays and was very satisfied here until the instructor had to leave and the group was moved to the present schedule.

It seems like this place is more for higher level guys and girls who are still in their teens and train during the day. It really does feel like noone owns this facility when you get there. In the video you can get a sense of what the club is like.

3. Dmitriy Nosov School. (940-72-89)

A number of locations available and I have heard some good things about this club. Please take a look at the website for more information here

The Nosov club offers several classes in three different locations and I understand Dmitriy himself actually sometimes teaches the celebrity class near Tverskaya.

They are also doing quite a lot to motivate their guys organizing interclub competitions and also awarding grades unlike all the other schools that don't do this for casual adult fans.

As you can see from the video, the club is growing quickly and they are organizing gradings and competitions which is a lot more than many others are doing at this point.

4. Several Others - here are a few links to some other places where you can practice Judo

http://judoforall.ru/bronnaya-sloboda.html - four clubs including Shabolovka with time table, instructor details and address. I am going to visit Bronnaya Sloboda club soon, to find out more.

http://oneginclub.ru/docs/242/ - this is my fitness club but I am pretty sure there are maybe only 2-3 fitness clubs in Moscow that offer Judo so if you are looking to casually try the sport out and also be a member of a fitness club, this could be the place to go. Situated in the centre of Moscow, it is also much more convenient compared to may other choices. Not great club for serious Judo/BJJ player as the classes are mainly for beginners.

Brazilian Jiu Jisu

Now, I have much to say about BJJ in Russia but I will leave this for my next blog. What I will do is just give contact details of the only 2 clubs I know in Moscow:

1. Lion Sport Club: http://sportclublion.ru. Krilatskoye Metro Station

This is the only Gracie Barra official school in Russia with a brown belt teacher, Leonid Gatovskiy (highest ranked in Russia). Very good facilities - changing room, showers and weights room included.

Lion Sports Club is a fast growing gym in Moscow and I think in a few years will produce some very strong athletes both in BJJ and MMA. The new training schedule is here: http://sportclublion.ru/portal2/sport-club-jiu-jitsu-muay-thai-dates-trenings

Good teaching and quite a bit of emphasis on no-gi training, MMA and standup than is usually the case.

Muay Thai boxing classes are also available at the gym as well as mixed martial arts.

If you want a really solid BJJ and grappling teacher, I would say this is the club to go to. It is certainly the largest BJJ-focused club in Russia regularly organizing open grappling tournaments that gathered in the past more than 100 competitors from all over Moscow and beyond.

Leonid Gatovskiy himself is an outstanding grappler and BJJ player and has competed in many tournaments in Russia and abroad taking gold in each one. He is also a black belt in traditional jiu jitsu.

Daud Adaev is a purple belt there and is a supporting instructor.

The club also annually travels to Poland for a jiu jitsu training camp under the Gracie Barra Draculino banner.

I think if you live in the area, this is a good place for BJJ and Judo for kids. Currently the club offers both Judo for kids and Jiu jitsu/Combat Sambo for teens. The instructors are very professional so anyone considering which club to join should certainly consider Lion.

The cost is a bit higher then most other clubs but the facilities and the teaching quality is worth it.

Also would like to mention that for the first time this year, Leonid Gatovskiy has promoted himself four of his students to blue belt. It is always great to see promotions of these four guys who have really earned their new grades. Well Done Guys!

2. Capoeira Club at metro Baumanskaya. (Axe Capoeira) Please visit: www.axecapoeira.ru
The club is located on police premises.

Very poor facilities and the teaching is a bit of mix between bjj, sambo and judo. For a beginner however still a good start since all the techniques are relevant. For me this one was very convenient, so also worth it.

The teacher is a blue belt in BJJ, but a lot of the teaching is done by experienced Sambo practitioners. I have found these lessons were extremely useful as I had a chance to revise some of the common leglocks that can be useful.

3. Capoeira Camara Moscow - this club I have not been to but the teacher is the Sambo guy from Axe Capoeira. Here is the link

These guys also appear to be located at Baumanskaya offering 4 lessons a week in the evenings. For those who live in the area I guess another option for BJJ.

I think its great that this blog exists and this is one of the most visited web pages by foreigners who come to Moscow and are looking for a club to train. So many major cities in the world it is hard to find an english website that gives this, so for Moscow, I decided to make this myself and welcome people to train. Russian Judo Federation sucks, so I guess we have to do their work for them.

A great group of guys have setup mmablog.ru so I attach the link to their club list as well as I think it maybe helpful http://mmablog.ru/content/zaly

PS: thank you very much and please let me know if any of the information here is not accurate and of course if you have anything to add, feel free

40 комментариев:

  1. I went to the Nosov School last week. Very good instructor and a great atmosphere. The Varshavka group is only just being formed but the facilities are great and a good place to start learning some judo for both beginner and experienced player.

  2. Анонимный8 июля 2009 г., 13:31

    Gracie Barra Moscow
    Instructor: Leonid Gatovskiy
    Osennyaya, 8 Moscow Russia 115172 RU
    Tel: +79859916907

    » E-mail: gatovskiy@mail.ru
    » Website: www.sportclublion.ru

    I visited this school & can say that this is the best BJJ school in Moscow.

  3. Анонимный10 июля 2009 г., 3:14

    Sport Club Lion is the best gym I have been to in Moscow. Amazing facilities, instruction, and very collegial atmosphere. Also, the blog entry failed to mention vale tudo classes on Tues and Thurs (6-8pm), relevant here because they cover bjj and wrestling for mma

  4. Guys, thank you very much for your comments! I really appreciate.

    Sport Club Lion also has jiu jitsu for kids and young children held monday, wednesday and friday. The website has all the details. (http://sportclublion.ru)

    Please let me know if there are any other good clubs that deserve to be mentioned for everyone's benefit. thx

  5. Onegin Fitness Club on Polyanka has open a Judo class two times a week now, on tuesdays and thursdays. Since I am a member there, I will visit to check it out.

    The instructor is a multiple national Judo champion of Russia and winner of several international judo tournaments.

    The classes are only an hour long but I think still worth going since it is probably the most convenient location available, in the centre of Moscow.

    Here is the link to the fitness club website:

  6. Cool, I know absolutely nothing about BJJ in Russia, so I look forward to reading that post.

    No doubt you'll mention this later in the blog, but presumably you're American, going by your Google profile?

  7. I live in Moscow, Russia and train Gracie Barra BJJ at Lion Sports Club. Its growing quickly. I think the number of students has doubled over the last 12 months.

    Sambo, judo, wrestling and traditional jiu jitsu are popular in Russia and so i think no-gi grappling and brazilian jiu jitsu are taking Russia by storm. Lots of people coming from abroad to Moscow also come over, who have done bjj elsewhere.

  8. When I lived in Canada I had no problems finding a good gym in Montreal. For a long time I trained boxing with the Hiltons family. But once all their legal problems started and gym got closed I went to Tristar and trained for a short while there. Very good gym, with fighters like GSP, Cote and Loiseau training there. But I came from boxing so I just did my own thing for a while.
    Now living in Moscow as well, my fitness level dropped so low Id be embarrassed trying out bjj, although I meant to check out club lion. Too bad MKAD is so terrible after 6pm and thats the only way for me to get there from work.

  9. Hey Leo,
    Thanks a lot for the comment. Moscow traffic is horrible after 6 indeed.

    Unfortunately Moscow does not give many options for people who want to train grappling regularly. Lion has a sparring session on saturday which is quite popular with wrestlers and judo/sambo players but there is no teaching and its more for people with at least a year of grappling experience.

    On sat/sun evenings there is also Nosov judo school near Baumanskaya which I think should be good even though I have never been precisely to this location.

    Unfortunately it will be a while before Moscow will have some decent MMA gyms or even a good choice of jiu jitsu gyms. So far Lion I think is the only gym with a decent timetable, teaching and facilities.

    Fitness clubs in Russia are really poor at offering martial arts so you won't find anything there.

    By the way if you are interested to restart boxing, this sport is much more popular in Moscow/Russia. Almost every fitness club has it and also there are some cheap, boxing only clubs.

  10. Hey John,
    Have you had a chance to train at Dmitriy Nosov school? They have so called business groups on mon-tue-wed at 20:00 and 21:30 near Patriarshi prydi. I believe Nosov is teaching himself and the class size is 2-10 people. It's around $45-50 per lesson.

  11. Hi Leo, thanks for the post!

    I have not been there (too expensive) but I have gone to the Baumanskaya group last Sunday evening. The Baumanskaya training sessions will be Tuesdays and Thursdays on Dobroslobodskaya and Sat + Sun near metro station 1905 goda.

    Generally at Baumanskaya the facilities are not good enough considering they charge 4000 rubles per month and I was surprised the teacher was not present at the lesson. Its not good I think that a novice is sent as the teacher for a session I think.

    I have also been to Varshavka group last year. Small group but good facilities. Would go there but I think for most people the location would not be convenient.

    At the same location I have discovered there is also another club called Bronnaya Sloboda (I added info about it on this page. They are closed until start of August because of the unusual heat in Moscow but I will go there then to check it out. At least it is not $50 per lesson, too much I think especially if you are training 4-5 times per week.

  12. Hey John,
    Thanks for the reply.
    I went on Tuesday and checked out Bronnaya Sloboda. Yesterday there were 4-5 guys there training, no instructor apparently he went to a training camp overseas. The guys seem to be really nice and invited me over on Thursday for some rolling. The price per month is 3500 rub and its tue-thu -sat -sun for adult group.
    I am gonna go check out Lion again today and see how it goes.
    Take care

  13. By the way, at the moment, Lion Sport Club holds Pankration lessons rather then Valetudo (that was taught by Leonid) but I guess the idea is the same: to teach MMA. I understand they are told by teachers outside of the school affiliated with the Pankration Federation in Russia.

  14. Thanks Leo.
    Lion Sports Club is RUR4000 per month for 3 lessons per week which I think is fair given they have very good facilities. The only shame is they don't offer more lessons per week and the private lessons are on the expensive side.

    I train there regularly. Right now there is a 15-man team going to Poland for a training camp for 8 days, so I am not sure who will be teaching the classes over this period since it looks like all the instructors are going. Not sure about the dates when this is happening, I think at the end of July-start of August. They will hopefully publish information about this on the website.

  15. Hey John,

    Thanks for the amazing job you did. I couldn't really find anything on russian websites - since as you mentionned most of them are inexistant or not up to date - and then I stumbled on your blog, very helpful.

    I arrived in Moscow a few days ago and have the firm intention of learning sambo, guess I'm going to have a look at the Lion Sports Club which seems very good.
    One question though : did you speak russian when you were exploring/training in these clubs ? Being a beginner in both russian and most martial arts (only basic training in boxing), I reckon some teachers won't bother with a foreign student that understand little of what they say.


  16. Pierre, thanks for the comment!

    For me its no problem since I speak Russian but in most clubs actually it will be difficult if you don't speak the language.

    If you would like to go to one of the clubs mentioned above, I recommend Lion (this is my club) because:

    a) we have quite a few foreigners at the club who are english speakers,

    b) at Lion there are quite a few people who speak decent english so I am sure you will someone to train with, who will be able to answer your questions.

    Any questions, very happy to answer. Sadly, I injured my shoulder, so will be away from BJJ/Judo for another week or two.

    1. that sounds great - :) so lions club is a good choice.
      just wondering what s the price for individual training

    2. I think its around 4000 or 5000 RUR per training session depending on who you train with. It is also great to have a mini-group of two people to train so its cheaper and you also make a ton of progress

  17. Hey Guys, Just a quick Update:

    1. Sport Club Lion - Ossennyaa Street In Krilatskoe is Now Only for Kids and Teenagers.

    The adult club has moved to Begovaya Metro Station, Horoshevskiy 2-Proezd. The training facility is located in this warehouse at the back of the market there. Not a great place to be and I hear they also increased prices.
    Lots of people seem to have gone elsewhere, very sad to see.

    2. Alliance Strela - near Shabolovskaya and Tulskaya Station. Good club to go and close to the city center. Very popular, been there a couple of times already, really enjoyed it and I hear they will have a couple of BJJ Black Belts from Alliance teaching.

    The correct address is Lusinovksya street 62k1. Try this number: 8 903 961 9751

    Monday-Wednesday-Friday at 8pm-10:30pm. Monday is No-Gi

  18. I'm training bjj at Alliance Russia (Alliance-Strela), and it's one of the best clubs in Moscow.
    There are 2 black belts in rotation throughout the year - Rodrigo "Brucutu" Cabral and Gustavo "Guga" Campos Lima - and these guys only speak English and Portuguese, so there are no problems for foreigners who don't know Russian.
    The place is an active wrestling gym with good mats, a couple of changing rooms and a shower.

    Active number is
    +7 909 688 0893
    Monday (no-gi), Wednesday, Friday 20:00-22:00

    There's also a new Alliance club - Alliance gym & fight club right near Oktyabrskaya metro station. It's quite expensive, but has bjj (instructors are the same as in the Strela Alliance), boxing and muay-thai (instructors are also very good) classes every day, excellent yoga and gym zone, modern showers and changing rooms, massage and so on.
    7 (495) 799-77-99
    Oktyabrskaya metro station, Kaluzhskaya square 1, bldng 2

    1. A quick note. Alliance Strella dudes are obsessed about team loyalty to the point that the loyalty part is more important to them than BJJ progress.

      If you want to train at Alliance Strella (Alliance Russia) they will not let you train anywhere else!!!! at least thats what Mr. Taras Kyashko says, who seems to be the owner

  19. Hi John. Did you ever end up going to the judo classes at Onegin in Polyanka? I'm looking for a judo class in that area of town, but my Russian isn't very good. It would be useful to know if there were any English speakers among the coaches there. Thanks!

  20. Yep I used to go there but its not so serious. I havent been for a while since my membership expired. I dont think the instructor speaks english but i dont think it will be a problem

    I am training at the Strella Alliance BJJ gym on Lusinovskaya street at the moment but there is plenty of opportunity to do judo in the center as well.

    The Nosov judo clubs (http://nosovschool.ru/) are quite good, I also sometimes go the the Bronnaya Sloboda club which is a pretty relaxed judo club and also you could train at Chistiye Prudi at the Moscow Kodokan, they have classes there which are ok if the schedule fits for you.

  21. By the way guys, teh Nosov schools seem to be closed now. the Lion Sports Club has moved to Fight Baza on Begovaya!! http://fightbaza.ru/

  22. Hi Guys, Has anyone tried any of the Judo gyms above? I haven't done Judo since I was a kid, Im 24 now and would love to get back in to it. I would need somewhere that I can get by with English though. Thanks for any help

  23. Hey friend,
    it seems the Nosov schools are closed at the moment for some reason. The Bronnaya Sloboda school is working fine Mon-Wed-Friday and you'll be fine there with just English.
    Its in a school gym but there arent that many people training, maybe 10 or so.

    Moscow Kodokan is quite good. I used to go there a couple of years ago but not any more since I focus mainly on my BJJ at the moment. Its no problem if you dont speak Russian. I dont think the teacher knows English but I am sure there are a few guys with experience that do speak English.

  24. Hi john,
    i just arrived in moscow and i would like to ask you if you know some good fighing class around ulitsa 1905 goda... or how i can find it. i used to do mma, but i don't really care what kind of class (thai, mma, jujitsu ecc..)or if the gym is nice or not. what i would like is just a good instructor

  25. Hi Luca,
    why don't you try Fight Baza on Begovaya. This is the new headquarters for Lion Sports Club which is a Gracie Barra Academy and it is very close to 1905 goda. One metro station in fact.



    We have MMA, boxing and other martial arts as well, but bjj and grappling are the main disciplines. Just give the academy a call if you have questions.

  26. Анонимный15 мая 2013 г., 19:42

    im looking at a move to moscow for work, but the jobs im being offered are evening hours. are there any clubs in moscow that offer morning classes?

  27. For sure!! Lion Fight Baza is offering early morning BJJ lessons both gi and no gi taught currently by Leonid Gatovskiy, Renzo Gracie Black Belt

    The training starts at 7:30-9:00 monday, wednesday and friday


    the entrance is through a market. Just see the red sign and keep right until you will see the Fight Baza sign in front of you. call the club if you need directions and sorry that the website is not updated for english language!

  28. Check out also this website:


    This is a new team running together with Gymnasium http://gymnasium.su/

    They are investing a lot to develop BJJ in Russia and credit to them!

  29. Dear John,

    Very impressive info here. I am moving to Moscow in a few weeks, and am interested in continuing my judo, perhaps at the Bronnaya Sloboda club. Could you tell me more about it? Their site is very vague, and has nothing about the pricing, which is an important factor for me. Also, how intense is the training there? I'd like to avoid falling into a semi-olympian training camp where I'll get killed. I speak Russian well.


    1. By the way, speak to the teacher about your level of judo and he will pair you up with someone that is a good match.

      The only problem with Bronnaya I think also is they sparr very little but I think is a big no-go if you want to get good.

    2. Thanks. Their online schedule shows a dedicated day for randori, although I wouldn't be surprised if many members skip that day. I agree about the importance of regular sparring.

  30. I havent been down there for quite a while (focusing on my bjj) but I would imagine its somewhere between 3000 and 4000 Rubles per month

    The academy is quite informal and most guys were beginners at least during the few sessions when i visited. I would not worry about the skill level as this is certainly a hobbyist academy.

    I don't think they have a training session during the weekend even though they claim to. I was down there one saturday and was told that they do not train that day. (i was surprised!! being a true bjj fan myself:)

  31. Please check out http://mmagyms.ru/

    This is a very nice looking gym index started by some Alliance Moscow guys.

  32. for those looking for a club, a quick heads up Moscow Kodokan does not run Judo classes any more since their instructor has left, they are looking for a new one

    The Nosov Judo school is also not operating

    Best check mmagyms.ru for the latest BJJ clubs but overall I would say the following are top clubs at the moment for BJJ in Moscow:

    1. Lion Fight Baza

    2. Strela Team vk.com/club27808241‎

    3. Ronin Family www.roninfamily.ru

    4. Gracie Barra Central District: http://gracie-barra.ru/

    5. BJJ Globetrotters: www.capoeiranaveia.ru

    6. Ludus Team (Adaev Team) www.ludusteam.ru

    I think these are the main ones although there are a few others.
    Kristian Cestaro (Ribeiro Team) http://vk.com/id167837264
    Gymnasium etc

    Sorry for not updating the main article!!


    Facilities vary enormously between clubs. Lion Fight Baza the best quality facilities while a few others are just basements with a question regarding cleaning and what health problems you could pick up there god only knows. Fight Baza is affilaited with Gracie Barra

    Strela team is probably the biggest team out there in Moscow and are affiliated with Alliance. The also do not allow members to train at other bjj schools and kick people out from time to time for this. You may be asked to leave at any time for going to a seminar/training session at another club. (although I think there is some double standards on this, like some guys still do come to other clubs but don't get kicked out as they are good grapplers and are too valuable for the competition team.

    3. BJJ Globetrotters and Gracie Barra Central I think are more laid back which is nice but also means colleagues are not so serious about what they are doing.

    Many of the clubs also have a big problem with instructor attendance. I see that instructors very often don't treat bjj seriously enough and think it is ok to miss class for no good reason and leave the students to train themselves. (There are a few exceptions but I think broadly this is the case and a big problem)

    Prices vary. Gymanasium is extremely expensive and is for rich young kids. Other clubs vary in pricing but generally if you can pre-pay for a year you should not be paying more than RUR 40-50k for the year with unlimited bjj. If you do go for the prepayment, make sure the club is one of the more established like Lion or Strella since some of the others (basement clubs) may be around one day, but close the next and you will of course not be able to recover you money if the teacher decides to move on.

    When you call the club, check who is teaching. It really should be a purple belt or above. While some very good guys with an excellent background in other grappling forms may be teaching, right now you are not getting your moneys worth otherwise. There are now quite a few purples around.

    Questions welcome

  33. Hi guys, we are having a week long BJJ camp in Paros Greece, guest instructor Marcelo Alonso. Come join us, it's going to be fun. Check here for more info, deadline for reservation is April 14th. https://www.facebook.com/events/586321938148830/