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Free Jiu-Jitsu For the Unemployed

(‘Crank my neck all you want…I still say…a strategy that involves nationalizing banks…is untenable…over a long period of time.’)

Now here’s a rare positive story coming out of the strange place where economic disaster and martial arts training meet.  The Gracie Barra gym in Clearwater, Florida is offering free classes to people who have recently lost their jobs.  As a way to ease the stress of the unemployed and keep them from killing themselves and their families, owner Eduardo de Lima will let you train for free for six months or until you get a job, whichever comes first:

"I always said to my students, ‘If you lose your job, just come in anyway.’ It’s more important for them to work out, because it releases the stress of life," said De Lima, 40, who’s been teaching jiu-jitsu for 16 years. "When (people) get stressed from money problems, they do dumb things," he said, citing the Los Angeles man who recently shot his family and then himself after losing his job.

Stress relief, huh?  I guess that’s one explanation behind this free jiu-jitsu offer.  Another explanation might be that de Lima is training an army of the economically disenfranchised.  Think about it: they’re desperate, angry, and have nothing to lose.  They also don’t have to go to work, so they can train pretty much all day.

Sure, it sounds crazy now.  But we’ll see whose crazy in six months when de Lima and his legions sweep through Washington D.C. and then Wall Street, taking over the country and its financial institutions via armbars and rear naked chokes.  Viva la jiu-jitsu revolution!  Free gi’s for everyone!

Cagepotato Comments

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metergoose- December 15, 2011 at 12:45 am
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Schneider- February 28, 2009 at 2:03 pm
Great, now fucking war machines going to learn BJJ
Anonymous- February 28, 2009 at 10:19 am
This was hilarious, as were the comments, until it turned into a socio-political analysis of why you shouldn't give free bjj classes to people who lost their jobs.

I still love you, cagepotato. Still love ya...unfunfunf
PurplePickle- February 27, 2009 at 7:32 pm
....and just before he vomited Knob Creek on the dash of his ZR1, Mel Gibson turned to me and yelled; "How can anything with the word 'jiu' in it be free!?!?".
Dedstrk- February 27, 2009 at 3:41 pm
"His name was Robert Paulson, his name was Robert Paulson, his name was Robert Paulson"

It's a real life version of Fight Club.
Pulga- February 27, 2009 at 3:09 pm
KG, you are a douche. I train at Eduardo's gym 4 times a week and there is nothing but friendship and loyalty to his students that has prompted him to offer these classes. I realize that you are probably some right wing hack who couldn't imagine doing something in your life without fear of punishment or want of reward, but there are individuals out there that don't subscribe to that idealogy and Eduardo De Lima is one of them. Your shallowness saddens me.
Hiyo- February 27, 2009 at 2:04 pm
I'm a black belt in bedroom jiu-jitsu
Aenarion- February 27, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Personally, I think this sort of thing would help people find jobs more than it would encourage them to become lazy. Why?

1. A bunch of lazy slobs who don't work out start training, get energy and feel good about themselves, and work up the self esteem to go and put themselves out there for a job. When I started my MMA training, I just had energy all day from the exercising I was doing.

2. If you really love it, you're gonna work all that much harder to find a job so when that 6 months comes up you can still train. Though I'm currently employed, I'd be damn sure to work my butt off finding replacement work if it meant I couldn't train due to lack of funds.

...not to mention that as people train... they'll start going to gyms, eat more, etc., and channel more $$$ into places that might be suffering in this crisis. Gracie Barra's probably helping the economy a hell of a lot more than you, bud.
Anderson Silva who?- February 27, 2009 at 1:01 pm
This is how you rape choke a bitch from behind.
manutdfan- February 27, 2009 at 1:00 pm
This makes me proud to be a member of Gracie Barra.
ElTerrible- February 27, 2009 at 12:16 pm

First off, I doubt half of the unemployed are going to go train BJJ all day. In fact, I highly doubt that ANYONE who is not a professional fighter is going to train ANYTHING all day. So, right off the bat, you're exaggerating a bit, don't you think? I highly doubt that the availability of free BJJ lessons is going to be a major disincentive to seek employment. I suspect that if you stop to think about it rationally for about fifteen seconds you will, too.

Additionally, high unemployment typically implies a relative lack of jobs and not some sudden, random decision by many people to stop working. So, regarding your hypothetical with the ten guys, five of whom are superhuman physical specimens and training all day, the other five of whom are looking for jobs: how many jobs are available in this situation? Ten? If there were jobs available for each of these men, I highly doubt they'd be unemployed.

I can't believe I'm having an economic discussion on CagePotato. Jesus.
Jay Smith- February 27, 2009 at 12:06 pm
Thanks for the well wishes dude. I'm glad to hear that this F'ed up economy hasn't swallowed up everyone. Continued success to you, and.................... are you hiring (kidding).
Machete for hands- February 27, 2009 at 12:04 pm
ohh and back to what i just said if you get hurt and they call an ambulance on ya and if they even put on there gloves they charge you lots of $$ just for them to do that shit. so i dont think its a good idea that an unemployed person should be training or whatever. and if they do wanna train for free atleast keep it light
PoleVault1543- February 27, 2009 at 12:04 pm
150 for the best one on the market, new Atama black golden weave. From the Atama website. I think it is the best after using all the other headlining brands..
Jay Smith- February 27, 2009 at 12:03 pm
@ KG
So basically, you like the glass half empty way of thinking? Where it sounds like a lot of other people like the glass half full theory. Hey, it's your one can knock you for that, but just out of curiosity, when you started your business, where did you get the money to start it? Not just any old "Joe Blow" has cash sitting around to start a business worth 3 mil a year.
Machete for hands- February 27, 2009 at 12:02 pm
Yesterday some dude in my gym/camp broke his knee or did something to it that the ambulance came and they had to rip open his gi. now i heard a gi cost anywhere from 200 and up. so i doubt they are giving away free gi's lol.
KG- February 27, 2009 at 11:59 am
Jay- sorry to hear about that man. I am sure things will turn around for you. Good luck bro, I wish you luck in these hard times.
KG- February 27, 2009 at 11:56 am
Not to cause a big stir of complaining around here, but I just want to clarify that it is indeed a very nice gesture for Gracie Barra to offer free classes. Do I think it actually helps the situation? No. If someone wants to murder their family and commit suicide, I just dont see how BJJ can fix the wiring problem in their head.

Is it a nice offer from the owners? Yes it is.. lets just hope one of those unemployed guys training for free doesnt bring some ringworm and/or staph to the mats for the paying guys who still have jobs.
KG- February 27, 2009 at 11:55 am
Eterrible- Thats not what I meant. Obviously there isnt a conspiracy theory to keep the unemployed- unemployed. I was simple stating it will just contribute to people not seeking jobs.. instead of going to job fairs, putting out resumes, working temp jobs, etc... they will be working on an omaplata and armbars.

Think of it this way. 10 people get laid off from XYZ, Inc. 5 of them train free BJJ, 5 of them spend that same amount of time calling potential employers, sending resumes, etc etc.. who will get a job quicker, the guys training BJJ or the guys spending more time trying to find a job?
PoleVault1543- February 27, 2009 at 11:54 am
Fair enough.
Jay Smith- February 27, 2009 at 11:53 am
I just got fired (my position eliminated) on 12-12-08. I managed a heating and cooling distribution warehouse, and had been with the company for almost 8 years. I'm on unemployment for the first time in my life. I'm looking for a job, and far from lazy, but if someone in my area (St. Louis) were to offer something like this, I would jump at the opportunity. KG, don't be so rough on a brotha.
lost in ok- February 27, 2009 at 11:53 am
KG, most BJJ places have classes running most of the day and into the evening which leaves plenty of time for people to go and look for work, and the offer does state that it is good for 6 months or until you get a job; it's not a permanant arrangement that promotes joblessness. While the students are still expected to purchase their Gis, this is still a community service, mat fees add up quickly at major gyms. Losing your job is really a blow to your self esteem, Bjj is a good remedy for that, this gym should be applauded because it is the instructors who are taking the money cut on this deal.
KG- February 27, 2009 at 11:50 am

Your right, I am wrong. I guess I shouldnt look down upon people, its a character flaw I suppose.

I was laid off 4 years ago. What did I do? Start my own business and stop relying on other individuals' bad decisions to affect the outcome of my life. Not every business and industry is hurting. Where business falter, others thrive. Its your duty as a person seeking employment to find those businesses that are thriving and go to work. You have to do what you have to do in this day in age until things get better. I may have made almost $3m last year, but who knows what will happen in 5 years.. 10 years. -I- would work at Taco Bell if I had to... I -have- worked fast food before in order to make ends meet... so I am not someone to listen to an individual complaining about working a shift at Taco Bell. Say what you want about me, but I am living proof of a guy who gets off his ass and makes things happen. If I was someone just recently laid off, I wouldnt be training BJJ until some other person's business gives me a call to fill a position I would probably lose down the road anyway- I would be investing in my future and getting on with my life and not wait for the government to decide when I will be working again.

Ignorant? No. Smart? Yes.
Ouch! That hurts- February 27, 2009 at 11:49 am
Alot of places are like this, the place where I train have let current students who are out of work train for free on a temporary basis. I don't think we'll just let you show up off the streets with a pink slip in your hands and start training. Or maybe it's the "first one's free" type thing, once he gets you hooked on it and you start working then he has a bunch of new students.

Either way, Apt Ninja, now you've got something to do with your time.
ElTerrible- February 27, 2009 at 11:46 am
Yes, KG, a way to keep the unemployed unemployed. Because Gracie Barra has a *ton* to gain by maintaining high unemployment numbers in Clearwater. WTF are you talking about, dude?