So let me start this post by saying the martial arts community in Greensboro, NC is not what I expected it to be. For the first time on this National journey, I felt really limited by my choices to train at. A quick Google search came up with 3 options……THREE!!!
Gym A: Just posted a letter announcing ownership change and that everything will be just fine……nope.
Gym B: No website. No reviews. No Facebook page……..nope.
Gym C: Greensboro Combat Sports/Royce Gracie Jiu Jitsu……we have a winner!!!
To summarize, the instruction was good and detailed and the instructor made sure to work with all students in the room. As with most schools I visit, the number of beginning students by far outweighed those with significant experience but the diversity in the room of body styles, gender and age was great to see. All in all, worth the mat fee and very glad I took the time to go check it out.
The class (and school) was lead by a purple belt, Blayne Turnmire (pictured above winning double gold at a recent tournament). Now before you run off saying “The school is run by a purple belt!!”- as near as I could tell, yes, it is. Based on my research though, he is also one of the highest ranking people in the Triad area and definitely in Greensboro. His teaching style was a bit laid back compared to other instructors I have had but it did not lack in detail. We worked several stand up self defenses (loved it – I don’t do this enough) and then worked on knee-on-belly.
After drilling for 30-minutes or so, we rolled. Good skill level in the room and a few guys were going hard. Several of them were competing in a sub-only tournament the following weekend so they were getting after it. From what I could see on Facebook, looks like they did well and that was not surprising based on my experience with them on the mat.
Attitude towards outsiders:
From what I could gather from Mindy (she really runs the place), the gym regularly has RoadWarriors like myself dropping in for training. She was quick to respond to my inquiry (and I inquired very much last minute) and commented a couple of times of how she is always surprised how often it happens. In fact, I was not the only traveling visitor that day. They had another regular who comes down from Columbus, OH on a regular basis.
As I mentioned before, the class felt less formal than some that I have experienced but when I think back on it, there was definite structure to it. We bowed in and then went straight into warm ups. There were no pleasantries between the students (lots between the instructor and the students), it was pretty much straight to work. Nothing rude or exclusionary mind you, just not a lot of chit chat and welcoming (go back up and see that diversity comment again).
I want to make sure I am painting this picture correctly, I never felt unwanted, shunned, second class or any other form of being boxed out as an outsider. However unlike other gyms I have dropped in on, I think I would have to reintroduce myself to everyone there.
Located just West of downtown Greensboro, the gym is in a converted warehouse building, it has a HUGE mat space that is separate from an additional mat for stand-up training. It also boasted full weight training equipment scattered around the gym.
One warning, it is not the CrossFit gym……the one that happens to be next door. You can guess how I know they are separate facilities.
I really enjoyed my time at Greensboro Combat Sports. I actually took part in a fight fit class before rolling so got to experience a couple of different types of training. The technique instruction was exactly what I have been trying to work on so it fit with my training perfectly. And while the atmosphere was a bit more lax than what I have experienced elsewhere, the jujitsu was on point.
So if you find yourself in the Greensboro area and are looking for a place to train, look no further than Greensboro Combat Sports. It is proof that just because you don’t have much of a selection doesn’t mean that you don’t have the opportunity to get some great training in!!
See you on the road!!