We opened our doors for classes on Oct 31st with roughly 25 students that followed us over from a previous gym we were at. In 2 1/2 months our student base is now over 65 students strong!!! Some of the guys jokingly say, “Building an EMPIRE.” hahahaha
We left a very toxic environment of manipulation, deceit, oppression, and tyranny. When Cowboy, Kevin, Roy and I decided to open up Gracie Wesley Chapel, the foundation we wanted to build it on was: A drama free place where people could train and have a good time. I taught at Gracie Brandon a few years and Robby had one rule for us instructors: People need to leave your class sweating and with a smile on their face. I still have that mentality to this day, and I’ve passed it along to all the instructors at GWC.
I am over-joyed that the school is growing pretty fast. We joke that we may need to knock down Dr Paton’s wall and take over his spot too lol. As a business, naturally increasing the numbers is important. But I pride myself in building personal relationships/friendships with each and every one of my students. That means a lot to me. No matter how much we grow, I intend to do the same thing. I’ve got guys that are comic book nerds(like me), I’ve got guys that are gearheads(like me), I’ve got guys that are gun nuts(like me), I’ve got guys that are into sports(like me), I’ve got family oriented people(like me), I’ve got guys that like to play poker(you get the point), we got people that like to cook(well, I like to eat lol). The beauty of BJJ is that it brings people of varying social/economic/cultural backgrounds together. I just like finding common interests and getting to know each person that trains at GWC.
I enjoy hanging out with the “G-Dub crew” outside of training. In the past month alone, we’ve had our 1st Christmas party, celebrated numerous birthday parties, had a poker night, gone out to eat several times(kinda becoming a PITA because of the number of seats we need lol), gone to the park to nerd out with our drones, gone hunting, had a bonfire, and attended a charity event together. The word “Family” is an often overused term when referring to the closeness of a group, I don’t know how else to describe our GWC crew. In the kids classes, the parents are huddled together on the bleachers and on the floor. They laugh, joke, and converse. Sometimes me and the kids have to look over to them and “Shhhh them” lol. Truth be told, I love it! In the adult classes, all I can say is there are a bunch of “comedians” at our school. They rip on each other, rip on me, it’s good times. And, somehow we manage to get some good rolling in. Some of the guys have a group chat goin on facebook messenger, that I happen to be a part of, some days the guys are just BS’ing about absolutely NOTHING, but it is so damn funny.
The Good Vibes from everyone at GWC is infectious! Kids classes are always first, and as each kid walks in, every one of them comes behind the desk and gives me a big hug. There is no better way to start a work day!!! Some days I’m grumpy, but the guys snap me out of it right away. The energy of the gym is indescribable, you just have to come in and hangout to understand. I couldn’t be happier with the direction of Gracie Wesley Chapel.