At Gracie University, a certified Gracie jiu-jitsu training center headquartered in Torrance, California, it’s common for students, instructors, and staff to walk around in bare feet. So during the design and construction phase of their new state-of-the-art headquarters, head instructors Eve and Rener Gracie placed a strong emphasis on flooring.
Their previous location was covered in industrial carpet, which was difficult to clean and harbored bacteria, Eve believed. For their new facility, they wanted it to really represent the growth and success that the organization had experienced over the years, but most importantly reflect the student experience. For this space, carpet wasn’t going to be an option.
“For us, we believe that everything we do is for the students that we teach, so we wanted them to feel really at home,” Eve said. “We wanted them to feel like they never wanted to leave this place, and obviously, flooring was important to us because when you train in ju-jitsu you’re barefoot.”
And flooring would prove important, especially when it came to her students’ safety and comfort.
The new facility has a clean, minimalist look with concrete floors throughout. But as Eve admitted, cold, hard, concrete floors aren’t exactly the most fun surface to walk on when one is barefoot — nor are they the safest, especially when wet. Wanting flooring that would provide the same comfort and slip resistance as carpet, but easy to clean and resistant to mold and bacteria, Eve followed up on friend’s recommendation and looked into luxury woven vinyl.
Today, when students walk from the locker rooms to the mats and other training areas, they’re walking on Infinity LWV runners that run basically throughout the entire facility.
“It was a relief to have professionals come in here and handle everything,” Eve said regarding the installation process. “As long as we gave them the measurements and told them what we wanted, they made it happen. And we’re really happy with the installation — it looks absolutely beautiful.”
With their new headquarters, Gracie University is continuing on their mission of empowering men, women, and children with self-defense skills that not only protect, but also build confidence, develop character, build community, and foster connection. It’s what sets Gracie University apart from any other ju-jitsu schools out there, Eve said.
Originally Gracie Academy, the new headquarters also represents a shift in branding for the organization. Now Gracie University, the organization has taken a global approach, offering an online curriculum to students who don’t have access to a training facility but still want to learn the art and experience its benefits. With its linear instruction, a student who has never practiced ju-jitsu in their life and can log on and experience the same type and style of instruction as if they walked into Gracie University. It’s almost like private lessons, Eve said.
But for those students looking for in-person training and instruction, Gracie University’s new headquarters in Torrance has stayed true to it roots while providing the modern amenities and conveniences that help make students feel at home, from the locker rooms to the luxury woven vinyl they walk on throughout the building.
“Our students absolutely love it because there’s enough of a cushion that it’s comfortable as you’re walking, but yet there’s a texture that makes you not feel like you’re walking on hardwood floor,” Eve said, noting how easy it is to clean and how pleased their cleaning crew is with it. “We really feel good about our choice.”
But it’s not just a good choice for martial arts training centers like Gracie University — it’s a product that should be embraced across the fitness industry, Eve said, specifically for how easy it is to clean.
“I think it’s a great option for fitness facilities to consider, both in the locker room where there’s a lot of moisture and also in the training areas because it feels so good on the barefoot,” Eve said.
And because instructors and students are so often walking around the facility with bare feet, our luxury woven vinyl flooring has proven its effectiveness when it comes to safety and comfort at Gracie University.
“If they’re walking, if they’re sweating, and if there’s water spilled, we can’t have anyone slip,” Eve said. “And we also want it to be comfortable for people to walk around here when they’re barefoot, yet still be sanitary, so that was kind of the combination of items that we needed. And we seem to have gotten it.”