Gym Review: Pedro Vianna BJJ (1/29/11)

Technical. Detailed. Exceptional.


These are words that students of Pedro Vianna use when describing his style of jiu jitsu. A third degree black belt under Carlson Gracie Jr and Marcelo Alonso, Pedro has spent over 25 years of his life studying the art of ground fighting. His teaching style emphasizes attention to detail, using the body in the most efficient way possible, and physical fitness.


Pedro Vianna BJJ / MMA
2128 North Milwaukee
Chicago, IL
(773) 756-7889




Pedro Vianna– 3rd Degree BJJ Black Belt, Judo Black Belt (and owner of one of the best behaved dogs I have ever met)


Daniel Vianna– BJJ Black Belt




Mat Space (This is my picture and it really does not do the space justice).


This is a much better image. The academy is very simple and does not have a million bells and whistles.  It is a simple mat space, but I’ve found that the most simple gyms are where champions are made.  No distractions.

I’ll note here that the mats are much smoother here than at my home gym.  They seem to allow for a much faster game and I felt less likely to hurt myself on them when rolling really hard.

When I visited Rodrigo Medeiros’ BJJ Revolution gym in San Diego last year, the feel was very similar to Pedro Vianna’s gym.  These types of gyms are less about the facility and much more about the quality of instruction.  This gym has it in spades.



 Yes, Pedro is very, very good.


My experience:

The class was a special Saturday class where a large group of my team had an exchange with Pedro’s team and we travelled to his academy to train.

The warmups were traditional and included jogging and stretching (including some I have not done before).

The class was made up of many white and blue belts, two purple belts, and three black belts.

Technique for the day was taught by Pedro and Daniel.  Both offered extremely high quality instruction with a great deal of detail.  Pedro’s english is perfect and his instruction was very clear (the same is true for Daniel).  I feel the need to mention this because Andre’s english is also very good but I have trained with other Brazilian instructors whose english was not as good and it was difficult to understand.  That is not the case here.

Our first technique was a slick setup for a 2-on-1 from standing.  We hit a nice duck-under into a lateral drop for a great takedown and pin position.  The high quality of judo instruction here is evident.  I’ve trained with Pedro in the past and even at purple belt, I am certainly a beginner with judo.  Pedro’s judo instruction is excellent.


The second technique was a smash pass against the scissor sweep.  My technique was already good with that pass but I was corrected multiple times about trying to pass too fast and not keeping pressure.  For this pass, pressure > speed.

Also I was reminded to slide my knee out and then put the other in the middle.  Doing it the opposite way breaks your posture.  Great detail.


With only two techinques taught, I am still able to remember important details about each and  did not feel overhwlemed with the instruction.


Chris after rolling with Pedro Vianna.


The sparring was intense and safe and competition was encouraged throughout.  We were able to roll with anybody we chose and I was chosen to roll with Daniel first.  Daniel rolled with a LOT of control and allowed me to escape and move through positions. 

Needless to say, he made me feel like it was my first day on the mats and I have a true appreciate for the level that he and Pedro are at.  They both rolled with a number of students, which is something I really appreciate.  It was an honor to be asked to roll by a black belt, especially as a visitor.  I am sure that if you visit, the same will be true for you.



Overall, I really enjoyed the simplicity of Pedro Vianna BJJ as well as the high quality of the instruction.


One of the old Pride posters signed by Pedro’s Brazilian Top Team teammates. 


Thanks for reading!  Sadly, I didn’t get to take more pictures and videos.  I will revisit the gym in the future and do a proper review. 

The poll below closes Friday so make sure to vote if you haven’t already!

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