Barking Riverside, Scrattons Farm and Thames View

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Learn how to defend yourself at Joe’s Gym!

I’ve lived in the area of Barking and Dagenham my whole life, however my wife and I moved to Barking Riverside in February 2020 just before the start of lockdown. I originally started teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for free at Barking & Dagenham college as a way to continue training despite working long shifts for the college. After a year I started to have a few regular students, so I moved premises and started Barking Jiu-Jitsu. 5 years, one pandemic and a few venue changes later we settled in Bastable Avenue and decided to expand our business and offer more of a variety of martial arts, as a result we decided it was best to change our name to Joe’s Fight Gym as a way to indicate the fresh start and new direction we took. 


Everyone’s welcome to join our classes, all of the martial arts classes are mixed genders and experience levels, but we also offer ladies strength and fitness classes and 1 to 1 sessions. We have kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes for kids starting from 5 years old. We like to believe there’s something for everyone. Someone joining our classes can expect a warm welcome from their training partners and coaches, a friendly and uplifting atmosphere and a high level of instruction from our dedicated coaches. Our team has developed into a supportive, friendly community which was very important to us and we ensure to keep a nice, positive atmosphere in the gym. 


The new classes are going brilliantly, it’s such a blessing to be able to offer a range of martial arts classes and fitness. We added Capoeira which is a combination of dance and combat, which has been really interesting to learn about and a lot of fun to do. Also the fitness classes are a nice break from the combat classes, where we can focus on helping and motivating each other to get stronger. An extra kids class was thrown into the mix as well to add more variety in the timetable and to make sure we have plenty of opportunities for kids to join the team and learn martial arts. 


It’s a huge blessing to be able to not only have an incredible family, but to work alongside my wife is amazing. She’s my best friend and being able to share ideas with each other about what we should add or discuss if something we implemented maybe wasn’t working is a big stress relief. Sharing this passion with my wife is something I cherish and I wouldn’t want to grow this business without her. The thing I’ve noticed is how refreshing it is that she adds some femininity to a predominantly masculine environment, which I think is the reason we have so many women on the team. It adds a really nice balance. 


We have some MMA and kickboxing fights and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitions coming up, which is always very exciting. We also have a few events lined up with various organisations, including one in Barking Riverside, so anyone who is local will definitely be seeing our name pop up at some of those events. We are always looking for new ways to grow and expand, one thing we’ve started working on is becoming more involved in the local community, providing workshops etc. Definitely keep an eye on our social media for future updates on what we’re doing, and watch this space because this is just the beginning for Joe’s Fight Gym.


By Joe Bayes

Local resident and gym owner

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