Every couple of weeks I get an email from a reader asking if there are any good BJJ, MMA or submission grappling schools close to where they live.
Unfortunately I rarely have specific advice for them, because there are just too many good schools out there. I have some good general advice, though, and I’m going to share it with you now. If you already have a good place to train then please feel free to pass it along to someone who doesn’t.
There’s been an incredible proliferation of grappling schools in the last decade. In some cities, Los Angeles for example, it seems like there is a BJJ school on every block. Furthermore I defy you to find a traditional martial arts school nowadays that doesn’t claim to include some form of grappling in its curriculum (although often their ‘grappling’ may consist only of a few standing wristlocks).
So my generalized advice is this:
No matter where you end up training, you will spend a lot time, money, sweat and effort acquiring a set of skills, so it;s a VERY good idea to spend a little bit of effort initially finding a good school.
Comparing schools requires more more than simply calling all the schools with big ads in the yellow pages and asking them what their monthly rates are.
Take a week or two and try to attend classes at as many different schools as you can. The last two times I moved to a new city I went through the phone book, created a list of clubs I was interested in, and then proceeded to visit almost all of the clubs on the list before making my training decision. Nowadays I would use both the phone book and the internet: online a good place to start is www.grapplearts.com/search.php.
Most clubs will allow you to try a class for free – take advantage of this and get your butt on a matt. Doing this will give you a good sense of the instructor’s teaching style, class structure, student attitude, club hygiene, etc. If a club won’t let you try a class, or at least watch one, then run, do not walk, away!
Before you head out and start trying different classes these two articles may give you some insight into what to expect: www.grapplearts.com/Starting-BJJ-Classes.htm and www.grapplearts.com/Beginning-Grappling.htm
Good luck and have fun!