Critical Points to Make Your Choice
With the increased popularity of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the U.S., the number of gyms teaching this martial art has increased dramatically. Choosing the right school therefore, has become more difficult than ever. To help in your journey of finding the right gym, a few pointers have been listed below:
- Pedigree – With the amount of information online, it should be virtually impossible to not find the lineage of a legitimate BJJ instructor. The lineage here means, from whom they were awarded their black belt. It is important that this line of Black Belts return to either the Gracie or Machado family, as these are viewed as two of the first families of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. If your instructor cannot provide this information, or you cannot find it online be very skeptical of the instructor’s legitimacy.
- Offerings – If Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is all you care to train, then this step will be fairly easy. However, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is often only one of the many offerings taught at some gyms. For instance, some gyms will also include boxing, muay thai, wrestling, judo, and/or cross-fit classes in their curricula. If these offerings interest you, you may consider a gym that offers these classes all in one location. Many times attending these other classes is included in the monthly fee, or cost only a small percentage more to attend.
- Payment – Beware of schools that force you to sign up in yearlong chunks or longer. While it is understandable that gyms wish to lock in long term contracts and commitments, there is no guarantee that you will not relocate or get injured during the year. It is important that the owner of the school does not try to force you into a long-term contract before you even decide if that particular gym is right for you. Most confident schools will offer one to two free weeks to allow you to get a feel for their gym and culture.
- Cleanliness - The nature of grappling requires competitors to remain in close contact with sweaty opponents. This fact alone means that ring worm and other skin conditions can be passed amongst the gym members simply by chance. This issue should not be exacerbated, however, by dirty facilities or gym members. The gym itself should be mopped after each class, and trainees should be self-regulating in their own skin health. Take a look around the gym for mops and bleach, and take care of your own skin with anti-fungal creams and soaps.
- Proximity – It’s almost a guarantee that you will become addicted to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu the second you try it. For this reason, it’s important that you can find a gym that is close to where you live. You don’t want to go broke driving to the school as frequently as you most certainly are going to be!
Once these unknowns are sorted out, it’s time to choose a school! Ultimately you should choose a school where you feel the most comfortable and you get along well with the instructor and fellow students. These are people that you will develop friendships with, and you will spend a considerable amount of time training with. You should be sure that you enjoy your future friends…and the future home of your martial arts addiction!