When searching for a Jiu Jitsu school or BJJ gym near you consider the following.
1. Are the instructors friendly and welcoming? Do the students welcome you into their group? Some schools can be a breeding ground for guys with a chip on their shoulder that want to only dominate and never want to look bad. This can be a recipe for disaster and injury. Ideally, you want an environment that you can make mistakes and your teammates will help you learn from them. Take a look around and see if people are smiling and having fun training. Do they look like they are standoffish and there only for themselves? Is the general vibe of the room about ego and dominating or is it about helping each other get better and improve themselves? Is the vibe about proving or improving?
2. What is the technical level of the students and instructor? Can the instructor break techniques down in a simple way for students to easily understand? Getting out techniqued is a part of the process of improving on a journey to black belt. In fact you should be alarmed if you’re able to go to a bjj school and you’re handling everyone with ease. Sadly this is the case for many schools. It’s all a direct reflection of the instruction of the school. You NEED DETAILED INSTRUCTION to get better faster. It's most ideal when the instructors of the school have mastery in the fundamental classic bjj techniques and have their fingers on the pulse of the new modern techniques and evolution of jiu jitsu. Detailed instructors that break things down really well can save you years of time on the mats feeling overwhelmed and never being able to put things together in a way that makes sense. They can help you overcome technical obstacles and organize your game to a world class level. If you make the wrong choice you can spend years training and developing bad habits that are not foundational and hard to undo. It's much better to get into a school where your skills will be built well from the ground up.
In summary you need to find a school with a balance between a friendly and welcoming environment with world class articulate instruction. Think of this next time you’re searching for BJJ near me.
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