Today I’m going to talk about how do you know when a BJJ academy is right for you. I received this question from John R. The reason John asked this question is because he sometimes feels his jiu-jitsu isn’t improving.

First, I want to talk about finding out if a BJJ academy is right for you. Throughout my jiu-jitsu career I have competed all over the world, trained at many different academies, and traveled to give seminars. One thing I have learned is that if the instructor is a nice person then it’s probably a good place to train. We all choose to train so we want a good environment where we can train, learn, and help our training partners. The BJJ academy should be a place where we can go and forget about our problems. It can be like therapy. The most important thing is the jiu-jitsu journey which should be fun and educational.

There are different ways to know if an instructor if right for you. You can watch the way he treats the students. What skill level of BJJ does the instructor have? Does the teacher have a black belt, if so, from who?

Personally, I would focus the most on the interaction between the teacher and the students. Is the instructor helpful when the students ask questions? When the instructor is nice and eager to help the students then you will enjoy your jiu-jitsu journey. The teacher doesn’t have to be great in BJJ, he just needs to be eager to see the students grow and progress. When you find this type of environment in an academy then you will have a great experience. Your instructor will teach you techniques you didn’t know and your BJJ will improve.

The second thing I would focus on is the instructor’s skill level. At the end of the day you want to learn, improve, and grow in jiu-jitsu. If the instructor has a black belt then make sure the teacher is a legitimate black belt. There have been many cases of teachers claiming to be black belts when in fact they really were not.

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Now I will address the question regarding if you feel that you aren’t improving in BJJ. When you feel this, I wouldn’t immediately blame the instructor. I say this because I think everyone goes through phases where we feel we aren’t improving. This is very common. You may feel like that for 1 year and then suddenly your game clicks. Then overnight you feel like your game has improved 30% or 50%. I believe that is the process in any sport we practice. There are peaks and valleys, but in my opinion, every day that you are on the mats, you are getting better. Sometimes it just takes a while to see it.

Sometimes it’s our own fault when our games aren’t improving as quickly as we would like. Try to study jiu-jitsu more. Discover and analyze why you feel you aren’t improving. Also, remember there are phases where we progress a little slower than other times, so don’t worry too much about that.

Many times, throughout my career I have felt the same. Then sometimes I went to compete thinking I wouldn’t do good and I ended up winning. Therefore, I realized that my game was actually improving.

I believe competing is a great way for you to gauge your growth. You can test yourself and see where your game is. Then you can focus on what you need to do to step up your game.

Another suggestion I have to help you improve is to really study BJJ. You can watch instructional videos and competition footage. Also, I think it’s very important to find and study a grappler who has a similar game to yours. For example, if you like to play x-guard or butterfly guard then you can watch Marcelo Garcia. If you like to pass the guard using knee cuts then you can watch Lucas Lepri. Whatever style of game you play, you will be able to find instructional videos on that style. I think this will really help your game.

Here is the breakdown of the key points regarding how do you know when a BJJ academy is right for you:

  1. Observe how the instructor interacts with the students. If the instructor is nice and helpful then it should be a good academy to train.
  2. Focus on the instructor’s skill level. If the instructor has a black belt make sure it is a legitimate black belt.
  3. The instructor doesn’t have to be a world champion to be a good teacher. The key is the desire to help the students grow and improve.

I hope you enjoyed the video. Oss.

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