I think I may have found my new Jiu-Jitsu home.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I went up to train at Fighting Chance Jiu-Jitsu in St. Augustine this morning. They hold 11am classes a few times a week. I figured a morning class would be easier to assimilate into, since there would be fewer people. I was correct – there were maybe 8 or 9 guys.
Let me first tell you what I’m looking for in a school and then I’ll tell you if this one met my criteria.
1. Good instructors. I need good instruction, because as I mentioned to Julian this morning, I think it’s high time I cleaned up my game. For too long, I’ve “enjoyed” the sport and I really need to hammer down and critically analyze what I’m doing on the mat.
2. Good students. There’s honestly no sense in me training with people I don’t enjoy being around. Committing myself to do something as challenging as this is bad enough, now compound doing this with people I don’t like. Not going to happen. I have to be able to see my fellow students as friends.
3. Cool vibe. Like Kevin was saying this morning, at our age, we don’t need to be disciplined. We also don’t need the dogma attached to so many schools out there. If I’m doing something or working on something, I need a reason for it. I haven’t had great experience with just “listening” and following orders throughout life. If it works, let’s do it. If we’re going over it simply because an ancient Chinese guy did a thousand years ago, I’m out the door.
4. Rolling style. I need to roll with guys who appreciate my rolling style and I need to appreciate theirs. I can’t, nor do I want to, get flattened like a pancake every time I go with someone, just because that’s all they know how to do. It gets old and so is my back. I need diversity. I need exploration and study. I like to watch people do things I’ve never seen before and then ask them about it. Then, I need to do it myself.
5. Belt rank. I need a school with a wide variety of belt ranks. From white to black to everything in between. I’ve found that I rise to others quite often, so I’d like something that offers players for me to rise to. It’s bound to happen – if I continue to roll with better players, I’ll become better myself. That’s how it works.
I think that’s it. I’m sure there’s more, but I can’t think of them right now, so what I’ve just written down is good. Now let me tell you about the school I visited this morning.
I’d say Ryan Hall would dig this place. So would Marcelo Garcia. The style of the players at this academy would be right up their alley. A lot of inverted guard and shoulder rolling. Not that I got anything this morning, but I do see a good amount of spider guard in my future. Today, we were pretty much feeling each other out. I can’t tell you enough, I liked what I saw.
The school met all my criteria. These guys are chilled out, but like to train hard. 7 minute rounds with just a small break in between. And lots of rolling. Lots and lots of rolling. That’s my gig right there.
Most importantly, I have received the blessing of Kevin, the owner, to do my usual stuff with videos and pictures. So to all my friends up in Connecticut, you should be getting some good stuff to watch.
I gotta go take a shower.