North Vancouver Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
I've been training at North Vancouver Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for roughly a year and a half and am currently a second stripe white belt. The school is run by two first degree black belts - both ranked by the IBJJF. Classes are offered seven days a week; all students are free to attend as many classes as they please, although beginners are discouraged from attending intermediate classes. Schedule is available here. Rates range from $100/month to $150/month, depending on how many months one commits to. The club is very honest in its business practices and members are free to cancel at any time, provided they give 30 days notice.
BJJ - 10. All intermediate and all levels classes include at least half an hour of rolling. Beginner classes focus more on technique but often include at least a few rounds of rolling.
Kickboxing - 7. Every kickboxing class features half an hour of sparring. Students wear headgear, mouth guard, gloves, and shin protection. Sparring is usually medium contact, although students with more experience may spar harder.
BJJ - N/A. New students receive a discount on a gi with the club's logo on it. I've been training with my first gi for well over a year and half and it shows few signs of wear.
Kickboxing - 7. Students are encouraged to bring their own equipment (gloves, mouth guard, etc.) but there are gloves and other gear available for those without.
8 - The club has its own place complete with changing rooms and washroom. There is plenty of mat space, although some days it's a bit crowded. Facilities are clean and there's coconut water available for $2 a can, which I can't recommend highly enough to those who haven't tried it. Also, we now have our very own gong.
10 - Each class has at least one IBJJF first degree black belt instructor present; often both are present. In the entire time I've trained at NVBJJ, I've only been to one class led by a student - a brown belt who's been training BJJ for well over a decade. The club is also fairly small so that means students receive a lot of hands-on instruction. Both instructors regularly roll with students, from white belt and up, and offer tips and feedback during and after the roll.
10 - The club has a very friendly atmosphere and most of the members are a tight knit group. Jerks are quickly weeded out, creating a positive environment for women and non-athletes like myself to train in. I consider both instructors friends and proudly wear my club t-shirt when I'm out and about.
N/A - NVBJJ offers kickboxing classes three times a week, but as I've only taken half a dozen muay Thai classes I don't feel qualified to evaluate the level of instruction, suffice to say that the kickboxing teacher, also a BJJ brown belt, is a very nice guy and works closely with newbies to ensure they're comfortable and picking things up.
9 - Instructor profiles are available here. Between the two of them, they have gold medals at the 2008 and 2009 U.S. Opens, American Nationals, World Cup; silver medals at at the 2011 U.S. Open, etc. Our team competes regularly at local and international tournaments, producing champions at the Worlds and Pan Ams. The club is also very hospitable to individuals like myself who are more interested in the self-defence aspect of BJJ and less interested in the sportive.
N/A - The club is pretty focused on competition. I don't think our instructors are averse to teaching self-defence against weapons, but they don't include it in the curriculum. Perhaps one could arrange such training in private lessons - I don't know.
In short, NVBJJ is a great option for anyone passionate about BJJ and who wants to belong to a friendly family of like-minded individuals. We may not have the facilities of the Gracie Academy in Torrance, but we make up for it in camaraderie and top-level instruction. Final rating: 9 (10 being reserved for personal training under Helio himself).