Dallas Texas- Carlos Machado's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
To save time, I will assume everyone knows who Carlos Machado is and his credentials, I will focus this review on the school itself.
I trained at Carlo's over summer break between May and August 2006. I am currently a college student, so whenver I am in Dallas I train at this school. I'm going to break the review down on categories for ease of use
Facilities: The matts are well maintained and cleaned at least twice a day. There is ample room in the changing area. Bathrooms contain scales and are always clean and stocked. There is no equipment really but its Bjj so its not really a big factor.
Students: With one exception, every single student I met here was helpful, friendly and extremely knowledgeable. The students are comitted and, from my limited perspective, highly skilled. One interesting note, everyone in the academy seemed on the large and strong side. There were some smaller guys but at 150lbs I was usually outweighed by at least 20 lbs. Personally, I feel this made me better than I would have been at Jiu-jitsu and its truly satisfying to make techniques work on someone with a large weight advantage over you. The atmosphere was familiar with no trace of the bullshit egoism and alpha male crap I read about in some schools. I was never placed in danger or injured by any of my training partners.
Instruction: Carlos himself is excellent, he has the incredible ability to remember every single student's name after a single introduction. In 4 months I never once saw him forget who someone was or fail to remember a personal conversation. He is also very kind and can be pretty funny. The lower belts that assist Carlos are also excellent and patient instructors. I never once had a question that Carlos or a lower level instructor could not answer 100%.
My only problems with curriculum were the limited amount of standing takedown and self defense instruction. We rarely did any standup work and when we did it was an informal student group, not official instruction. The pace and order of techniques could also be rather scatter shot, basically focusing on what Carlos felt like teaching. Towards the end of my training Carlos reconized this problem and began making monthly lesson plans, but I was not there long enough to see the result of this change.
Training was divided between advanced and beginner classes mon-wed with Thurs a mixed level more informal question and answer class. Friday was no gi day which was usually run informally by a purple or brown belt with experience in no gi wrestling.
As with most Jiu-jitsu training it is also fairly expensive. I paid 150 a month for unlimited mat time. For me, this was a great deal since I was there 4 days week for about 3 hours a day but for someone with less free time it may be a less favorable deal. Recently Carlos has implented a graduated training program with lower fees for less time, so if your not a hardcore student it is less expensive. One nice thing is Carlos gets fairly good deals on bulk gi orders, so if your willing to wait you can save 10-20%. As far as I know he also charges nothing for belt promotions and gives a discount to members of his official organziations when they enter tournaments run by his academy.
Conclusion: If you are interested in Bjj and live in Dallas you should be training at Carlos's Academy... My friend.