Northwest Jiu-Jitsu Club
NWJJC is a small BJJ studio in North Seattle. There are beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes, in addition to a Vale Tudo class and an open mat, no-gi 100% rolling class (see Web site for schedule/details).
Brian Johnson is a machado black belt and the head instructor at NWJJC. He's an outstanding BJJ competitor and boasts a few titles/trophies to his name, and he's a very experienced grappler in general, with a background in wrestling, judo (brown belt), and of course, BJJ. He also has some Kajukenbo in his background.
Brian still competes, trains, and rolls regularly with the student body and peers at his school. Most importantly, he's an excellent teacher. He is organized, methodical, and patient, and he has considerable competitive experience and amazing (to this beginner's eye) technical skill to back it all up. Some of his more prominent influences include David Meier (Machado 3rd degree black belt) and John Will. He is also friends with Ivan Salaverry, who I had the pleasure of meeting when he came to visit Brian at the school (Ivan is local to the Seattle area).
Classes generally last one hour, and consist primarily of technique work, drilling, and some rolling. The only exception is the beginner's class, in which there is no rolling -- it's all basics and some light drilling.
The time between classes -- typically about 30 minutes -- is generally reserved for rolling. Intermediate and Advanced classes consist of technique work, and generally have more 'live' drilling and rolling. (Again, most of the major rolling is reserved for the end of the class.) Many students come in and take a class, roll, then take the next class.
NWJJCl is a bit on the small side (though supposedly we'll be expanding the space in the near future) and doesn't offer much in the way of workout equipment beyond a heavy bag and good mats for a lot of rolling. If you're looking for workout gym to complement your training, NWJJC may not be the place for you. A number of students at NWJJC compete regularly, though there isn't a dedicated NWJJC "fight team" of which I'm aware.
At $100/month ($285 if you pay 3 months at a time), NWJJC rates are well within the good-to-average side for the Seattle area. There are also open mat fees if you just want to drop in for a class or a roll, and Brian also teaches private lessons and seminars.
There are no contracts, no kids classes, and there is definitely no Bullshido at NWJJC.
Here is my thoughts and the ratings for NWJJA.
Brian Johnson is a Machado 2nd Degree Black Belt under David Meier & John Will. He has competed and placed in numerous competitions including (but not limited to) 2009 No-Gi World Champion, 2009 ADCC Regionals Champion, 2009 Can Am Champion and more. Here's a link: http://nwjja.com/instructor.html.
The classes offered are: Basic 48 (Bjj Basics), Advanced, Submission Wrestling, Competition Class & Kids Classes. I want to point out that the goal of the Basics & Advanced vary greatly and as such, some of the ratings will be separated out as they are different.
Why I chose NWJJA over other schools around the area:
1) Brian's curriculum. He has created what he calls the "Basic 48". These are 48 basic classes that cover the majority of the positions and submission. But what really drew me to this, was the break down and how it is tught.
- For Example: This week is Mount to Back(M2B). Mon - M2B I, Tues B2M II, etc.
So we start with an overall concept (M2B) and over the course of the week we drill using the concept.
Every week is rotated through the different base concepts and he keeps track of the days you have attended and uses that as a way to understand where you are and how much you are retaining.
2) I have to admit, I also really liked his relaxed approach to the club. I am not looking to have to bow every time I step on the mat, or to get punished if I drop my belt while getting dressed.
3) Distance - only about 12min from where I live
4) Cleanliness - The mats are cleaned in between the classes and personal hygiene is stressed and called out in all of the different rooms.
On to the rating review!
1) Aliveness: 4 / 8
Basic 48 = 4 The basics class is very structured and are mostly technique drills. You have your partner and the first couple times you go through the motions, then they are asked to give token resistance.
Advanced = 8 The advanced class is much more Alive. There are 2 - 3 flow techniques (Instead of Step A, Step B etc - it is multiple movements) with a compliant partner. However, once the flow techniques are over, it's free rolling and things get heavy. No anger, or jerks - but they are definitely no longer compliant. This free rolling lasts from 30min - whenever they decide to stop.
Note - You are allowed to go to the Advanced classes after you have attended 24 Basic Classes. I reread it and I made it sound like whitebelts don't receive any "Alive" training. That's not the case - white belts w/ 1 or 2 stripes can start going to the advanced class.
2) Equipment: 6
I really didn't know how to rate this one too well. Equipment available are floor mats. They are in good condition because they were replaced only about a year ago. Other than that - it's Gis, Mouth Guards & Headgear (if you want). So it's very low amount of provided equipment, but it is in really good condition.
3) Gym Size: 7
I was going to put a 6, but there are 2 separate areas with mats installed so I selected "Actual Dedicated Commercial space, somewhat small but Functional + 2". Now if they were to knock the wall down between the 2 areas, I'd give it an 8.
4) Instructor / Student Ratio: 7*
Brian is the instructor for every class, unless he is out of town for a tournament or competion. The * is because I am really unsure if the class is large or small. Roughly 10 - 20 people in any given class. It is also very common for the upper belts to train in the basics class as well as the advanced, so there is a very good possibility that your training partner is blue or higher.
5) Atmosphere / Attitude: 7.5
I am fairly new - I went for about 3 months then my father was ill and I had to take care of him for another 3 months. I am back now, but other than 1 person - I have no relationship with any of the other students. Everyone is very friendly when partnered up, but they don't go out of their way to welcome you. I have read on other forums that some people don't make too big of a deal for new people because BJJ is so demanding that the drop out rate is ridiculously high; they don't really want to put forth the effort to know someone who is leaving after 3 months.
So I don't feel any animosity, egos or condescention - it's just a feeling of not being included. But I understand that white belt is the time to pay your dues.
6) Striking Instruction: 0
I haven't seen any striking other than "You can strike your oppenent when you are in mount." This is strictly Grappling.
7) Grappling Instruction: 7
I am kind of flip flopping on this on (7 vs 8). There is no question that Brian is a top level competitor - however, I don't think anyone from our school is in the same boat. We do well in local tournaments.
The instruction is incredible - but I don't think that this is what the question is asking. Please feel free to educate me if I am wrong. I am interpreting this as whether or not we have people competing at ADCC other than Brian. I don't think so.
8) Weapons: 0
Overall, I am suggesting NWJJA to Family and Friends who are interested. If a technique doesn't work for you because *ahem* your belly stops you from putting your arm around your opponent, he works to show you a different method with the same results.
He understands that not everyone has the flexibility, physique etc to pull off a flying gogoplata. I can't, yet, do an omoplata as described - but he works with me (And anyone who is having difficulties) and shows me different ways of gaining leverage/position.