Black Hole BJJ
Black Hole Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is run by BJJ black belt Mike Wacker in Fishkill, NY. He was, to my knowledge, promoted to black belt by Phil Migliarese (Team Balance) on June 6th 2009 and is under Steve Kardian (Thornwood). He has an extensive and successful BJJ competition record.
EDITED: Mike just opened a new location and a new schedule (June 2009). The walls and floor have good mats, the place is nice. I have added scores for these.
Classes are run by Mike or, in his absence, one of his purples or browns. Generally there are from 6 to 20 people in a class, with about 1/3 being women. There's a fair number of whites and blues in every class, and usually 1 to 3 purples or browns in addition to Mike.
Classes are very informal. People are very friendly, with handshakes when they come in and leave, and good-natured banter throughout class.
There is generally little warmup: class is started by running through a few submission combinations from guard (armbar to triangle to armbar, or armbar to omoplata to triangle to armbar), then sometimes some top game clock drills. Once in a while there will be some positional rolling or semi-alive drilling, but mostly the focus is on learning and drilling technique then a lot of free rolling.
The techniques are, to my inexperienced eye, quality, well taught and very specific. Each day is themed by a technique (e.g., multiple entries to triangle choke from guard), a progression (e.g., attacking the turtle with X, then X, Y, then X, Y, Z...), or a theme (e.g., takedowns and pulling guard). Mike takes the time to explain things in detail, and he has the tournament experience to back it up. He's very specific about when and how to apply a technique, when it won't work, and the other situations that might crop up if you need to bail from that move. The instruction seems well-planned, focused on fundamentals, and well-executed. This takes twenty to thirty minutes.
Class then goes into informal rolling for about an hour and a half. As stated previously, people will take a break if they're tired/thirsty, or just want to talk instead of roll. People leave of their own accord after a while.
I found this post in google while I was search functioning the BlackHole Jiu Jitsu website. I'm a Blue Belt in BJJ with 3 years of experience.I'm also a Black Belt in Kyokushin Karate. I train out in Maryland where I attend school. I've trained at multiple BJJ acadamies along the east coast from Maine down to Florida.
I'm from Poughkeepsie, NY and I train at BlackHole BJJ while home visiting my family. I first heard of Mike Wacker after he fought well known Yamasaki Black Belt Dave Jacobs in 2007, Dave is from Northern Virginia and is very well known down here. Mike Wacker was winning 6-2(i believe) and got knee barred with 28 seconds left. Mike was a 20 yearold and a purple when this happened, and Dave praised him on his performance and said that Wackers gaurd was quite frustrating. I contacted him at the time through myspace and asked him if he minded if I stopped by while I was home.
I have spent as long as 2 months consistently training at his acadamy and as little as 1 time while home for a week.
The classes in the morning are smaller as anywhere from 6-10 will show up. But in the evenings I would say anywhere from 18-30 students will show up. You are correct there is no formal stretching or exercises, but again in BJJ that's quite common. There is drilling to start the class Armbar,triangle armbar and then positional drills) and Mike usually teaches 3-4 techniques in sequence.
Everyone rolls, some longer then others but that also happens in every acadamy, and I also agree that people leave during rolling on their own accordance but again quite normal in BJJ.
My opinion of BlackHole Jiu Jitsu is it's a great school with a great instructor and a friendly enviroment. The students who submit you explain how they've effectively done so, to correct what you've done wrong if you ask.
I'll explain my scoring:
Aliveness: I gave 9 because I feel everyone is upbeat and friendly and willing to roll.
Equipment: I gave an easy 10 because in BJJ you don't need any equipment to train other than a partner.
Gym Size: I gave an 8 because the school has a large population of students in it's new location.
Instructor/Student Ratio: I gave a 10 due to the fact that there are always 2-3 purple belts along with Mike that go around to make sure everything is being done correctly.
Attitude/Atmosphere: Again, a 10 it's a friendly environment with lots of help and the students are always willing to help.
Grappling Instruction: Another 10 due to the mere fact that I've been to alot of acadamies and Mike is up there with some of the best instructors. He is VERY precise on each part of the technique.
As an experienced Jiu Jitsu player I would highly recommend Black Hole BJJ, I look forward to training there when I'm home. Mike and his students are all very helpful and quite accomplished for such a young school. His women students often submit men bigger then them, with other Martial Arts experience when they come to the gym, proving that technique beats strength.Again I say I highly recommend this school for anyone that has the privelage to attend a class or lives around the area.
I apologize if my review came off negatively. I really like Mike and his school and think it's a great place to train. I took a look at my review and changed some wording--I think I was nitpicking on some points.
I do think class sizes have grown since I was going regularly.
I also found a promotional video Mike's put out there via Grappler's Quest:
YouTube- Black Hole Jiu-Jitsu
No need to apologize, I have nothing but admiration and respect for this website and what it stands for. I actually like that theres people that weed out the bad dojos, and separate the legit from the fake. Black Hole BJJ is a place I'd recommend to anyone. I honestly didn't reply to argue or come off offensive so I apologize if I did, I was just stating my feelings and opinion on the gym itself. Good Luck in your training man.
The vid is awesome thanks for sharing the link.
Original & Second Posters: you wrote excellent reviews.
I started training in BJJ exactly 1 year ago. Of the 3 major MMA / BJJ gyms in the lower Hudson Valley (Dutchess / Putnam area), I have had experience with 2; Black Hole is one of them. Here are my thoughts / additions, to this review.
Unless something at the moment completely prevents him from doing so, Mr. Wacker crosses the mat and greets every student, young or adult, with a handshake and a "Hey, how's it going today?" or something similar. It would be intellectually dishonest of me to suggest that other local instructors do not care for their students, but the difference between some of their personalities is markedly observable.
I cannot adequately stress the amount of personal attention that Mr. Wacker bestows upon each of his students. Individuals who have strong, personal furnaces of drive and fortitude may not need this extra attention. I'm a 43-year-old, straight-off-the-couch guy, however. BJJ has worked wonders; it has literally changed my life. At Black Hole, I feel I'm not just getting exceptional jiu-jitsu instruction: I'm getting an occasional uplifting word, when needed most. Please allow me an example.
Three or four months into my training I began to grow frustrated and felt that I had "plateau'd" (if it's possible to plateau when you're still a BJJ white belt only 3 months in). During one class, a peer tapped me 8 times during a 6 minute roll. I fully intended to just put that day behind me and resolve to keep working, but I must have had a look on my face when I readied to leave. Mr. Wacker took me aside just before I left and gave me a very solid motivational speech that made me consider things I hadn't.
Here are some other positive items...
Black Hole has an excellent child / young adult jiu-jitsu program. From my observations (this is opinion), these classes place a stronger emphasis on the basics, than other similar programs. Also, (this is not opinion), Black Hole child / young adult classes include more rolling.
Black Hole does not require your son or daughter to perform some measure of community service (and bring in proof of such), in order to advance to the next belt level. Black Hole promotes their young adult students based on their jiu-jitsu skills and work ethic on the mat, solely.
Black Hole adult classes are 1.5 to 2 hours long, minimally.* Classes ALWAYS include 20 to 30 minutes of rolling, at the end. At other gyms, you might encounter classes that are an hour long, with little or no rolling at the end; you would have to come in for a specific "open mat" class to roll.
For those of us who work nights (especially the compressed 12-hour shifts), or have busy family-oriented (i.e.: you have to take your kid to soccer, etc) evenings: Black Hole offers daytime adult class from ~10am to noonish (weekdays: Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri).
In addition to gi and no-gi BJJ, Black Hole also offers boxing, wrestling, yoga, women's MMA, muay thai, and kickboxing.
Black Hole does not mandate that you sign any contracts, deal with any third-party billing agencies, or give your credit card. Obviously, you can do all the aforementioned if you wish; if it makes things easier for you. Rather, Black Hole is cognizant of today's economy and people's financial situations. They will work with you...accepting cash and / or check...with no contract. In my opinion, if you pay for a bulk of time, and something completely unforseen happens (example: loss of job): I'm confident that Black Hole would, in such a scenario, refund a portion of your money with little or no hassle.
I hope you found this review helpful.
* Sometimes, especially during the daytime classes, we roll for well over an hour (after the main instructional has been taught)