Sherman Oaks, CA - Chris Lisciandro's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Club
I've been training here for about 3 months now and I'm loving it. The atmosphere is very informal and welcoming. The instructors have shown a level of individual attention and concern for safety that goes above and beyond anything I've experienced at any of the many martial arts places I've trained at before. Nobody is admonished for not doing a certain warmup or taking a water break or not doing as many pushups as someone else etc. The students are also friendly and helpful, and everyone that I've asked has been willing to help me with specific moves.
The MMA class has mostly been a very intense pad-hitting session, which I suppose has it's place. I was a little disappointed that I didn't see no-gi grappling, sparring mixed with grappling and takedowns etc in that class. It could just be that I haven't been going to it long enough to see the variety. For anyone who wants to focus on grappling I would heartily recommend this place. It probably would not be the first choice if I was already a seasoned grappler looking to work on MMA-specific fighting strategy and prepare for MMA competition. There is a good sized matted surface but no cage.
Aliveness - 9
Non-compliant drilling or free training make up the last part of every BJJ class. Bruises occur regularly.
Equipment - 7
The condition of the equipment tends to vary but most is in excellent condition. Some of the shin pads have definitely seen better days.
Gym size - 7
The matted area is a good size and the walls are also padded up to around 3' off the ground. Sometimes it gets a bit crowded when more students show up than normal, but otherwise there's a good amount of room.
Instructor/Student ratio - 10
Chris Lisciandro personally teaches almost every class, one or two white belt classes a week are taught by a brown or purple belt. Chris can regularly be seen personally helping a student fine-tune a technique we are working on. He's always available and willing to answer questions. He and the other instructors give positive feedback when a student does well in rolling. Classes are sometimes large.
Atmosphere/Attitude - 10
See first paragraph of post for my thoughts on this.
Striking Instruction - 5
Mostly boxing with some kicking. All pad work, no air punching or air kicking. I'm not aware of any of our students doing any kind of striking competition.
Grappling Instruction - 8
The Jiu-Jitsu level is very high here. The students compete in tournaments very frequently, and we host an in-house tourny every 3 months. Our students appear to do very well at outside competitions. I'm not aware of any competitions at the national or international level by our students. The instruction itself is great.
Weapons - N/A
This place is as legit as it gets! They are part of the Street Sports Family, Lisciandro is a black belt under Renato Magno whose BJJ roots run deep.