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).
Last edited by friesenmp; 1/26/2012 11:57pm at .
Out of interest is it normal to be second stripe white belt after a year and a half of training in BJJ?
I know I've heard people say they often spend years with a blue belt, so am I right in thinking there could be a huge difference between two white belts/two blue belts?
It really depends, Sam. It depends on mat time and picking up techniques (some schools also value competitions very highly like mine does). You can't really compare one white belt to another white belt or one blue to another blue. They can be pretty different. I am a no-stripe white belt (not enough time on the mat, only six months so far) and I can perform better than other whites with stripes on good days.
It all depends on how quickly you learn and how much effort you put in. Belts are connected with a lot of effort in BJJ.
Thanks for the reply,
How would you go about being graded? Is this done by an instructor when he/she feels you deserve it?
Or is it alike Judo ect where you have a set "grading" day?
That also depends on the system you are in. We have both. Sometimes someone makes such a leap in skill that he is awarded a stripe or even a new belt at the end of a regular session. The BJJ people who are brown belt and above have a very good sense of someone's progress and you can tell if they want to test someone especially in the way they set them up with very tough opponents during training, use them to demonstrate techniques and such.
There is no general rule on how and how long it takes to reach a certain belt. Just because it all comes down to skill, talent, will to learn, dedication and time. In BJJ you won't usually find a blue belt who is not really good. The system of hard work, competition and very dedicated higher belts keeps the standard really high. It can be a blow to the ego sometimes when you think you are ready but your trainer doesn't think so (just had that happen).
There are schools that have a graduation outline for higher belts though. I can't speak about those real graduation rules because I am not familiar with them (just saw some purple belt tests on youtube)...
Real interesting, sounds like a real solid approach.