What to look for in a Grappling school?
I'm looking into joining a martial arts school in town that teaches Jiu-jitsu, Kickboxing, and "Grappling" (read - pseudo-MMA). Anyway, I'm thinking of joining one, two, or all three of their classes. I know what to look for in a Kickboxing class already (theirs is a very Muay-Thai based system, apparently, so thumbs up so far) but I have only a bit of grappling experience (I've taken a few Judo classes and I can do like, an armbar, a scarfhold, and a rear naked choke...) - so when I go sit in on the grappling and JJ classes, are there any red flags or must-haves that I should watch for? obviously common sense will be a big thing, i.e. are they training with full resistance for a good portion of the time, could I do this stuff to someone bigger than me, etc. But I'm, at this point, basically all strikes (all my grappling experience is from years ago and from watching MMA ;) - So I'm hoping the experienced BJJ/Wrestling/whatever practitioners may have a few words of advice to save me from a potential mistake in the long run.
Sparring should always be a part of class, and if you ask a question, does the answer make sense? So if you are getting taught something like a armbar, do they just have you put your legs kinda like this and yank? or does the instructor explain angles, foot positioning, where the pressure is, how the escapes work, how to block them, etc.
Now on a first class you might not get that told to you, but if you ask "How do I escape this?" you should get a answer, and if you ask "How do I prevent the escape" you should get a answer, and if you ask "How do I escape when he is preventing the one you showed me" you should get a answer, and if you ask "How do I prevent that escape" well.. you get the point.
You should also see a heirarchy in who dominates matches that is not size dependant. The smaller, but more experienced people should still be winning over the bigger new people. You, being on your first day, should probably feel like you are getting tossed around at will, or at least that you could be if the other person quit being helpful and started trying to win.
Which is another important thing, is everyone being helpful and working as a team, or just trying to win every time someone says go?
Obviously if they have a traceable BJJ rank that will give you a aproximation of their skill, but perhaps not there teaching ability. For that you got to look at other people in the class. And, you. Different teaching methods work for different people, do you feel like you learnt a lot at the end of class? or do you feel like you did a lot, but didn't really learn anything?
This one is HUGELY important IMHO. You roll to learn NOT to win; although how much you've learned should be proven by winning (you figure it out). A good grappling school should have noticable control in their randori/rolling. If everyone is going apeshit bumbrushing each other for submissions, YOU WILL GET INJURED; and worse yet, you won't learn a damn thing.
Originally Posted by Andrew Green
Instructor rank and lineage are always the first things I look for