224769 Bullies, 3578 online  
  • Register
Our Sponsors:

Results 1 to 10 of 22
Page 1 of 3 1 23 LastLast
Sponsored Links Spacer Image
  1. OldDog53 is offline

    Registered Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    San Carlos
    Posts
    253

    Posted On:
    10/16/2006 1:25pm


     Style: BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Berkeley, CA, Ralph Gracie Academy

    Ralph Gracie Academy, Berkeley, CA
    1500 Ashby Avenue (Ashby at Sacramento)
    Berkeley CA
    510-486-4000
    www.ralphgracie.com

    Instructors: Dave Clahan/Carlos “Sapoa” Oryarzun (both BB under Ralph Gracie)

    Being asked to review your academy is like being asked to review your girl friend in bed, if you are new, or to review your wife in every department if you are an old-timer. It’s pretty hard to do. You’re trapped between bragging, and shyness about discussing intimate details.

    I am newbie, so I am really only qualified to rate the academy on the conditioning and the rolling – I don’t know squat about whose techniques are better, more exhaustive, more innovative. I’m just a voracious knowledge vacuum at this point, and anything thrown at me by my instructors to fill the void is happily accepted.

    I haven’t been a bjj ho, shopping the many Gracie and other BJJ academies within driving distance, so I can’t contrast and compare academies and approaches. I chose this academy partly because Ralph Gracie is well-known as one of the “fighting” Gracies (he’s fought Pride Bushido and Extreme Fighting), this particular RG academy is right near UC Berkeley, and the facility is only slightly over a year old with a very large, open (no pillars) mat area. The building was in fact built-out specifically as a bjj gym, with the interior load-bearing pillars removed and trusses added to support the roof.

    What got me to actually sign up, though, was the friendliness of the instructors when I stopped by to visit a class. No tough-guy arrogance, no mystic TMA mumbo jumbo, no hard sell. No bragging about the Gracie fame in general or Ralph Gracie in particular, no bad mouthing other academies loudly or by insinuation, no making the newbie feel small and unimportant. More of a “coaching” approach than a “big dog” or “alpha male” attitude, if that makes sense.

    I guess the first and most important question that I should answer is “would you recommend this academy to your friends? to your family?” The answer is a resounding “yes.”

    Probably the second question is “what’s it like?” Meaning, “what are the classes like?”

    The school motto (at least on the t’shirts you see once in a while) is “Train Hard!” In addition, the current website main page states “Ralph’s focus on his teaching consists mainly of learning the techniques, executing them correctly, training and more training.”

    At this Berkeley location, that seems to mean a lot of cardio work at the beginning of the class, with straight cardio (running frontways and sometimes sideways) transitioning into functional cardio drills (still cardio but based on more function specific moves). After the straight cardio and functional cardio, there are technique drills with periodic time-outs for instruction on details and variants; then limited sparring based on the technique drills; then full sparring. The intensity is pretty high throughout, particularly during the limited and full sparring, which is probably why there’s a lot of emphasis on cardio at every class.

    By the time you get to the free sparring, your muscles are probably pretty tired, so you pretty much need to move fast with what you’ve got left, and remember technique - thinking you’re just going to power through is probably a big mistake! One of my initial concerns was the risk of reckless application of techniques, but the students seem savvy and careful – all the people I’ve rolled with so far fight pretty hard for both position or submission, but injuries (except for bruises, which are common, and sprains, which aren’t) are rare. Nobody seems to like to tap, but the general feeling whether we get the tap or tap out is one of camaraderie – nothing is a freebie, so if we get the tap we earned it, but even if we gave it up, we didn’t give it up easily and our partner respects us for that.

    High points of the academy are the large mat area, which really helps a lot in terms of safe rolling. Another high point is the large number of students, which gives you a lot of variety in terms of height, weight, skill level, and even age of partners to practice with. There are some students who relocated from other RG or other academies, with colored belts, and a lot of new, local students with an average of from 6 months to 18 months of experience. New students join periodically and it seems a lot of them stay, although jiu jitsu (and judo, wrestling, boxing, any contact sport really) is famous for turnover. But for the most part there is a large core of “regulars” and they are the ones you drill and spar with the most, so in a lot of ways the dedication and consistency of the students is one of the things that really adds to the practice experience here.

    There is one ample men’s changing room with shower, three bathrooms (2 men, one woman, the woman’s doubles as their changing room), an exercise area with some bags.

    Recently the academy introduced three Muay Thai classes per week (Saturday morning plus TuTh nights); regular bjj classes are MWFS mornings at 11, MWF evenings at 5:30 and 7, and TTh evenings at 6:30. Classes are scheduled for 1.5 hours but sometimes run over (but the option of leaving on time is ok).

    The minor “negatives” of the academy are as follows: a tendency to open the academy only a few minutes before a class, so there isn’t usually much “free time” to stretch (but you don’t get kicked out right after class, so there’s usually time to practice drills with a friend or stretch then if you want to); although there are many ventilation windows along one side, only one or two usually gets opened so it’s never really cool when you practice, even on cool evenings; some class sizes are getting pretty large for even this large mat area to accommodate; stand-up techniques (clinching and take-downs) to be more sporadic than straight mat work (this is supposed to change as students get better); and the academy could use more female students (women are encouraged and supported as students, but there aren’t gender segregated classes, which can be viewed as a positive or a negative).
  2. new2bjj is offline

    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    1,935

    Posted On:
    10/17/2006 6:12pm


     Style: TKD, MT, KEMPO

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Having left that school, one of the main complaints in re Ralph Gracies school, is that if you get hurt, you pay, no matter what they tell you, up front, and they'll tell you alot of **** upfront, believe me. Nothing wrong with the curriculum, but the lack of free practise is exceptionally bogua, seeing as BJJ is a sophisticated system, and you need alot of time drilling and follling to remember the more sophisticated moves from one class to the next. But these schools have an even better way to learn- expensive private lessons! That we'll get you down the right path. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$! Still, they do teach the real BJJ.
  3. OldDog53 is offline

    Registered Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    San Carlos
    Posts
    253

    Posted On:
    10/18/2006 7:36pm


     Style: BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by new2bjj
    Having left that school, one of the main complaints in re Ralph Gracies school, is that if you get hurt, you pay, no matter what they tell you, up front, and they'll tell you alot of **** upfront, believe me. Nothing wrong with the curriculum, but the lack of free practise is exceptionally bogua, seeing as BJJ is a sophisticated system, and you need alot of time drilling and follling to remember the more sophisticated moves from one class to the next. But these schools have an even better way to learn- expensive private lessons! That we'll get you down the right path. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$! Still, they do teach the real BJJ.
    Sorry you had a bad experience. In my own case, their billing service inadvertently billed me twice for my first month, and both the billing service and the people at the academy bent over backwords to fix it and make sure I was satisfied.


    No one has ever hit me up for privates, or even pushed me to sign up for more classes. The first two classes you sign up for are the most expensive - but really only a little more than local karate classes. The "unlimited" option is actually a bargain in my mind, if you had the time to go to all the classes offered.


    I really find the people there care about good practice more than money, so my experience has been completely different from yours.

    I think compared to other martial arts classes, compared to the better gyms, compared to golf or tennis lessons, classes here and at other BJJ academies are a bargain. Compared to doing nothing or joining a local college judo class, they are costly. Oh well. If there's something you want, you've gotta go for it somehow.

    I don't know why the rating system doesn't have a "not applicable" option. I arbitrarily rated weapons training as an 8 in case the totals are averaged. There is no weapons training at our academy.
  4. antman is offline

    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Bay Area
    Posts
    1,034

    Posted On:
    1/18/2007 12:35am


     Style: Silat, New to Hsing- Yi

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I'm curious about the weapons instruction since it is scored an 8. Please elaborate about it
    "Its not important to be strong, its just important not to be weak."
  5. OldDog53 is offline

    Registered Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    San Carlos
    Posts
    253

    Posted On:
    1/18/2007 6:47pm


     Style: BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I'm sorry, but there is no weapons instruction. The rating system included a weapons category and if I had given it a zero, it would have arbitrarily dragged down the overall score, so I gave it a rating to match the overall rating average so there would be a neutral impact.

    I may have explained this in my original post, but I'm glad you brought it up so no one is confused.

    Also, I found out the women's changing area does have a shower.

    I'm not quite a newbie anymore, and I'm not sure I'd be brave enough to post my review again (I mean, do I have enough qualifications to judge any academy?), but IMHO this is a good group of people at a great facility.

    BTW, this location started up about 2 years ago and just promoted a substantial number of new blue belts out of students who started here around the begining or a little after; before this round of promotions, the most substantial so far, there were just a scattering of blue belts, plus two purples and one brown (and of course the instructors). Now we have a very solid number of blue belts, two browns (one purple got bumped up) and two purples (one of the blues who had prior training at another academy got bumped up), plus the two black belt instructors. It's great to see the progression, and the promotions were handed out by Ralph Gracie himself, with a pizza celebration after!
  6. Zendetta is offline

    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    SF Bay area
    Posts
    2,681

    Posted On:
    1/18/2007 7:29pm

    Join us... or die
     Style: MMA, functional JKD

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I know people who train there and hear good things.

    Gracie JJ plus Krav Maga - you fucking KNOW its going to be expensive.
    "You know what I like about you, William? You like guns AND meditation."
  7. OldDog53 is offline

    Registered Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    San Carlos
    Posts
    253

    Posted On:
    1/18/2007 7:58pm


     Style: BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Zendetta
    I know people who train there and hear good things.

    Gracie JJ plus Krav Maga - you fucking KNOW its going to be expensive.
    If you take both.

    :XXjester:
  8. UpaLumpa is offline
    UpaLumpa's Avatar

    Exasperated.

    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Descending into absurdity
    Posts
    6,977

    Posted On:
    1/19/2007 10:03am

    supporting member
     Style: BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Ralph puts out very strong competitors.
    I'd love to train under Kurt or Luke in particular.
  9. Qtip inspector is offline

    Registered Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    SF CA
    Posts
    77

    Posted On:
    1/21/2007 6:26pm


     Style: BJJ boxing

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    the school is nice.I wish my gym was half as nice. I used to train with Danny, the krav instructor. great boxer and is the real deal. I will be training there again because Danny is such a good teacher. Sapoa and Dave are great guys as well.
  10. Red Elvis is offline
    Red Elvis's Avatar

    Da Komrads... Again you are MadPelvisOwn3d!

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Soviet State Of Kalifornia
    Posts
    2,201

    Posted On:
    1/21/2007 6:32pm

    supporting member
     Style: Spetsnaz Shovel-Fu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Ha ha... I think you train with my tattoo artist. I hear it's a good place.
    .
    :icon_twis
    .

    To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence;
    Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without spilling your Guinness.
    Sun "Fu Man JhooJits" Tzu, the Art of War & Guinness
Page 1 of 3 1 23 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Powered by vBulletin™© contact@vbulletin.com vBulletin Solutions, Inc. 2011 All rights reserved.