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  1. TheMightyMcClaw is offline
    TheMightyMcClaw's Avatar

    MADE OF STEEL!

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Posts
    3,430

    Posted On:
    7/19/2007 9:01pm

    supporting member
     Style: MMA

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Focus Jiu-Jitsu

    Focus Jiu-Jitsu is the academy of Sean Bansfield, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Saulo Ribeiro. It is one of two Brazilian Jiu-jitsu clubs in Ann Arbor; the other being the University of Michigan club. The two clubs are affiliates, and Sean teaches the no-gi class at the UM club. Classes are offered on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, with Wednesday being an open-mat night. Classes are typically about an hour long, with people sparring after class until they decide to go home (typically, at least another good half hour to forty five minutes worth).

    Class usually begins with warm-ups, which will consist of jumping jacks, squats, crunches, pushups, and stretching. We do not do a given number of repitions, but instead do as many reps as possible during a pre-alloted amount of time (I've never checked the stopwatch - I believe it's one or two minutes).

    After this, the instructor will introduce a given technique, which students will pair off and practice together. Whether they do this compliantly or with progressive resistance is up to the discretion of the students. Generally, after practicing a few times each "dead" to get the body mechanics, I'll ask my partner to give me a bit more resistance. In this respect, aliveness during training is largely up to the students, not the instructor.

    Generally, two or three moves will be introduced during class, typically from the same position. After this, students will pair up for sparring. If there was a particular position we were working from, we'll start from there. And reset if one person is tapped out or achieves a more favorable position (passes guard, escapes mount, etc.). After a few rounds of this, we'll pair off for free sparring.

    Individual Ratings:
    Aliveness: As I mentioned above, Aliveness during drilling is largely up to the students' discretions. Free sparring and sparring from pre-set positions is a major part of the training.

    Equipment:
    The gym has very nice mats, including mats on the walls. There is also chest full of sweat-stained old loaner gis to use if anyone forgets to bring their gi class. There is a refrigerator in which bottled water, gatorade, and other such drinks can be stored.

    Gym Size:
    I've not measured the size of the mats, but it's seems to be about enough for four or five pairs to spar from the ground with only minor risk of running into each other.

    Instructor/Student Ratio:
    This varies from night to night. There will generally be between half a dozen and one dozen people at a given class. The photos are of the grand opening, and thus more students than regular are in attendance. There is only one official instructor, but there are blue and purple belts who will occasionally fill in if he is unable to teach class.

    Atmosphere/Attitude:
    I find Focus to be a very enjoyable atmosphere. Sean is extremely laid back, and most of the people are very nice. Higher ranks will offer constructive criticism without being belittling, and the gym is free of the egotistic jerks who can ruin a training session.

    Striking/Weapons Instruction:
    There is none. As far as I know, Sean has only trained in Brazilian Jiujitsu.

    Grappling Instruction:
    As previously mentioned, our instructor is a black belt under Saulo Ribeiro. To my knowledge, he is one of three BJJ black belts in the state of Michigan, and has had several successes in the past fighting at the Pan-Americans. He plays and advocates a very traditional, conservative BJJ game. He tends to focus on defenses and escapes more than attacks, and tends to stick to low-risk and high-percentage attacks (rear chokes, collar chokes, keylocks, etc.).
    In his grappling instruction, I can think of three major areas where there could be room for improvement, all of which seem to be archetypical of BJJ:
    -There is no no-gi instruction. While he teaches the No-gi class at the U of M club, he insists that all training in his school be done with the gi. If a student shows up without a gi, he'll give them a loaner.
    -There is very little work on takedowns. I believe I've seen him teach takedowns only thrice in my experience at his club and his teaching at the U of M club. He typically pulls guard when he himself fights. Most of the free sparring is started from the knees.
    -Lower body submissions are avoided. He doesn't really teach leg locks, and generally doesn't allow them while sparring in his club (we still occasionally go for achilles locks in rolling). This is a problem for students like myself, who embrace the joys of NAGA style competitions.
    In general, the training is very "sport oriented," as opposed to be MMA oriented or self-defense oriented.

    For those of you who are interested, here's the instructor's biography:
    http://www.focusjj.tv/cat_index_37.shtml

    And here are some clips of him fighting at the Great Lakes BJJ Championships, no-gi advanced absolute division:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjEtNoAWpG

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GY9LoxtqHL
    Last edited by TheMightyMcClaw; 7/25/2007 2:35pm at .
  2. MikeM is offline

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1

    Posted On:
    8/10/2011 9:32am

    Bullshido Newbie
     

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    [QUOTE=TheMightyMcClaw;1507897]
    The gym has very nice mats, including mats on the walls.
    I've not measured the size of the mats, but it's seems to be about enough for four or five pairs to spar from the ground with only minor risk of running into each other.


    -There is no no-gi instruction. While he teaches the No-gi class at the U of M club, he insists that all training in his school be done with the gi.

    In general, the training is very "sport oriented," as opposed to be MMA oriented or self-defense oriented.
    ------------------------------------------

    Just a couple of updates:

    * Focus Jiu Jitsu is now Ann Arbor Jiu-Jitsu -- http://annarborjj.com/wp/

    * Ann Arbor Jiu-Jitsu is now located inside Hyperfit-USA, a Crossfit Gym with a large (although rectangular) mat space. I've seen up to seven pairs working comfortably.

    * Sean has an assistant instructor (Dan Smith)

    * There are now no-gi classes in Sean's school

    * There is now, also, an MMA class, though it seems to be a little boxing and a little no-gi, but not very intense and lacking kicks.

    * Training is still pretty much how you described it, with emphasis on pulling guard rather than attacking, and no leg locks; the aliveness is still up to the students but since there are no egomaniacs, this gives students (especially new ones) the opportunity to learn the mechanics of the moves without getting overwhelmed, and then the opportunity to practice them "alive" when they are ready.

    Sean and Dan are both excellent instructors and the atmosphere in the class is really conducive to learning at your own pace. Those who wish to make it challenging can do so, and those who want to ease into it can also do so without fear.
    Last edited by MikeM; 8/10/2011 9:33am at . Reason: Corrected Mistake

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