Vamos Brothers Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu
Editor's note, original review done way back in October of 2007, now updated after much nagging and a lot of changes at the school. Enjoy.
Note to readers- "New York" is a big place. Those living in Suffolk County, Long Island are a good 1-2 hours removed from the Big Apple and the various schools located there. Worse, Suffolk has a dearth of good fight schools as of late, with a few contenders and a lot of also-rans. This is even more prevalent now at the time of this update, when many schools promise MMA and end up giving you unqualified instruction, TMA disguised as MMA, or worse, don't remain open long enough to leave any sort of lasting impact on their students.
Vamos Jiu-Jitsu, started by two Joe D'Arc purple (now black) belts, Alex Vamos and Chris Vamos, attempts to fill that void by providing BJJ, Muay Thai, wrestling Judo and even Crossfit classes under the same roof at different times. Since the time of the original review, much has changed, so I'll separate each section into "Then" and "Now".
Aliveness- 9. Rolling from the knees and occasionally standing caps off every BJJ training session, and the Muay Thai and Judo classes have sparring in them at LEAST once a week. Sometimes in the latter classes, sparring will be situational (Muay Thai, for instance, you might do rounds where you can only use a limited number of techniques, or can only strike to the body) but it's always done with contact.
This hasn't changed, so no need for a new one.
Equipment (Then)- 8. Two Thai bags, two heavy bags, and a teardrop bag occupy a section in the side of the school while a speed bag (and hopefully an uppercut bag if it's ever installed) are located in the back. Thai pads, focus mitts, kettlebells, jump ropes, and spare gloves are all present in one corner, and if you really want to use it, there's a Bowflex in the back room (which is rarely used by anyone but the owners and the occasional student it seems).
Equipment- (Now) 9. Since moving into the new facility, there's been a lot more equipment installed, in particular, an entire section for a Crossfit gym filled with weights, pull up bars, and other toys for the workout of the day, as well as a 20x20 padded cage for MMA sparring or just grappling when another class is going on. The uppercut bag did get installed, along with a speed bag and two heavy bags. There's even a grappling dummy available to play around with if you really want to.
Gym Size- (Then) 5. One of the gym's weaker points, it's a scant 1000-1200 square feet. Talk has already begun of moving into a larger location to deal with the increased clientele.
Gym Size- (Now) 8. Since the time of the original review, increased clientelle have allowed Chris and Alex to move into a much larger (3,000 square foot) facility with more mat space and equipment than was available prior, which also means more space to roll or spar. The Crossfit gym has its own section separate from the main mat area, so no one performing a Crossfit workout will ever be interfered with by a class or vice versa.
Keep in mind by the way that a 9 or 10 out of 10 at least the way I grade it would require at least 6,000 square feet, the primary domain of Vegas megagyms. There will be plenty of space for any student.
Instructor/Student Ratio-(Then) 7. It's about 15-25 students per instructor in BJJ, less in Judo (as low as 3 to 1) and Muay Thai (about 5 to 1).
Instructor/Student Ratio- (Now) 7. The ratios have remained mostly the same, except there's now a new wrestling class which has a ratio of about 6 to 1, while Muay Thai's classes have grown slightly, resulting in a ratio of about 10 to 1.
Atmosphere/Attitude- 8. Most of the people training are rather laid back, comfortable, etc, etc. There's not a lot of "You suck" and other namecalling going on as much as there is advice and other help. Of course, people are more than willing to go hard on you if they think you're disrespecting them, want to prove a point, etc. Overall, egos are kept in check.
Like the level of aliveness present, the atmosphere in general hasn't changed. The gym has grown and students have progressed, but the atmosphere is still welcoming, albeit dedicated to training.
Striking Instruction- (Then) 7. The striking instruction is run by a former ameture fighter with a good amount of experience and knowledge in training others. Our former instructor, a former pro fighter, is temporarily on leave. His approach is focused more on technique than sparring than our current one, although sparring was included once a week usually.
Striking Instruction- (Now) 6. I know, I lowered it a point, but there's for one particular reason. There's more competition in the area now. It seems like a dumb reason, yes, but the fact is, there are more MMA/kickboxing gyms in the area now which place people on local shows, while competition isn't the focal point of the striking classes at Vamos.
Grappling Instruction- (Then) 8. Both Alex and Chris have won numerous competitions and medaled in others including Grapplers Quest, NAGA, and the Pan-Ams. Classes are usually structured around a certain position showing moves, submissions, and the occasional counter with training in between and at the end. For instance, a guard passing class might show two ways to pass the guard into a better position or a submission, break for a round of live-guard passing, then return for a counter to some of the earlier techniques, before finally ending with live rolling and an open mat. Classes generally run an hour and a half to two hours.
Judo is taught by Joe Turchiano, a Kokadan 6th dan who's classes generally run one hour, leading right into the BJJ class. The focus is mostly on throws, drilling the throws, and the occasional randori to test the throws out. Details are pointed out constantly, even to the two senior students.
Grappling Instruction (Now) 9. Since the time of this original review, both Chris and Alex have received their BJJ black belts from Joe D'Arce, while Sensei Turchiano has received his 8th Dan from USA Judo, one of the few American judoka to be as highly ranked. If you're not willing to stay after class for judo, however, Tuesday has a 6pm (before the main jiu jitsu class) Judo class covering the basics of judo as well as proving randori.
New to grappling instruction is a once weekly wrestling class on Thursday, run by former ranked JuCo wrestler and BJJ purple belt Joe Scioli. The focus on this class tends to be primarily on freestyle and Greco-Roman takedowns and control as opposed to more extensive matwork, with live wrestling after the techniques are taught.
Thankfully, the aliveness and class format hasn't changed since the original review.
Overall, if you're looking for somewhere to train these arts and don't want to make the trek to Nassau County or New York City, you could do far worse than Vamos Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. There's a free class for all of the programs so you can try before committing to any of them.
Last edited by yodaman; 1/15/2011 11:14pm at .
Reason: Updating review
WEBSITE : http://vamosjiujitsu.com
I've been going to Vamos BJJ for around 2 years now.
Chris and Alex Vamos are both brown belts under Joe D'Arce of the famed D'Arce Choke.
Awards : Alex took 2nd place at the 2007 Pan-Ams in the purple belt division and 3rd place in the 2008 Pan-Ams as a brown belt. His brother hasn't competed recently due to a broken collar bone.
Grappling - From the Pan-Am results, you can see that the grappling instruction is great. Only one year into his brown belt and Alex took 3rd at the gi Pan-Ams. BJJ is the focus of the school, but there are some wrestlers there (two local high school coaches and some high school wrestlers). Judo is also taught by Joe Turchiano who is a 6th dan as YodaMan said.
There isn't any official fight team, but if you want to fight you can. There are enough quality guys in the grappling class to work with. Kickboxing lacks the numbers that are in BJJ but it's growing. LI GUY 1 and myself fight out of there.
The gym is moving down the road soon to a bigger facility and they are getting a 1/2 cage as far as I know.
Last edited by GIJoe6186; 10/13/2008 11:27pm at .
I have been training for over 7 years and have been at Vamos for 1. The teaching is by far the best I have seen. Chris and Alex both go into great detail about each and every technique.
The Muay Thai instruction is great. Very fast paced, no slacking, down to business.
And the Judo is top notch.
All said, Vamos JiuJitsu is a great place to train. Everyone is cool and there are a lot of good people to train with.
An updated review of this place is forthcoming with the move to a new facility. Mostly it'll cover what's changed as far as those items are concerned.
Let's go for Vamos!:car21:
Any new schools on Long Island Suffolk south shore??
Still looking for a school nearby. I have checked out Vamos and like it but it is a little too far. I dont need any excuses as to why I couldnt make it to class. I am looking on south shore Suffolk. The best area for me would be Bayshore or Islip or close to those towns.
I know this is probably the wrong place to post this question but I spent about 45 minutes trying to navigate this website and figure out where to post.
If you are too far for Vamos BJJ (which is where I train and it's some of the best jits around) then look into D'Arce. His school is in Bayshore right of Sunrise Highway. Not only do they both have great instruction, but just as important they have a lot of guys to roll and train with.
Also, in another thread you mentioned how you wanted to do striking too. Joe D'Arce now has an MMA class on Monday nights.
Thanks for the info GIJoe. Good to know D'Arce has some striking. I will look into it.