West Coast BJJ & MMA
This club has classes in 4 different cities on B.C.'s lower mainland. I have trained mainly at the Burnaby location but have visited the Port Coquitlam location as well. The Burnaby training space is probably close to 2000 sq. feet though the mats are a little on the thin side for full speed throwing or takedowns. In their defense, the location is new so I think better mats are on their way. The instructor is a DelaRiva brown belt and maintains an ongoing affiliation with DelaRiva, who visits at least yearly to teach seminars and do promotions. Although I am a blue currently, I have rolled with bjj black belts from a few different schools and West Coast's instructor seems to have pretty solid technique. He is also still involved in competetive BJJ.
The typical class involves warming up with light sparring with no subs. If you get a sub, the idea during the warm-up is to not lock it on and allow the partner to fight for an escape. The instructor doesn't include any pre-sparring warm-up or stretching and this is up to the individual to do as they please. After 30 min of warm-up, the class convenes. The instructor asks if anyone has questions and then goes into techniques which flow from a single position, going over a few separate techs including attacks and escapes. The class drills each technique with pauses in between to clarify details. After 30 min of technique, we start sparring. Sparring starts out in the position worked on in that class and then moves on to just general sparring. From what I have seen, there is a progression to the techs taught in that the instructor links each class to the next class and always reviews the previous class briefly. He tends to teach positions which flow from one another naturally. The total length of the class is 1 hour and 30 minutes.
There is a collaboration with Clinch MMA which allows BJJ members to take any of the other classes offered at the same location for free (ie included in your 90/mo fee). They have wrestling, MMA, and muay thai at the Burnaby location, all taught by different instructors qualified in their respective disciplines.
My only real complaint is that training focuses mainly on groundwork in the BJJ class and we don't often work on throws/takedowns. That being said, the location does offer MMA and wrestling which focus more on the stand-up game. As well, the thin mats make hard takedowns painful. New mats are coming so I'm hoping for more work on judo throws to be included in the curriculum eventually.
In terms of the competition, I was surprised at the level of the students there. I've been a blue since the end of 2006 (albeit with a 10 month lay-off in 2007 due to an injury) but I found myself struggling against some of the 3 and 4 stripe whites in the class. The burnaby location has mostly whites with 3 or 4 blues. I believe the Maple Ridge location has the most advanced BJJ guys with a few purples and many more blues. The instructor promotes some members to blue himself but I believe DelaRiva does most of the school's promotions at the yearly visits. A belt from this school is definitely legit as is evidenced by their good performance at most of the local and provincial BJJ and grappling tourneys. There are also a few guys actively competing in pro and ama MMA.
All in all, I'd say it's the best bet for anyone on the lower mainland outside of Vancouver proper. The cost is reasonable for the number of classes offered. Once you sign up, you can train at any location and go to any class unlimited. That allows serious practitioners to get in 7 days a week of training if they so desire.
I've started training at the same location recently and I agree with the writeup. The scoring is a bit generous in some areas though. I don't think the gym size warrants an 8. 7 I think fits it better, particularly given the class size for BJJ. Instructor to student ratio is awesome in the MMA class that follows BJJ on Thursdays. Usually 3-5 students, so there's a very good chance of getting 1 on 1. The striking score of 8 I think assumes Clinch is being included. AFAIK, in Maple Ridge they work with the fight pit, and they also have fighters training with Revolution. Given West Coast has an arrangement with a different group for standup in different cities, I think it might be prudent to give a lower score for striking and review Clinch, Fight Pit, etc. separately. The striking is largely on the ground, although there is some standup striking. Contact isn't at a level that requires mouth guards. Equipment I think is also more at a 4... BJJ doesn't really need much, but gloves are required for MMA and that's on a bring your own basis.
Quality of instruction is excellent. I'm constantly learning new things every class, and largely everything I'm taught is a step up from what I was doing at previous locations I trained. I'd recommend any location without hesitation (assuming reasonable distance, I live in Vancouver and I don't go out to Maple Ridge to train). I very much like that there's no emphasis on getting drenched in sweat for the warm up. With West Coast the warmup is exactly that, not a full on workout. So when you're learning techniques you have the energy to be sharp and actually work on them properly rather than being drained and only able to practice sloppily as is common with a number of other schools.
And... I shouldn't have quick replied. Oh well, here's my rating contribution.
Just a quick update: This past April at Ricardo delaRiva's academy in Rio, Don (the instructor at West Coast BJJ & MMA) received his well deserved black belt in BJJ. Congrats from all your students Don!
Westcoast BJJ and MMA - Actively Training
Somewhat an unbiased opinion as I'm currently a member.
I've been attending Westcoast BJJ for just 11 months now. Having started out as a white belt with no stripes, I've since competed in the Tiger Balms, Pan Ams, and 2 other local tournaments. In the Pan Ams, I fell to a 3rd place finalist out of 68 competitors in my division back in April. I was happy with my performance, and have improved to becoming a recent medalist in local competition.
I can honestly say that Don Whitefield, along with the other active instructors and team-mates have not only helped me be a better practicioner of BJJ, but also feel like I'm a part of a real team headed in the right direction. Don himself, is very helpful, a Dela Riva representative and tranes frequently with one of the greats--Marcelo Garcia and numerous others, which means he's cutting edge.
His club offers MMA, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jits (adult and kid levels) and even Pilates/Yoga and there are active technical fighters traning at the pro level, available for any extra tips. All the tools are there to make a real fighter, or casual practicioner of the sport. One thing worth noting is that it is true that some of the striking (Muay Thai) class's situate at the Burnaby club--Where Westcoast BJJ affiliate, Sal--holds Muay Thai training. Although Westcoast is heavily based on BJJ/MMA, I've done some traning out there with Sal and can say his class's are farely challenging. One of Salz partners also teaches Muay Thai kickboxing in Poco.
Also, from what I've heard in class, they will be branching out to Surrey, and Port Moody locations with class's soon to be on offer. Currently Don's clubs include New West, Burnaby, Maple Ridge, Abbotsford, and Poco locatons.
I currently trane alot out in Ridge, and Poco tho, where there's some serious competition in class--making me want to get better and better everytime.
Westcoast BJJ has a lot of versatlity and the instructions are very sound. From what I've seen most of our guys from Westcoast are faring extremely well in local competitions. I see nothing but improvement from the other trainees, and it's going to be scary to see what they'll be capable of in months and years to come.
Definately consider this gym if you're looking to trane with intensity and develop a solid base in MMA. Even if you're interested in doing something for fun, maybe looking to get in shape, you're going to get a good workout and be a part of a real team.
The best place to train MMA, BJJ is Carlson Gracie MMA in Maple Ridge. They just opened up a sick location on 225th/North Ave. South off Lougheed Hwy. Their head instructor is Marcus Soares who is the highest ranking BJJ practitioner in North America. He is a 7th degree black belt trained under the great Carlson Gracie himself. Their BJJ is the best around. They also have Kickboxing and their guys are really good. Their striking coach is Toby Cleary, who is by far the best guy locally for Kickboxing fundamentals. If you're serious about training, this is the place to be. Carlson Gracie MMA is a full MMA Academy that also offers wrestling, awesome fitness classes, boxing and strength and conditioning classes. Their mats are brand new and great to train on. They also have an octagon to train in. 4 washrooms each with showers is a bonus too. Carlson Gracie MMA also has locations in burnaby and langley. These are strictly BJJ clubs but if you get an unlimited membership at any one, you can train at them all.
Apparently, Whitefield was a student of Marcus' before and left because Marcus didn't think Don deserved his black belt. So Don went somewhere else to get it. Thats what people say anyway.
Anyways, Carlson Gracie MMA is for sure the best place to train 100%
Regarding the previous post from MRB#1. I've got nothing bad to say about Marcus, he's a legend and his reputation speaks for itself. I've never trained with him but his BJJ lineage is second to none for sure.
What I have an issue with is this accusation leveled against Don Whitefield. This site is not the place for rumors and innuendo as anyone but a noob would know. Not that this story justifies a response but just so you know, Don remained a brown belt for years after he left Marcus. Whatever his personal reasons for leaving Marcus were (only he would know for sure), after much hard work and time on the mats, he finally earned his black belt from Ricardo de la Riva, a legit BJJ legend in his own right. I don't think it's fair to throw stories around about anyone's legitimacy without evidence, whatever your opinion may be about the "best place to train 100%". I.e.: video or it didn't happen...
ok..lets clarify..don trained with marcus..he left as most do with marcus, cuz they want their promotion so bad..prof knew what don was up 2 so he didnt promote don , then don left, jumped to royce for his next belt, then made some deal with delariva and got his black in 09..i knew don as a blue belt...he jumped from gary herman, to prof soares, to royce, and now delriva who is a prof soares student also..so if anyone wants to clrify..go talk with prof soares..he will explain whitefileds mc dojo..by mc dojo saying he has mass produced wcbjj clubs and flooded the west coast with his mc dojos..i have trained with don he is knowledgable..but what lengths must a guy go through to get want he wants..just burn bridges like don..
Originally Posted by Hemant
don purple -black belt 2006-2009..only competed once..never boxed but teaches mma..hemant thats nice of you to alwats run and save dons rep..but you are clearly not from van an do not know the mma scene..don is not respected here..ask any thats not wcbjj..give your heads a shake..ask reputabvle gyms..ask other blackbelts what they think of him..is he still hosting seminars and charging up the ass?
thats funny dons' brown belt told me that story about the purple but i thought don recieved the purple while at a seminar with royce, then tried to wear it at marcus' and was told to take it off. I'm pretty sure marcus did give him his purple a year later though. Don does have decent bjj but i definetly agree he has watered down the club with all his affiliates and paying for belt tests.