Martial Arts Institute in Prunedale CA
BJJ classes at this school are taught by Daniel Thomas, a black belt under Claudio Franca, and Erick Fallon, a blue belt (2 stripes) also under Claudio Franca.
Mr Thomas teaches once a week with a focus on technique and sparring, while Mr Fallon leads class twice a week with a focus on conditioning and sparring (both position and open). Mr Fallon typically leaves the the teaching of new techniques to Mr Thomas. I was very torn on how to score this school regarding the instruction. Mr Thomas is absolutely top notch with multiple gold medals in both national and international level tournaments (6 gold medals at the Pan Ams and multiple US Open championships) , but he's only there one day a week. How do you score that? Mr Fallon has 2 gold medals at the US Open himself, and is an experienced martial arts instructor, but at the end of the day a blue belt is still a blue belt.
It is a small class averaging about 7 to 10 students on most nights, most of which are blue belts under Claudio Franca. The school is affiliated with the CFBJJA and Professor Franca is the final authority for all promotions.
Mr Thomas encourages participation in tournaments and students from the school have done very well in competitions.
The school has a decent amount of mat space, a small weight room and some heavy bags. The mat space is more than adequate for the number of students who train there and have held up to 16 students rolling at a time with no problem. The mats are very clean, they are bleach mopped daily and all students are required to wipe their feet with anti-bacterial wipes prior to class. Shoes on the mat are strictly verboten. The rest of the equipment is minimal.
There are no egos on the mat and everybody is really cool and laid back. The blue belts all help the white belts whenever it's needed.
There are kids classes which are taught by Mr Fallon as well.
Overall this school is great if you are interested in good BJJ training at a good value. The fact that there is only a black belt there once a week is a drag, but it isn't a deal breaker for me.
Note: Mr Fallon also teaches Kenpo out of the school with his wife (they are both black belts) but I don't train in Kenpo or nor do I know anything about it so I did not cover it in this review.