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Fort Collins, CO : McMahon Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

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    Fort Collins, CO : McMahon Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

    So I just moved up to Fort Collins Colorado and found a pretty sweet looking BJJ school less than three blocks from my house. Noting that they had a very nice storefront and professional signage, I decided to email them before going in to check out classes to check for mcdojoisms (ie contracts and hidden costs). Here's a copy of my email and their response (once you read the response you'll know why I posted this):

    I just moved into the neighborhood (Parker St) and saw your gym. I have two questions: What is the cost of the beginning adult program, and do you require a contract? I'm currently involved in another martial art but hope to supplement my training with BJJ, but only if I can do it in an affordable manner and on a month by month basis (maybe a punch card or something to that effect).

    Thanks for your time,


    Dear Schuyler,

    Thank you for your interest in McMahon BJJ! I certainly respect your
    efforts to build on your martial arts skills.

    What martial art are you involved with currently? Are you planning to
    continue your training there as well?

    I ask because we have a policy that requires our students to train
    exclusively with us, or with one of our teammates' schools. The reason
    for this is that we are committed to providing the best possible
    training for our students, and we can't do that if our students are
    training at a few different places and can't make it consistently to our
    BJJ classes.

    If this doesn't work for you, and you prefer a different set-up, I can
    definitely recommend a couple other places in town that can help you
    with your ground skills.

    That being said, please know that if this policy does work for you, you
    are more than welcome to begin training here and becoming part of the


    Tessa McMahon
    McMahon Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
    1725 S. College Ave.
    Fort Collins, CO 80525

    So, is this normal for a commercial BJJ school with multiple locations? It seems that with the popularity of MMA it would be bad business to limit students to training only at your school. Anyone train there? There website is

    Are you sure that's not McDojo BJJ because that's what it sounds like. No it's not normal in BJJ schools. Look elsewhere. The instructor (Finnie McMahon) seems legit, but the exclusivity rule is terrible. No gym worth a damn won't let you cross-train.


      To the OP, stay away from it and look for more affordable alternatives. It has a blue belt program, a purple belt program and a black belt program, each one of these consisting of different number of classes per week. I bet you that each has a different price range and contract lenght. Put that next to them requiring their students to train exclusively with them, and, ding ding ding, smells like a McDojo (which has nothing to do with the instructors' credentials.)

      To the OP, just for shit and giggles, ask them if they can explain the pricing and contract requirements for the blue belt, purple belt and black belt programs. See if they reply back with the numbers or if they go around the subject. BTW, most BJJ/MMA schools will have no qualms in telling you, right of the bat, about the prices of their classes.

      -- edit --

      Plus, this is retarded.

      At our academy, you will learn the same techniques the Gracie Family and their students have used to dominate Mixed Martial Arts Competitions.
      Have used implies domination that started in the past (which is true) and that is still true in the present (which is not.)
      Last edited by Teh El Macho; 7/05/2007 3:08pm, .


        Their school is listed in (formerly's database, so they can't be all that bad, but I think that cross training clause is a little weird as well...


          Schuyler, that sounds pretty fishy. I take it you're still training in Kyokushin? I just don't see how they can demand that you drop other activities and/or training to be able to train with them. If their training is so damn hot, it should make you want to commit more time to it, but they shouldn't require this.


            Judging from the website it looks pretty tight. It lists the lineage of both instructors and their competition records. Their schedule stresses both training and conditioning. It seems like the "blue belt/purple belt/black belt" are increases in intensity as you get farther in, but I'd be interested to see what the pricing structure was. The no crosstraining does sound a bit peculiar.
            HTFU and join Bullshido on Fitocracy!


              I did write them back again asking about prices and contracts. I'll post the response when I get it. If they let me I'll take them up on the 'free intro class' and see first hand what the training is like.


                Originally posted by Ryno
                Schuyler, that sounds pretty fishy. I take it you're still training in Kyokushin? I just don't see how they can demand that you drop other activities and/or training to be able to train with them. If their training is so damn hot, it should make you want to commit more time to it, but they shouldn't require this.
                I'll be training Kyokushin until I can't throw low kicks anymore. I assume if questioned about MMA competition they'd claim they teach all the necessary standup one would need to compete. But, neither of the instructors with the exception of the dude that took Kempo when he was a kid, has jack in their bio about stand up fighting.


                  My response and their reply:
                  I am currently involved in Kyokushin Karate and Muay Thai. I'm not very keen on giving up either of those....

                  So, do you require contracts and what are your prices? I'd still be interested in checking out your school, especially if you offer a stand-up game alongside the BJJ.


                  Dear Schuyler,

                  We do have "contracts" in the sense that we use a billing company to do
                  our billing for us on a monthly basis. We are not, however, like some
                  gyms who charge cancellation fees, etc. It all just comes back to
                  providing the best instruction for our students, and doing it this way
                  helps us to focus on our students and not on the money side of things.

                  For our basic/beginner program, it is a one year commitment at
                  $139/month. This includes 3 bjj classes a week and 2 conditioning
                  classes. We do some basic striking, though our focus is definitely on
                  takedowns and techniques on the ground.

                  Hope this helps make your decision - let me know and we can schedule you
                  for a free intro class!



                  Yeah, I'll take your free class! Do those prices sound fair?


                    McMahon BJJ is run by current/former students of my school (Easton BJJ) and a lot of our students go over there to train sometimes (Finnie and Tessa are great teachers BTW). That e-mail wording seems unclear because at Easton BJJ they're cool with students taking classes at other judo/etc schools but what they don't allow is for the students to train at other BJJ/MMA schools, so I would assume it's a similar policy there. Also assuming the school is run the same way as here, the blue/purple/black belt programs do have increasing fees, though you are still allowed to attend all the lower classes as you advance so you're essentially paying more to be able to attend more classes. I'm not really going to try to defend or trash this practice, that's just how they do things and I attend as many classes as I can so I feel I get my money's worth but there's a lot of students who go 3 hours a week or less and they're probably not getting the best deal. Regardless, you will get definitely high-quality instruction and coaching if you decide to attend there so it's up to you to decide if it's worth the price.


                      I guess the prices seem fair, especially with the going rate of BJJ instruction these days. But, like you say, the exclusivity of their school when they don't offer striking is lame. Do they prepare students for MMA competition of strictly BJJ tournys?


                        Again I can only speculate that they're running things the same there because they're basically an offshoot of Easton BJJ and I don't train there but at my school they offer separate Muay Thai and conditioning classes so you get a chance to work on your striking. Early on (through the mid blue level) they emphasize BJJ/grappling tournaments but at the higher levels have MMA classes and back several MMA fighters (the most notable being Eliot Marshall, the current ROF LHW champ). I was talking to one of the instructors the other day and he said they require you to win 1 major grappling tournament before they allow you to start competing MMA. I have no idea if it's the same at McMahon BJJ as they are still a pretty young school and might not have formalized rules for that stuff yet.


                          Cool. Easton BJJ sounds like a solid place, if I ever end up in Boulder I'll be sure to check it out.

                          If the McMahon's ever discover this thread, I hope they use it to reconsider their policy as it seems from Artard's posts that they are quality instructors with much to offer perspective students. Tessa was very nice and pretty straightforward with her emails, but there are so many other places to find good BJJ instruction that I think most serious students will look elsewhere.


                            I still don't buy this exclusivity requirement thing. They may argue it is to keep a high quality of instruction, but the counter argument exist that I can think of a whole bunch of top-notch MMA academies out there (ATT, The Armory, FFA, the Miletich camps, etc) that do not employ such tactics.

                            It's just a commercial gimmick, and there is no reason for a student to go for it unless there are no other alternatives of similar quality within reasonable driving distance IMO. This has nothing to do with the instructor's credentials by the way (which seem pretty legit and tight), and I say it without the intention to offend anyone's credentials.

                            schuyler, if you go there and you take the free class, make sure not to sign anything until you have seen all the options, even the ones available in that school. With $139 a month you get three BJJ classes and two conditioning classes.

                            What if you only need one conditioning class and want to train BJJ 4 times a week?

                            What does it entail to change from the blue belt to the purple belt program? Is it a promotion when you complete one, or it is a contract upgrade?

                            What's the difference between the intermediate classes (in the purple belt program) and the basic ones (in the blue belt program)?

                            In the basic classes, do you have a chance to roll with people that train in the purple and black belt programs? Do you get a chance to roll at all? *

                            What does it mean by "doing some basic striking"? Do they have a well-defined, formal MMA class? If they don't have that, I'm sorry, nothing justifies these type of contracts and exclusivity requirements. Period.

                            These questions need to be asked before you signed anything.

                            * I asked that cuz I started BJJ with a 6 month contract that didn't include sparring. If I wanted to spar I had to upgrade to a more expensive contract for a "black belt program". Yay!!!!!


                              Fucking creontes.

                              The exclusivity is in regards to grappling, obviously.



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