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Possible BJJ McDojo Red Flags

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    Possible BJJ McDojo Red Flags

    So a friend of mine and I started going to this "Gracie Jiu Jitsu" dojo about 2 months ago and I started noticing a few warning signs that I might be at a McDojo.

    Here is the website:
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    First, there was very little sparring. Students were only "allowed" to spar once a week on designated sparring days, and even then there were a number of limiting rules about speed, force and usable techniques. None of the instructors roll with us. We only rolled with one another.

    Second: No striking. None. At all. I know that BJJ is primarily a grappling art, but there is some striking in it. Right? I'm not very knowledgeable about BJJ, but even wikipedia seems to indicate that some level of striking is taught. Is that the case?

    Third: Charging for belt and stripe testing. This plays makes you pay money to add an electrical tape stripe to your belt.

    Fourth: Extra belts. Even adults are required to test for the "Kidjitsu" ranks of yellow, orange and green. There's no "camo belt" or any of that BS, but there's still at least 3 extra belts that aren't represented by actual BJJ.

    Fifth: No lineage/false lineage. The question, "Who awarded you your blue belt?" was not met with fondness. I would think that a legit BJJ instructor would be proud of their own instructor and say their name with pride. Instead, they acted like I was insulting them. Their website calls their style "Gracie Jiu Jitsu", but none of the instructors (all blue belts) are listed on the Grace Academy's Certified Belt Holders list. When confronted, they backpedaled and stated that they are affiliated with "Wolfpack BJJ".

    Sixth: Affiliation with Wolfpack BJJ... Based on the MMA Underground forum found here:
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    ; I think this association is a scam...

    So here's the long and short of it: I don't want to go there any more. I don't know if I'm being taught legit BJJ techniques because there's no quality control. Maybe these guys are awesome. Maybe they suck balls. I just don't know. That's why I want to go to the Gracie Academy certified BJJ dojo down the street which is being run by Gracie Certified Brown Belt Larry Yap. I know he's legit. I know he has extensive experience in several martial arts, fighting experience at tournaments and even real life combat experience as an Army Ranger. He's awesome.

    On top of that, the studio itself looks pretty cool, too. $125 a month gets you access to all the classes you want to attend, plus they have a gym AND you can use unutilized mats to spar whenever you want. They also don't charge for testing. Sounds like a legitimate studio. Sounds simple, right?

    But I have this friend... He's been going to this studio with me, and he "really likes these guys" and wants to keep going and we carpool there and I'm such a whiny baby that I don't want to go to this new studio all by myself and roll with these new guys alone. I've explained all this to him, but he's very stubborn. What should I do, besides manning the fuck up and just letting him go to his shitty McDojo? How can I convince him?

    You're right to see these red flags. The lack of striking isn't that big a deal. It's in there, but not allowed in sport BJJ which is what most instructors are going to focus on. The lineage questions are. You mentioned a blue belt? It makes me wonder if the didn't do the Gracie Jiujitsu Combatives course:
    I'm also curious whether their structured curriculum is simply taking you through the DVDs in class and collecting your money for it.

    The biggest problem aside from whether or not these guys are actually qualified to teach BJJ/GJJ is the lack of rolling. Sparring/Rolling is the bread and butter of BJJ, it's the main reason why BJJ is seen as so good. You should be rolling at least a couple rounds just about EVERY CLASS, period.
    Last edited by wetware; 12/22/2011 4:35pm, .


      I mentioned that none of the instructors are listed on the Gracie websites Certified Blue Belts list. I would think that any blue belt offering "Gracie Jiu Jitsu" would be listed on their website...


        If he's a real friend, he'll be happy to at least try out your school with you. Good luck, and welcome to Bullshido.
        Consider for a moment that there is no meme about brown-haired, brown-eyed step children.


          If he won't go with you, go yourself. Then smoke him with your legitimate skills earned at a real dojo. That should make him think a little.


            Wetware is correct, we spar with 3 different people one after the other every single lesson.

            Lessons are every day.

            There is no striking.

            Belts are given out free and when you are good enough and not before.

            And the instructor comes recomended from bullshido.


              Thanks both you guys for the recommendations. They sound like solid advice. I contacted the main instructor for the Gracie Certified school, and he said that he had no problem with us coming down, watching a class and rolling with him on the mat after class was over so that he could assess what we've already learned and also get a feel for his teaching methods and skill before we commit to anything. He was very professional and enthusiastic. We're probably going to head down their tomorrow to check it out.


                Yeah, the lack of sparring really threw me off, especially when I started reading about legitimate BJJ and how the Gracie's took care of business back in the old days. The instructor over at NKA told me that they were rolling on the mats all the time, before during and after class.


                  Yes, you can't learn BJJ without sparring, and any normal school, it'll be a lot of sparring.

                  Wait... Let me rephrase that, you can't learn BJJ to fight without sparring. Yeah, that's better.

                  Yes, some bjj schools don't teach striking, hell, many don't even start standing up, ever...

                  And yes, asking your instructor about his lineage, if done properly and with respect, is a perfectly legitimiate question.

                  So, from what you told us, that place sounds like shit. The sooner you leave, the better


                    I seem to recall that Gracie BJJ does incorporate striking in an attempt to be a full combat system. Is that not correct?


                      Originally posted by Cuindless View Post
                      I seem to recall that Gracie BJJ does incorporate striking in an attempt to be a full combat system. Is that not correct?
                      Can't tell you, as I don't train at a gracie school.
                      Where I train BJJ, they have a weekly mma class. But like I said, it's not a"Gracie" school.

                      Best way to find that out is to search online, here as well and using Google.
                      The gracies are nothing if not online-prolific!


                        Very true. Thanks again to everyone who took the time to respond to me. You guys are awesome!


                          Originally posted by Cuindless View Post
                          I seem to recall that Gracie BJJ does incorporate striking in an attempt to be a full combat system. Is that not correct?
                          Not really, unless you count the lunge punch and front kick a striking curriculum. Nobody goes to the Gracies to learn striking. They're specialty is grappling.

                          You're thinking of their Vale Tudo exploits from 20-60 years ago.

                          Would you go to a kickboxer who dabbled in grappling to learn that art?
                          Shut the hell up and train.



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