1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Yet another which dojo thread

    Where to begin...

    First of all I thank anyone who takes the time to read this post from a newbie. It's long but it seems like all of the dojos I've come across have some form of bullshido in them.

    I'm looking for a dojo. I have settled on some form of jiu jitsu, however I don't think I would like to learn brazilian at this time.

    I have read the thread about finding the right dojo but it's still challenging because each dojo I've been to has triggered one or more of the items listed on that thread.

    The first dojo was a BJJ dojo. It is the most popular and also had the largest class. Sadly the class I sat in on was 100% ground work so maybe I got a bad impression. It also appeared to be geared more for competition, whereas right now I'm looking for something with street self defense. This dojo also trains in muay thai and kick boxing. However, the teacher tried to bait me into signing a contract with the "first month's free!" line.


    The next dojo I went to was owned and instructed by a guy who has FIVE BLACK BELTS (alarms go off in head). He's also a wholistic healthcare guy (*COUGH* BULLSHIDO *COUGH). He was probably 40, tops. With that said, he was enthusiastic, but I can't find much information on the type of jiu jitsu he's teaching - which is called yoshitsune ju jutsu. This does incorporate judo.

    The above is a link to a picture on his site with the caption

    "Dr. J---- S----, Soke w/ O'Sensei DePasquale Sr. Yoshitsune Grandmaster and Soke Miller, Kaizan Ryu, Grandmaster"

    Yoshitsune Jujitsu is a stand up and ground submission art using all three levels of fighting: standing, kneeling, and on the ground. The system comes from the Japanese traditional system of Hakkoryu Ju-Jitsu. Using various throws, joint locks, and holds, one learns to bring an opponent into a total state of submission. Yoshitsune Ju-Jitsu was brought to the United States by O'Sensei DePasquale, Sr. Dr. J----- S----, Soke, is direct student of the late O'Sensei DePasquale, Sr. and Soke Michael DePasquale Jr. He holds the title of Shihan Rokudan (6th Dan) in Yoshitune and is a board member for the IFOJJ. We also teach traditional Judo in all of our Ju-Jitsu Classes. Kendo is a intricate part of the great Japanese arts and Dr. S---- teaches this at the higher levels in our Ju-Jitsu classes
    When I went to his dojo, there were TONS of trophies and plaques and all sorts of crap that his walls were cluttered.

    He also had his own system called "Fujikan," which to me sounds like bullshido. Here is the quote from that section of his site

    The Fujikan System is the most complete Martial Arts System ever produced. Fujikan has a very thorough background in 5 different systems of martial arts which make up the basis for the system. Nan Shaolin Wu Chu Chuan, Yoshitsune Ju-Jitsu, Hakkoryu Ju-Jitsu, Kodakan Judo, Shotokan Karate. The 1st Degree of Inner Turbulence includes Kung-Fu basics along with the standard Judo and Ju-Jitsu Rolls and Breakfalls. After a year of Kung-Fu basics Chin Na's, Forms, 2 man-sets and Weapons, a student will then move on to the 2nd Degree of Inner Turbulence. This is the Karate segment of the system, which involves learning Karate basics and Kata's. The 3rd Degree of Inner Turbulence involves learning a series of Judo throws and ground waza's. The 4th and 5th Degree's of Inner Turbulence are saved for the Pre-Black Belt student, using the Yoshitsune Ju-Jitsu concepts to finish off the students training for his/her 1st Degree Black Belt Test. Once a student has reached the Shodan Level, 1st Degree Black Belt, he will be a well-rounded martial artist with a diverse background able to handle themselves in any type of situation as well as compete on any level in the tournament scene and prevail. This system is fully Certiied and endorsed by the IFOJJ under the supervision of the late O'Sensei Michael DePasquale Sr. and Soke Michael DePasquale Jr. Also the following Organizations, TY-GA Karate International of England under the supervision of of Soke Gary Wasneiski. UMAHOF under the supervision of Professor Silverio Guerra. KIKA/KBMA of England under the supervision of Soke David Kacperski.
    This guy is also a member of the Fellowship of Christian Martial Artists. Sounds stupid, but he didn't try to brainwash me after I watched his lesson. Class size is incredibly small - in fact there was only one student that day. He said others were sick.

    One thing he said that kinda set off an alarm was "Come may I have an influx of students who are goof offs. I weed them out by august" Sounds great right? Except he has a Summer program that ends around that time that's advertised on his site.

    He said that a black belt will take 4 years and he gives japanese certificates every time you belt. This dojo DOES have belt tests, but I forgot to ask whether he charges for them.

    They say there's a fine line between brilliant and crazy. I can't figure out which side this guy's on.


    The last dojo, which is also one I haven't been to yet, is a no-contract dojo. It's also the cheapest at only $60 a month. This dojo is for gracie jiu jitsu, however he said there were judo moves (which from what I understand is inter-related)

    The guy did mention that he was in the military, but it didn't appear as if he was using that as a selling point.

    The interesting thing about his class was that you take a self-defense class for the first 6 months. He also CHARGES for a 3 class trial, but it's only $20 dollars. I actually questioned him on the spot about this and he said that just taking one class isn't going to give you a good full impression.

    I believe he stated that he did NOT have a black belt in gracie jiu jitsu. He did say that he was trained by a guy who was trained by one of the original gracies (although that sounds like crap). He also mentioned that judo would be used.

    He said he had a black belt in kung fu, trained in muay thai, then kickboxing, but when he found GJJ he was a convert.

    I'm leaning towards the third dojo because he openly said "This is a self defense school" before I mentioned anything about being interested in such. However, I'll have to sit in on a few classes.

    So, to all you bullshidokas, lay down your wrath upon my dojos!
    Last edited by niosis; 1/21/2012 5:55pm at .

  2. #2
    jspeedy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Orlando, FL
    Welcome to bullshido!

    Looks like you've got a good start on doing your homework. Don't be dismayed by all the groundwork in BJJ. I originally wasn't interested in BJJ for similar reasons, now I'd wish I didn't waste so much time coming around to BJJ. I train at a GJJ school (Pedro Sauer) and there is a significant self defense emphasis to the curriculum. I'm not sure if all GJJ schools have this emphasis, but it sounds like the one you've found does. $20 for trial classes isn't uncommon and probably is well worth the cost. Still, if it's a GJJ school expect to be doing a lot of groundwork.

    As for the JJJ, I've trained with Soke Joe Miller a few times, so I have a bit of knowledge about yoshitsune and Hakkoryu JJJ. Soke Miller has a wealth of knowledge and appears to be very skilled but some of the guys he's mixed himself up with raise an eyebrow. What is the name of the Sr. Dr. you've blanked out? He looks similiar to a Dr soke Steiger I once saw at a soke Miller seminar. The Dr soke Steiger guy said some crazy stuff, really crazy.

    What area are you in? Perhaps some of us familiar with your area might be able to give some suggestions.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Vancouver, BC
    BJJ, judo, rapier
    Quote Originally Posted by niosis View Post
    The first dojo was a BJJ dojo. It is the most popular and also had the largest class. Sadly the class I sat in on was 100% ground work so maybe I got a bad impression. It also appeared to be geared more for competition, whereas right now I'm looking for something with street self defense.


    The last dojo, which is also one I haven't been to yet, is a no-contract dojo. It's also the cheapest at only $60 a month. This dojo is for gracie jiu jitsu, however he said there were judo moves (which from what I understand is inter-related)
    Well, yes. All BJJ contains judo moves because, rendering the history down to its barest rudiments, BJJ is basically an offshoot of judo that places more emphasis on groundwork rather than standup. In fact, pretty much all the basic chokes of BJJ have judo terms and appear in judo competition.

    GJJ is really just a branded version of BJJ (though see here for poster Yrkoon9’s opinion). It’s true that GJJ-branded school seem to press the “self defence” angle a bit harder than others. I’ve heard dissenting opinions on why and what this means, ranging from the official line that modern sports BJJ has lost its way and GJJ is true true self defence art inherited from Helio et al, to the opinion that GJJ has lost its relevance with groups like Gracie Barra and the Machado lineages dominating the medal podiums and that GJJ schools attempt to differentiate with self defence because they’ve lost the ability to be competitive. Personally, I plain don’t know, but if I were to join a GJJ school, I’d be slightly concerned if there were a lot of choreographed scenario-based training at the expense of live rolling. You learn by doing after all, including fighting; but what you want to learn is defeating an opponent who is actively attempting to thwart and defeat you, not defeating an opponent who performs a scripted move and allows you to perform a scripted response. I’m not saying that this is what GJJ self defence training is like—I honestly have no idea!—but if that’s what it looks like, I’d take “sport” BJJ over that any day and expect to be better prepared for an altercation.

    Either way, the quality of instruction can probably be judged by how the students do when they go face to face at competitions.

    It should be noted that BJJ schools (GJJ-branded or not) differ in the emphasis placed on standup. My own instructors claim that “75% of jiu-jitsu guys don’t know what they’re doing in standup”, and I’ve heard somewhere of some schools that don’t drill standup at all, beyond maybe some guard-pulling. At my gym we drill a throw or takedown every class, and mat space permitting, sparring often stands standing (except for beginners, for safety reasons). At yet other gyms, they may have judo and/or wrestling instructors teaching dedicated classes. So it varies a very great deal.

    You might want to check back at the BJJ place and ask how much time they spend on standup. Watching a single class can only tell you so much. Maybe they have dedicated standup classes; maybe they’re taking it easy because people are competing that weekend; or maybe they never do standup. Who knows?

    As for Japanese jujutsu (i.e. not BJJ, and not plain judo), I gather that the amount of pressure testing, sparring, and competition varies wildly but generally trends toward the far-too-low.

    If after this long-winded post you want, for some obscure reason, to read more of my thoughts on martial arts and self defence, see the links in my signature.
    [ petterhaggholm.net | blog | essays ]
    [ self defence: general thoughts | bjj: “don’t go to the ground”? ]
    “The plural of anecdote is anecdotes, not data.”


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