Author Topic: Fitness, Self-defense, BJJ and Muay Thai for a novice  (Read 904 times)

jeromedawg

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Fitness, Self-defense, BJJ and Muay Thai for a novice
« on: February 12, 2018, 04:51:53 PM »
Hey all,

I've seem some threads around here but wanted to throw this out for some feedback because after watching some BJJ videos and 'practicing' between my wife and I, I think this might be something we enjoy doing as a family and as our kids get to the age where they can participate.

I'm down in Orange County, CA (Irvine to be exact), and am trying to figure out how to best proceed with actually finding a decent gym. I hear the area I'm in has pretty high-level BJJ practitioners so it shouldn't be hard finding one. I guess I should list out some criteria:

A place that:
1) Has an area where we could drop our kids off for supervision (at least until they are old enough to start classes)
2) Other participants/class members aren't there to "compete" and "destroy" their "opponents" (I guess this is really YMMV for each session)
3) Doesn't "break the bank" (although I keep hearing that you can't place a premium on something like this with the 'value' that you typically get out of it.... if this is the case, I just want to make sure it's true of whatever place we actually commit to).

That all said, it's probably going to be really difficult finding something but was looking for feedback on those of you who were in a place similar to mine and could offer some suggestions on how to get started out.

One of my friends (who actively practiced for maybe 8-9 years or so and occasionally rolls now) offered to privately help us at home after we commit to a gym. This would be primarily for getting 'private instruction' on fundamentals, details and nuances, so that we're better prepared when we show up for classes and mat time.

I've been considering UFC Gym in Huntington Beach, because it seems to at least meet the first criterion where you get 2 hours of supervision for your kids. And for that particular gym it may run anywhere from $50-70 base per person but we won't know until we actually go in for 'negotiations' haha, so compared to other BJJ-specific places, there's less "breaking the bank". I wouldn't know as far as #2 is concerned but I think it's YMMV and probably warrants multiple visits to observe. Obviously another big factor is who are the people instructing the courses. The [presumable] head instructor at HB is Waldomiro Perez who seems to have been legitimately trained via the Helio Gracie lineage.

In any case, would love to hear some feedback/advise for those of you out there who are into this stuff.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 05:21:52 PM by jeromedawg »

scottish

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Re: Fitness, Self-defense, BJJ and Muay Thai for a novice
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2018, 05:28:33 PM »
Not an expert here, but a gym should be willing to let you train for a week to check it out.   Meet the people, see what they're like.   

You don't need a high level instructor as a beginner.   You do want a competent one though.   They should focus on the basics.   Position before submission.   A mixture of technique, live drilling and rolling in the classes.     

More advanced techniques can come at more advanced classes/practices.

Chewjitsu on youtube has some videos talking about gym culture and what to look for.

MgoSam

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Re: Fitness, Self-defense, BJJ and Muay Thai for a novice
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2018, 07:06:35 PM »
I practice Muay Thai and BJJ and absolutely love both!

Yelp and Google Reviews will be your friend, I don't know any gyms off hand in the OC area but BJJ began in America in the LA area so there shouldn't be a shortage of gyms. I have heard from friends that have lived in CA that BJJ gyms can be very exclusive (no free trials, some don't allow white belts), but it is the birthplace of Checkmat which is the BJJ team my gym is affiliated with so let me ask my coach and see if he has any recommendations for you.

For Muay Thai, I will ask my coach as well for any recommendations.

At least in Minnesota martial arts gyms tend to be a great deal for families. Sure they do cost a lot, but they are a family activity and with a couple and two kids, the price per person decreases. My gym dues are not cheap, if I was paying month to month it would be $150, but it's unlimited and I average 8 classes a week which runs to under $5 a class. I actually think it saves me money as if I didn't have this motivation I might be joining happy hour with friends instead which can really add up. It is also inspired me to meal prep which saves a ton of money and allows me to be healthier.

For getting started with BJJ, I don't have a good answer as I'm a one stripe white belt and I honestly think that I only got the stripe was because coach didn't want me to be the only person not moved up. I can tell you what I am telling myself and that is to just stick with it. I started Muay Thai a little over 2 years ago and felt like puking after just about every class until I learned to relax a bit more in my movements and breath properly and then I just kept getting better. I can get into more detail with you but I picked certain strategies that helped me push past many mental barriers. The mental benefits of Muay Thai and BJJ training alone has been worth the expense and sweat.

I highly encourage you and your family to find a good gym.

MgoSam

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Re: Fitness, Self-defense, BJJ and Muay Thai for a novice
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2018, 07:12:37 PM »
I forgot to address your part of gym atmosphere. I haven't heard of too many gyms around me that have that mentality but there definitely are gyms like that out there.

One thing I love about my brothers and sisters in BJJ is that after a while (year on average I hear) the people you train with become like family. For this reason I think it is very important that you look for a healthy community. One thing I love is that while I can get absolutely smashed by any higher belt and many of the white belts none of them will ever make fun of me for it. Instead if I ask how they did it they will happily show me and work on those drills.

The same goes in Muay Thai. A few weeks ago I took a wicked teep (front kick) that I didn't see coming because it was so cleverly disguised. After the round I commented on it, and after the session she pulled me aside to show me how to do it. Then a week later when sparring she tried to throw it at me with a huge smile and a wink on her face when it landed, albeit slightly deflected and then laughingly told me after the round, "At least you saw it coming this time." There are a few professional fighters in the gym and they are insanely relaxed and chill and approachable. I believe that is a standard for a gym that you should look for.

jeromedawg

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Re: Fitness, Self-defense, BJJ and Muay Thai for a novice
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2018, 07:13:42 PM »
Not an expert here, but a gym should be willing to let you train for a week to check it out.   Meet the people, see what they're like.   

You don't need a high level instructor as a beginner.   You do want a competent one though.   They should focus on the basics.   Position before submission.   A mixture of technique, live drilling and rolling in the classes.     

More advanced techniques can come at more advanced classes/practices.

Chewjitsu on youtube has some videos talking about gym culture and what to look for.

Thanks... is it a fair assumption that there are some people who find that BJJ is not something they would ever want to do after trying it out? What I wouldn't want to happen is to sign up for something and then either me or my wife have 'buyers remorse' - I guess that's part of why you'd want to do a trial first. I'm not quite sure how that would work out with a bigger brand-name gym like UFC Gym though - they offer 10 days for $10 but I think that's limited to standard fitness/group fitness and gym use but not the area where there's training and sparring.

MgoSam

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Re: Fitness, Self-defense, BJJ and Muay Thai for a novice
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2018, 07:52:05 PM »
Not an expert here, but a gym should be willing to let you train for a week to check it out.   Meet the people, see what they're like.   

You don't need a high level instructor as a beginner.   You do want a competent one though.   They should focus on the basics.   Position before submission.   A mixture of technique, live drilling and rolling in the classes.     

More advanced techniques can come at more advanced classes/practices.

Chewjitsu on youtube has some videos talking about gym culture and what to look for.

Thanks... is it a fair assumption that there are some people who find that BJJ is not something they would ever want to do after trying it out? What I wouldn't want to happen is to sign up for something and then either me or my wife have 'buyers remorse' - I guess that's part of why you'd want to do a trial first. I'm not quite sure how that would work out with a bigger brand-name gym like UFC Gym though - they offer 10 days for $10 but I think that's limited to standard fitness/group fitness and gym use but not the area where there's training and sparring.

First off you will HATE BJJ after rolling. I'd estimate that 75% of people that show up for all-levels for their first day don't last a month. A trial isn't a good gauge. If you've been rollling a little with your wife and seem to like it then I recommend you do what I did and lock yourself in for a year or at least 6 months. My gym offered a cheaper unlimited monthly rate if you signed up for auto-pay for a year and then just monthly from thereon (can cancel anytime).*


*This December they offered 15% off plus a free pair of gloves or gi if you prepay for a year and I did that (no brainer).

jeromedawg

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Re: Fitness, Self-defense, BJJ and Muay Thai for a novice
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2018, 08:34:08 PM »
Not an expert here, but a gym should be willing to let you train for a week to check it out.   Meet the people, see what they're like.   

You don't need a high level instructor as a beginner.   You do want a competent one though.   They should focus on the basics.   Position before submission.   A mixture of technique, live drilling and rolling in the classes.     

More advanced techniques can come at more advanced classes/practices.

Chewjitsu on youtube has some videos talking about gym culture and what to look for.

Thanks... is it a fair assumption that there are some people who find that BJJ is not something they would ever want to do after trying it out? What I wouldn't want to happen is to sign up for something and then either me or my wife have 'buyers remorse' - I guess that's part of why you'd want to do a trial first. I'm not quite sure how that would work out with a bigger brand-name gym like UFC Gym though - they offer 10 days for $10 but I think that's limited to standard fitness/group fitness and gym use but not the area where there's training and sparring.

First off you will HATE BJJ after rolling. I'd estimate that 75% of people that show up for all-levels for their first day don't last a month. A trial isn't a good gauge. If you've been rollling a little with your wife and seem to like it then I recommend you do what I did and lock yourself in for a year or at least 6 months. My gym offered a cheaper unlimited monthly rate if you signed up for auto-pay for a year and then just monthly from thereon (can cancel anytime).*


*This December they offered 15% off plus a free pair of gloves or gi if you prepay for a year and I did that (no brainer).

Haha nice. My wife thinks I should just find something for myself and do it, because even if we signed up for a 'family plan' the location in Huntington Beach is not that close and most of their classes that we would be interested in taking run between 5-8pm. Factoring in traffic and time to get there, plus the kid's schedules with eating, and currently being a one-car family, I don't know that we would really make the most of it. Thus it may make more sense to just start taking classes at a BJJ-specific gym closer-by and seeing how I like it. I think it'll be more expensive but if I were closer to HB, it seems like a no-brainer to just sign up for that UFC Gym (they're also open 24x7 and have standard workout equipment too)

jeromedawg

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Re: Fitness, Self-defense, BJJ and Muay Thai for a novice
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2018, 08:38:58 PM »
Not an expert here, but a gym should be willing to let you train for a week to check it out.   Meet the people, see what they're like.   

You don't need a high level instructor as a beginner.   You do want a competent one though.   They should focus on the basics.   Position before submission.   A mixture of technique, live drilling and rolling in the classes.     

More advanced techniques can come at more advanced classes/practices.

Chewjitsu on youtube has some videos talking about gym culture and what to look for.

Thanks... is it a fair assumption that there are some people who find that BJJ is not something they would ever want to do after trying it out? What I wouldn't want to happen is to sign up for something and then either me or my wife have 'buyers remorse' - I guess that's part of why you'd want to do a trial first. I'm not quite sure how that would work out with a bigger brand-name gym like UFC Gym though - they offer 10 days for $10 but I think that's limited to standard fitness/group fitness and gym use but not the area where there's training and sparring.

First off you will HATE BJJ after rolling. I'd estimate that 75% of people that show up for all-levels for their first day don't last a month. A trial isn't a good gauge. If you've been rollling a little with your wife and seem to like it then I recommend you do what I did and lock yourself in for a year or at least 6 months. My gym offered a cheaper unlimited monthly rate if you signed up for auto-pay for a year and then just monthly from thereon (can cancel anytime).*


*This December they offered 15% off plus a free pair of gloves or gi if you prepay for a year and I did that (no brainer).

Haha nice. My wife thinks I should just find something for myself and do it, because even if we signed up for a 'family plan' the location in Huntington Beach is not that close and most of their classes that we would be interested in taking run between 5-8pm. Factoring in traffic and time to get there, plus the kid's schedules with eating, and currently being a one-car family, I don't know that we would really make the most of it. Thus it may make more sense to just start taking classes at a BJJ-specific gym closer-by and seeing how I like it. I think it'll be more expensive but if I were closer to HB, it seems like a no-brainer to just sign up for that UFC Gym (they're also open 24x7 and have standard workout equipment too)
There are UFC Gyms closer to where I am but smaller facilities... perhaps I still ought to consider one.... I don't know. I feel at a loss trying to navigate all this. I just don't want to sign up somewhere and end up regretting it for whatever reason and/or having buyer's remorse
« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 08:50:12 PM by jeromedawg »

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Re: Fitness, Self-defense, BJJ and Muay Thai for a novice
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2018, 05:48:33 AM »
bjj and some general mma training is all you need!

I love BJJ, its so difficult and mind boggling, but worth it. Just gotta keep going.

MgoSam

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Re: Fitness, Self-defense, BJJ and Muay Thai for a novice
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2018, 10:06:20 AM »


Haha nice. My wife thinks I should just find something for myself and do it, because even if we signed up for a 'family plan' the location in Huntington Beach is not that close and most of their classes that we would be interested in taking run between 5-8pm. Factoring in traffic and time to get there, plus the kid's schedules with eating, and currently being a one-car family, I don't know that we would really make the most of it.

Agreed! Location should be a primary factor. My gym is a 12 minute drive from my house and is on the way home from work (a few minutes out of the way). Those are two things I looked for and lucked out at finding a quality gym that was this accessible. This is huge for me as many days I don't want to work out but automatically will find myself taking the exit to go to the gym instead of going home to watch TV. If my gym were a far drive there are many days where I wouldn't bother going.

jeromedawg

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Re: Fitness, Self-defense, BJJ and Muay Thai for a novice
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2018, 10:43:54 AM »


Haha nice. My wife thinks I should just find something for myself and do it, because even if we signed up for a 'family plan' the location in Huntington Beach is not that close and most of their classes that we would be interested in taking run between 5-8pm. Factoring in traffic and time to get there, plus the kid's schedules with eating, and currently being a one-car family, I don't know that we would really make the most of it.

Agreed! Location should be a primary factor. My gym is a 12 minute drive from my house and is on the way home from work (a few minutes out of the way). Those are two things I looked for and lucked out at finding a quality gym that was this accessible. This is huge for me as many days I don't want to work out but automatically will find myself taking the exit to go to the gym instead of going home to watch TV. If my gym were a far drive there are many days where I wouldn't bother going.

The closest UFC Gym is maybe 15~ minutes away but is a franchise location so definitely not as big and also not as many amenities (also not open 24x7, although not sure how big of a factor that would really be for me LOL). Also not sure about the quality of instructors. I've also heard it can be a PITA to cancel membership at these gyms.

In any case, I guess now it comes down to finding a good BJJ-specific gym nearby that offers the lowest rates. I would hope part of the negotiation would be based on how many times I anticipate training during a week. I wouldn't mind paying $150 if I were able to go 8x like you; however, I'm pretty doubtful I would even get to that point with the wife and kids. Maybe 2-3 times a week *at most*

BTW: please let me know what your instructor recommends as far as instructors/schools out this way. There are several Gracie-branded schools (Clark Gracie, Carlson Gracie, Gracie Barra) as well as a number of other schools that have good reps in my area (Art of Jiu Jitsu, One Jiu Jitsu, Brea Jiu Jitsu [which would be a bit too far I think], Ross Miura's Subfighter, Subfighter MMA, House of Gyms, 10th Planet, etc). People are saying it's best to do trial weeks at every place I'm interested in. I guess this makes sense, but seems like a PITA process lol. I guess learning BJJ is a PITA process [probably more literally] anyway so whatever...

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Re: Fitness, Self-defense, BJJ and Muay Thai for a novice
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2018, 10:59:37 AM »
What I look for in a BJJ instructor is one who is competent, and who is physically small.  A small, talented instructor will easily control and dominate someone who is much larger.  I've found that bigger instructors often develop sloppier technique simply because their size lets them control people more easily.

I don't agree that the experience of the instructor is unimportant.  A more experienced instructor will usually have better answers for your questions, and will eventually make you better at the sport.  I would much prefer training at a place that has a black belt instructor giving most lessons.

A good yardstick of a BJJ place is to see how often they compete, and how well they tend to do in competition.  BJJ is a competitive sport.  You learn by rolling.  Any place where there is not a big focus on this will be less than ideal IMHO.  Belts should not be handed out easily, they are earned by level of achievement while sparring.  Unlike many other martial arts, any higher belt should be in complete control of the lower belts while rolling.

partgypsy

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Re: Fitness, Self-defense, BJJ and Muay Thai for a novice
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2018, 11:36:35 AM »
What I look for in a BJJ instructor is one who is competent, and who is physically small.  A small, talented instructor will easily control and dominate someone who is much larger.  I've found that bigger instructors often develop sloppier technique simply because their size lets them control people more easily.

I don't agree that the experience of the instructor is unimportant.  A more experienced instructor will usually have better answers for your questions, and will eventually make you better at the sport.  I would much prefer training at a place that has a black belt instructor giving most lessons.

A good yardstick of a BJJ place is to see how often they compete, and how well they tend to do in competition.  BJJ is a competitive sport.  You learn by rolling.  Any place where there is not a big focus on this will be less than ideal IMHO.  Belts should not be handed out easily, they are earned by level of achievement while sparring.  Unlike many other martial arts, any higher belt should be in complete control of the lower belts while rolling.

That's interesting. The guy I'm seeing, used to do some kind of martial art (I want to say krav maga but not 100% sure. He told me there were 2 instructors. The older teacher was a small guy but the better, more competent teacher and fighter. The second was a big guy.

MgoSam

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Re: Fitness, Self-defense, BJJ and Muay Thai for a novice
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2018, 08:58:12 AM »
I went to the gym last night but the main coach is out of town as he's cornering a fighter tonight. The other coaches basically told me to talk to him when he gets back. I'll send him a message tomorrow (after he's done cornering).

For BJJ, I didn't get a chance to talk to my coach. I really want to because he trained heavily in LA and goes back every few months to see his coach and friends.