Which Jiu Jitsu Class is right for me?

For those of you who are thinking about starting jiu jitsu classes, and perhaps more importantly those that are already doing some, here is a quick guide to which classes you should be attending.  Obviously any class is better than no class, but there are some days that might be a slightly better fit.

Kids 5 to 8 years old- Tuesday & Thursday at 5pm.  This is the day you will find people your size in class.

Youth competitors – The advanced classes on Sunday and Monday plus the regular classes.  If you only do the regular classes you are missing out on the higher techniques.  If you only do the advanced classes you will be lacking the body movement and foundational knowledge to make those techniques work.

Orange belts 10 and older & anybody 13 and up – The adult jiu jitsu classes.  You are ready for the next level of techniques and are disciplined enough to not disrupt the adult class.  Also, you are not going to improve by being the best in the kids class, you need to take a turn being the worst in the adult class; this is where you will see real growth in your technique, because technique is the only thing that will work against larger partners.

New kids – Try it out on either Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday.

New adults – Start any day.  Seriously, we welcome new people all the time and we break it down to your level at every class.

Adults looking for leg locks, neck cranks, wrist locks or other “advanced” moves – Any of the day time (12:30) classes.  This is when you are likely to run into higher belts who also want to work on that during rolling.

Girls and women – You are obviously welcome everyday, however, if you are looking for other ladies to partner with, Sunday tends to be the best bet.  Also, you can count on Hillary every weekday at 12:30.

Blue belts and those that feel that they should be – The kids classes.  Especially the non-advanced ones.  They spend the first half hour stretching, falling, and doing movement drills across the mat.  These movements are the foundation that your jiu jitsu is built on, you should always be strengthening that foundation.  As a bonus you can help guide our next generation of teammates.

Everybody – If you regularly attend classes you will find yourself doing stretches, shrimps, bridges, duck walks, break falls, and shoulder rolls.  Do not forget the importance of these moves.  If it’s a movement we repeatedly do, there is a reason!  You will make excuses that the movements are too hard, too boring, or too whatever… Too bad.  These movements need to be drilled literally thousands of times, we need to be able to call on all of these small movements without thought.  If you are still thinking about the small movements you won’t be good at the large ones.  Think of these movements as the “vowel sounds” of the words we make.  If you are mispronouncing the vowels then the words won’t come out right.  Now, imagine trying to win a debate when you are mispronouncing some of your words.

schedule summer 2015

Summer Time

Today was the last day of school for my kids, that means for us summer is officially here.  Each year the summer brings a variety of options for activities (or inactivity in some cases).  Some kids will spend the summer chasing balls through a field, others will spend it on video games.  I have nothing against those other activities, but I just want to take a minute to explain why this year, yet again, my family will be doing martial arts through the summer.

First, it’s a real and useful skill.  I am comforted knowing my boys will leave home able to defend themselves if the need ever arose.  Other than the self defense aspect they are also learning to teach, to lead, and to feel what actual self confidence is.

Second, it’s for life.  The martial arts can stay with you for life.  This is a picture from my instructor’s jiu jitsu academy.

jjm group

It is filled with adult men and women, some of whom have been training for over 20 years.  Many of these people still compete and some have a full time career in the martial arts.  This is hard to find in other physical activities, where it can be difficult to find a league as an adult, and even if you can find a league it is difficult to keep up with the younger crowd.  As martial artists we live in a world where knowledge is more powerful than youth or pure athleticism.

Third, we do it as a family.  We are fortunate enough that our entire household does it together, but beyond that, we also belong to the Clarion MMA family.  Through our blood, sweat and tears we share a bond that goes beyond a season.  Day in and day out we see each other at our best and at our worst.  We are there to cheer for each other’s wins and there for the struggles, both on and off the mat.

I have no problem with sports and, if you choose, there is certainly a sport aspect to the martial arts.  However, I don’t want my boys to just be the best at chasing a ball.  I want them to achieve more in life than the title of “in high school he was on the team that won states”.  That’s why we chose martial arts for the summer… for life.