Step #1: Google the name of your city followed by BJJ for example "Whitby BJJ" if you live in the Whitby area. Take a list of all of the academies that come up.
Step #2: Check out their schedules and make sure that it works with your schedule, there's no point in signing up if you can't make any of the classes. There are many academies that offer noon/evening classes 6-7 days per week, the bigger their schedule, the more options you have, and the more likely it is you will be able to make it to class. Check back often, as schedules are subject to change.
Step #3: Now is the tricky part, where you have to decipher information about each academy to find out which ones stand out and are worth checking out. Here are a few points you should look into, in no particular order:
- A clear and traceable lineage for the head instructor(You should verify this if possible). If they are an IBJJF certified black belt or/and IBJJF certified academy, then they are good as the IBJJF will verify their lineage prior to certifying them.
- Reviews, Reviews, Reviews. Going through reviews will give you valuable third party insight into what the public thinks about each academy which will help you make a decision about which academy would be the best fit for you or/and your children. Facebook, Google, and Yelp are great places to look at reviews.
- Certifications, for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) is the lead governing body for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu around the world. An instructor who is an IBJJF certified black belt must have their instructor sign off on all of their belts from blue to black belt. Also in the United States you must provide a criminal record check in order to register your academy under the IBJJF. In other words holding a black belt certification under the IBJJF is like having your RMT licence for massage therapy, you know it's legit.
- Instructor's background, have they competed before, what have they accomplished? Do a quick google search of their name and you should find their tournament results and certifications they have etc. If you want to be extra thorough, cross examine any accomplishments they claim to have on their website on google. If an instructor has competed in the past, you should be able to find the results as they are almost always posted online. An instructor doesn't have to be a great competitor to be a good instructor but it's a big bonus if they have a good competition resume especially if competing is one of your goals.
- Competition team, most academies have at least a handful of students that compete. If you are interested in competing, look into the academies' results in competitions and inquire about their competition team. Look up competition footage/highlight reels/matches of the head instructor and academy's students on YouTube.
- Especially if you are looking to register your children, you should ask for all of the instructors' current criminal record checks, many places have this posted at their academies or keep it on file in case people ask. You can email ahead if you feel awkward to inquire in person. At DNA BJJ in Whitby, all criminal record checks are posted on the office wall.
- Risk free trial, each academy should offer a free trial where you can come in and check it out risk free. Usually it's a few classes or a week trial. Bonus points if they give you an introduction to BJJ lesson for your first class.
-Pricing, the membership options should be simple and easy to understand. Bonus points if they have the pricing options on their website. If they beat around the bush about memberships or ask you to come in first, go elsewhere. If you can't afford the membership, there are programs that can help you at, such as the Canadian Tire "Jumpstart" program. Click picture below for more info.
Step #4: Once you've narrowed down the results to a few academies, it's time to try them all out. contact them to book your free trial. Don't settle to the first place you go unless it really blows you out of the water. The only way you will know which academy is best suited for your needs is to try a few of them out. Every academy is unique and will have their own ways of doing things and even though they are all teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, there are can be huge differences from academy to academy. Make sure they are friendly and that a credible instructor is teaching the majority of the classes. There should be technique taught during most classes, especially for beginners. The students and instructors should be warm and welcoming, it will soon be your second home!
Step #5: Once you've found the right BJJ academy for you, tell all of your friends and family about it so that they can join in on the fun and get in the best shape of their lives!
See you on the mats,
DNA BJJ Staff
If you are located in Durham Region and are interested in enrolling your child (or yourself) in martial arts, come try a full week of free classes at DNA BJJ to see why we are right gym for your family.
Your child's first class will be an intro to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lesson with one of our instructors (usually Coach Sarah) where they will learn how to fall safely, fundamental movements, and to help them get comfortable in a new environment.
Does your child feel too intimidated to try a class? Check out our schedule and come watch one of our classes from our viewing area with your child to see what we are all about. We specialize in teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but also have a Judo and Wrestling program to complement it.
Contact us today to book your child's free intro to BJJ lesson and kickstart their 7 day trial, we are located in Whitby, close to HWY 401 and the Oshawa border.
This was lovely, thanks for sharing this
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