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Gracie Barra Belfast Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy: the oldest and most successful club in Northern Ireland.

What to look for in a BJJ club

If you’re considering taking up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or are maybe looking for a new BJJ club to train in, then there are plenty of choices out there.

The problem is picking the right one.

The last thing you want is to decide on a new club only for it to turn out to be a waste of your time and money. A little research before signing up can go a long way.

Here are a few things you should consider when looking for a BJJ club.

Genuine instructors

Obviously, if you want to learn something, then you need an instructor who knows what they’re doing in the first place.

But how do you tell?

If someone boasts about having “over 10 years experience in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu”, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re any good. They are plenty of white belts out there with years of experience!

The best way to find out if a club has good instructors is to look at their winning record in tournaments.

Bad teachers have bad students, there’s simply no way of getting around that. And bad students get their asses handed to them in tournaments.

You need a BJJ gym that has trophies on the wall, and instructors who know what they’re doing.

Now’s probably a good time to mention our head instructor Graham has studied with the likes of Mauricio Gomes, Roger Gracie, Braulio Estima, Victor Estima, and Renzo Gracie, and even Master Carlos Gracie Jr. himself amongst others, while the club is consistently winning tournaments across the UK and Ireland.

Another one for the collection!

Convenient class schedules

One of the wonderful things about Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is it’s open to everyone.

We have people from all walks of life come to our club; doctors, mechanics, writers, students, software developers, taxi drivers… everyone is different, and everyone works different hours.

A good BJJ club will have a timetable that allows people to train when suits them, not the other way around.

That’s why our gym is open throughout the day, with classes are divided into Fitness, Fundamentals, Advanced, Black Belt and Live Sparring sessions.

We even have women only classes so any ladies who might be a little anxious about rolling with men can come and learn with other women.

Hygienic facilities

There’s no getting past it – Brazilian Jiu-jitsu can be sweaty!

Sweating in itself of course is no bad thing, it means you’re getting a proper workout, but not cleaning up afterwards is where the problems can lie.

Any potential BJJ club you look at must have a good hygiene standard. Check the changing rooms and showers, the general look of the place, and most importantly, the mats.

If they look like they haven’t been washed since Freddie Mercury was still performing with Queen, then walk out and never go back.

Pristine mats which are cleaned every day (like ours) mean you’ve walked into a world-class gym.

Sweating BJJ club

A friendly atmosphere

This might just be the most important part of finding a BJJ club.

The type of people who do BJJ tend to be friendly, outgoing and respectful, so most clubs will be fine… but there’s always the exception to the rule.

If you do find a club that has a funny vibe to it, then trust your instinct and stay away from it. This usually means the people who run the place are instilling a culture that doesn’t fit with the BJJ ethos.

Some gyms (regardless of the sport) have a cult-like atmosphere, with their own strange rituals and rules.

When visiting a potential new club or during your free trial period, pay attention to other members, especially how they treat each other.

Do people seem to be getting along or are they just using each other as punching bags? Is there a tension between members? Do people talk off the mats or hang about afterward and socialise?

Remember, how members treat each other is how they’ll treat you if you join. You want a club that’s fun to go to, with people who will hopefully become good friends.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Belfast

Gracie Barra Belfast – the perfect BJJ club

If you do find yourself looking for a new club, then we fit all of the above criteria.

With our highly-skilled and experienced instructors, our flexible timetable, squeaky-clean facilities, and friendly, family-run gym, Gracie Barra Jiu-jitsu is perfect for anyone starting out or experienced grapplers who would like a change of scene.

If you would like to know more or are interested in a 14-day free trial, then contact us today and let’s have a chat about how we can help you.