There are many things to consider when choosing a martial arts school and instructor. Some of these things are obvious while others are not, especially if you haven’t previously trained in the martial arts.
You should consider what you want to accomplish… What are your personal goals?
Consider the martial arts style taught at the school, the instructor’s qualifications, the attitude of the other students, the size of the school, safety, cleanliness, and much more. I hope the following information is helpful to you whether you end up choosing a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school… or Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu, Krav Maga, or Kempo school.
What is the focus of the school that you are thinking about attending?
Different martial arts schools (and different styles) focus on different things.
Some are more traditional and focus on kata and others on very unrealistic techniques.
One important way to divide martial arts schools is between traditional martial arts (“We practice this way because we’ve done it for 2,000 years this way.”) versus functional martial arts (“We practice it this way because it works and we only want to get better by using techniques that will work.”).
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tends to fall heavily in the functional camp.
This is especially true of our training at Texarkana Jiu Jitsu. We only train things that will work against a resisting opponent with counter intentions of their own.
What is the vibe of the class and the instructors?
Some schools throw new students into very aggressive training too quickly. This creates a tough guy environment where everyone is only looking out for themselves and only the strong can survive and creates a very bad environment where many newer students get frustrated and injured.
This should be a huge red flag to the potential new student.
At Texarkana BJJ, we really strive to welcome every new student that comes into our gym as a part of the Texarkana Jiu Jitsu family… and that’s the way that it should be, students and instructors should be friendly… and you should feel like you’re part of the family.
At Texarkana Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, experienced students often spend a lot of time helping the newer students because everyone realizes that the only way for us to continue to improve is by helping others get better, so that they can help challenge us in training.
We also look at training a little differently than some schools. We strive to…
“Train Hard, Have Fun, And Help One Other Improve A Little More Every Day.”
What’s the best advice anyone could give you when thinking about joining a gym?
Spend a few moments talking to the instructors, what is their attitude about martial arts and life. Learn a little about them to make sure that they are the right instructor for you.
One thing that is often not considered…
What have the instructors accomplished both inside and outside of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
People that are positive and driven to succeed show that in their life’s accomplishments. It’s important to be around people that can help raise you up to their level.
At Texarkana Jiu Jitsu our attitude is that learning is a constant, never ending process that allows people to grow and to come closer to achieving their true potential…
You can find out more about Texarkana Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Martial Arts Instructors here.
Some martial arts schools focus on self defense, one important caveat here is that what worked 2,000 years ago might not be the best approach to defending yourself today.
Times have changed. We don’t have to worry about armored warriors, tonfa or sword attacks (hopefully!), or other unusual weapons. I gues anything could happen, but the reality is that it is extremely unlikely that many types of attacks would ever occur.
As an example, in Aikido students train some techniques that might’ve been necessary in medieval Japan such as kneeling knife attacks while they are eating. Needless to say, this doesn’t happen much today.
Texarkana Jiu Jitsu incorporates Gracie Jiu Jitsu self defense techniques that have been proven to work on the violent streets of Brazil.
Some other schools focus on fitness with much of the class spent doing exercise, instead of martial arts techniques. This is fine if you only want a workout, in fact, if so then this type of training might be the right type for you.
An interesting thing is that at Texarkana Jiu Jitsu, our style of training creates an unbelievable workout while developing great technical skills. The benefit of this is that you get in shape without thinking about it. It makes the workout more enjoyable for most people.
Competition (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Grappling, MMA)
Other schools may focus solely on competition and may neglect the non-competitors or the inexperienced competitors creating a bad training environment for the average student that just wants to train to learn the art, get in better shape, take up a new positive hobby, or learn some self defense.
Schools that merely focus solely upon competition Brazilian Jiu Jitsu often don’t simply neglect the majority of non-competitor students… they also overlook many other important parts of the style and, unfortunately, this type of training often results in huge numbers of injuries.
At Texarkana Jiu Jitsu, we have had great success in competition, but the truth is that the majority of students don’t compete or don’t compete very often because of all the other responsibilities that they have (work, family, and other interests). We recognize this and have adopted an approach that allows people to develop so well technically that they can compete and win or just have fun with the training while getting in shape and learning some self defense.
What are some other considerations, when choosing a martial art school?
Another important question is…
What is the training environment like?
- Is the school clean?
- How large is the school, size-wise? Is it a small space or does it have enough room to safely accommodate many people training?
- Does it have room for spectators to sit?
- How big is the mat space?
- What is the make up of the mat? Is it some cheap puzzle mat or a rough surface that will leave you with blisters and abrasions? For example, Texarkana Jiu Jitsu uses Olympic Judo mats that we purchased from Judo Olympian, Jimmy Pedro. These are the same mats that he trains on every day. Yes, they cost more, but safety is extremely important in training.
- Does the gym have other equipment to help you achieve your goals?
These are all very important considerations that show you what the school’s attitude is about safety and training.
How long has the school been in business?
This is something that many people don’t consider when evaluating martial arts schools. Most schools (more than 90%) fail within 5 years and 90% of the remaining 10% fail within 10 years… so, 99% of all martial arts schools fail within 10 years.
You don’t want to join a school, start training, and show up one day to find the doors closed.
Texarkana Jiu Jitsu opened in 1999. We were the first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA school in East Texas. 15 years later, we’ve produced numerous high ranking students and black belts in the art.
We hope that this helps you get a better idea of who we are at Texarkana Jiu Jitsu, as well as, some things to consider when choosing the best martial arts school for you.
The truth is that there is no one martial arts school that is best for every person.
We do want to offer you the chance to come in and try our classes to see if they might be a good fit for you.
Give us a call at 903-793-1085 (or email us here) and we can get you set up for your first class on us!
In fact, we offer an incredible 7 day free trial for our new members, so that you can come in and try out our classes. We know that this is the only way for someone to determine if the martial arts school is right for them is to try it… and we want to remove all barriers.
Call us at 903-793-1085 and we will also be able to answer any questions that you may have about our classes.
We look forward to hearing from you soon!
Texarkana Jiu Jitsu
4025 N Stateline Ave, across from Holiday Bowl in the tan metal building with a green roof
PS. Be sure to check us out on Facebook!