I visited the TKD center that offers BJJ. The program is being offered is a Gracie affiliated program which allow academies to offer BJJ through their schools. It was explained to me that, for adults, testing is offered every four months. There are 26 skill sets that had to be mastered for the blue belt. If a person succesfully passes the testing period, then the participant is awarded a stripe. Testing continues every four months until 4 stripes are earned. Then you are eligible to test for a blue belt.
They started the program this January so everyone, including the instructor, are just beginning. Therefore, the instructor was very concerned with everyone’s safety. There were at least 20 people in the class. He had us do some breakfalls, we practiced o-soto-gari as well as bridging exercises. As far as BJJ drills we practiced two escapes from the mount, one of which called for an upa, grabbing the arm and then bridging to the side. We also practiced the scissor sweep.
The instructor was right, they were very concerned with technique, which is excellent. The only thing that gave me pause is that the guys that I was training with, who admittedly only had 3 classes each, were at different times, instructing me to perform techniques wrong. What stood out is that I knew that they were wrong; from how to perform the o-soto-gari and scissor sweep, hand placements when gripping, how to shrimp and how to perform the basic mount escape. Twice, the instructor came by and told them that the original way I performed the exercise was correct. In a conversation that came a little bit later, I informed them that I had been doing no-gi BJJ for a few years and had a background in Judo. They stopped trying to instruct me after that.
Whenever I go to a new dojo or academy I always try to let the people I will be dealing with know what level experience I have. I also make sure that I am humble and do not carry an arrogant attitude. However, during this class I started to ask myself did I really feel like being the new guy who has to listen to instruction even if I know that it is wrong. I am not saying this about the instructor or speaking negatively of the students as they were only trying to be helpful, but I couldn’t help but wonder.
During the sparring session, which for everyone only lasted about a minute, I quickly passed my opponent’s guard, went to side control and then the mount. He was bucking really hard and I went back to side control and then the instructor called an end to it.
Since everyone there was new, they went at it pretty hard, even though the instructor really stressed that they should relax. I am always worried about grappling with new people who don’t know their own strength or who panic.
Overall, although I originally believed I would return, I question if it would be the right course of action. I did appreciate working on the drills and working in a gi, but I do not want to learn any techniques that may be inadvertently taught improperly… The people are nice and I wish them well, but I think I will pass….