This week I was contacted by a potential new student asking for private classes in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He asked for my rates (My personal training sessions in martial arts are usually pricey to be honest), and right away he asked to schedule his first session without any hesitation.
He had never trained any martial arts before in his life.
I usually offer free trial group classes to help people evaluate if our programs are what they are looking for, and it is unusual to find someone willing to pay a high fee for a personal training without even having met me before.
So, the day of his private class came and we met. Super nice guy; he looked shy, but excited to try BJJ for the first time. As I was showing how to wear the uniform I decided to ask him why he decided to schedule a private class before trying a group class. His answer kind of shocked me: He told me that he researched online reading many articles or posts about how bad were the first sessions of some students (or prospect students) at some schools.
According to Joe (fictional name), these posts or comments described how the new students at those places were taking some abuse from more experienced practitioners. Well, that is pretty discouraging for someone new.
Joe also mentioned that he went to another big school but the impression he had was that the main instructor was more concerned in talking about his own success in life rather than focusing in the martial arts aspect.
We had a great first session. Joe learned first a little bit about the history of BJJ, my lineage, and how Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu works. We practiced a few basic moves, some “sweeps” and submissions. He loved it! Joe also said that after observing one of our classes, he liked the group atmosphere.
I got home, but I could not stop thinking about his concerns, what he read online, and his experience observing classes at these other places. I decided to list here a few things that I believe anyone looking to start training should look before joining any place.