So the second place on my list ended up being Gracie of Kearny Mesa. This place is about 10-12 mins from my house depending on if the lights work in my favor. Aside from the location, what grabbed my attention were the different types of classes available. They offer NoGi, Gracie Self Defense, Fundamentals, Advanced, Competition Training, and a Judo class. The Competition and NoGi classes are during the day while I’m at work so I’ll rarely be able to take advantage of them, but all the others I’m excited about.
Entering the academy you come across the first mat area and the front desk. I had looked at a few gyms so I couldn’t remember what this one was supposed to look like and at first was disappointed with the mat space. I thought it was a bit small for a Gracie gym. After filling out the paperwork I looked over again and noticed that there was an additional area on the other side of the wall.
I decided to take a walk over and was pleasantly surprised by the amount of space they had in the main gym area. The main mat is more like the Judo mats at Judo America. There’s a bounce to them which is good for throws and falls.
On my first night I decided to take the advanced and fundamentals classes. What I really liked about these classes is that it separate the new students to the art from the more advanced ones. In order to take the advanced classes you have to be at least a blue belt. This is actually something that’s a huge benefit, the class doesn’t have to be slowed down by the new guys. Now that doesn’t mean that an advanced practitioner can’t enjoy the fundamentals. I found it to be very informative and beneficial for me.
I was also able to take part in the Judo class they offer. Surprisingly it’s run a bit differently than I expected. Since it’s the only class during the week, both the adults and kids are mixed in. When I walked in I had to check with the front desk to make sure I was even allowed to participate. The instructor was a black belt and there were three kids getting ready to bow in for class. I felt a bit foolish warming up with the kids, being the only adult that had shown up. Through the glass I could see the adult Jiu-Jitsu class warming up coldly judging me. Chances are they weren’t and it was just me feeling self conscious.
Once class started the instructor was was awesome. He went over drills for a foot sweep and two throws. During each drill he worked with me and had the teen work with the other two kids. I got a lot of great details on the throws he covered. He was extremely patient and always offered both positive and negative feedback for improvements while never sounding harsh. This is a great class that seems to be underutilized by the other Jiu-Jitsu guys for whatever reason.
The organization and structure of the school make this a great place to make home. I have a hard decision to make but I honestly don’t think I can go wrong with either Gracie Jiu-Jitsu or NineNine.