How to Find a Local BJJ Gym
When BJJ first started gaining traction in the US, practitioners would drive hours just to learn from a blue belt. Nowadays, finding a BJJ gym that is both near you and offers black belt instruction is easier than ever. You may still have to do some driving if you live in a rural area, but you may be surprised by how far you’re willing to drive once you get started. For those living in or around a city, you should have multiple gyms to choose from.
Search for “bjj near me” in Google Maps or Bing Maps
Find a gym that is close to your home or work, so that you can easily attend class on a schedule that works for you. When you first start BJJ, you will probably be borderline addicted, and you will want to be on the mats as often as possible. As the novelty wears off and your training starts to turn into more of a grind, you might become tempted to stay home. There will be nights, mornings, or weekends when you will feel as though you don’t have the energy to make it to class.
By selecting a gym that is close to you, you can eliminate one of the many ways you will try to justify staying home. If possible, find a gym that is within 15-20 minutes of your home or work. Anything farther away than that, and you might be tempted to stay home when lacking motivation.
Search for “bjj + your city + your state” in Your Favorite Search Engine
While Google Maps, Bing Maps, and others like them are important to find a gym near you, not all businesses will claim, manage, and update their profiles on these platforms. Additionally, Google and other search engines will automatically add businesses they find on the web to their map platforms, even if the business no longer exists. Keep that in mind when looking for a BJJ gym; just because you find it on Google Maps doesn’t mean they are still in business. In addition to looking for gyms on a map platform, also do research on your favorite search engine to see which gyms have up-to-date websites and social media profiles.
Look for a Website With Images, Location, and Schedule
Once you have found a gym with an online presence, you can begin to scrutinize the key details. Where are they located in relation to your house and your workplace? What do their images look like? Is it a nice-looking facility? Do they have a schedule with class days and times? Do they offer classes at times that work for you? Make sure that you find a gym you will feel comfortable at, can easily get to, and aligns with your weekly routine.
Look for Current Reviews and Testimonials
Another key element to choosing a gym is to find multiple online reviews that are current and appear sincere. Google Maps or Facebook will probably be your best bet for finding real and relevant reviews.
When reading reviews, look for specific details about the culture, the people, and the facility. It’s not uncommon for a gym to grow very large with multiple top-level instructors, only for one of the instructors split off and form their own gym. This can happen amicably or with a lot of fallout, so look for reviews that might indicate if something like this has happened recently. If you see reviews that indicate a recent split, you might want to try avoiding that gym for the time being. Especially as a beginner, you will probably want to look for reviews that talk about how welcoming, technical, and knowledgeable the instructors are.