I go to LA a lot. I mean, A LOT!! I am usually there at least every other month if not every month. So you would think I would have trained a bunch while I am there. I mean there are so many schools of a really high level in Southern California; you would think I train all the time out here. Truth is, this was my first session training in LA and I happened across a great school for me.
Now on this trip I was staying in Culver City so I focused my search around that area (I am sure there will be multiple Have Gi – Will Travel episodes around LA). With gyms that are run by such BJJ royalty as Kron Gracie who has a gym a few miles away, Gracie Academy was within an easy drive and I could basically throw a rock at Werdum’s school, the choices were plentiful. So I will admit that I went mostly by location to my hotel on this one. Very glad I did.
I spent two days training and got to experience three different sessions (four if you include the kids session I saw the end of). During that time frame, we did nearly all drills. In fact, it was about 3 hours of drills with 30 minutes of sparring at the very end of the last session. Please understand that I am just recounting my experience, not critiquing.
Every class at Revolution BJJ is taught by a Black Belt. Let that sink in. Every. Class.
This even included the kids class I watched before my first session. When was the last time you heard that? And it was not for a lack of upper level belts, there were plenty of those to go around. No, it was because they are dedicated to teaching at a high level while still making the sessions fun.
Over my 3 sessions I had classes with Professor Jeff and John, both ran well organized and well executed classes. They were intentional on providing specific feedback for belts of all levels and did not seem to tire of one particular visitor’s questions on technique (if we are going to drill, I am going to try and do it as best as I can). And while I never got to roll with Jeff, John was great. Managing to only tap me out about a dozen times in our 5 minute roll.
Attitude towards outsiders:
The group at Revolution BJJ is obviously a tight knit one. Several different students were returning from breaks (including Jenna who was 12 days post-delivery……beast!!) and all were warmly welcomed like the prodigal son. It was great to see the culture of compatriotism that they have developed.
So after seeing that, I was actually a bit worried about how the group would welcome outsiders, especially a short term visitor. Professor Jeff was quick to introduce me to the group and welcomed me in. He even had a couple of quitted but good natured barbs towards me and something about “old man strength”.
However even before he pointed out that I either was or was close to the elder statesman on the mat, everyone with a blue belt or higher was quick to walk up and introduce themselves to not only me but also two new “real” students who were starting that same week.
Great culture. I wouldn’t hesitate to have my boys join this group.
So the gym itself is a bit difficult to see. If you did not know what you were looking for, you would blow right by it (I did). Once you get in though, the mat is well kept and obviously cleaned often (I personally watched it being done between classes). Real estate in LA is at an obvious premium so just about every square foot is used for mat space. You are not going to find a well-stocked pro-shop or expansive locker room and that is perfectly fine. I just suggest coming dressed and ready to go.
If you have not guessed already, I really enjoyed my time at Revolution BJJ. It had been a long time since I had spent 3 hours drilling take downs and passes. The drilling was exactly what I needed. My personal gym is pretty lax so being in a gym that blends the formality of traditional BJJ but still knows how to have fun together was great. Hats off to Jeff and the crew for creating an atmosphere of fun while still getting some serious work in.