In researching for a trip to St. Louis, all of the opinions, reviews and most importantly for me, operating hours (they were open later than all the rest) were pointing me to North Broadway Jiu Jitsu – Bryan Guidry Training.
I happened to attend on a day that the focus was No-Gi so I should probably call this one “No-Gi : Will Travel”. I also had the good fortune to be able to attend on a night when both traditional class and all rank sparring sessions were being held so I got to roll with folks of all belt ranks and experience a great deal of what NBJJ has to offer.
To summarize, the instruction was great. Although the group was a bit slow to warm up to the outsiders in the room (they were never cold), once we started going, the atmosphere was one of encouragement and support. The rolling was strong and intense but without ego or intent to harm. All in all, I had a great experience.
Professor Bryan was one of the best teachers I have experienced in a while. My first class was all about technique and drills. We were specifically working on sweeps from Butterfly Guard. He was detailed in his explanations, clear in his demonstrations and then most importantly, followed up with specific instructions/corrections to each of us as he observed us working the techniques. This last step is one that I have seen several instructors skip. Even with the outsiders, Professor Bryan was observing and providing the feedback necessary to get the technique right.
I was also fortunate enough to get to roll with him in the sparring class. Like any good instructor, he would let me get in trouble, attempt to work out of it and then show me that everything I was doing was futile. Six minutes of attempted survival.
Attitude towards outsiders:
Bryan Guidry has developed a reputation as the place to train in St. Louis. With this reputation comes a lot of folks that are in just for a session or a week. In fact, on the evening I visited there was another guy who was in from upstate Missouri looking for a place to train when he is in St. Louis 3-4 days a week. All this to say, this group is very used to visitors.
The guys were obviously tight knit with a great deal of pre-class conversation around who was rolling in the upcoming submission only tournament, how people’s jobs were progressing, etc. There was not a lot of pleasantries with the two ‘newbies’ before class but once Professor Guidry got class going, the group was warm and welcoming. Truth be told, this may also be my introverted nature coming through as well.
Once we got rolling, the guys were great. No egos, lots of diverse styles and a great willingness to help each other. Great culture.
OK, this is a gym you are going to want to map out to get to. If Professor Bryan ever has someone say they were ‘just driving by’ – they are full of it. It is off the beaten path however the facility itself is definitely put together to train. Located in a converted warehouse building, it has a large mat space (there were close 20 of us rolling at any one time), a full weight/cardio room and sauna.
Both men’s and women’s locker rooms and showers are available. Bonus was the ”member lounge” that doubled as a spot for the kids of those rolling to hang out in. Only downfall to the space was the pillars in the middle of the mat. Completely avoidable as you roll but could get in the way when Professor was demonstrating a technique.
I really enjoyed my time at North Broadway Jiu Jitsu. I have definitely been to better facilities but the skill of Professor Bryan both on the mat and more importantly, as an instructor, as well as the guys who were rolling make up for any short comings that the facility may present. My only regret was I was not able to train in the Gi but that was all about timing, besides, Professor Bryan has a whole series on the internet so I can study with him while I am at home or on the road.
One final note, you will notice I didn’t mention anything about the kids program or women on the mat. I am 100% sure this was just due to the timing of my visit but I did not see either while at NBJJ. The only reason I mention it here is it is normally a big part of my assessment of a gym. In this case, there were no kids classes offered on the Tuesday I had the opportunity to roll. As for women, none showed for the classes I took but one scroll through their Facebook page clearly shows that women regularly attend (at least) Gi classes.
So if you are in the market for a training facility in St. Louis, North Broadway Jiu Jitsu is worth the visit.