Selecting Academy And Instructor

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As part of our duty to the jiu-itsu community, we at Jiu Jitsu Times like to answer reader questions as a way to help people directly.  We recently got the following question:

“Hi I have some questions about jiu-jitsu schools. My 10 year old son absolutely loves jiu-jitsu. He has been doing it for 3 yrs. We left our previous school because my son was injured by another student that had anger issues and other problems and has hurt many other kids.  So we left and went to a different school.  Anyway what are some things that parents can do to find out information on a school to see if the instructor is indeed a true black belt or what ever they claim? And if the belts are legitimate? Thank you”

I will do my best to answer this question based on my own experiences and understanding.

There is a very simple solution to this problem:  The internet.

The vast majority of  black belts have an online presence.  The vast majority of black belts who have an online presence also have reviews of their academies.  If you’re ever having a hard time verifying if someone has legitimately received their rank from a real instructor, ask them who provided them with their rank, look that individual up, and verify their rank.

(As an aside, the owner of the gym mentioned in the first part of the reader’s question is in fact a legitimate black belt.  I know this person personally.  I can’t speak to the quality of their academy or their students, but they received their rank from a well-respected black belt.)

Once you’ve verified a person’s rank, either through online research or through directly asking them who gave them their rank, start looking for reviews online.  Unfortunately, this isn’t always sufficient.

There are different schools for different kinds of people.  Some academies are very gentle and promote quickly, while others are shark tanks in which people stay at the same rank for years at a time.  Choosing an academy can be a very difficult and personal decision, but in reality it must be done carefully and intelligently.

Assuming that you’ve been able to verify the legitimacy of an instructor, go to the gym and express precisely what you need from them.  Remember you are paying them for a service; they want your money.  If they’re not a terrible business person, they will in fact listen to you and work with you.

Selecting an academy, especially in a competitive market, can be difficult.  As with any other service, some are better suited to provide that service to you than others.  Consider that when shopping!

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Emil Fischer is an active black belt competitor under Pablo Angel Castro III training at Strong Style Mixed Martial Arts and Training Center near Cleveland Ohio ( and teaching at Ararat Martial Arts and FItness Center. For more information, other articles, and competition videos check out his athlete pages at and Emil is sponsored by Meerkatsu (, discount code EmilKatsu), Eddy's On Coventry, North Coast Cryo ( NottaRookie, YM ( discount code COOKIES), Defense Soap ( discount code COOKIES) Impact Mouthguards ( discount code EMILIMPACT), and North South Jiu Jitsu Underwear


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