By Elisabeth Clay
In case you haven’t been following all my journey, I will give a bit of background. After winning Worlds in my weight class and getting a silver in Absolutes at blue belt in 2016, I came home didn’t have a jiu jitsu school to train at. This necessitated finding a school and moving.
My family was so supportive that we started searching for a school anywhere in the world that fit what I was looking for, and my Mom and I went through hundreds of schools to find one that fit me. We looked mostly in the United States, but we also looked into some in other countries, as well.
But what were we looking for? Why in the end did I choose Legacy Jiu Jitsu? Here’s what I find to be vital in a jiu jitsu school.
This was a big one for me. I found that, although contracts are a good business model and are fairly standard to have, some schools that are difficult to stay with or can be overbearing use them to keep students around, or at least take their money. If the school is not a good fit, then why would it be good to force students to stay. So, for me, I do not want to train at a school with a contract, and certainly not one longer than 3 months.
While at the time I was almost exclusively an IBJJF and gi player, I wanted to have the opportunity to broaden my skill set. I eventually fell in love with no gi and legs, but I still train and use many of the IBJJF moves as well. I want to be strong practitioner in all areas or at least be able to defend it.
Ability to Wear Just a Sports Bra
Wearing a rash guard with the game I play resulted in me choking myself in it several times. I’ve found that I simply hate wearing a rash guard. I will wear it if I must to compete, but I prefer to train without it. Additionally, it seems to correlate to schools who have ridiculous rules.
No “Thought Policing”
It seems that many schools are not just there to teach and instruct but also want to tell you how to present yourself. They want you to dress and act a certain way, to fit a particular model or type of person. I am not saying this is wrong; they want a specific image for their students and school. But fitting some model of school is not an option for me. I am a unique individual and want to be allowed to continue be such. For me, I love the uniqueness of individuals.
Open Discussion with Coaches About Moves
Talking over a move, why it worked and other options is really important to me. The idea that there is only one way to do a move or all body types do it exactly the same way baffles me. Jits is such a dynamic sport. We are all either going for points or submission to win, but how we get there and the way we do it will vary. What works for one may or may not work the same way for the next person.
Variety of Style Specialists to Train with
In our school we have multiple specialists. We have rubber guard players and x and almost exclusive leg lockers with submission only, not gi games. We also have IBJJF gi and smashers and those with an emphasis on jits in MMA. Then, there are those who are mostly judokas or a mix. Omoplata or guillotine or wrist lockers… you name it, we have them. I absolutely love this at Legacy.
Mix of Upper and Lower Belts and Open Training
I strongly believe it is important for all belts to roll together. Upper belts need upper belts, but white belts need some time with upper belts too. And upper belts training with white belts is good too, as you get reactions that people that have been training for a long time don’t give. I think it is also important for people to choose their own partners.
Training Multiple Classes Daily
For me, having many classes during the day is important. I need lots of time with breaks for eating, resting, cross training, etc. Multiple classes daily also are important for those who have limited or busy schedules.
For those intending to compete this high paced specialty, HARD rolling is absolutely critical.
Variety of Classes
Besides jiu jitsu, disciplines for jits players are judo, muay thai, MMA, takedowns and wrestling. My game has benefitted so much from having regular judo classes, some muay thai and wrestling for jits. Although takedowns are not my favorite, I am comfortable with them. I was not comfortable before coming to Legacy. Even though I am not an MMA fighter, what those guys bring to jits is valuable and helps my game. When Prof. Jordan instructs it is not uncommon for him to give variations to the moves for different people’s focus in the room.
Legacy Had All of This
These are the traits I was looking for in a gym, and I found them all at Legacy Jiu Jitsu. And in addition, I found a true family environment. We may not all like each other all the time or the way we do things, but we respect each other’s individuality. And you cannot ask for more than that! Thank you, Legacy, for making me a part of your family. I am so grateful to be here. My family and I were blessed and totally surprised to find it so close. We only had to move four hours away, even though we were prepared to move across country or where ever to find what we were looking for .
That first day I tried it out was an instant fit!
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