Saturday, June 30, 2012

3rd Law Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

I have been uncommonly lucky in the high level of teachers, sensei and training partners I have found throughout my travels both abroad and close to home. Of course, if I do not immediately have a good impression of a dojo or gym, I won’t stick around to get a bad one. After nearly ten years of training in the martial arts, you learn what to look for.

Throughout my time training in Judo and especially with the influence of Kashiwazaki Sensei at the Budo University, I have become much more comfortable with ground fighting. I think the blog entries dedicated to the Newaza Kenkyukai in Tokyo reflect my enjoyment of this physical game of chess. For that reason, I made finding a place to learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu a top priority when I returned to the U.S.
Unlike Judo, where ninety-five percent of a match is faught standing with a single clean throw (or sometimes several less than clean throws) determining the victor, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is faught primarily on the ground. The clean throw that can win a Judo match only counts for a couple points in a BJJ match, although it does provide for great position and control over an opponent when transitioning to the ground.

I am very happy with the great group of guys (and a couple gals, not to be overlooked) that I have found here in Grand Rapids. Tim and Jody Bernhardt are the dedicated owners of--
3rd Law Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
5258 Plainfield Ave NE
Grand Rapids, Mi 49525

Head instructor, Ryan Hyde, is a brown belt under Professor Jorge Gurgel. Coach Hyde is a talented instructor who carefully plans out the longterm structure of his classes. Unlike any other BJJ dojo where I have trained, Coach Hyde very deliberately decides what the focus of each month’s training will be. He then builds upon basic body movements to more dynamic techniques during several classes. This is an intelligent approach to teaching which helps students remember the important fundamentals and not just isolated techniques.

I believe it is the influence of Tim and Jody Bernhart, however, that set the positive example for the 3rd Law BJJ. Their enthusiastic welcome and dedication to healthy training is evident. Tim always makes sure that students are comfortable and involved in training, speaking with each new person as they enter the gym. His great sense of humor quickly demonstrates the sort of close comunity they encourage. At the end of each class, students line up to shake hands with one another and, more often then not, pull eachother in for hugs. Both Coach Hyde and Mr. Bernhart emphasize the importance of taking care of one another in the gym.
Of the three Brazilian Jiu Jitsu clubs I have experienced, 3rd Law has by far been the most professional and well organized group. There is a solid base of white and blue belts with several higher ranked instructors. Classes are offered six days a week with both day and evening sessions.

In the past week I have posted three separate entries on three separate martial arts, which might lead one to question how much I am training. Well, I have learned that training is something that never stops… ever. In any given week, I will spend between sixteen and twenty hours at the dojo. Mondays,Wednesdays and Fridays are dedicated to Aikido and Aiki-Jyujitsu, while Tuesdays and Thursdays I train BJJ. On the weekends, I often put in several hours of one-on-one training with anyone who is interested in any art, be it Judo, Aikido or Jyujitsu.


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