“How Good Is My Gym Compared to Other Gyms?”

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People ask me similar questions often…

… when they find out that I traveled a lot & visited many BJJ gyms in different countries.

One of such questions is:

“How good is my gym compared to other gyms?”

Are you curious about it, too?

My sample includes probably a bit over 100 gyms in 40+ countries over the last ten years but doesn’t include super competitive teams apart from PSLPB Cicero Costha in Sāo Paulo, Brazil.

While I think I have some reasonably good understanding of what typical BJJ gyms are like and how people train, keep in mind that this isn’t a definitive statement about these gyms and people.

Having said that…

I’m inclined to think that most competitive gyms and their athletes are similar to how guys & girls at PSLPB train. I wrote about it in some past emails. So if you’ve been subscribing to BJJ Reflections long enough & you are curious about it, you can go back and read these emails.

But the thing is, they have regular people training there, too. And the way these regular people train is just like everywhere else. By the way, what I mean by “regular people” is people who practice BJJ primarily for fun rather than dedicating their huge portion of life to training. There’s nothing wrong with approaching BJJ this way.


Let’s talk about typical/regular BJJ gyms I’ve been to.

No matter where I visit, there are usually a few killers. They listen to their professor/s, train hard and smart, and compete a lot.

Likewise, I’m surprised by how talented some people can be. They are often still white belts, but they show some great potential.

And then there are a leg lock manic or two, a half-guard wizard (usually an old guy with an unassuming look), a former Judo/wrestling player, and someone ridiculously/naturally athletic.

When you ask that someone if they’ve done any martial arts before, they often tell you they did gymnastics or dancing.

And no, I’m not specifically describing your gym if that sounds like it. For whatever reason, many gyms tend to share similar profiles.

This may sound like a disappointing answer, but your gym is probably just as good as any other gyms I have been to. You probably have great training partners, and your professor is keen on helping you out.

Craig Jones, one of the current best no-gi grapplers in the world, came out of a small town in Australia and primarily trained with a small group of friends before he moved to Melbourne & started training at Absolute MMA.

Absolute MMA now has some world-class grapplers, but I don’t think it was like that when Craig Jones moved there (I visited Absolute MMA as well).

So, the thing is…

Your training environment is probably good enough for you, and “good enough” isn’t bad at all!

Sure, it would be great if you could learn directly from John Danaher, Lachlan Giles, Marcelo Garcia, Mendes brothers, Lucas Lepri, or whoever you fancy.

I’m sure that you could use your current environment to reach even a world-class level if you train hard and smart provided that’s what you want.

Because in the end, a considerable portion of how much you improve is up to how you train in your own environment (or how you change your own environment if you are certain that it’s not good at all).