Where do you train? I hear many people saying they could train with a team like Atos in San Diego or other similar academies. Within the self-defense community I hear people talk about the Gracie Academy in Torrance. People often look at the instructors and what they have done and believe that’s where they need to be. And while all these instructors are great and highly qualified, there are certain perks to training at a smaller academy that had say 100 members rather than 400 or more. Now obviously if you are a super athlete trying to win world championships then you should seek out the top instructors, but most of the people who train are not trying to win worlds and in many cases have no desire to compete at all.
The first reason to train at a smaller academy is you get more detailed instruction from the beginning. In very large classes it is hard to watch everyone and make sure they understand the move correctly. This is especially true at white belt which is arguably the most important rank in the academy.
The next reason is that you can ask more questions (and thus learn more) in a smaller group setting. This is huge..if you have a single class with 50 or more students and everyone had a question about the move nobody could get their answer in time. However with 15 people it is a little easier to get questions and misunderstandings cleared.
The Last reason I want to point out is how much closer everyone is. In Jiu Jitsu we develop bonds and the faster we can do this the more likely we will still to training. So it is important that white belts feel like they already belong when they step in the door. I have personally trained at a larger academy and while everyone was nice and I still talk to many (including my former instructor) , my current academy is a much smaller, but closer group. I believe this is pretty common and it does make sense when you think about how large groups and small groups in society behave in general.
What do you believe? Where is the ideal spot for Jiu Jitsu Joe to train? Should everyday people still strive to train in top level environments, or should they focus on getting more one on one attention and creating bonds with people?