Training for competition is different than any casual training, and if you want to be the best you can be, you need to find an academy that has the proper training for competitors. Firstly, you need to find an academy that has multiple classes per day – especially in the morning and at night. The period between classes can give you proper recovery time and do the other things in your life like working a job or spending time with your family.
You also have to make sure that there is a variety of teaching and training methods in the classes. This means drilling often, leaving plenty of time to roll and the instructor has to give specific technical details for competition.
The instructor of the academy should always be under judgment when you’re choosing an academy. The instructor is the lifeblood of the school. A large part of your success is dependent on his attitude, his support and, of course, his technical prowess. If you’re going to take competition seriously, you’re going to go through a lot of ups and downs. You want your professor to always help you get back on your feet and correct your mistakes. You definitely don’t want to walk into a casual fitness gym and do whatever BJJ program they may have.
This leads to one serious issue – does your city have a gym that can support serious competitors? Larger cities, as always, will have a higher tendency to have academies like this. There are even cases where gyms are so successful that they can even afford to help competitors with some of their competition costs – ie. purchase your gis, pay for your competition entries and sometimes even help with your travels. But gyms like this don’t exist in every city, so depending on how serious you are, you may have to move to a different area or travel a lengthy distance to train. This is not uncommon and many top fighters make very long commutes to train.
Rodolfo Vieira takes a one-hour train from his home in Campo Grande (an area of Rio) to Meier (another area of Rio) where GF Team is located. That’s two hours of traveling time just to make it to the proper training session. Rodolfo does it because the level of training at GF Team is what he requires.
Leo Santos, another BJJ star and is currently on the TUF Brazil show, used to make two-hour commutes in the morning to train at the Nova Uniao headquarters in Rio de Janeiro.
Lastly, and this is really a bonus when possible, you want to ideally find an academy that has equipment for conditioning. It’s not a surprise anymore; you have to be well conditioned to be champion. So you want to find any academy that has some equipment, or at least that it’s located near a gym that has it. You want everything to be closely located to each other to make your day more efficient. These details will ultimately lead you in the right academy to achieve your goals.