but last night was the first time I went to a class at an actual BJJ academy run by black belts. I gotta say I had a lot of fun.
I noticed a few things right away:
1. the class was huge. there were 30 people on the mat. now when I visit judo dojos in bigger cities that's not uncommon to see, but in my small town (which has 3 judo clubs) I've never seen more than 20 on the mat unless it was a clinic, with the average class size being around 10-14, usually either smaller than me, or my size but too old to train hard.
2. of those 30 people, most were young, athletic adult males, of which 10 were around my size. now let's let that sink in for a minute. never in my entire time in judo have I seen 3 people near my size in the same place at the same time. and here I found plenty. even if I never learn anything new, good training partners my size is a great reason to keep going.
3. all of the people I worked with had lots of questions about judo, namely the differences between it and BJJ. a few said that they thought judo was really cool and wanted to learn more about it. they were intrigued by my descriptions of the differences in rules, and one of the older folks on the mat mentioned that it sounded like a better
4. when I put my gi on there was an interesting conversation:
"that looks like a judo gi"
"it is one"
"your white belt looks brand new, but your collar is tattered, and you have way too much tape on your hands to be a beginner. what belt do you wear in judo?"
"ok, remind me not to start standing with you."
5. when class started the instructor said "remember that it's ____'s 3rd class, so don't try to kill him. but Jason over here is wearing a white belt, but he's a judo black belt, so it's game on." text does not convey tone very well so it's worth mentioning that he was speaking in jest.
6. everyone was extremely friendly, and everyone was very safe during the "rolls."
7. I got a lot of positive comments about how explosively yet safely I entered for arm locks while "rolling" that they didn't know they were in position for a second before it started. that IMHO is the staple of "proper" judo newaza. slow and deliberate gets you stood up, fast and explosive gets you an ippon.
8. I got a few comments about how I was "far better than they expected me to be" based on what they'd heard about the level of groundwork in judo.
9. during a drill where we'd start in side control and the guy on bottom was supposed to escape in under a minute and the guy on top was supposed to maintain position, they were impressed by the fact that I my kesa gatame was utterly inescapable, while I got out of their holds generally in under 10 seconds (to a judoka a minute on the bottom is an eternity). I was impressed by how quickly they passed from half guard, as compared to how long it took me to get out of the same position.
10. I enjoyed the level of detail involved in the instruction, I didn't enjoy the added steps involved in doing arm locks I was already familiar with, but when in rome... also those steps don't seem superfluous in this setting, as they're geared toward better control because under BJJ ruleset you aren't in a rush like you are on the ground in judo.
11. my wife was not pleased with the gi burns on my face and neck. she also doesn't enjoy the idea of me paying to train again, when I do judo for free. however I don't really care, because she pays more per month for her yoga and belly dancing classes than I'll be paying for BJJ. and gi burns fade in a day or two.