What to look for when getting into BJJ?

Talk to me about selecting a BJJ gym and/or trainer. I currently work as a Corrections Officer in a small county facility but am in the process of transitioning over to a city PD of 60 sworn serving roughly 60k citizens. Other than the defensive tactics training I received in the academy last year (which was the bare minimum required by the state) I have not had any training in DT/Grappling/Suspect Control. I have seen a lot of stuff on social media and the internet about how much of a benefit knowing BJJ has been to some officers when it comes to making arrests, defending themselves, etc, so I decided to get into it to improve my skills and confidence. What are things to look for? What should throw up flags? I have looked into this a little bit but assume I know nothing about it.


Regular Member
Here are two good podcats from P&S about bjj:

Based on those and some other podcasts I started BJJ in January. Scott J. was helpful weeding through local gyms as well.

The high points for me were:
1. Has a black belt in the gym (our lead instructor was 2 months from black and was affiliated with a experienced black belt)
2. Understanding of my goals. I talked to the instructors for a while discussing that BJJ Gi tournaments weren't my goal bad guy control/self defense were primary. They were 100% on board with this. The lead guy does bjj work with the local police and they have a strong no-gi class so it fit very well.
3. Location was somewhere I could make regular classes with out destroying the rest of my life. Lets be honest if it is easier to go you are more likely to go.
I’ll check those modcasts, thanks. I found a guy that’s close to me that says the instructor has done classes for .mil/leo but his website doesn’t say who or where he got his belt under. Planning on asking him about it when I contact him tomorrow.
Almost all legit gyms will give you some type of free trial to check the place out. Some are a week, some will do up to 30 days. In those days things you want to look for:
1. Is the gym clean and do people wash their gi and gear?
2. Does the instructor roll train with students? Maybe not all the students but at least train on a regular basis. Some older instructors may be selective who they roll with, but they should be rolling still.
3. Can the Instructor clearly explain his/her lineage?
4. They don't dismiss Sport BJJ/Modern BJJ and they don't dismiss the Self-Defense/MMA component of BJJ. They should be able to talk, train, and understand all aspects of the Art.
5. Does the gym have an open door policy? The best gyms I have been around, and what I promote at my place, are open door. You regularly see them hosting high-level visitors and have visiting instructors in.