Do not sign up to a Jiu-Jitsu school before watching this video...
Finding the perfect academy is like finding the perfect woman (or man!), it takes a lot of work, but it's well worth the effort!
In this critical video, Ryron and Rener Gracie (head instructors of the global Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy organisation) breakdown the "Five C's" that you MUST consider before committing to any jiu-jitsu school.
Here are the five C's to consider before committing to any jiu-jitsu centre: 1) Cleanliness: How clean is the school? How often do they clean the mats? What steps are being taken to reduce the risk of skin infections? Are students required to clean their gis after every class? 2) Curriculum Emphasis: Does the school practice street jiu-jitsu or sport jiu-jitsu? What is your training objective, and is the school capable of meeting those objectives? How can you be certain if a school teaches what they promise? 3) Class Structure: Do they have a standalone beginner program? Do they throw the newbies in the advanced students? Do they have a set curriculum with established advancement/promotion requirements? 4) Cooperative Vibe: Are the students working together to help one another grow? Or, are students training without consideration for one another's safety? Does the school encourage the "jiu-jitsu sprint" of 2 years, or the "jiu-jitsu marathon" of 20 years? 5) Coach Qualifications: Who is the coach belted under? Is the coach affiliated or certified? What's the difference? Is the coach capable of sharing jiu-jitsu through a "universal filter" or are they a "fixed filter"?
Although it is unlikely that you find a school near you that meets your personal criteria in all five categories, watching this video will give you a better idea of what to look for. No matter what any instructor says when you meet them, be sure to try several classes before you make any long-term commitments.