View Full Version : My first exposure today

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Mark Holloway
03-09-2004, 01:50 PM
In order to fairly 'evaluate' my option I went to Reylson Gracie's academy this morning to see what it's all about. I was surpised at how expensive it is compared to other schools in Las Vegas.

Reylson Gracie's school is $80 per class, so at 4 classes per week it's $320 per month. These classes are one on one with another student and the instructor so it's much more personal. Not sure if that justifies the price, but Reylson Gracie is a very genuine man, although slightly agressive in trying to justify his price and take a sample class (his English isn't perfect, so I think it sounds like he is over explaining but I think he is trying to make sure one understands what his academy offers). Upon enrolling, you get a free Gi, t-shirts, and there are showers and clean towels available. Again, not sure if this justifies the price, but 1 on 1 (2 students, 1 instructor) is very appealing.

The Aikido dojo around the corner from my house is *very* traditional and said to be the most traditional dojo in all of Las Vegas. The Sensei is very nice and the price is mroe than reasonable. Although courses are not 1 on 1 like Gracie, it's $80/month to attend two classes per week (the second class of the week builds off the first class) or alternatively one can pay $100 month and attend unlimited classes (inluding Aiki Weapons). The dojo also offers Shotokan Karate, Judo, and Jiu Jitsu, but the owner (James Sterling) teaches Aikido and Aiki Weapons.

The biggest struggle is knowing what's right for me. I want to feel good about what I pursue. I watched an Aikido class today and my first impression there are astonishing movements and the workout one gets (coming from someone who doesn't work out) looks great. On the flip side it looks like practicing the moves in class is hardly enough for one to feel confident about exercising those moves elsewhere. LOTS and LOTS of practice I assume.

The Gracie system seems a bit more blunt but a for a 6'1 30 year old male like myself it probably doesn't require as much patience. Patience is something I have very little of (although I'm working on it) because I have Dysthymia, so my Hyperactive Disorder kicks in quickly when standing still (meaning I'm eager to move around or want to do something besides standing around).

Bottom line is I would really like to try something. At the same time I want to feel the progress and see what I am able to accomplish over a short period of time which is why I was looking at Gracie. Alternatively, I though about attending both Aikido and either Karate or Judo at the dojo around the corner from me.

Any suggestions for making a decision?? :(

03-09-2004, 02:57 PM
George Ledyard wrote: I happen to know your Sterling Sensei. This past year I taught a seminar at his new location in Las Vegas. I can honestly say that you shouldn't have any reservations about training with him. His students were extremely nice, he is very serious about what he is doing and open minded about what he does

This is coming from a respected teacher. Why not follow his advice?

03-09-2004, 03:04 PM
If you can afford it, try the JuJitsu out.

I personally wouldn't do it though. If you like it, then it was worth it. If you end up not liking it, at least you won't regret not ever going.

the traditional class sounds good as well.

Whatever you do, don't sign any long term contracts though just in case you don't like it.

Robert Jackson
03-09-2004, 03:42 PM
Personally I'd take the $100 a month thing and try all the arts until I knew what I wanted.

$80 a class for a private class is good if you want to spend the money and the instructor is worth it.

Yes aikido takes lots and lots of practice but that is every martial art not just Aikido. If you want be good at something you have to practice.

Chris Birke
03-09-2004, 04:53 PM
Training directly from a Gracie when you've never rolled before is a bit over the top; not a bad thing at all, but still sorta like learning to drive in a racecar.

Gracie Juijitsu blackbelts are rare (hell, a good bluebelt can open his own school and satisfy students), and that creates the demand for the price. I've heard as high as $250 an hour. Aikido blackbels are far more common, and there is a different philosophy towards price anyway. BJJ is definately a buisness.

If you learned from a lower rank, the price would be considerably less, and you'd likely learn nearly as much. Only once you get into the upper echelons is such a price required for you to improve.

On the other hand, I'm sure if you did pay that price the technique would be very solid.

I agree that you should take both. Forums can't convey how the expirence will be for you, you just have to do it. I'd also look into a cheaper BJJ instructor. Maybe take up with Relyson a few years down the line.

Tom Wolowiec
03-09-2004, 05:05 PM
2 on 1 classes are nice, but doing them all the time isn't the best way to learn. I assume there is sparring in BJJ, yes? If you only spar one or 2 people, you'll fall into a routine, and you won't grow at all.

I agree with Chris, find a cheaper BJJ place if you really want to take it, and take lessons later when you're more advanced to refine your technique.

Mark Holloway
03-09-2004, 05:19 PM
Thanks for the replies. Reylson's (approved) Blue Belt students teach the "basic" class. Once you have completed the program and obtain the Blue Belt the price goes up by $10 dollars per class ($90/class, $360/month) and I don't know if Grandmaster Reylson actually teaches or not.

I know at some point I will start the journey to learn Aikido. However, I'd still like to practice another martial art just to learn technique. Since the Aikido dojo also teaches Shotokan Karate and Judo twice a week and Jiu Jitsu once a week, maybe I'll attend one of those courses in addition to Aikido. Would probably be the perfect opportunity, plus it's just around the corner from my house.

And with the positive feedback about James Sterling Sensei I can feel confident I am learning Aikido from a great person.



03-09-2004, 07:11 PM
re: bjj....

While it is true that a bjj blackbelt commands a higher price, in most cases the experience, insight and coaching of a bjj blackbelt far exceeds a bluebelt, allowing for a student to progress much, much faster. It's a bit like comparing the teaching ability of a 1st kyu aikido instructor with an aikido shihan.

Having said that, I wouldn't recommend a 1 on 1 class as the norm, and certainly not for someone new to the art. Fear not, Vegas is a bjj haven...

home to black belts:

John Lewis/Andre Pederneiras

Amilcar Cipili

5640 W. Charleston Blvd #D, Las Vegas, NV 89146 702-214-6414,


and brown belt:

Carlos Catania

Durango Hills YMCA

3521 N. Durango Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89129



Double check the accuracy of this, it may be dated (I retrieved it from bjj.org, not sure if it's up to date)



Ian Williams
03-09-2004, 07:46 PM
wow! expensive all round..

We are charged $56 (Australian Dollars) a month to practice as often as we like (however there are only four classes a week).

I thought that was particularly steep.

Nick P.
03-09-2004, 09:13 PM
Like Ian: Wow! Bling-Bling!

Like others: just go to any and all classes and see which you enjoy more. That will be the right one for you.

Ian Williams
03-09-2004, 11:28 PM
Like Ian: Wow! Bling-Bling!
Not enough bling is my problem!

Chris Birke
03-10-2004, 01:27 AM
Yeah, never meant to imply that you seek out a bluebelt, just someone a few notches down in skill and a lot notches down in price. Also, hes right about the 1 on 1 class; unless the other student is constantly switched, you won't get to expirence different bodytypes and skill levels other than noob or bluebelt.

My main instructor is a purple belt (and also an insanto jkd'er), classes with the university are 50$ per month, 8 hours in a week, plus 2 on the weekends. Plus I'm poor. So that gives me a bias on price ;D.

It also depends on how hard you train, whether you are looking to compete and win asap, or whether you just want to learn.

It's true about the blackbelts though, had a 2 on 1 with a Gracie that I still remember, but yeah, 80 bucks for a few hours.

03-10-2004, 05:07 AM
wow! expensive all round
BJJ instructors tend to have high prices relative to other arts because bjj instruction is their only job, particularly at the black belt level. In a sense they are professional martial arts instructors and the school is their business.

Most instructors of other arts tend to have another job so the price per student only has to cover the cost of the physical dojo space, and insurance.

Not making any judgments about either approach, just that there's probably a different paradigm that explains the price difference.



03-10-2004, 07:28 AM
I'd say go take a few bjj classes and open up a bjj school down the street that charges $70 per class. You could be a millionaire.

Chris Birke
03-10-2004, 04:16 PM
Heh, try it Tyler, and you'll see that bjj's use of competition makes a significant difference as to whether just any John Q can open a mc dojo.

If you talk the talk someone will come expecting you to walk the walk. It's also why the belts below black actually mean something significant.

03-10-2004, 07:36 PM

Just a joke. Lighten up, buddy.

Chris Birke
03-10-2004, 09:57 PM
hehe, damn, I knew I shouldnt have eaten that last cheeseburger

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
03-10-2004, 11:34 PM
It sounds like you have a lot of options open to you. I'd concur; those expensive one on one lessons might be wonderful, but perhaps you could better appreciate them by learning some basics first. As for which art, my inclination would be to advise against "trying everything at once to find what works". There is virtue to the one path, at least at first. Pick one of those arts, one that interests you based on maybe watching or participating in (former might be better) a class for each. Then commit yourself to beginning that art. Then decide if you want to commit to continuing after some time.

It's like Yoda said. ^_-