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Old 03-16-2007, 06:46 PM   #1
Paul Scott Suliin
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Hi, all! I've trained in Hakkoryu in the past, and I'm looking now to get back to the dojo. I live in the San Francisco Bay area (specifically the East Bay near Oakland), and I wonder if anyone can recommend a good school within a reasonable distance?

I would prefer traditional Japanese styles rather than BJJ, but an excellent Brazilian school would work as long as their emphasis is on learning the style rather than competition (that is, tournament fighting). My personal experience has been that dojos that focus on tournament prep devote too much attention to fighting within tournament rules.

Any advice out there?

EDIT: After some thought I've decided that the sharp separation between BJJ and JJJ is real but artificial. I'm leaning toward finding a synthesis of the cultural art (JJJ) and practical combat (BJJ). So while I'd still prefer to avoid a tournament-heavy dojo for the reasons I mentioned, I'm not so interested in a strict separation of the two styles.
(Message edited by Redmage on March 16, 2007)

(Message edited by Redmage on March 16, 2007)
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Old 03-16-2007, 07:52 PM   #2
Kevin McKay
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I think Ralph Gracie has a school on the corner of telegraph and Alcatraz Berkeley. Cesar Gracie is in peasant hill and there is another Gracie school is south SF.

You should have no trouble finding a place.
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Old 03-16-2007, 09:20 PM   #3
Rick West
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Paul: There is an excellent Bujinkan Instructor in SF. Dale Sego is "Shihan" 15th Dan in a very traditional system. www.sfbujinkan.org I know him personally and can only invite you to go observe a class. The training is non competion and relaxed/friendly. Most of us know each other.This week is his monthly Sat lesson I think. Feel free to e mail me w/any questions.

Ricisan
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Old 03-16-2007, 11:26 PM   #4
Paul Scott Suliin
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Thanks for the link, Rick. Just FYI, though, it should be http://www.bujinkansf.org/

Kevin, thanks for the lead. But I gathered the Gracies' schools were all about tournament competition. Isn't that how they made their names?
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Old 03-17-2007, 07:51 AM   #5
Rick West
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Paul: I knew it was something close. I didn't think it would be cool to give out his personal e mail. Dale will be on "MythBusters" soon. Check out a class and see if you like the training. In an atmosphere where everyone helps each other, the learning is very fast. New people are not beat down or used as cannon fodder.
Dale did a seminar here a few weeks ago.
Each person is a stone to sharpen/hone each other to a nice edge.

Ricisan
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Old 03-17-2007, 10:23 AM   #6
Derek Simonds
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I train at Gracie Barra in Orlando and I don't find it competition based at all. They encourage you to fight in tournaments if you want, but the classes are all structured around fundamentals with no emphasis what so ever on tournament rules.

Best of luck!
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Old 03-17-2007, 01:25 PM   #7
Paul Scott Suliin
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Thanks for the input, Derek. I don't know how it is in Orlando, but I was reading the website for Ralph Gracie's school in San Francisco, and the description of the Chief Instructor, Kurt Osiander. It reads, "Also known as the 'RHINO,' Kurt Osiander has been studying under Ralph Gracie for 14 years. he received his black belt in 2002 and is one of the best at teaching basics, which in the end is what wins championships....Kurt has captured many tournament titles including the Pan American Tournament, considered one of the largest in the US. To this day Kurt still actively competes and looks to further improve his understanding of the fighting arts."

I don't know how that school's classes are oriented, but their advertising is sure saying "Study with us if you want to win tournaments."

On the other hand the Gracie school in Dublin, CA is closer to me, and their site info doesn't scream "tournament prep" quite so loudly. Could be worth a check.
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Old 03-18-2007, 11:34 AM   #8
Derek Simonds
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Like Rick said check out several places. Most schools will offer an introductory class for free. I always recommend watching at least one class before even getting on the mat.

Best of luck. Let us know where you land and how it is going. I travel out to San Fran a couple of times a year and your insight would be great.
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Old 03-19-2007, 09:01 PM   #9
Yael Grauer
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Berkeley: www.moderncombatives.com (link to a gym)
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Old 03-20-2007, 05:54 AM   #10
David Stegman
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Most Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu schools aren't specifically oriented toward competition. It's not like they have classes designed around tournament strategies or anything like that. BJJ classes will teach gi and no-gi techniques and then will typically have an hour of free training (sparring).

Some compete and some don't. It's really up to the student. When tournaments come up and the people that choose to go will typically train harder for that by getting more mat time and training for the time limits in a tournament. But most BJJ techniques will work with the gi, or with out it and are designed for class use and street.

Paul, it sounds like you have experience with traditional martial arts since you are concerned with "tournament schools". Traditional Karate/TKD school that focus on "point sparring" over practical techniques is NOT what most if not all legit BJJ schools are about. You should at least go visit and decide for yourself though.

Good luck!
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