I made it to the women’s class at our school in Katy again. It’s an hour drive for me, but well worth it! As I was writing this post, I realized that I should actually do a REAL REVIEW of the Women’s program at Revolution Martial Arts and Fitness. So here it goes…
The Atmosphere: There is a great group of women training in BJJ at Revolution Martial Arts and Fitness in Katy, Texas. There are no egos. Everybody is easy-going and nice. They welcome all new comers as if they are old friends. The class pace is just a tad slower than the regular class. Which is nice because you have time to drill the techniques until you are comfortable with them. There is no rush, just take your time and get it right. The atmosphere is very laid back, and family oriented. You don’t have to fear that you are breaking some unspoken rule. (See Julia Johansen) The instructors realize that we are real people with real jobs and adult responsibilities. Basic courtesies are as follows:
- Don’t stink.
- Clip and file your nails, so that you don’t scratch people or injure yourself.
- Remove your makeup, it can be very hard to get makeup stains out of the white cotton gis.
- No shoes on the mat. They like to keep it clean.
- Wear you shoes to the bathroom, so that you don’t track bathroom germs onto the mat.
- Bow before you step onto the mat.
- Let people know that you are new, so that they know to help you.
- Thank people for training with you.
- Bow as you step off the mat.
The Amenities: There are two bathrooms, one designated just for women. It has a small stock of women’s things, just in case you forget something. They also have two showers and two dressing rooms. If you forget your H2O, they do offer bottled water for the low-cost of $1.00. There is a huge parking lot and parking is free. The parking lot and neighborhood are safe, with good lighting.
Class Structure: There is a light warm up and then some stretching. For the instructional part of the class, they teach a few techniques and / or do drills. The last part of the class is rolling. The intensity of the rolling depends on you and your partner. Some of the women will roll slower, it allows them to “think”. There are other women who like to jump in with both feet, with a higher intensity. Not tournament speed or spazzy, just faster with more attacks. I get good rolls on both ends of the spectrum. At the end of class, I’m always able to find a person willing to do a few quick drills with me. I frequently hear the question, “Is there anything that you need to work on?”
Experience Levels: There are a couple of blue belt women. There are a few women with more than one year of experience. Most of the women are white belts with less than a year of experience. The program is less than a year old, but has a strong foundation of close to twenty women.
Instructors: Jeff Messina is the lead instructor and a BJJ black belt under Rodrigo Medeiros. He has an impressive BJJ resume. Jeff consistently trains with other black belts in order to continue his progression in the art. He also cross trains in Judo, Striking, and CrossFit. If you ask someone about Jeff, they will tell you, “He’s a legit BJJ black belt, and an all around good guy.” My personal experience is that he is a very patient and soft-spoken instructor, much like Rodrigo Medeiros. His style is very technical and fluid, with a very strong bottom game. I believe that he normally leads the women’s class. If he has to be out-of-town for a tournament or training he has one of his upper belts teach and they all teach similar to him. One of the blue belt women is starting to teach some of the class, but Jeff is there to oversee and answer questions.
Class Schedule: The women’s class meets on Friday nights at 6:30. When you decide that you are ready, you can attend the regular BJJ classes. The women are not locked into the women’s only class. Monday – Friday they have regular BJJ class at noon. At night the regular BJJ classes are Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, starting at 7:00 PM. Judo is taught on Tuesday night starting at 7:00 PM. The instructor is Jaimie, and he is also patient and soft spoken. He’s very observant, so he is able to monitor all the students at once. Judo is part of the BJJ curriculum, so it’s included in the tuition. There is a Saturday morning BJJ class that starts at 10:00. I think the total number of training sessions available per week is eleven.
The Men: The men that train at Revolution Martial Arts and Fitness have always treated me with respect. No one has ever refused to train with me. No one has ever been rude to me. They have all provided encouragement and support. When I do train with them, each one has kept in mind that I am a very tiny person and adjusted their technique, strength, and weight to accommodate my tiny size and lack of extensive BJJ knowledge. They offer advice when needed and show me how to “adjust” for my size.
Community: The women’s program has an unofficial ”Den Mother” so to speak. Her husband and children also train in BJJ. The women also have their own Facebook page. It has become a great communication tool that allows the women an easy way to coordinate training times and events. It seems to be a great support system for the women as well.
My Opinion: The women’s program at Revolution Martial Arts and Fitness provides a rare opportunity. The women’s only class is a stepping stone into the male dominated world of BJJ. In that class the women are taught good strong basics of BJJ and they begin rolling with people closer to their own size and strength. They are given a very low-key, relaxed environment that enables them to work through any initial concerns or fears. When the women feel that they are ready, they can attend the regular class where they will be treated with respect.