I'm having a little trouble right now choosing a grappling school to start studying at. I essentially have 3 major options: My university's Judo team, a very small BJJ school about an hour from where I live, or an MMA submission wrestling gym.
I've visited each of the schools, and have some initial thoughts that might help you help me. First, the Judo team I went to was fun, with about 50 guys around my age (18-22). Like I said, I had tons of fun and was able to get right in there and start rolling around. We were shown how to do a few techniques, and then swapped out training partners. We did stretching, work outs, technique training, rolling, and finally the guys with some experience trained with Judo takedowns and hardcore rolling. The instructors were real good, and having 50 guys who were in good shape made for some awesome rolling. The only big problem I had was advancement: As more of a club than a school, there's no advancement. You have whatever belt you can pick up out of the box to hold your gi together, excluding the serious guys and instructors. I kind of like the idea of moving up the ladder and having a belt to prove it. Maybe that's shallow, but I enjoy it.
As for the BJJ school, I went to one of these classes today and wasn't quite as impressed. It's a nice school, but there were only about 10 guys there. Not all were my size, and unlike the Judo school, not all were in real good shape. The instructor himself is only a blue belt, and the school is just a branch off a main school in Orlando, Fl. I learned some good stuff, but overall the vibe wasn't as good. There was no stretching, no work outs, and we spent over and hour just drilling one technique from the right side mount (never worked on the left side) and it wasn't particularly inspiring. Another detrimental factor was that it's about an hour away from my apartment, and with gas prices the way they are, that's not a drive I'm looking forward to making 3-4 times a week.
The final school was the submission grappling team. F2 Fight Team (beta)
There's the link to the team. It's a small team of guys in an area with practically no MMA gyms, but it seemed pretty cool. The guys were in good shape, the training was intense, and people were really getting at it. The only problem with this was the instruction. I'm in very good shape so I could get most of these guys down and keep them there, but having only practiced submissions in a "garage style" setting, I wasn't really able to present much of an arsenal versus them. This made me really want to get into a traditional school, learn the basics, then join back up and use what I'd learned in an MMA oriented setting.
Anyways, I'm going to keep searching for the best fit, but it's looking like these 3 are my only options. What do you guys think?