This is Eduardo Rocha, my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu professor. I have been attending classes at the Rocha Jiu Jitsu Academy in Oakland for almost 4 months now and I really enjoy it. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a highly effective martial art for self defense and is also a great competitive sport for all levels of ability. It stresses ground fighting techniques and "submissions" which can be described as chokes and joint locks as apposed to the striking and kicking featured in most fighting styles. I tried practicing BJJ before at another academy a few years back, but it was in SF and therefor was much more expensive. The instruction and facility were also not as good as what I'm experiencing at the Rocha (pronounced "Hocha") BJJ Academy so I feel very happy with the overall value I am receiving. There is an emphasis on fitness which is great for me as I hate gyms and find it hard to get motivated to work out. The beginner's classes are fun and challenging and have been very helpful to me in other ways, like keeping my ego in check, learning humility and patience and all the other beneficial side effects of practicing a martial art. I also get to use some of the skills I learned in high school wrestling which feels good. I pride myself on my takedowns/takedown defense and my ability to maintain control when on offense but I really need to work on my defense in the guard position. Wrestlers tend to have issues feeling comfortable on their back and I'm definitely guilty of that. At the moment I go twice a week, generally Tuesday and Friday nights and I usually leave exhausted and soaked with sweat, which is great.
Eduardo is a third degree Black Belt in BJJ and is an extremely inspirational instructor both in his ability and his conditioning. The guy is a statue. His physique is impressive and his attitude is serious but kind and definitely approachable. He takes his job very seriously and demands a level of intensity that I admire and respect. I find myself responding to the example he sets for us, and I aspire to represent his academy to the best of my ability.