1. If an instructor(s) claims success as a competitor, they should have competition results from a respected tournament. Though not required to be a good instructor, success as a competitor is actual quantifiable proof of skill and experience. While there are many tournament options, the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) is the main governing body for sport jiu jitsu, with many of the smaller tournaments having adopted their rule sets and format. Ask the instructor if they have any IBJJF titles. If they don't, but claims to be a "World Champion," be skeptical, as the IBJJF World Championship is largely regarded by the Jiu Jitsu community as the only true World Championship title.
  2. The black belt head instructor should teach the majority of classes at the gym . Some schools advertise a black belt with 20 years of experience, but they're rarely seen teaching class. . Many times, class will be taught by "higher belts," not a black belt.  If you're paying for black belt instruction, make sure you're getting it.  There's plenty to be learned from people at all belt levels. but if you're never learning from the head instructor, it could result in bad habits, or hinder your Jiu Jitsu growth.
  3. The lead instructor(s) should actually TRAIN with their students. Many schools advertise their high-level instructors, but those instructors rarely, if ever, actually spar with their students. This is a BIG RED FLAG. It means that either the instructor is out of shape and is not living the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle or he/she is afraid of being beaten by a student. Or both.
  4. The school should not try to lock you into long-term contracts or charge cancellation fees. The best schools only want students who want to be there. Contracts and cancellation fees cause people to worry about financial matters, as opposed to just whether they want to keep training at that school.
  5. The instructor(s) should have a pedigree that tracks back to the legitimate founders of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Who gave the instructor his/her black belt? And from who did that person get his or her black belt ? All black belts should have a documented "lineage," with most lineage tracing back to Helio Gracie.