Researching a school. Can anyone advise on this one...


Orange Belt
Apr 27, 2005
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I am a complete beginner looking to start some grappling classes. I am getting into this strictly for the love of the sport, the excersize, and the learning experience (no plans to compete -- just want to learn). Anyway, I am in a suburb of Atlanta, GA. After a bit of research on my own, I have found a school that I want to look into (there are not a ton of choices, by the way -- unless I want to drive over an hour for every class, which I don't). So, this school that I have found is only a 25 - 30 minute drive, but I do not want that to be the only determining factor. I want to make sure it is a legit BJJ school that would teach me correct technique.

The shool I am inquiring about is Creighton MMA in Duluth, GA. Head instructor is called Paul Creighton. The school's website says he is a Renzo Gracie black belt. That part really got me interested. It also appears this guy had a few MMA fights (including one loss to BJ Penn). There is also another instructor there called Jeff Bedard that appears to be a pretty shit hot / respected wrestler. The web address to the school is:

Can any of you more experienced grapplers give me some guidence here? Do any of you know these names or this school in particular?

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer. says he's legit. website looks legit.
Go check it out and do a free class or just pay for a week/month first.
if it's the closest school and there's nothing else close by, your options are limited anyway unless you just want to be a garage grappler with some DVD's and a friend as a training partner
Fighting experience and achievements are great, but find out if their TEACHING STYLE fits you.

Cost, proximity to home, driving time to get there, teaching style, atmosphere of the school, attitiude of the instructors/students, when the classes are available, legitimacy of the instructors...they're all important.

Go to a place you're not too jazzed about for whatever reason and you'll drop out in a couple of months at best.
Go to a place you love and you'll be hooked.

Good luck
Cool -- thanks for the tips. I had thought of some of that stuff already, but glad you pointed out some other factors as well (teaching style, attitude of instructors and students, atmospher, etc). I plan to do just as you suggest. I think they offer a free class (beginner), and I also may see if I can watch a more advanced class, just for the curiosity. I'm really stoked about trying this.
Paul has a good rep and I've heard great things about him. Generally, anybody who has a black belt under Renzo is usually a really really good teacher who won't hold back, just like Renzo Gracie. He's got a ton of wrestling experience as well I believe. He actually fought against BJ Penn in the UFC a few years ago, I think it was back in 2001 or 2002 and he lost, but losing to BJ is nothing to be ashamed of.
OK, so I had my first class last night. Unfortunately the Head Instructor could not be there for that class, so it was taught by some of his advanced students and another instructor.

The very first thing I must say is that in 1.5 hours I have gained the UTMOST RESPECT for ANYONE who trains on a regular basis. I had a friggin blast, but these guys flat wore my ass out. The real sad thing was, I could tell that this was not a "tough" class by any stretch of the imagination. None of the regulars appeared even the least bit gassed, where I was sucking eggs shortly after the warmup....LOL! I always had respect for BJJ players from just watching, but man, once I actually got on the mat I realized that I had NO CLUE how hard you guys work, and what it would take to be good.

With that said, I loved the class. They were working from the gaurd last night, and trained a couple of closed gaurd breaks, and a guard pass. They showed me the move and let me try them a few times with a more advanced student. I was really blow away by how helpful they all were, and patient in working with my sorry, out of shape ass. I could tell this was big time basic stuff for them, but quickly realized how hard it all is when you actually try and do it.

Today I am sore as hell, but very psyched to go back. I have a few more questions to sort out, but I think I am going to take the plunge and give this a try -- if (a big IF) I can get in shape...