How Stark Gent BJJ got Started
During Corona, we needed to train. So we made the most out of it and started to train in Stapho's living room. It didn't take long before we had our own little schedule, with personalized training programs to improve our key skills. Soon we realized that we'd never progressed faster, despite having less mat time. When corona ended, we realized we couldn't go back to the old way of training and that we had to create a space where everyone could train like this. When we met the fellow gym rats from Woest, we knew we needed to collab. Soon we started a BJJ gym in Gent, and the rest is history.
Where Stark comes from
Our mother gym is Stark Jiu-Jitsu in Stockholm. Our head coach, Stapho, actually lived with these people in a gym for almost two years. Shedding blood, sweat, and tears together. This isn’t quick co-branding to seem legit. This is a lifelong brotherhood with some of the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitors in Europe.
The coaching team
Headcoach & Co-Founder
Gi Coach & Co-Founder
In Dutch we have a saying “Goede afspraken, make goede vrienden". This means that clear agreements help keep relationships pristine. That's why we have a set of rules we expect everyone at Stark to follow. You can find the rules of Stark here.
0. Try and remember everyone's name.
Everyone deserves to be noticed, and be a part of our little family. Remembering people's names and avoiding nicknames are a great place to start.
1. Aim to get better at jiu-jitsu.
It might seem like an obvious rule. But it's not. Many people spend their hard-earned jiu-jitsu hours doing pointless warm-ups, mindless drills, and baseless techniques. You deserve better. Our aim is to make every single minute spent with us, a minute that will improve your jiu-jitsu.
2. Get a project.
No matter if you are Mikey Musumeci, Pierke Pierlala. If you want to get better at jiu-jitsu, you need small projects, small themes to work on. You can't learn everything at once. So pick a position, study it from top and bottom, do positional sparring, battle test it, and move on. Our classes will have periods of 3 to 8 weeks dedicated to the collaborative study of a single position. So if you go through a whole cycle, you'll have real embodied skills of a specific position. Gone are the day of random YouTube techniques.
Pick an area to improve, and work on it till you stop sucking at it.
3. Think more "Study Group" and less "oppressive regime".
Let's get real, we're not John Danaher, and even JD doesn't know everything. In order to get a deep understanding of the sport, and to solve specific problems, you need to work together. At a certain level, you'll have competition or even just people at the gym that have dangerous moves with no google-able counter. Let's not pretend we know everything, and solve these problems together. So we can all get better and deepen our understanding of jiujitsu.
4. You don't always need to go hard
High intensity is great to test your skills in areas where you are already strong, to really test your skills, for competition, and to become tired. But it's not the best tool for everything. If you are learning a brand-new position, if you want to train your sensitivity or timing, you might want to do so fresh and with less intensity until you are ready to really battle test it. Nothing sucks more than trying a new technique, getting absolutely crushed and never trying it again. Intensity can be varied by picking partners, or just by agreeing on a certain intensity with your partner. Still, be prepared to roll hard tho.
5. No talking during sparring
I'm sure you mean well, but don't start talking during sparring. It sucks focusing all your effort to nail a certain move, only for the other person to start talking and "let you get it" because he was talking. Shut up and roll.
6. Cut your nails.
7. More jiu-jitsu, less crossfit.(during class)
Look sparring and training jiu-jitsu will get you in shape, at least in better shape than 95% of the population. But don't expect 1-hour warm-ups during jiu-jitsu sessions. We are there to improve our skills. If you want to hit a huge tire with a heavy hammer while standing on a yoga ball, do so on your own time.
8. Listen to your instructor, while on the mat.
Here's something you won't find at every jiu-jitsu gym - > a lesson plan. That's right, we have a multi-week plan, that includes techniques, training methods, varying intensity etc. It's designed to get you better at jiu-jitsu. All we want from you is to listen to your instructor during the plan. Is it a class with 90% of the time dedicated to sparring? Deal with it. Is it 70% focused on drilling side control techniques? Deal with it. Every session is designed differently for a reason. If you want the same formulaic approach every single session, go somewhere else.
9. Be radically candid.
That means, speak your mind, without trying to hurt people's feedback. We believe that feedback can be turned into an experiment. So if you have an idea, talk to your instructor and see if something can be done with it. Ideally, you can execute it yourself, instead of just talking about it.
10. No snake-like behavior.
We've seen our fair share of sociopaths in jiu-jitsu gyms. If we catch you once you are out of the gym. One warning for less serious offenses.
Snake-like behavior includes but is not limited to: instigating fights, manipulating people, purposely hurting people, generally being a sleazy asshole.
11. Not everyone needs to be a competitor, but if you do, let us know and we'll support you.
Look, if you've been in the game for a long time, or if you train 20 hours per week, chances are that you are working on your own stuff and just need mat space or some good sparring. We get it. Does that mean you can do whatever you want? No. But talk to your instructor and see what we can do to give you what you need to make your sessions productive.
12. Train wherever you want, seriously, it's not the 90's.
The jiu-jitsu scene in Belgium is so small, that there's no point limiting practitioners to a single gym. We should all work together to improve the general level in Belgium. Just tell us if you want to get promoted by us or somewhere else and whether you want to represent our team in the competition or not. In the future, we might make exceptions for preparation before important competitions but not yet. You are an adult, no one can tell you where (not) to train.
13. Obviously, don't discriminate against people based on sex, race, learning disorder, politics, or belt color.
I can't believe I have to mention this in 202x to be honest. Yes, white belts are people too, and you should try to remember everyone's name.
14. Build a well-rounded game.
It's true, you could get super far in the competition, just have a good guard, some passing, and some back control. But you can't reach your full potential as a jiu jiteiro like that. That's why we also focus on understudied areas like escapes, takedowns, and submission systems. Prepare to become the best martial artist you can be.
15. you roll with the rules of the highest belt.
Seriously, there are very few higher belts in Belgium, for everyone to learn how to deal with all situations and to build a well-rounded game, we include toeholds, knee bars, and wristlocks when one of the partners is brown belt or higher.