My Journey Toward (More) Physical Strength - How Bryan Guidry and North Broadway Jiu Jitsu Have Changed My Life - Brad Wener
The greatest encouragement I have ever received with regard to my physical body has come through the Fight Fit program of North Broadway Jiu Jitsu. I would have had a much more difficult time navigating the hard realities of prostate cancer over the last year without the uplifting experience of Fight Fit, which is run by Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Champion, Bryan Guidry.
I started attending Fight Fit in July of 2014. At that point, the last time I had pushed myself hard physically in any kind of consistent way was over 30 years ago in high school. My nephew, Aaron Morgan, goaded me into trying it even though I had my reservations. On my first day I really felt like I didn’t belong. The other participants were, on the whole, a lot younger and in amazing physical condition. I remember the shame I felt when I could not do one real push-up. I was extremely intimidated by the phenomenal physical specimens all around me and I was embarrassed that I had let my body become so soft and weak.
But I didn’t feel judged by Bryan or by the others in the class. Bryan took his time to adjust the exercises to my level. For instance, the first exercise my first day was to do 100 push-ups. I couldn’t to a regular push-up so he said I could do them from me knees. When I couldn’t do those any more he told me to do the rest from the wall. He would make adjustments to the exercise, but he would never “dumb it down” by lowering the number of reps. If the assignment is 100, then you do 100, even if it takes you the rest of the class. I didn’t like this at first as the rest of the class would move on and soon be 3 or 4 exercises ahead of me. But now I appreciate this approach: you don’t move on to the next exercise until you complete the one you’re on. By pushing yourself you learn what you’re capable of, and there is a wonderful sense of accomplishment and mastery that begins to grow.
In 2011 it was discovered I had prostate cancer. I had a prostatectomy and everything seemed to be fine until last year when my PSA level began to increase. This is an indicator that they didn’t get all the cancer when they removed my prostate. So pretty soon after I started Fight Fit, I underwent 8 weeks of radiation in hopes that the cancer would be eradicated. It wasn’t. In fact, my PSA level continued to rise. During all this time I stayed committed to the program. I can’t begin to convey how empowering it is to know something is wrong in your body but still be able to fight to stay healthy.
Now I am undergoing hormone therapy for my cancer. Hormone therapy shuts down your testosterone which stops the prostate cancer from growing. Potential side effects are: mood swings, hot flashes, weight gain, loss of muscle mass, decreased sexual desire and irritability. These are extremely discouraging to me, as you might imagine. But I know I have to stay committed to this workout for my own sense of well-being during this trying time.
Kevin Townsend is a police officer in Webster Groves. Bryan did a seminar exclusively for the police department.
I am a Police Officer in the St. Louis County area. Brian was able to come to our department and conduct a Jiu Jitsu seminar for our officers that focused on practical application for Law Enforcement. Brian catered this seminar toward situations officers actually find themselves in. He showed us different submissions, submission defense, ground fighting defense and takedowns. One of the takedowns Brian taught us I was able to recently use successfully and easily on an individual that was larger than me and attempted to fight me. Due to what I learned in the seminar everything went smoothly and no officers were hurt. I would highly recommend Brian's instruction for any Police Officer or Police Department.
Paul Byrnes is a Vietnam veteran who received the bronze star after the war for his service in the 327th Airborne Infantry, First Brigade 101st Airborne. He worked for 20 years as a locomotive engineer before going back to law school in his 40's. He is now considered one of the world's foremost experts on railroad operating practices and safety. He has been featured in the New York Times and his testimony was cited to the United States supreme court during oral arguments: CSX Transp. Inc. v. Robert McBride. Paul drives 3 hours to do a private lesson with Bryan each week
“I am a 64 year old attorney who has studied martial arts on and off for over 40 years. I have trained in a wide variety of fighting styles from traditional Shotokan Karate to kickboxing, Muay Thai, and MMA and, as such, consider myself qualified to opine on the abililty of a person- as a martial artist and as an instructor (the two are not always synonymous). For over a year now I have been studying Jiu JItsu with Bryan Guidry at his St. Louis school. I have found him to be extremely knowledgeable and dedicated to teaching the highest level Jiu Jitsu. Mr. Guidry has the patience and the ability to communicate and explain that is a hallmark of really good instructors. I would caution anyone who is simply interested in belt rankings that North Broadway Jiu Jitsu is probably not where you want to train. Mr. Guidry is a purist, i.e., "old school" in that he believes that rank is earned and not simply handed out when a person has studied for a certain amount of time. There are "belt mills" in every city, but North Broadway Jiu Jitsu is certainly not one of them. With that noted, I would recommend to anyone seriously interested in learning high-level Jiu Jitsu that they consider training at this school..”
Edwin Chen is a med student at Washington University and has trained at North Broadway Jiu Jitsu for 2 years.
I started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at North Broadway almost two years ago at the behest of my friend and it has been an amazing experience. I went from having no prior martial arts training (and body coordination!) to being able to compete successfully in tournaments. The key to this has been two fold - a great instructor and great training partners. First, Bryan Guidry, the owner, is an amazing coach and teacher. He was able to introduce the complex art of BJJ to me as a newcomer, and has helped me grow and develop my own personal game. His jiu-jitsu knowledge mirrors his accomplishments (world champion medalist), and always wows me with new techniques. Second, the people training here are among the friendliest people you will ever meet. Forget your notions of the Cobra Kai dojo from The Karate Kid - the people at North Broadway are humble, easy-going, and eager to teach everybody. There is no ego, only people who want others to succeed. But hey, maybe you just want to get in shape? Well, this place has got the answer to that too. I am currently in the best shape of my life thanks to training here. So what are you waiting for, come and try a free class - you won't regret it!
Robert Murphy credits his training for saving his life
Bryan Guidry, owner of North Broadway Jiu Jitsu has taught me many, many things in the years I have worked out at his gym. From Boxing classes,wrestling classes, Judo classes, Muay Thai, Fight Fit and obviously, Jiu Jitsu. He taught me everything I needed to win the NAGA Midwest Championship for my belt and weight divisions. When I began training with Bryan, one of the first things he showed me was how to fall properly. The classes were fun, and came in to use all the time on the mats. I never thought more of it because I hadnt needed those skills outside of sports. On this past Fourth of July, I was riding my motorcycle down to visit family near Table Rock Lake. I was on a back country road at about one in the morning doing about 50-55 mph when an opposing cars' headlights flashed onto a group of 3 deer on the side of the road. I swerved, knowing instantly one of them was going to run into my path. I couldnt avoid the deer and laid down my bike at highway speed. Without thinking, I tucked my chin to my chest, and as soon as I hit the pavement I slapped the ground with my right arm and leg and came to my feet, running across the road and up a hill into the woods. I found myself standing on my feet with only a couple of quarter sized cuts on my knee and wrist, but completely fine otherwise. The skills I learned at North Broadway Jiu Jitsu absolutely kept me safe in an unexpected situation where I am sure I would have been badly hurt or killed otherwise.”
Derek H. was a member at the original school on North Broadway when we had no heat and no A/C and no kids classes:
“This place is no frills, no b.s., just results. I am a former Army Master Fitness Trainer who worked in Afghanistan for 4 years in some pretty rough spots. I've worked with elite level athletes and special forces veterans from around the world and they all have one thing in common with North Broadway BJJ and Fitness Owner/Operator Bryan Guidry - they don't talk about it, they just do it. This guy is legit, a 2x Pan Games medalist and as of last month a world champion BJJ competitor. This place is "rough" to say the least. It's not in a good neighborhood, it doesn't have air conditioning, there's no towel service, no smoothie bar, no cute girl at the counter when you walk in; no tanning beds on the second floor - you'll find nothing of the sort here. What you will find are people who are serious about working out and about BJJ. Bryan also teaches his own special brand of a fitness class used by fighters to condition themselves. It's like a mix of plyometrics, cross-fit and old school boxing gym type conditioning. Its a total **s kicker and let me tell you - it works. If you're looking to get in shape or just to live a healthier lifestyle, want to learn BJJ from a legit teacher, or maybe you just fight like a girl - there is no better place in the Saint Louis area to train. Bryan isn't a motivational speaker, and he's not teaching a spinning class at the YMCA either, he's a humble guy, which is a rarity in a trainer. If you're looking for a fad this isn't the place for you, but if you're looking for a quality place to either get in shape through his fight fit conditioning classes, or study Brazilian Jui Jitsu, I couldn't recommend a better place. Another quick note: Bryan doesn't train children, this isn't the place for your 6 year old to learn Tae Kwon Do, it's adults only, although he has made exceptions in the past for elite level high school athletes training for competitions.”
Nowell G. says,
“My jiu jitsu game has skyrocketed since first setting foot in this gym in November. If you have any interest in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, whether it's from watching the UFC, or simply trying to get back into shape in the most badass way possible, this is the place for you.”
Steve G. had this to say,
“This place, and the instructor, is among the top tier of brazilian jiu jitsu schools in the nation. Bryan Guidry, the instructor, is a world champion who doesn't waste your time with fluff. The gym is brand new, you get in, you learn A TON, and you get out. If you are looking to learn jiu jitsu, kickboxing, MMA, get in shape, or get your kid in shape...this is the place. I've lifted weights for 19 years, I swim, and run....guess what...I wasn't in shape. This place got me where I've always wanted to be. You can come try classes for free I believe...you just have to call him or stop by. Great place...and now a great part of my weekly routine!”