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Pacific Wave Jiu-jitsu: Testimonials about the Instructors & Training Experience

Testimonials

Here is what a few people have to say about Pacific Wave Jiu-Jitsu and its Sensei:
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Our group went to the Pacific Wave women's self defense class for my stagette as I wanted to do something different, not the regular girly stuff. All 10 of us were pleasantly surprised by how fun and useful it was and how much we took away with us by the end of the class. All the tips and moves we learned were very practical, we could definitely see ourselves using them in real life. We especially enjoyed the last exercise of being attacked and applying all the moves we learned, it was both fun and helped solidify what we learned. We all loved how friendly and personal Lori and her helpers were, it made us comfortable and warmed us up immediately.

I received such positive feedback from all my girlfriends, and many of them told me what a great idea it was, they would do it again, or they would do something similar for their stagette as well. It was really nice and thoughtful that Lori and her helpers took pictures for us and sent them to us - it will now go down as part of my pre wedding memory, and I can tell all my friends what a unique, fun, and practical activity I did for my stagette!

Claudia Leung
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I have known Lori O'Connell Sensei for approximately 6 years. There are only a few women in Canada who have achieved the level of black belt that Lori has. She is not only a devoted student of the martial arts but is also a very enthusiastic instructor. Lori has instructed at my association's events on several occasions. She is very skilled and able to effectively communicate with her students. I have tasked her with researching and developing lessons for our organization, she accomplished this task after much consultation and research. The final product was professional and well thought out and as such implemented into our program.
Steven Hiscoe Shihan, 8th Degree Black Belt, Can-Ryu Jiu-jitsu
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I met Lori at a martial arts seminar I was conducting in Vancouver in 2008. I immediately recognized that she possessed a high skill level in martial arts. I was impressed and interested in her background. We spoke at length. I'm also a fan or her writing. I read her book Weapons of Opportunity, which I highly recommend to all my fellow martial artists. Lori is a well-educated individual and skilled martial artist. I have meet several hundred martial artists and colleagues over the past two years but not many have left the impression that she did. I only wish we lived closer to each other!
Lt. Kevin Dillon (ret), founder of the L.O.C.K.U.P. Police Combat System

Review of Pacific Wave Jiu-jitsu (reposted from Yelp)

Highly recommend this martial arts dojo! My first class I was super nervous but I felt that Lori and Chris (sensei) and the other students did an excellent job to help make me feel completely comfortable and welcome. They create a very positive atmosphere and cater to a wide range of people of all ages, sex and size. It's a great combination of learning and also getting a good physical workout too. Definitely check it out if your interested!

Sarah S. - Green Belt, Can-Ryu Jiu-jitsu


Review of Pacific Wave Jiu-jitsu (reposted from Yelp)

I am an RCMP officer and when I relocated to the greater Vancouver area I was looking for a martial art that offered an excellent workout as well as effective and practical self defence skills.  I tried a number of disciplines including BJJ and Krav Maga, but in the end, I choose Pacific Wave Jiu-Jitsu.  I found it to be the most realistic self defence training that incorporated gross motor skills most likely to be retained in a real life situation, as well as "jiu-jitsu circle", which is the closest thing to real combat I've ever experienced where you are required to use your training as well as improvisation to fend off multiple attackers. 

I was saddened when I was required to relocate once again for work and had to give up training here.  I've since taken up martial arts training again (Aikido), but I look back on my time at this dojo as probably the best in my career as a martial artis

Chris H. - Yellow Belt, Can-Ryu Jiu-jitsu


Review of Pacific Wave Jiu-jitsu (reposted from Yelp)

Are you looking for a dojo that has great spirit, no macho-competitiveness, and teaches you techniques you can apply in real-life immediately? Then this is the place to try out!

It's been over a year since I've been learning PWJJ and it has definitely got me hooked. Like the previous reviewer, I was completely new to the world of martial arts and wasn't quite sure what to expect. The great thing about PWJJ is that you can try two classes for free to see whether it's a good fit for you.

Can-Ryu JJ is a practical system of self-defense that is based off of the more traditional forms of Japanese Jiujitsu. The curriculum includes strikes, take-downs, hold-escapes, ground defense, throws, locks, and defense in social situations. You start off by learning techniques involving gross motor skills which allows you use them easily if you're ever stuck in a difficult/dangerous situation. The belt-system isn't a money-grab like with some of the "McDojos". You have to really know the skills and demonstrate your ability to perform them.

Besides great instructors, I believe the atmosphere is the best feature of PWJJ. Everyone is very welcoming; we're all here to learn as well as have fun. We mix and match the grades so everyone gets a chance to work with those with more/less experience. The higher grades are always open to help with a technique and when practicing with a lower grade you get the opportunity to review some of the stuff you've done in the past. Additionally, the teaching environment isn't super strict like some very traditional dojos; we are welcome to chat and make comments (in moderation).

Proper technique is heavily emphasized in the instruction of Can-Ryu JJ by the two sensei. It's not about being able to throw someone using muscle strength - you learn how to throw/take-down/escape from a person of any size or shape through proper technique. As well as being very skilled, the two sensei at the dojo are fantastic at teaching and maintain a very down-to-earth attitude. It is very easy to approach them with questions or even just small talk about whatever. They are also very tech-savy!

Chris Yeh - Green belt, Can-Ryu-Jiu-jitsu


Review of Pacific Wave Jiu-jitsu (reposted from Yelp)

I started going to class as a student at Pacific Wave JJ two months ago, after seeing a review of another dojo written on Yelp by the school's sensei. She was kind enough (and savvy enough ;-) ) to point me to her own instructional programme after asking me some questions about what I was after.

Unlike most martial arts outfits, this school concentrates on one discipline -- Can-Ryu Jiu-Jitsu, which is developed and taught for practical, real-world self-defense. It's not a place where there are fifteen different styles to choose from (and therefore no direction, which IMO leads to student dropoff), nor is it a "Belt Clearinghouse." You can't buy grades here. Training at Pacific Wave JJ is not really for children and it's definitely not for egotists; the students and instructors are all after the same goals and we get there in the same rowboat.

As a first-time (completely green) martial artist my only exposure to training was watching an unhealthy number of kung fu movies, so I was not sure what to expect from "the real deal." There are two things that I think will be very pertinent to one's decision to start training in the martial arts at Pacific Wave JJ; since it's a relatively serious undertaking (financially, time-wise, and mentally) these are key factors in my continuing enjoyment of my studies.

First, the dojo is very welcoming to everyone. The "no macho attitude" approach is an ideal training environment because while we are each of us competitive, we do not learn at the expense of others; it's a very collaborative classroom environment with a wide cross section of people at all skill levels. I'm the lowest of the low in terms of my 'ranking,' yet everyone works together to practice and learn. Learning (and skill, growth) never comes at the expense of another student's ego or sense of accomplishment and that, in the usually-highly-charged world of martial arts, is rare and valuable to new students. You don't have to prove yourself to anyone but... yourself!

Second, the curriculum (Can-Ryu JJ) is particularly suitable for study by the new martial artist. Without getting into "Which style is better" debates which are all-pervasive, I can suggest that in Can-Ryu the student learns techniques and skills that are of immediate use in the real world, outside the dojo walls. The style is highly linked to social situations and it's immediately applicable to the types of conflict one might encounter on the street. It's very closely associated with the martial arts taught to police and correctional officers and the techniques see use in the real world, in the bars and neighborhoods you walk through, every single day. As such it's an extremely practical curriculum that doesn't teach you how to fight in an octagon (though we study such techniques due to the popularity and prevalence of Gracie) or against a specific opponent of your style.

Finally, a word on the instructors: Both sensei at the dojo are lifelong enthusiasts and have an open attitude to training. Though the dojo focuses on Can-Ryu Jiu-Jitsu many of the training sessions incorporate elements from other martial arts. This love of learning and of training is passed through to the students and is key to student retention. One feels as though one is part of a continual learning process and as a result it simply doesn't get boring.

One last thing: The school is very female-friendly; it is not about testosterone. It's great to see a good mix of people in classes because it helps us all learn and we are better for it!

Simon Wilson - Yellow Belt, Can-Ryu Jiu-jitsu


Pacific Wave Jiu-jitsu's instructors, in my opinion, are excellent. I have been a martial artist for over 18 years in karate and am a qualified instructor myself. I joined Pacific Wave Jiu-jitsu after extensive research into available local Jiu-jitsu training with the goal of becoming a more well-rounded martial artist. I have been very pleased with the quality of the training provided at Pacific Wave Jiu-jitsu. The instructors are very professional, enthusiastic and dedicated to the success of their students. I highly recommend Pacific Wave Jiu-jitsu as a dojo.

Les Andrew Sensei, 2nd Degree Black Belt Karate, Orange Belt Can-Ryu Jiu-jitsu


I had the great opportunity to learn from Lori Sensei in the Self Defense for Busy Women class. The techniques were effective and easy to remember. I am already a Tae Kwon Do black belt, but I believe the skills I've learned in my years of training wouldn't have been as practical nor as effective as the simple techniques Lori Sensei taught me. The class was fun and engaging, and the skills are invaluable. I recommend her class because her style of teaching makes for easy retention and a fast learning curve. I strongly encourage any woman who values her safety to take this awesome class!

Elizabeth Abela, "Self-Defense for Busy Women" participant, 2nd Degree Black Belt Tae Kwon Do


Pacific Wave Jiu-jitsu's classes are extremely well-organized & maintain the right level of discipline to encourage questions & focused training at all belt levels. Lori Sensei has impeccable judgment & knows exactly how much to push you to improve your skills. This has always been an important factor for me as I have always felt that a Sensei should have an encouraging attitude towards junior belts, not just the senior belts. Of course that is not to say that senior belts are neglected in this club!

I particularly appreciated the fact that there was no belt segregation as colour belts & white belts practiced different techniques together during class. This melts away any barrier between them & creates an amazing sense of camaraderie. The skills and techniques that you learn are practical & effective & are perfect for self-defense.

I am a huge fan of Pacific Wave Jiu-jitsu and the only reason I had to stop my training at yellow belt is because I had to relocate for school. Otherwise, there is no doubt that I would have continued my training under the guidance and wisdom of Lori sensei.

Ray Ng - Yellow Belt Can-Ryu Jiu-jitsu, Green Belt Judo


Lori O'Connell Sensei is the one! I learned how to be punched, squeezed and smashed in a smooth and instructive way. She taught us to defend ourselves, inspiring confidence by building on our experience one step at a time. Lori Sensei has a great quality: patience. When I had classes with her, I started as a white belt and slowly my colleagues and I achieved outstanding results. She carefully corrected my stances and helped me learn how to punch and protect myself. She has my trust and my gratitude.

Mauricio Kimura - Orange Belt, Can-Ryu Jiu-jitsu


Lori Sensei is a fantastic teacher who quickly earns the respect of her students.  During her time in Japan, she even impressed the other senseis who taught in Iwaki's community centre dojo. It's a real testament to her skills and ability to teach that, despite my being the largest student in her class by far (6'3", 210 lbs.), all of my fellow trainees were soon throwing and bouncing me off the mat!!!

John Loynes - Orange Belt Can-Ryu Jiu-jitsu


I learned Jiu-jitsu with Lori Sensei in Japan for two years.  The training was hard, but she was a very patient and committed teacher.  I learned a lot about the difference between strength and technique and how being a woman is no excuse for a lack of either!

Ruth Boley - Green Belt Can-Ryu Jiu-jitsu


Lori Sensei is always enthusiastic. Her classes are fun and full of energy. And you always come away from class having learned something.

Tim Gorjanc- 1st Degree Black Belt, Can-Ryu Jiu-jitsu


I was really nervous about training in a martial art for the first time, but the learning environment Lori Sensei created made me feel really comfortable and safe. She ensured my success by pushing enough to challenge me, but never more than I was ready for. Jiu-jitsu was a great experience!

Megan Wall - Orange Belt, Can-Ryu Jiu-jitsu


Lori Sensei's natural talent and easy manner is such that even the difficult techniques made sense and seemed less complicated. The class was so fluid, relaxed, and enjoyable, I was actually surprised when it came time to test, at how far I'd progressed as a martial artist under her expert leadership.

Ian Broom - Orange Belt, Can-Ryu-Jiu-jitsu