Amazing experience at Kokoro Training Academy, from the quality of the instruction to the team atmosphere of fellow students. As someone who hates “working out”, Jiu Jitsu has been a fantastic way to get fit while not feeling stuck in a gym. Not to mention the self defense techniques I learned. Steve is very easy to talk with, and he will help anyone get involved no matter your skill or physical fitness level.
The instructors at Kokoro make this Jiu Jitsu gym the best in Springfield. They are very knowledgeable and are passionate about everyone being able to enjoy Jiu Jitsu, no matter the skill level. The community is fun and passionate. Jiu Jitsu can be challenging in the beginning but this gym makes the practice much more approachable!
“I started training with Steve in the Fall 2016 and couldn’t have asked for a more technical and safer environment. Steve has cultivated a culture of respect and care for each of his students which has helped to create a true team environment. Steve’s commitment to teaching Gracie Jiu Jitsu is at the forefront of every class with a focus on self-defense and practically applied groundwork. Besides his ability as a Jiu Jitsu practitioner and instructor, Steve is a great person to be around which is no surprise then that he has such a committed group of students.”
“I trained BJJ for five years before training with Steve. I had trained with several high level instructors and from the first time I rolled with Steve I could feel the difference. The game and lessons gained from time with the Rickson Gracie Association were what I wish I had found from the start. I enjoy the sport but was drawn to the self defense. Steve meets all of my expectations of what Gracie Jiu Jitsu should be. His attention to detail and depth of knowledge regarding the basics is unmatched in my opinion.”
I love this gym. Truly one of my favorite places to be. The people I’ve met through coming here are amazing and everyone is very welcoming. I walked in with out a lick of knowledge and have come to love Jiu Jitsu thanks to them. The instructors are very knowledgeable and have become like family to me. Highly recommend Kokoro!
“I am a 53 year old Firefighter, I have been training with Steve for over a year now and I will be honest, I was concerned about training in a style of martial art where I felt my age would be a disadvantage. Steve’s classes are focused on technique that works no matter your age, size or athletic ability. Steve teaches with humor and patience making the classes a great experience. My skills are improving along with my overall health. If you are interested in Jiu Jitsu I would highly recommend that you try a class with Steve.”
“There are black belts and there are black belts. Steve Haydock is the latter. What I mean is, yes, if you train BJJ long enough you will eventually earn yourself a black belt, but that doesn’t mean you live it, you breathe it, you wake up with a desire to spread that knowledge to others. Steve exemplifies what it means to be not just a BJJ black belt but a student, and I’m not just saying that because he has the ability to break all my limbs with a smile on his face. His teaching is high level yet simple. Master the basics and then go back and relearn them and that’s truly all you need to be one amazing grappler. I would consider uprooting my life to train with Steve on a regular basis.”
“Being a female entering into a male-dominated contact sport can be super intimidating, but my transition to Steve’s style of BJJ was anything but. Steve’s training is always fun, and he makes otherwise uncomfortable movements seem comfortable. He has taught me to use my weight and strength to my advantage against an attacker, and I feel confident that I can defend myself in any situation. Steve has helped me build both a confidence in my physical ability, and a confidence in myself in general. It really is so empowering to see what I am actually capable of. Steve’s style of Jiu Jitsu is available to any person, female or male, big or small. His teaching is individualized to each student, and his classes are a blast to attend. You won’t find better Jiu Jitsu in or around the Springfield area.”
“My daughter has been taking BJJ lessons for a year with Kokoro and absolutely LOVES it! She went from being not able to stand up for herself to a confident young lady. I cannot express how much BJJ has done for her self-esteem. The instructors are top notch and take their time really teaching proper techniques. I also love the team mentality as of Kokoro and the other members. It’s a great place to learn BJJ and be part of a team.”
“I’ve trained Jiu Jitsu under a multi time world champ, an IBJJF champ, and Professor Haydock; all three great coaches. I always did BJJ as a supplement to my Muay Thai and Striking training. I never wanted to train to be a ground fighter, until I trained at Kokoro. This is the type of Jiu Jitsu that suits the pragmatic martial artist; simple, effective, transferable, and lethal. Whether you want to learn self defense or competitive BJJ, it’s the basics and the principles that put the “martial” in the art. You master the principles and there is no need to learn 1000 techniques. And that is just my experience with Kokoro Jiu Jitsu. The culture and coaching is equally impressive. Steve has earned my highest recommendation as a BJJ instructor.”
“As a woman who didn’t grow up gifted athletically I have felt completely accepted and safe learning jiujitsu here. There’s no pressure to do anything I’m not comfortable with, the classes are fun, and everyone is friendly. The lessons are all accessible to beginners with no experience in jiujitsu because of the focus on fundamentals and because Steve is a great teacher and good at breaking concepts and techniques into manageable steps. I started in January of this year, and after a couple of weeks when I started noticing myself progressing I became addicted! For anyone interested I starting BJJ who may be on the fence, I recommend just coming to a class and you’ll see what I mean!”
“Everyone here is very down to earth, friendly, fun and helpful. I have been to many other BJJ places in town and recommend Kokoro above all others.”
“What I love about Steve Haydock’s teaching is you’re not just learning Jiu Jitsu for self-defense, you’re going through a process of self-exploration, and gain a better sense of self-awareness through Jiu Jitsu. This enhances your decision making process in life, whether it be your personal health, career, or relationships. Steve Haydock’s Jiu Jitsu changes lives, and it’s done in a controlled environment, free of judgement, with people who will become family. It’s a welcoming environment for All People, no matter your age, gender, athletic ability or lack thereof. You just have to make one decision to start the process of changing your life for the better, and that is to remove your fears or apprehensions, and step on the mat. If you do this you have already made it past the hardest part of Jiu Jitsu, which is showing up to your first class.”
Most fun “exercise” ever! The people here make all the difference, it’s the best environment and what they teach is so valuable to your life!
I have enjoyed Kokoro for a few months now. I highly recommend this school if you have a desire to learn this legit art or are needing a change in your workout routine. Instructors are highly motivated to pass on their knowledge!! See you on the mats!!!
This is by far the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu experience I’ve had in the Springfield area to date. Steve is a very gracious and comfortable teacher and a master of his craft. His instruction is geared towards a more traditional Jiu Jitsu with a concentration on self-defense and I’ve been blown away by his teaching. I’ve recommended his school to all of my friends and hope to see them there.
Steve’s school gets full marks from me for the quality of his instruction, the friendliness of his students, and the pricing, which is a great bargain for anyone interested in experimenting with Jiu Jitsu. I could not be more pleased with my decision to attend.
Wonderful family and team environment. Not only have I learnt a heck of a lot during my time here but I have shed a really good amount of weight.
The whole group is very welcoming and do their best to make you feel comfortable. There is endless amounts of knowledge and encouragement in the classes. And you’ll learn important things that could relate to situations any of us have the danger of coming across some day. Overall I say try it, you have it nothing to lose!