5/02/2008 9:04am,
Dear Aggrieved School Member/Owner:

Please understand that our reviewing system is a) meant to work off factual criteria and b) geared toward the needs of those looking for alive, full contact training. Understand as well that our review system is not Olympic scoring and a 5-9 is an average to above average rating, not an insult. Finally, please also consider that our rating system tries to do the difficult job of creating a range that can encompass every school.

So far the only other review to net several deserved "10s" is a member's review of the American Top Team training facility in Coconut Creek, Florida. This complex is a 10000+ square foot mecca for aspiring pro fighters with a full weight yard, a matted instruction surface, rings, cages, full lockers, parking, etc. Further, that school has grappling and BJJ instructors who are multi-time world champions, Muay Thai, MMA and Boxing instructors who hold titles in many different organizations or have been members of their respective US Olympic team at one time or another. That's what your school is rated against and should be compared to when you think your striking or grappling instruction is a 10.

The only other tens I would anticipate handing out would be too say, an OTC facility or a large college's boxing or wrestling program - a 'ten' implies a facility that is top of the line in every, single way. Most people don't want to pay for a 10, and most people aren't dedicated to training in the way 10s require of their students. A rating less then 10 is not damning, it is normal.

Our system is meant to run from 1-2 (don't train here for this category, i.e., don't go to a exclusively BJJ school if you want to learn good striking skills) to 9-10 (train here for going pro in full contact) - your neighborhood karate center getting 4-7s shows the system to be functioning. People who are your chosen market - mothers with children, ordinary community members who need/want exercise and some self defense - are not going to consider your school if your own rating indicates it is geared toward professional fighters. Likewise if people looking for what a 10 offers in a school come to visit yours, will they find what they want, or will they waste their time and your own?

If your school gets a review you don't agree with, you aren't going to counter it by 1) pointlessly arguing with the reviewer about his motivation or 2) saying "ALL LIES COME SEE" - if you don't teach full contact, tell why. If you do something out of tradition or respect for your lineage, explain and contextualize it. If your view of the school and particular aspect of training within your school differs explain why you view differs and ensure your rating is consistent with these guidelines. Remember, a low number rating is simply a classification of the curriculum taught, NOT a derogatory statement about your school.

Use the criticism as an opportunity to explain the value you place on things like tradition, instead. If you feel a reviewer omitted or missed something, post that information along with your own, honest, review instead of giving yourself "high" scores which may not actually reflect your facility or curriculum and may actually misinform a consumer who is considering going to your school.

I hope this explanation helps you understand why you received the rating you did and motivates you to revise your ratings honestly, in keeping with our guidelines.


1: No sparring/contact, performance demonstration/forms only.
2-3: Compliant partner drills, board breaking, point sparring
4-5: Light contact continuous sparring (negligible pain/risk).
6-7: Medium contact with excessive safety gear.
8-9: Hard contact with reasonable safety gear and/or limited to one range of fighting (standup/grappling).
10: Regular (monthly or less) skill testing via full contact, full range fighting, minimum safety equipment.


1: What equipment?
2-4: Bring your own.
5: Basic relevant essentials, may be heavily used.
6-7: Respectable equipment, somewhat worn.
8-9: Excellent, new condition, latest gear.
10: Superior equipment (full ring/cage, etc)

Gym Size:

1: Bedroom in your parents' house.
2: We train in the garage.
3: We train in the basement.
4: But it's a freakin' big basement.
5: We train at the park
6: Actual dedicated commercial space, somewhat small but functional.
7: +2
8: Plenty of room to roll/spar without tripping over people
9: 5,000-10,000 sq ft.
10: 10,000 sq ft.

Instructor/Student Ratio:

1: I am my own instructor.
2: I've met the lead instructor, once.
3: I see my lead instructor every class, through the window to his office.
4-5: Instructor opens class, senior students complete it.
6-7: large class but instructor is accessible and oversees most classes.
8-9: Smaller classes, instructor or highly qualified (master level) assistant instructors in small groups.
10: Highly personal attention from top instructors.


1-5: Everyone's a douchebag/tough guy/pansy to corresponding degrees and/or drama.
6-7: Fairly impersonal, various cliques or noticeable drama.
8-10: Open, supportive but challenging, bizarro hippy ass-beating love fest.

Striking Instruction:

1-3: No striking.
4-5: Striking for punching/kicking only and/or limited purposes (demonstration, highly restrictive sport).
6-7: Comprehensive striking (all ranges) or superior single range striking with success in local/regional competition or practical application.
8-9: Pressure-tested, full range striking and proven success in limited restriction, top level competitions or high level self defense situations.
10: Superior excellence including A-level competitors/instructors

Grappling Instruction:

1-3: No grappling. Anti-grappling.
4-5: Limited single sub-range (standing, clinch, ground only).
6-7: Comprehensive grappling with success in local/regional competition or practical application (LEO, military).
8-9: Pressure-tested, full range grappling and proven success in limited restriction, top level competitions or high level self defense situations.
10: Superior excellence including A-level competitors/instructors


1: No contact, performance demonstration/forms only.
2-3: Compliant partner drills and preset encounters
4-5: Light continuous alive sparring (negligible pain/risk).
6-7: Medium contact with excessive safety gear. (some pain and/or wide variety of realistic weapons)
8: Hard contact with reasonable safety gear (pain and/or some blood)
9: 8 but with various weapons. Tournament winners, proven success in limited restriction, top level competitions or high level self defense situations.
10: Superior excellence. Regular (quarterly or less) skill testing via full contact, full range fighting, minimum safety equipment. (Pain, Blood, bone breaking and/or death)

5/09/2008 5:40am,
i think this is more realistic scoring

6/28/2009 12:38am,
The reason why we don't do full contact sparring is because we teach a lot of different body types, ages and abilities . In all honesty most people can't handle full contact and that is our target audience, everybody. We do practice something called randori, which is actually about as close to a real fight as you can get with out having a real fight which at higher levels has a very high level of aliveness ( about an 8 ). I hope we can put that online sometime.
Good rating system :) Thank you for posting this :)
I would also have rated our striking a 10 if we worked on conditioning more but as is its a 9. Our assistant instructor was ranked 4th in the midwest in Tae Kwon Do and a former full contact kick boxing and both instructors have good boxing experince and have been in quite a few altercations.
One funny story for the head instuctor is that he once won a knife fight...with a comb and ironically he's bald.

I must say i dont entirely agree with the criteria for where " partner Drills" are placed. While it is compliant, they are only compliant to the point where they act like they dont know it's coming. A lot of people take
"Aliveness" in drills to mean that the attacker resists to the exact manouver that the defender is performing, which is a mistake. A good partner simply responds naturally while not inenentionally messing up with the technique. But really i'd only knock it up to 4-5 anyway so i'm not sure while i'm complaining.

8/16/2011 4:20pm,
Ok, I read it. I got it! Thanks

9/05/2011 1:12am,
mmkk. got it

9/05/2011 1:27am,
My 'dojo' review.
Aliveness: Me punching the **** out of a floor to ceiling bag. occasionaly a wrestle with my brother.
Equipment: My Everlast MMA gloves and a floor to ceiling punch bag.
Gym size: My house, usually outside in backyard, so plenty of room.
Student/Teacher ratio: My bro is fuckn pro, but when he's not here it's self taught. (not nearly as effective).
Atmosphere/attitude: It's just me most of the time. And when my brother is over it's alot more fun.
Striking instuction: I'm taught well, then i apply it on my own.
Grappling Instruction: ^^^
Weapons: umm, if i sparred with my brother i'd get demolished, but he shows me things 1 on 1, and gets me to practice on him.