Enshin Karate Texas Branch
Enshin of Austin
Howdy, I'm a Noob, if you can't tell by my info, and I didn't see a review for the school I attend so… read it. lol
Enshin Karate Texas Branch(Austin, TX)
A quick background before I go into ratings. The head instructor is Sensei Andrew Budd. Sensei Budd trained under Kancho Ninomiya before fighting in the '99 World Sabaki Challenge where he won the Sabaki Spirit Award for his efforts. Enshin Karate is a knock-down style karate that focuses on using Sabaki(blind spot techniques) to defeat your opponent. It allows grabs and throws on top of the bare knuckle karate but they must be completed quickly and cleanly within a 3 second window. Holding for any longer is penalized in order to help make the action non stop.
Aliveness: 7-8 Eight is probably pushing it a little but here's the rationale. Its a full contact, bare knuckle style. I go 5 times a week when I am able. Two days of heavy bag training and 3 days of traditional. We tend to spar on all three traditional days and most often do body conditioning(getting hit and kicked, not doing crunches) on the other two. Gear involves a groin protector, mouth piece and shin pads. Depending on your partner's level the sparring could be anywhere from %50 power to %90 if he's rarin' to go(or simply that much better than you). It's always good technique and there are no macho dweebs to deal with. You get a great sweat and if you push it, you go home bruised and happy.
Equipment: 2 Bring your own. Buy a cup, buy a mouth piece and the instructor will sell you a shiny new gi and shin pads. That's it. No helmets or gloves here.
Gym Size: 6-7 The classes are held at a rec center. The room is around 1000+(I'm guessing) The kids classes are always packed. I couldn't tell you if they were tripping over people or not since little kids just tend to fall over for no reason. But the Adult class is a lot easier to deal with. A crowded class will have around 16-20 people. Expect it to be more personal.
Instructor/Student Ratio: 9-10 I added 9 in there because a few black belts may end up helping if Sensei is busy helping someone else. Otherwise, you get the head instructor all the time.
Striking Instruction: 8-9 When I win the Sabaki Challenge twice I'll re-rate this to 10. Until then its all the instructor with a good crop of students and one competitor who has competed in the World Sabaki Championships three times getting 2nd in 2010.
Grappling Instruction: 4 The school instruction is more of a hobby. Its not for ranking and we don't compete with it. Its just a supplement on Saturdays for an hour after class. The style is Judo Newaza(grappling. No throws)
Weapons: One of the students is a military sniper. He leaves his weapons at home. That's as close to weapons as we get. lol
Simply put, if you like bare knuckle karate but you don't want to just stand in front of someone if they are bigger and meaner than you and you like the secondary option of throwing them on their butt so you can stomp them or sub them then this is probably a good place for you. The school is small and intimate with excellent instruction and a few bad asses to test yourself against if you want it and if you don't that's cool too.