Saeng Myong Martial Arts
Hello all, I have been training at Saeng Myong for almost 8 years now.I am also an assistant instructor at the school and have attained the rank of 1st dan. Here is my review:
The school overall is smaller and offers traditional...and I do mean traditional Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do and So rim northern mantis Kung Fu.
Aliveness: At Saeng Myong the level of sparring varies by age and rank. In lower level children (white/gold) contact is light or nonexistent but as they gain more control contact begins to become medium and more opponents are added. rating: 4-5
For Adults however sparring is medium contact and as ranks progress the adult is expected to fight 2 opponents (generally around red) and 3 at around the brown black level (this is the same for the kids but contact is lighter). rating: 6-7
Breaking is available to kids at orange belt boards are 6" by 12" 3/4inch pine although it is not required. (Liability issues)
For adults breaking is mandatory. Adult board size is 12" by 12" 3/4inch pine and bricks are the solid cap from home depot.
standard tang soo do white jacket
For kids and form of standard tae kwon do or point fighting armor
For adults Macho reinforced chestpad and helmet (with faceguard) and MMA style gloves.
The school just moved locations so almost all of the gear (pads and bags) are all brand new. There are around 10 bags, 2 BOB's, a hanging bag and other equipment (kicking shields, focus targets, mat, etc.) rating:8
rating: 8 I'm not sure the exact square footage but the school is fairly large and is located in an industrial complex. I doubt the school is above 7000 square feet though.
Instructor to student ratio: For kids classes are generally around 15 with the instructor (Sa Bom Nim Dennis Merta) and 1-2 other jr. instructors overseeing. Although the jr. instructors are there to help they are also there to learn how to teach. Generally one of the jr. instructors is of high rank brown/black and is at least 16 while the other is generally blue or red and can range in age, the younger jr. instructor is here to watch the higher rank and instructor conduct class and therefor learn how to do it themselves when they grow older or progress in rank. Also some of the higher jr. instructors and assitant instructors are state or regional champions and are nationally ranked. rating: 8
For adults the Kung Fu classes are generally 2-3 students so very small. The Tang Soo Do classes are generally 5-6 students. Both classes are taught by Sa Bom Nim Merta. Occasionally a black belt will run warm ups for the instructor or take over class if a client comes in. There is generally a black belt at every Tang Soo Do class. rating: 9
Atmosphere: The one thing I believe the school prides itself on is its family like atmosphere. There is a play area for kids seperate from the training floor as well as an area with chairs where parents and other friends or visitors can watch class. People with egos dont last at this school because they are quickly humbled. Within the school there are many people of many different ranks, ages, even students with developmental disabilities and so the school stresses understanding and respect. The higher ranking members hold these values high and will call out an individual if he is being egotistical or is humiliating another student. In adult classes the lower rank sets the pace and the higher rank follows that (If the lower rank decides to start hitting hard the higher rank will too...this is usually how egos are eliminated). Poeple train at there own pace and while testing might be encouraged it is certainly not mandatory. Some students might have trained for 9-10 years and be a brown belt. It is a no contract school with classes at between 95 to 110 dollars per month. Everyone at the school is friendly and there are no cliques really. We see the school itself as a family. rating: 10
Striking instruction: The school is more self defense oriented but still applies the same traditional MDK tang soo do techniques. The techniques sometimes vary in sparring situations for practicality purposes and so the style in this sense is flexible. The school does not expect the 60 year old man to throw a tornado kick in a self defense scenario. They teach both the traditional way and an individualized one but these are still mere guidelines. If something doesnt work for you in fighting change it. Kick techniques and hand techniques are equally emphasized and are worked every class. Floor drills or bag work is almost every day. All high ranking members have proven their technique through breaking or competition and so precision in teaching is virtually assured. For 1st degree the breaking of a brick is required unless there are special circumstances. rating: 9
Grappling instruction: For the most part throws are more emphasized than the ground work. Since it is a self defense school punching, scratching, tearing of eyes are techniques that are taught when getting someone on the ground. Basic armbars and chokeholds are taught and occasionally there are grappling seminars taught by a Saeng Myong student who is the World Champ in her division in BJJ. As I stated though the school is more self defense oriented and although there are armbars and chokeholds striking while in these submissions is also emphasized. Rating: 4-5
Weapons: Both bo staff and traditional chinese broadsword (not wushu grade) are taught in Kung fu and there is some fighting with padded weapons but nothing crazy. FORMS ARE EMPHASIZED. If a student hits an unintended target (wall, person, his own leg, floor) it is an automatic fail. In Tang Soo Do the only weapon that is wielded is a knife. The student learns the basics of knife offense and the larger complexities of knife vs unarmed defense. Knife defense is common in both Tang Soo Do and Kung Fu. Rating: 2-3
Overall the school is smaller but offers outstanding quality classes and a wonderful, positive, and motivating atmosphere. This is not a highly competitive school although some students have competed. It is a school based on individual growth and self defense. The one thing I can say about the school is that its not easy but thats the beauty of it. We say at Saeng Myong you earn your rank, not pay for it.
How well does your dojang do in free-style competitions? (not TKD/MDK competitions- as I believe they have limited striking)
For a 9 in striking: the dojang would have to have "pressure-tested, full range striking and proven success in limited restriction, top level competitions or high level self defense situations."
If your "Aliveness" is only a 6 or 7 then your striking instruction couldn't be a 9.
Who are the Instructors at your school? Also who is this "Saeng Myong student who is the World Champ in her division in BJJ"?
Sorry if I posted this wrong, as far as aliveness was concerned I thought it was talking about strictly contact which is reflected by the numbers I posted in that category. I didnt know instruction and atmosphere played a role. As far as competition goes the school does not require it by any means but some students do compete (mainly in the CKA or other open tournaments) but the fighting in the school for practice and testing is more realistic than in some of these competitions. The Saeng Myong sutdents name is Elizabeth Tran, she trained also at a BJJ school in Denver called Easton. Sorry if I was confused on the number rating system.
Originally Posted by sduncan8320
OK, make sure you read this carefully:
Can you please describe your "realistic" sparring? ...or even better can you provide a video of what your sparring looks like?
Also, do you mean "she trains also"or "she used to train"? What rank is she in BJJ?