Thanks for all the input, I will at some stage try some Judo (I couldn't find a Judo club that met the requirements you have described) but I have decided to go to a Goju-ryu club run by a 6th Dan Kevin Buxey after doing some research of various clubs in the area. They do full contact Karate so no "points scoring stuff" and run small classes with high grade Instructors and assistants with lots of years of training. I'll let you know how it goes.
From what I've seen of GKR, you will get your ass kicked repeatedly for at least a year, depending how many yudansha they have in the club.
in all fairness, I think that most GKR practitioners know no different. Not a fan of these guys, but I do know one or two people at a GKR club who seem happy enough. I always say that a true test of whether or not your training is any good is to attend an open to all styles training Gashuku (weekend course) and compare your level of quality to other students from other clubs of similar grade levels. If you can hold your own, question answered!!
My cousin does GKR and he came over on NYE to celebrate NY with us. We all got drunk and i told all the boys to go to the garage to have a couple rounds of sparring.
Needless to say he got CREAMED by all the boys.
He did however have an awesome reverse punch, which stopped dead in its tracks 2 inches away from us. LOL.
After i invited him to train at the gym with me and he said he felt really at home with GKR and that he will probably stick with them. It didn't surprise me though because while GKR is a massive mcdojo you really do feel welcomed by the people that train there. Its also non contact so he doesn't feel intimidated to walk into our fists like he did on New years.
a lot of clubs have the in-group mentality about things. I know that i've also felt it, and have been put off training at a gym because of the attitude.
It often happens when you come into a club and your the new kid on the block, but because you've been training since your 5, you seem to be able to do almost anything the teacher shows you in about 5 mins.
I also shut the **** up and train. You can get it everywhere you go.
I started training with GKR when I was 15. I think I was lucky because my sensei, although actually a brown belt, other stuff before, judo and other striking, so I learnt more than just GKR stuff. And for almost a year (I was training 4 nights a week) the classes were really small so we got to do an hour of sparring every night. Contact sparring. But I think I was lucky.
I also had friends who were doing wing chun, jiu jitsu, wrestling, muay thai who I would spar with on weekends, which made me far more aware of what was realistic or practical or not when training in GKR. Of course the instructors would complain about my form picked up from sparring with friends. That's when I knew it was time to do something else. I guess I was always more interested in what works and less about what is 'traditional' (how traditional is a australian karate form anyway?) - maybe that's what attracted me to the russian approach to martial arts.
That was before fully I switched to training in russian style.
I would say GKR is OK to start with for kids, or for exercise. Why not just do kickboxing workouts? If you want to do karate to learn to fight, do Kyokushin.