Maum Sin Yong Tae Kwon Do
First let me say that I am affiliated with the school so my info below is of course biased but it is honest.
Maum Sin Yong (Of the Mind) or MSY for short has been teaching in the Aurora Colorado area for 20+ years. Currently they teach at the Beck Recreation Cetner on M-W-Sat and at Fletcher Middle School T-Th and they offer several after school programs through the City of Aurora.
The lead instructor is Karen Kramer (5th Dan BB) and she has several ranking Black Belts that help teach the various classes. The main body of instructors are in good shape and train hard in their classes and teach well when they are asked to teach.
The school's base style is ITF like TaeKwon Do with some Judo blended, some Japanese JuiJitsu and some Chinese Kenpo.
Their are classes offered for kids from ages 4 up to 17 as well as adults. The costs are $36.00 per month unlimited classes or $45.00 if you are not an Aurora Resident. It is not a profesional gym, it is a recreation program. Most if not all of the instructoors are teaching as volunteers. Any student is open to join regardless of their physical status.
MSY is not a McDojang or a belt factory. In fact, we sometimes don't test often enough. A typical length between white belt and black belt for a student who trains two time a week with little breaks will test in approximately 4 years for a black belt. Some will take less and many take more. As an example, my son started training when he was five years old, he is now 11 and is scheduled to test in September next year. He will have been training foor seven years as an under belt. We think this is OK since he started so young and it is just until now that his body is able to do what a BB should be able to do.
The program runs two intermural tournaments per year and actively participates in the Colorado Karate Association (CKA) tournaments as well.
They train using continuous fighting rules similar to a traditional ITF gym but use CKA fighting rules in their tournaments (Continuous Tournaments have much higher insurance requirements ). They have several Judo and Juijitsu instructors who help train the students for ground fighting but the grapling is not their string point nor is it advertised as such.
Weapons training is not part of the core corriculumn but is offered to higher ranks on Saturdays.
They have a kids and adults demo team that mostly practises as there are not a lot of opportunities to go and demo. Three times a year at the most and it is usually at a church picnic or at a city function. The Demo Teams are really something for the type A students who can;t seem to get enough regular training. The demo team costs nothing extra but is by invite only, usually, if a student asks to participate they are then invited. :-)
The forms style they teach is the traditional Chan Hon style Chon-Ji, Dan Gun, Do San, etcetera. They do not teach the tradition Sinewave transitions but more like the ITF did the forms in the 80's. They are not affilitated with any other large organizations like the ATA or ITF.
New students are usually placed with a higher ranking student for two class sessions to learn the basic stances and forms (Right/Left 4-direction punch) and then they are released to the regular class. Class for the kids is usually broken into stations where an instructor will work on a particular set of techniques for 15 or so minutes and then the student groups will rotate to a new station. Stations are line techniques, step sparring, grappling, Self Defense, Forms-Patterns and the students are either broken up by age or rank, never by gender. Often when asked by the new students about equipment the new student or the parent is advised to let them work out in their comfortable street clothes until they decide it is something they want to do. The gym sells uniforms at cost plus shipping and also sparring equipment at the same rate. Not a profit center at all, more of a student convinence.
The school has adequete equipment, not the best. The school has good number of knowledable instructors whom have been weel trained and are well diversified in other martial arts. If you are looking for a hard core MMA type gym, MSY is not the place for you but if you are looking for a solid TKD school that will provide all the things that a MA school should provide, MSY is a good school to accomplish these things.
OK guys, fire away with the replies.