Academy of Martial Arts (AMA Santa Barbara)
I'm going to try to be objective about this: Give the good, the bad, the ugly, and the awesome. I've been training at AMA for around 5 -6 years now, mostly in SAMBO but I have dabbled in kung fu, kickboxing, and have tried out the weapons course. For the sake of this review I'm not going to talk about the weapons and striking classes, since they are not my forte and I don't have anything to really compare them too.
Generally moves and sequences are initially practiced on a non resisting opponent, then moved into a more alive manner. At the end of the class we employ sparring/ grappling in which we get to practice the moves with resistance. The only reason for giving a 9 instead of a 10 is that we don't usually practice the moves within a "street fight" type of environment, with minimal protection and rules. During the higher belt testing these are done, not generally during regular class.
AMA has some awesome equipment! High on the list is the full MMA cage,which is the only one in the Santa Barbara area. Of course there are also heavy bags, focus mitts, thai pads, grappling dummies, kicking shields, crash mats, and anything else you need for martial arts training. Also there is a variety of exercise equipment including a treadmill, exercise bike, some kettle bells, rubber bands, and medicine balls. The only thing that keeps me from giving this a perfect 10 is the lack of weight lifting equipment in the studios.
Edit: Since my initital review the studio has gotten it's hands on a wide range of dumbells and other weight equipment. Score adjusted to a 10.
The studio is huge, the front room is more then enough space to have two different classes going simultaneity. Plus there is also a back room that has the cage and more mat room for another class.
There are times when we have a great ratio and everyone gets observation from the instructors. There are other times when it is up to one head instructor to run two different classes, in two different rooms, with one of the higher belts supervising. This works, but sometimes it can be frustrating when your not sure what is going to be taught in class or if you are unsure about something.
I love the studio, it's a great place to be around. Generally everyone is friendly and people have good attitudes. There isn't a lot of formality in the evening classes, it's more of people having a good time, joking around, but also learning how to hurt people. Plus Canadians are banned from entering, so thats cool. :icon_mrgr
We offer kung fu, boxing, and kickboxing. I will let another student evaluate the striking and weapons portion of the school
We do have great grappling instruction, but I'm not sure if calling it SAMBO is correct. We do a lot of leg work and throws, however we don't wear kurkas and recently switched from part time gi to no gi. Submission wrestling? Modified SAMBO? Whatever you want to call it, we have a great grappling program that teaches legitimate techniques with an emphases on developing a game plan for each person, rather then have everyone following the same strategy.
I give it a 9 for two reasons: the termination of having gi's gives us a disadvantage when competing in BJJ or Judo schools and I think it's important to know. My second reason for the 9 is that we don't really do that well in grappling tournaments due to us not grappling by competition rule sets and employing more of a "long/slow" game. I should note, however, that we did just added a competition team/class which I think will make a great impact in this area.
We offer staff, escrima, knife, and kenjitsu. I will allow others to rate this part.