Karatedo Honma Dojo
I have been studying at Karatedo Honma Dojo for about 4 months and love it here!
Honma Sensei is the real deal. He began training in Kyokushin Karate as a teenager in Japan and is highly experienced in other martial arts including Jiu-Jutsu and Sambo. It is actually difficult for me to list his credentials as his high level of humility restricts his talking about his own accomplishments.
I would describe the style as "Reconstructionist Karate" (this is my word, not his). He often speaks of how karate used to be a complete system; punches, kicks, throws etc. but has often been distilled into point fighting using limited techniques and targets. Our school re-incorporates these broader elements and bills itself as "Traditional and Progressive Japanese Martial Arts". There is also a lot of attention paid to delivering a proper technique with speed, accuracy, and power, not just plowing through someone with force, or tapping someone with a kick to earn a point.
There are separate classes for children and adults
A normal adult class has around a dozen students and all Karate classes are personally taught by Honma Sensei
A typical class consists of:
Kicks, punches, and blocks from various stances and footwork
Partnered drills and/or pad work
There are breathing, strength, and conditioning exercises interspersed throughout
Colored belts may (but are not required) to practice sparring after class
We also have a weekly grappling class
Now The Cons:
As with many martial arts classes in the pricey and crowded New York City, classes are held in a rehearsal space rented just for class times. (Although we are in the process of trying to open our own permanent home). This limits the number of classes available as well as the ability to practice during non-class times (sensei does encourage us to come early and practice on our own during the time our school has the space).
Equipment is also limited to some mats (for grappling) and kicking pads. (The heavy bag has arrived and will hopefully be installed by the time I get to class tonight).
The space isn't very large, so any more then 2 dozen students tends to get a bit cramped.
Great Review! I'm really interested in joining the Dojo. I'm looking for a real legit Martial Art class. Not a bullshit Tiger Schulmans Karate Class. What exactly is Sensei Honma like and what happens during the class? I was reading at the website that its $90 a month which is pretty good in my book.
thanks, you can find info about trying a free class etc. on the website honmadojo.com. Honma sensei i would best describe as how i would have pictured mr. miyagi in his mid- 30's...kinda tricky to describe, very . . . japanese, very polite, very humble, but read between the lines and you'll find an ability to throw guilt like a jewish grandmother.
Class usually starts with a basic warm up, followed by kihon- basic blocks, punches etc. in formal stances. Then we start working into combinations, usually each day or week has a theme, so it might be about a side step. and we'll work through a side step, side step with block, side step with counterattack. Work these with partners, newer students working against very simple attacks... defending a front kick and delivering a punch... while more experienced students might work against a roundhouse kick and counter with a sweep. But there is always an emphasis on the most basic part (getting out of the way) being most important and stressed. This part of class is also interchanged with some pad work. Normally we close with kata practice. Throughout class we also do our conditioning exercises, often between moving from one area of concentration to the next. After class there is additional sparring practice for those who wish to stay, all color belts. Sensei starts EVERYONE at white belt and usually those that have previous experience will very quickly be moved up to the level he feels appropriate. I think a lot of students that want to bust heads are turned away by this, not wanting to wait a couple months to start sparring. I think it is one of sensei's deliberate ways of weeding out egos.
Yes, the monthly tuition is $90/month, there are packages if you buy several months at once.
Hope this answered your questions
Thanks for this review. I have read about Honma Karate Dojo (I found the link via the NY Combat CAMBO website) and have been curious for quite a while about the training offered there. Can you comment further on the quality, intensity, hardness and rules of the sparring?
Oh yes, Honma sensei has trained there and I know at least one other student, from there who started karate when sensei opened his own school.
The quality is A+. Honma sensei seems to be the go-to guy from his other instructor friends over the minutae of technique and kata. Classes are moderately intense, set up to be a good middle ground for a variety of students fitness levels/abilities. . . then once in a while we have a class with more experienced and/or athletic students and you think you're going to drop. For sparring we always "light exchange" (emphasis on the quotation marks). body contact, very controlled kicks to the head, no punches to the face (at least not connecting), sweeps/takes downs are great but once we have someone down, and under control we don't really get into ground fighting (at least not yet). Sensei will push us harder and more intense...the biggest emphasis is really on control, and once he sees control, good technique, intent . . .not who can throw the most wild punches till the other guy is overwhelmed
Thanks for the fast reply. Sounds like a great place to train :)