Despite my miniscule experience from a month and a half of training there, I am going to review the actual class experience of the primary Guam Kyokushinkai dojo sequentially, according to the given ratings, along with my reasoning for rating it so.
Introduction, The Warm Up Process;
The warm up typically consumes a full hour of class time and includes a full range of leg and torso stretches, pushups, a variety of squats, crunches, leg lifts, neck exercises, and so forth, followed by intensive kihon. Depending on which senpai leads the class during the warm up, it ranges in intensity from exhausting but survivable to absolutely, delectably brutal, and afterwards we are either ready to fight, or ready to die. Then, after a short break, we practice moving kihon for another hour. Very occaisonally, twice so far as I have been attending, we practice a few kata, but they are by no means emphasized. Classes typically run from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
I rate this an eight, as hard sparring, with very few exceptions, is done every class session for the last half hour. The only concessions made to safety beyond the rules against hand strikes to the head and knee destroying is the usage of thin, simple shin guards, and that, I suspect, only because the class is comprised mostly of children and teenagers. In the sparring, hitting hard, hitting fast, hitting well, and hitting often is emphasized, though the students are constantly reminded to keep our guards up vocally by the black belts, and by being kicked in the head by the brown belts. Bruises are to be expected and welcomed as encouragement to block more and better.
I rate this a four, as, while there are a few pads and one heavy weight bag, none of it is used very often as, generally, the students are the pads. When training shin kick blocks no shin protection is used, which, while painful, toughens the shins quite well. On the plus side, all the equipment is in good condition!
Thirdly, Gym Size;
I rate this as a four, since there's no getting around it: We train in the basement. It is, however, a big freakin' basement, as they are, theoretically, rental conference rooms underneath the Days Inn, but I don't think they see much use in that capacity. As an important bonus on a really hot, really humid tropical island like Guam, said basement has functional air conditioning! On the minus side, the floors are carpeted, so it smells of mildew. Fortunately, it isn't that noticable after a few minutes of getting used to it.
Fourthly, Instructor/Student Ratio;
I rate this is an eight, as this is where the dojo really shines in my opinion. Typically the dojo has between two and four black belts in it, and while one black belt leads the class the others are constantly watching and prowling the class, correcting form, shouting encouragement, and making sure the fatter white belts(like myself) aren't blowing a valve and collapsing after a particularly intensive workout. Occaisonally the class is split up into two groups, one group being taken into another room with a black belt to themselves for specific training at the level of the students. Moreover, all the blackbelts are skilled, dedicated, and by no means above sparring with even the white belts.
I rate this another eight, as all the black belts and higher ranked students are friendly and generally concerned about the progress and skills of even the newest, crappiest white belts, correct mistakes in form in an informative, friendly, and occaisonally tough love manner. Moreover, mutual respect and friendliness is highly encouraged among all students.
Sixthly, Striking Instruction;
Yet another eight, as what is kyokushin without hard, mostly realistic, and well tested striking instruction? Almost everything learned is simple, effective, and strongly tested when the students spar with each other. Students learn to hit fast, hit hard, and keep their guard up or else receive the same fast, hard strikes on themselves.
Seventhly. Grappling Instruction;
Or, more specifically, the lack thereof, earning a solid one. Leg sweeps and simple takedowns are the extent of what I've seen.
Eighthly, Weapons Instruction;
Weh... pons? What are these... weh pons?
In conclusion, Guam Kyokushinkai offers good, hard, friendly kyokushin karate instruction for a fairly low monthly rate, with the minuses of having no grappling or weapon instruction, and being haunted by the faint smell of mildew. Children are willingly taught, but in the same class and held to the same standards of conduct, discipline, skill, and participation as the adults. Needless to say, Little Jimmy won't be earning his blackbelt before he's seventeen here.
That's a long class. And a long conditioning period. I did some Okinawan karate that had a 45 minute warmup and conditioning, and I thought that was too much. My Kyokushin Sensei told us to run and do sit ups on our own time - and in my case told me to lift to strengthen upper body. We had maybe 5 to 10 minute warmup and then right to training.
Sounds like a good school. Thanx
I suspect the workouts are rigorous as the black belts, and our nidan in particular, are firm believers in holding to the training standards of Kyokushin karateka in Japan. Needless to say, they have little mercy for the likes of me, but I try as hard as I can and hope that, eventually, I won't feel like dying after a particularly rigorous warmup.
Needless to say, I hold a lot of respect for the dojo, and, when I eventually move off this island, I'm really going to miss it. In the meantime, I'm going to try my hardest to actually become a tolerably decent karateka.
Interestingly, the Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Shidokan dojo I trained in for the previous ten months(and still go to when I'm not being brutalized too much by Kyokushin and college) before joining Kyokushin always has ten minute warmups then too much damned kata, which seems to be the opposite of your experience.
Edit - I'm not sure why the rating box popped up again, since I didn't change anything or check the "submit ratings" box. Maybe it's because I'm the OP? Eh, whatever; I'll just ignore it.