Inner Circle Martial Arts
I trained at Inner Circle Martial Arts from 2002 to 2005 under Craig Holmes and his wife Charmaine (I'm probably not spelling her name right).
While I would rate the atmosphere and dedication of instruction very high, the program in which I participated was very casual. The students were on a first-name basis with the instructor, and barring the occasional tension / disagreement between Craig and his most senior student, it was a friendly and fun program.
According to Craig, the kickboxing taught in the program in which I participated was a mix of Muay Thai, Fillipino, North American kickboxing, and boxing. We were taught punches, kicks, knees, elbows, standing grapples, and even some ground fighting when the class was large enough (by far the most painful classes in which I participated). Our equipment was always clean and any damage sustained to to the bags or dummy was immediately dealt with.
The kickboxing sessions were divided into segments.
- Warmups, which included push-ups, jumping jacks, jogging in place, footwork, and various stretches (not in that order).
- Instruction for new and returning students in proper stances and basic strikes.
- Stations, where students would be assigned to different sections of the gym to train for a certain amount of time (usually a few minutes) on the speedbag, standing bag, hanging bag, training dummy, shadowboxing, or jump rope.
- If there was time after stations, instruction in a specific technique (for example, we would line up to perform various kicks on the standing bag, and Craig would evaluate our proficiency).
- Cool-down stretches including leg-stretches, leg lifts, and crunches
There were no belts or rankings in this program which was odd to me at first, particularly because the rest of the programs taught at the school (Hapkido, Kuk Sool Wan, self-defense, and a children's class) had belt rankings. However, as I trained, I realized that the casual atmosphere of the class and the fact that anybody could participate in the class at any time regardless of prior training made it very accessible as something of an "entry" program. The lack of a belt or ranking system in the program made sense, to some extent.
Despite this, I chose to stick with that particular program until Inner Circle Martial Arts closed in 2005 due to Craig's ailing health and a lack of attendance and therefore lack of funding.
I regret not being able to provide much (see also: any) information on the other programs at Inner Circle, as I didn't participate in those.