I've been training here for about two and a half years, on and off. This is a "classical" kyokushin dojo, part of IKO2 network (shinkyokushin). Classes are held three times a week, tuesday and thursday from 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm and saturday from 6.00 pm. However, those who want to train more, can do so, when the gym is free of other clases. Also, those who participate in competitions usually train more than three times/week, two months before the event.
A typical class would start with students bowing in the position of seiza, and a short period of silent meditation, also in seiza. After that, a half an hour warm up, including stretching, kicking and punching the air, various physical exercises such as push ups or sit ups. The class would continue with hitting pads and drills, and in the end sparring. Kids are training the same time with adults, but taken to a corner of the gym and trained separately by one of the assistants black-belts. Kihon is not taught every session, and kata even more casualy (usually this type of training is employed before competitons, stages and grading)
Fight training is knock-down type on Tuesday and Thursday. However on Saturday, we might put gloves on, and punching to the head is allowed.
Now, on the ratings:
I would rate my school with a nine. Almost all drils are performed in an alive manner. We exercise typical knock-down kumite combinations. Nothing fancy or impractical, students are encoureged to practice the combinations and hits that suits them. Contact in drills is a must, at least medium intensity, as body conditioning is very important in kyokushin. One example of a drill would be one student attacking only with the hands at 50-60% intensity, and the other must counter by blocking, evading, stepping in an angle, and follow with a combination of three, including a kick.
Sparring occurs almost every class. It's typical knock-down sparring, medium to hard contact with no other protections than shin pads(but this are not mandatory). You can sparr as hard as you and your opponent agrees. Sparring time is between 10 and 30 minutes, opponents being changed so you get to sparr people with diffrent size, style, skills or experience.
I would give here a 5, as it consists in 7-8 pads, two or three pairs of heavely used but still reliable boxing gloves, shin pads and two heavy bags. Students are encoureged to buy their own shin pads, as these are recommended in sparing.
Currently we train at the local wrestling gym, a pretty spacious facility (around 500 square metters) covered with good quality matts. We changed our training location several times, but could never complain of lack of space. However the present location is the best by far. I think 7 would be a honest rating.
Classes are pretty big (between 15 and sometimes 40 students) but the leading instructor is very involved and accesible. When there are many students we would usualy split in two or three groups, led by an assistant black-belt.
Definitely the place for beginners who want hard contact, realistic training without the fear of being bullied or beaten by arrogant badass wanna be. People are cooperative and friendly, however that doesn't mean you'll get borred in sparring. If you want hard sparring and can take it, this it what you'll get and there's a good chance you will be all black&blue on the body the next day. Higher grades are particularly modest and supportive. There are 3-4 guys who could easily finish me in less then one minute, but sparring them is the most instructive. They always force you to give your best, putting incresed pressure on you, and slowing down when they see you're outgunned or outgassed. During sparring they continously point your mistakes( i.e keeping your hands up, not letting your front-leg exposed to low-kicks, not being too static, asking you to throw combos and not isoletd hits etc.) I would give here a 9.
Very solid as we are a dojo knock-down competitions orientated. The leading instructor is a 3rd degree kyokushin black belt with lots of competition and teaching experience. We have a good full-contact team, and every year our representatives rank high in the Romanian National Championship, and regional tournements (Hungary, Croatia, etc). In 2007 one of our guys (Dorin Margarint) ranked third in the European Championship held in Vilnius, Lithuania in the heaviweight division.
here below you can see a high-light of our team in competitions. At 0:12 and 0:32 Dorin Margarint, at 0:21 Laura Simandan, and at 0:59 Lucian Cioara are some of our representative displaying a sample of quality kyokushin
YouTube - Budokai Competitii
And here below you have the 2007 European Championship semifinal in the heavyweight division lost by our man, Dorin Margarint in front of Donatas Imbarass who eventually went on of winning the event. The guy is some sort of Semmy Schilt, and I'm not looking for excuses. Dorin is 1,85 m and around 110 kilos and looks like kid compared to him.
YouTube - European Championship Vilnius 2007 Semifinal
So I think a 9 would be fair here
On saturday training is not strictly knock-down, as I mentioned above. One of the students is also a Judo black belt and shows us basic throwings, sprawl and som limited ground-work. However, we don't use in sparring or competitions grappling beside sweeps. So I'll give it a 4.
So, to sumarize:
Pros: good striking instruction, excellent atmosphere, good alive training
Cons: As I enjoy very much my dojo, I tend to be subjective. For me there are no cons, as it offers everything I need from a martial art. However, for those who want to be well rounded fighters or compete in systems like MMA, they will need to find adequate grappling instruction. Also, the equipment is far from last generation. One should keep in mind that the goal of this gym is not to produce pro-fighters but to provide an environement for amateurs who seek realistic training, hard sparring kyokushin style
Sorry for the eventual grammar errors or misspelings, English is not my first language.