Stockholms Kyokushin Karate
I've been wanting to review Stockholm's main Kyokushin dojo for a while now, but I decided to wait a couple of months to get a better picture of how things go around here, so far, its good.
Stockholms Kyokushin Karate is *surprise* Stockholm's main Kyokushin dojo.
It is run by Shihan Brian Fitkin, and follows SKK (ShinKyokushin/IKO2) rules.
Training sessions aren't that long, 1¼ ~ 1½ hours, and can be from 2 - 5 days a week according to your grade, beginners only twice a week, to senior grades and blackbelts doing one or more sessions a day, five days a week.
The dojo offers classes for kids and grownups, pricing is by the season, anything from 4 to 6 months (January to June, September to December)
pricing varies between 100$ for six months (kids, just starting) to 200$ for six months (adults, advanced group),
Gi is not compulsory (at least for the whole first course), however you do need one for grading, and you can buy your own, or get it from them, costs the exact same as ordering online, prices depending on size and brand etc.
they offer a "test" first lesson, for which you pay 50kr, that is about 16~18$, and if you like what you see, the fee is then deducted from the course fees.
You can join in at any point in the course, providing the supervising blackbelt is satisfied with your stamina and technique etc.
Classes are small, student-to-teacher ratio generally does not exceed 20. Classes are overseen by Shihan Fitkin himself, or one of the other blackbelts.
Force, Technique, and safety are emphasized, Shihan Fitkin always reminds everyone to have their fingernails and toenails cut before sparring, and frequently stops someone if he is hitting too soft or too hard, or doing something wrong (guard down, feet set too wide, too narrow, someone is moving too slow, etc)
Free sparring is not allowed for white-belts, it begins with 10th Kyu upwards, lightweight gloves and shinguards are allowed, but not obligatory, and i've noticed when someone takes too long to put them on, he is told to "just begin without them".
Class always starts with one-minute meditation (I guess you just close your eyes and think of something, or not) then warm ups, then the activity of the day.
Warm-ups take about 45 minutes of class time, with the remaining divided between kata, basic techniques and sparring. usually Kata and technique are on the same day, that is warm-up, then technique (preparing for kata) then kata.
sparring gets a day all to its own, with warm-ups consisting of cardio, shadowboxing, and crunches.
Sparring is the standard no-face-punching you'd expect from kyokushin. Rotation in sessions allows juniors to train with several more experienced fighters, as well as preventing seniors from getting used to sparring with one or two people, maybe giving them someone who is heavier or taller.
Sparring is one day a week for 10th and 9th Kyu, which increases to 2 as you progress.
There's also a five-ten minute warm-down period at the end of each class, consisting of light groundwork, e.g. wrestling the other guy to the ground, being on back while preventing the standing partner from touching your shoulders, general stuff to build up stamina. no real grappling though.
I haven't noticed an actual fight team, perhaps members will be more visible for the upcoming dojo tournament in March (training harder, more often, etc)
However, tournament fighting is encouraged, and annual tournaments are held both in the dojo and on a national level. You need to talk to the shihan to be admitted to the nationals, while the local one is open for everyone 5th Kyu and upwards.
Equipment is very good, there are two muay thai heavy bags always hung, with four set aside should the need arise, kicking and punching pads (dunno the name?) are available for all students, and generally everyone brings their own shinguards and gloves but you can also loan from the dojo (cleansed and disinfected regularily) or buy from them as well. Plus there is a well-equipped weight room open for trainees before and after class, with supervision.
The atmosphere is very friendly and the instructors know most of the students by name.
Oh oh and no weapons training. None whatsoever.
That's all I can think of at the moment, I'll finish by saying I'm personally pleased with the quality of training here, although I would love an extra day of sparring.