"Lynn Valley Martial Arts", North Vancouver, BC, Canada
So, as my first contributive post to Bullshido, I decided to review a Krav Maga/MMA dojo I've been training at for a couple years and provide my thoughts behind the ratings. Admittedly, it is a bit of a flawed review, as I am only able to train there a few months at a time before I head back to Ontario for school, but it's the best dojo/gym I've ever trained at. That being said, favouritism takes precedence
Aliveness - 8:
This one's an interesting category because I think it should be called combat intensity, or at least that's what I'm going to consider it to be. Anyways, the combative intensity varies significantly depending on the mood those involved are in. There aren't that many regular fighters - probably 7 or 8 of us in total - but the intensity corresponds to the mood we're in, from some non-striking groundfighting, to gloves, shinpads and (sometimes) headgear for stand-up. Regulations are restricted by what the fighters are willing to tolerate and are often supervised by an instructor.
Equipment - 6:
Good quality equipment provided - tombstones, kicking pads, gloves, stand-up punching bags, well-maintained mats (aside from occasional stubborn bloodstains), rubber knives/guns - with some additional equipment available for purchase.
Gym Size - 6:
It's big enough for four or five very energetic roly-poly groundfights.
Instructor/Student Ratio - 7:
I'm not sure what an objective classification for a "large" class would be, but a large class to me is about one instructor and an assistant for 16-18 people. In our dojo, we generally have 8 - 12 people, with one or two instructors, at least two assistants, and experienced students provide positive support when paired with less-experienced ones.
Atmosphere/Attitude - 8:
There is no judgement applied to newbies; my greatest critic when I began was myself. Generic "orders" are given that often push you to your limit - many of the workouts are intended to be nearly impossible just to keep you constantly moving - but that is the most invasive an interaction will get.
Striking Instruction - 7:
Striking training focuses more on the training element until you demonstrate some initiative and spar with others on your own, but strikes use all points of the body (though we do seem to prefer the knee).
Grappling Instruction - 7:
Groundfighting instruction is based on what situations you get into when you simply try to make your opponent submit. A few moves are taught and run through a few times at the beginning of instruction (after the "warm-up"); after, students are loosed on each other in varying size/weight pairings.
Weapons - 4:
We do some rubber knife fighting and some rubber/metal gun fighting. Nothing really serious and techniques are more often oriented toward the unarmed individual (disarming), but we do learn strikes and have "free assault" time where we just run around trying to stab each other. Also, the drills aren't compliant (or 3-like)
Overall - 6.875:
Worth your time and money, and will push you for a good training session almost every single time you go; I was unable to write my name while signing the papers when I began training, but have since reduced this to simply shaking involuntarily. There is a team you can join to be trained for international competitions if that is what you're interested in, and, as of September of this year, you must fight a "rhinoman" (or well-padded person) while unprotected yourself to move up in levels.
Let me know if there's anything about the dojo I missed or elabourated on anything inappropriately. I understand the objective system's intent, but I can't say for sure I've clicked with it intuitively. I'm also really frigging tired right now.