The Columbus Dojo teaches Okinawa Goshukan-Ryu which is a system which incorporates Okinawa Shuri-te karate and WuZhuQuan/5 Ancestor Fist kung fu. The general training is traditional karate with empahsis on conditioning, strength training, kata practice and application instruction. The kumite is hard contact/knockdown rules with mma type hand protection and full-face cage required. leg kicks are allowed and encouraged, takedowns and grappling are allowed.
The childrens' class and adults' classes are seperate as are the instructors. The children's class is taught by 2 female blackbelts (the head instructors wife and daughter).
The teen/adult class is taught by the head instructor and assisted by 1-3 other black belt students.
Aliveness: The training begins with group stretching, warmups, and kihon (basic kicks punches, etc.) then usually students pair off to work drills, self-defense, conditiioning, etc. Kata is taught in small groups according to rank, and led/overseen by a blackbelt. the head instructor moves around the mats giving feedback and individual instruction and correction during this time.
Self-defense drills are hard and fast (depending on the level of the student) and students are expected to defend properly or get hit/floored.
Kumite is hard contact, knockdown, tapout, or timelimit finish...no points.
Equipment: The floor is fully matted, but they are old and well worn; we have a couple of heavy bags, kicking shields, hand pads, muay thai pads, and makiwara. We also have some old hoju undo equipment, (chi-ishi, sashi) medicine balls, and kettlebells. I gave this a low rating because we could use some new bags especially some muay thai type bags..ours are old and worn out, and there's not enough of them.
The dojo also provides kumite equipment to loan for those that don't have it..it's also old and worn.
Gym Size: This gets a low score because this is a tiny dojo. the floor can get packed with more than 10 adults on the floor at the same time. There is one bathroom, a water fountain, and a small seating area when you walk in. the training floor is only about 600 sq ft.
Instructor/Student Ratio: This is great- our usal adult class has 10-12 students- 3 are black belts plus the head instructor. You get a lot of personal instruction and don't get lost or left behind.
Atmosphere/Attitude: The dojo is like a family, everyone honestly gets along great with the exception of a couple of siblings that train there. The training is hard, and the students are always encouraged to train harder and to push themselves.
Striking Instruction: Striking is emphasized heavily both closed and open hand, kicks especially front and roundhouse..a lot more leg kicks than I have seen in other Japanese and Okinawan styles. We do lots of heavy bag and pad drills almost every class.
Grappling Instruction: I gave this a 4 because we actually do grapple, practice, ukemi, chokes, joinlocks, etc. And we practice in real time drills and randori, not just theory. The head instructor has a background in Judo, so he teaches some judo throws, shimewaza, nagewaza, etc.
Weapons Instruction: This gets a low score because we do not have a formal weapons class or learn kata with wepons. we do contact and disarm training with the bo, short stick, and knife. This is taught only to adult students and the LE, and military get more training in this area than the general student body.
In general, i would say this is a good place to train, learn traditional karate and self-defense. no good if your'e looking for trophies or training to be a professional fighter.
There are a few clips at www.youtube.com/columbusdojo
some conditioning, kumite, a little grappling, kata, etc
I'm updating the equipment rating from 4 to a 6; we have added new MT bags Thai pads..now if can get some crash mats..the ukemi and breakfalls are a little jarring on the 1" mats over carpet/concrete!
update: 1/27/10: We got 2" crash mats today!!