Raleigh, NC - Gendai Martial Arts
This school also houses the World Hombu of Seki-Ryu Jiu Jitsu.
Now, this school... is so different than any Martial Arts dojo I have ever been apart of. In fact, it is one of the best I have ever trained at and if my schedule wasn't so jacked up I would be there still without question.
Throw out the dogis, quit focusing on belts, pluck the kata from your mind, and get ready to be challenged. (As a student you progress from: No belt to orange, green, brown, and then black. Soke Cobb is an 8th degree redbelt in his own style but holds 2nd-6th dans in other styles -- one of those dans being in Neko-Ryu Goshin Jitsu).
For instructor and founder information, heck man, read the website.
To clear up some information, there are no kids classes. Kids are taught alongside adults and are divided by skill category - Beginner, Intermediate/Law Enforcement, Advanced.
Soke Doug Cobb is not a man who minces words. He is highly vocal on the inefficiency of Traditional Martial Arts and wishes to see that replaced with effective combative principles versus perfection of pointless, complex or fine motor skill techniques that would never be used in an encounter where your skills would be utilized. Also, he is constantly drilling the fact that fighting is illegal, and gets students to remember they need to shout their intentions of non-conflict before they are forced into a dangerous encounter.
Soke Cobb, who is also a chemist, teaches an effective, gross motor skill martial art that, so far, I for one, have found hard to replace. Whether it is closing in, drilling opponents with a flurry blows, subduing persons with useful Jiu Jitsu/Judo & Wrestling (No-Gi) skills. I keep coming back to these skills over and over again in violent encounters.
Soke Cobb has trained under Shihan Danny Glover of Isshin-Ryu Karatedo & Shihan Ernie Cates as well as his son Moose Cates of Neko-Ryu Goshin Jitsu. Soke Cobb is currently training under Shihan Koepke of Seki-Ryu Jiu Jitsu.
You won't find high or spinning kicks here, same with archaic traditions steeped in mysticism. Simple put this is a no-nonsense self-defense system put under the scope of several scientific minds and this is the outcome.
Sparring is not the word I would use to describe how they apply the techniques. Encounter is the word that suits the situation.
An instructor will suit up in protected armor, that is not necessarily appendage friendly (I cut myself in my first series of encounters) and will engage in a scenario that you may find yourself in while out on the street and you will announce your intentions (and give your would be opponent a warning/request to leave), ultimately becoming a worst-case scenario where you will have to "do your thing" and take him/her down. You as the defender doing what is required to defend yourself, remove yourself from situation, and most importantly, get away safely.
I only wish the state's martial art of CRDT was even a sliver as good as this system.
The dojo is in a small warehouse with wrestling mats. There are punching bags and other related equipment around the dojo. No much else to say there, as I came to train not look at flowery wall decorations.
Aliveness - 8: Instruction is broken down into two phases: Speed practice and Slow practice. Speed to develop timing, awareness, etc. and slow practice to develop skill and a deep understand of how and when to apply the technique.
Equipment - 6: Large mats, punching bags, mitts, etc. its all been broken in, however, its been loved by its students and instructors alike. Nothing is worn out.
Gymnasium Size - 6: 3000 sq. feet should be enough for a small to intermediate class. You didn't feel like you were bumping into others unless you got thrown, broke the fall, and rolled into someone.
Instructor to Student Ratio - 9: More often than not Soke Cobb was always there from the warm-up to the end of class. His small but dedicated cadre of instructors were capable and knowledgeable persons. Usually a 4 student to 1 instructor ratio existed during class time, however, it has shrunk to 2 students to 1 depending on the class times.
Atmosphere - 6: It's a warehouse. Nuff said. However, Soke Cobb and the instructors are friendly and will give you a call from time to time and check on you if you have missed 2-3 classes to see if you are okay.
Striking Instruction - 7: It ain't pretty, but damn, it works. Various strikes are taught, nothing flashy. Combinations, too. These combos have been better to me than any kata I have ever learned.
Grappling Instruction - 7: Judo, Wrestling, and several other styles of Jiu Jitsu (No-Gi)... what's not to love? Throws, locks, take downs, sprawling, groundwork, etc. will be found here.
Full Contact Fight Team: I recall some students were working on competing at the Amateur level when I was enrolled here, but nothing official as I remember.
Pics of the dojo here.