Short introduction: This club came into my attention when my brother joined it in late July when he quited taekwondo and got rejected at a local muay thai school (he was too young). I got slightly wary when I was frequently barred from sitting in on lessons (even though I promised that I would be as silent as humanly possible and not disturb the class. I even went as far as to offer to pay a bit to watch) and my style and experience was scoffed at by one of the teachers.

Aim: To see if the head instructor, or ANY of the instructors for that matter, actually have any certification or experience in martial arts.

Website: http://www.freshclub.com.hk/Martialartclub/13.htm (there isn't an english version but google translate would work miracles and there are alot of photos)

Claim to Fame by Head Instructor, Lau Kam Chueng
(red writing is what I am trying to find out and is currently feeling slightly suspicious about)

- Black belt 9th dan (in WHAT style and handed out by WHICH organization?)

- Best instructor award in 1987, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 (again, who handed it out?)

- Was the head judge at the 1989, 1992, 1993 and 1995 black belt competions held at places such as the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and various indoor sporting grounds (is there no evidence or any form of detail? black belt competion is a very broad term?)

- Participation in various broadcastings, both on radio and on television. I tried to search through the different series via youtube and by looking at documents recording the episode overviews but have found no evidence that he had been on tv or on radio. (Why? This could be because of a) I have bad research skills or b) he is making it all up...)

- Interviewed and written about by local newspapers (no such clippings were found)

Other points of suspicion (gained mostly from personal experience):
- they charge alot of money. for example, a grading costs $37 then if you pass, you have the honor of paying $6.5 for a belt, $12 for a patch of membership (WTF? Don't you get membership when you join in the first place?), $13 for a certificate (yeah, because paper costs alot nowadays) and $65 for sparring equipment. Which comes to a grand total of *drumroll* $133.5 for one grading. I know that training grounds takes money to rent and that it is reasonable to pay for martial art classes just like how people pay for other hobby classes (e.g. piano or soccer) but isn't that a...bit TOO MUCH? The grading for my brother barely lasted 20 minutes!!! Sounds abit like a money grabbing tactic to me...

-0% fail rate for grading. This can be because all the students are extremely gifted and hardworking (like Penn) or the club just passes everyone. No idea on which it is as...guess what? Yes, I got told that, even AS my brother's guardian for the day (my mum and dad were out on a business trip so I was the one responsible for getting him to the examination hall and back home) I was to be locked out as an audience may "unnerve" the kids too much and cause them to "underperform". While I do acknowledge that there is something called stage fright, I also want to ask the instructor if fighting against pressure isn't one of the very things that martial arts is teaching students to do? Fail logic, in my reasoning.

- Eight year old black belts...oh, and adults who can fling them across the room but just started lessons are apprantly meant to bow to them and call them their 'seniors' Yay~

- 'Closed' classes (as mentioned above, no chance of seeing the kids in class is avaliable).

- Bad technique. One of the students I met could not do a simple front kick the end of his sixth lesson correctly. I realize the fact that some people are just not as coordinated as others, but really? 9 hours worth of lessons (each lesson is 1.5 hours long) and not even knowing how to perform such a basic strike?

- Most of the techniques I have seen, including but not limited to, the front kick, side kick, turning/roundhouse kick, back kick and front punch/jab are identical to the ones taught by all WTF tkd dojang. The belt rankings are also the same...

What do you guys recommend I do? I emailed the centre trying to get them to clarify what they put up on their internet but got no reply...

Btw, here is a page of their instructors demonstrating: http://www.freshclub.com.hk/Martialartclub/04.asp

(click on the tab on the website for for more demonstration photos)