Kempo Ryu Karate Sydney (Burwood)
First of all...early HAPPY NEW YEAR! Wishing you bullies all the best in 2012 both in your martial art and other endeavors! Its around noon in Aus right now and I am typing this up as my friends are out shopping in anticipation of the NYE party. So, without further ado...
How it all started:
My eleven year old brother and I went out for lunch around a month ago at the local shopping centre (Westfield's). Since the food court was crowded, my brother bags our seats whilst I went to the Oporto counter to grab both of our lunches. When I came back, he showed me a black and white A4 page given out to him by a man who was circulating the place asking people (both adults and kids alike) if they would like to "check out karate".
On the sheet, stated in classic Times New Roman, was the school's name, the teacher's name and rank, the times classes were held as well as the address. 'Two Free Classes and Free Uniform Upon Joining' were also bolded on the leaflet.
Since my brother have wanted to learn a martial art and the other choices on offer in our suburb were mcdojo japanese jiu jitsu, Jim Fung wing chun, akido and taekwondo (there was also boxing but it was for 16+),both of us ended up signing up for the trial (me there to make it more comfortable for him- not giving up boxing, mate!).
I would have thought having an instructor well-versed in full contact sparring would have resulted in a highly dynamic class with emphasis on techniques which worked when tested under pressure. In fact, the official school website stated that the instructor, Ms Margaret Le, was meant to be a KYOUKUSHIN WOLRD CUP CHAMPION. ( proof: http://www.kemporyu.com/index_files/...ity_Counts.htm)
How disappointed I was.
I was there for a total of two weeks (I went there and got told that two lessons were too short and I could extend my trial to a fortnight provided I show enough dedication in my training) and attended a grand total of four classes. Out of them four, only the last class had sparring- the other was compromised of hitting the air, medication/deep breathing, kata and one/two step drills (to my utter horror, I was matched up to an eight year old who was told to stand five or six feet away from me as we kicked at one another like one will play Kinect). The sparring was put simply...atrocious.
Like any good bullshido forum member, I volunteered to participate but Sensei told me that beginners didn't get to spar- not until they got their green belt (around a year in). I informed her politely that I had experience in western boxing and have just had my first amateur boxing match.
Her *abruptly*: "But boxing and karate is different."
Me *patiently*: "Yes, I understand. I am willing to follow whatever rule set you have..I just want to experience the difference in moves with my own body in real time."
Her "Its not that. Karate is much more dangerous, even life threatening"
....OKAY. I stepped back, intrigued and expecting a bloodfest only to watch middle age men eye up each other for half the round, spam straight punches into each others chest and to throw kicks which failed to reach chest level (and no, they weren't purposely trying to throw low kicks either). There were zero blocking (none of the cross block stuff), little to no movement of any sort (no head movement, no foot work..imagine rock and sock robots) and their hands were down. No wonder it was deadly.
Basically BYO but worse. The guys/gals there are forced to buy official dojo branded sparring gear (at inflated prices I'd imagine) which are as flimsy as they come (I mean, its not even synthetic leather covering those helmets..its plastic!). This includes helmet, shinpads, arm pads, body protector and others...even their gym bag has the school logo on it.
There are no BOBS, punching bags or anything in the dojo since it class takes place in a scouts hall. Well, there is a rock climbing wall on the right of the classroom but that is never used.
Gym Size: 5
They rented the Scouts Hall as previously stated. Around the size of two or three garages I'd imagine.
A senior student gets chosen to lead the warm ups which takes 20 minutes of the 90 minute class whilst Sensei goes to "organize the books". Warm ups are usually stuff that could be done at home and is pretty general (push ups, stretches, jogging around and on). Sensei does not disappear into a room but is visibly distracted from her students.
There are usually around 20 students and there is always but one instructor. Instructor could remember my name and I used to do boxing, but if she personally directed comments at you more than thrice in a lesson you know its a good day.
I am used to having my name called out in welcome the moment I step into my boxing gym as well as the notion of having a cold beer with everyone after a fierce workout. I am also used to the warm handshakes and friendly smiles at the end of the class in a more traditional setting like when I still did judo.
Don't expect anything like this here.
Sure, there is bowing- TONS of it. You bow to Sensei at the beginning, you bow to your seniors and sensei at the end, you bow when you leave the room, you bow when sensei finishes addressing you etc but there is a certain stiffness in the way students interact.
There is no smiling and the politeness seems a little forced. This may be due to the 'no talking at all' rule in class (unless you are a senior helping out a junior student) and that everyone kind of leaves once lesson finishes. I don't think I notice, if there are any at all, extra out-of-class meet ups either.
Striking Instruction: 5
As explained above. Very rigid. Very structured. People are taught with all eight points but the strikes are aimed to be used whilst grading or in a highly restrictive competitions (think WTF tkd rules here...its not that far off).
"You won't have to go to the ground if you have good enough striking skills" attitude
Overall comment/outcome: My little brother ended up not joining and we left once the free classes were over (and this is not out of cheapness. Mind you- if the instruction had been decent, my brother WOULD have signed up). I was meant to have a rest from boxing after my match and arrived back at the gym in due course.
It was good to see female representatives in the martial art world, especially as teachers, but the Sensei was disappointing to say the least.
All in all- the typical image conveyed in Bullshido about TMAs refusing to train in an alive manner.
Details about club:
Class times: Monday- 6:30-8:00pm, Sunday 11:00-12:30pm (adults)
Monday- 6:00-7:30pm, Sunday 11:00-12:00pm (kids)
NOTE: IT IS COMPULSORY TO ATTEND BOTH CLASSES ON MONDAY AND THEN ON SUNDAY IF YOU WANT TO ADVANCE.
Cost: $75 for adults, $60 for kids (per month)- no drop ins.
Affliation: Kempo Ryu Karate Sydney
This is a class run by the headquarters of their affliated association. It is fairly similar of what happened during the two weeks.
Last edited by Katriona1992; 12/30/2011 12:58am at .
I've met some of these guys and competed at one of their amac tournaments. That review is pretty much what I'd expect.
The good ol' one size fits all, blueprint for fighting, ideology seems to be the norm in their inner circle of sychophants.
Some of their guys go alright at amac... but that is their own tournament, with restrictive rules.
Is this the MAC we're talking about :Sweaty:
Sooooo intense...nearly dropped my bowl of mi goreng when he started kia-ing
Nah, its Amac. In a nutshell... Krotty.
This is Karate 101. I have studied at 6 different dojos around the US and it was pretty much the same thing everywhere. I am now in an MMA gym where Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Shidokan Karate are taught. You spar from day one. Got my first busted lip about two months in and my first bloody nose about three months in. I'm in my seventh month now and anticipate a black eye any day! If you want to fight, join an MMA gym not a traditional Karate Dojo.
You know, if your getting black eyes every day and your boasting about how bad your getting fucked up then you might want to start looking for a better gym as it sounds like your doing something terribly wrong and your not getting corrected on it.
Originally Posted by deelee18
Your don't sound like your learning to fight there, just learning to get your arse kicked on a regular basis and that's not a good way to train unless your a sadomasochistic. Also, no gym should allow day one sparring unless its under very special circumstances.
Though not being able to spar until Green belt is equally excessive. A good gym should give you around a week first for you to get familiar with things and while injuries can happen in sparring, probably not a good idea to go about trying to maim and hurt one another.
I can sort of see the instructors reluctance to let you spar though. Boxing and Karate are different and have different attacks and rules. Putting myself in her shoes, I'd have probably not wanted a new student to start sparring regardless of previous martial arts experience until I was confident that they had a somewhat basic grasp on the style.
Maybe if you'd done another style of Karate or something similar where you'd kind of already had that knowledge I'd make an exception though I'd still be cautious for not only your safety but the safety of others too.
However her reasoning seemed more like "Karate is better than boxing, you might get killed" though honestly that's also a thin veil and it was more of trying to hook you in to being there for the Green belt before they let you do that.
Though its probably not the best ideas to stick around a gym where the adult green belts can barely get their legs about their waist.
Last edited by Sovvolf; 1/03/2012 3:21pm at .
Before I start I did train at Kempo Ryu 8 years ago and spent a year there, the reason they wouldnt let you spar is from what I know from training and coaching is that they dont trust any person who just walks in for a few classes.
Bear in mind they have others safety in mind for all they know you could have no self control and get either yourself or others injured, haing said that in Muay Thai its the same they would not let you spar with out being there long enough to gauge your skill level, control etc.
as for stating you have prioir experience people embellish alot of what "they have done" so that would of been taken for what it is. knowing Sensei Margaret from my days there I must say she is the toughest Female competitor I have seen and I believe she may have a fight on you tube you can see for yourself.
These guys compete mostly in Knockdown Kyokushin style tournaments where its more last man standing then who can evade the most so obviously not for everyone.
at the end of the day it obviously wasnt for you and goodluck with your future endeavours,