Posted On:6/02/2004 3:44pm
Posted On:6/02/2004 4:00pm
Style: jits with hits
Thanks for all the support, guys. In retrospect, doing this during my finals was a really dumb idea. I figured I could come in for one lesson, then come back a week later for the next, but I hadn't expected how much pressure there would be to keep me coming back EVERY day. But bringing this small amount of joy into your sad little lives makes it all worth it. Heh, heh.
Oh, did I mention that using the pseudonyms Mr. X, Mr. K, etc., is especially appropriate because everyone in the school is addressed by their last names? Even the five-year olds call each other Mr. Jones, or Mr. Black, or so forth.
I did consider trying to fail the white belt test, but the biggest reason I kept coming back was the hope that someone would finally tell me how much the school cost. My understanding from talking with Mr. X was that if someone fails the white belt test, they get an extra lesson and then they retake the test. In my case, I doubt I could fail the test without making it obvious what I was doing, in which case my instructor could say that I was a jerk and refuse to deal with me anymore. Unlikely, but I didn't want to take the chance. I've come too far to fail now...
Back on topic, I did bring my cell phone to my C.O.R.E. visit, just in case. I also brought a hidden tape recorder. Unfortunately, they took me down to C.O.R.E. while I was still in my gi pants, foiling that plan. But I think my final installment captures the essence of the visit anyway.
So, without further ado, our saga's conclusion:
"I'm offering straight punch, kick while downed to the ribs or head, and of course- the german suplex...which is one suplex quickly followed by another." - Guerilla Fists
Matt Thornton explains "aliveness": http://www.bullshido.com/videos/sbg2.wmv
West Wind Karate / West Wind Bok Fu / West Wind Kung Fu thread
West Wind Karate / West Wind Bok Fu / West Wind Kung Fu archive thread
(experiment to see if I can boost the thread's Google rank)
Posted On:6/02/2004 4:13pm
I arrived early for my white belt test. This was in part due to Mr. X calling me and reminding me to arrive early and bring my checkbook. When I arrived, Mr. X seemed surprised that I hadn't invited any friends or family to watch my test, but we moved right on to reviewing everything I had learned: inward block, outward block, the reverse punch, front snap kick, rear donkey kick, and defenses from pipe attacks, collar grabs, and incompetent armlocks. Then he had me kneel while the three judges came in. They were Ms. S, the dojo's head instructor, Mr. Y (Mr. X's instructor), and Mr. K, the administrative head of the system. I stood up, bowed to Mr. X, and then bowed to the judges. Mr. X asked permission to begin the test. Ms. S asked Mr. Y if it was ok, Mr. Y asked Mr. K if it was ok, and Mr. K said to begin.
Mr. X and I then rapidly demonstrated the techniques I had learned. It took about five minutes, and then Mr. X asked if the judges needed to see anything else. Ms. S asked Mr. Y if it was ok, Mr. Y asked Mr. K if it was ok, and Mr. K said that was fine. The judges and Mr. X then went downstairs into the office to talk, and I was told to gather my things and wait downstairs for a ride to the Center of Records and Enrollments (C.O.R.E.).
So I did. Waiting on one of the benches by the door, I watched one of the instructors practicing her forms in front of me. I've never done forms, so I have no idea if she was any good, but Mr. X came out right then anyway. He told me that I was extremely fortunate, since most people in the school never have the opportunity to see an instructor practicing. Therefore, I should avert my eyes out of respect. He said it would be like if I was a really high ranking black belt and he was staring at me while I practiced. Personally, I don't think I would mind, but I guess things are different when you're a black belt. Anyway, we sat there together, our gazes comfortably averted to the left, for about five minutes until Mr. K came out of the office. We left the school and Mr. K and I were picked up by Mr. M (Mr. K's most advanced student) in a shiny black Mercedes SUV, with leather seats and little televisions mounted in the seat backs.
Mr. K made small talk with me on the way down to the C.O.R.E. But Mr. X had warned me that this was really a test! It is always my duty to be respectful and say, "HAI, SENSEI!" or "IIE, SENSEI!" whenever I am addressed. Mr. K is always extremely friendly and informal with potential students on the way to the C.O.R.E., but he is really testing to see if I'll forget my reishiki (formalities/respect) in an informal setting. I think I did ok. I didnít scream "HAI, SENSEI!" like the other students at the school do when their teachers ask if school's going well or if their mom is coming to pick them up, but I said "yes, sir" and "no, sir", which seemed to be adequate for a prospective student.
When we arrived at the C.O.R.E., I was given a brief tour of the offices, which were extremely neat and clean and done up in a sort of Neo-Chinese style. There were a lot of rough stone tables, and an enormous rock garden inside. I was seated at a large conference table with a video of Mr. K's black belt test (it appeared to involve an excessive amount of katas) playing at one end and was asked to wait there.
After about five minutes, I was called into Mr. K's office. Mr. Y had emailed him his evaluation of my test, and I was informed that I had officially passed! Mr. K went over my evaluation with me. It basically said that I had excellent power in my punches, but I needed to work on keeping my hips from moving. I was also too hunched over, and needed to practice a much deeper horse stance with a much more upright body position. This would ensure that I was stable enough that "nothing could knock me over". In addition, I needed to work on my flexibility, as it was clear that my front snap kick and rear horse kicks could barely reach above my waist.
But those were small critiques. Overall, I had an exceptional test, and therefore qualified to enroll at West Wind Karate. Furthermore, my teacher had requested that I stay his student, which was an exceptional honor. There are three levels of instruction at West Wind, Mr. K said as he pulled out his laptop and fired up the Powerpoint presentation. If you are a black belt or an instructor, you can receive instruction from one of the Sifus. There is also sensei level instruction. The senseis are black belts who teach full time, and this was the level of instruction I had qualified for. There are also just the plain instructors, who are not necessarily black belts, and who only teach part time. Most people begin under an instructor, so it was a great honor for me to have been selected for sensei level instruction. Furthermore, I would receive this instruction for only $1900.00 for my first 17 weeks.
I knew the school was going to be expensive, but this was well above and beyond anything I had imagined.
The first four months are a trial period which I must complete before I will be permitted to sign up for a year-long contract. The "sensei" package for this period included one private lesson and two group lessons each week. I told Mr. K that this was a bit more than I had expected, so he offered me the instructor level package, which cost only $300 a month. Of course, this was still somewhat out of my price range. I told him so, and he thought for a while and then explained that there was a scholarship fund available. However, the fund was very low, and generally reserved for those who really needed it. But I could have a scholarship for my first 4 months, and pay only $400. I said I'd have to think about it, and that I wanted to look at some of the other schools in the area, which clearly upset Mr. K. We talked for a while about the opportunity I had been given, and how I wouldn't have gone beyond my second lesson if they had known I wasn't serious. But I stood my ground, so Mr. K asked Mr. M to bring the car around.
While Mr. M was getting the car, Mr. K called Mr. X and I talked to him on the phone. Mr. X reminded me again about what an incredible opportunity I was passing up, and told me to "think really hard before you walk out that door". I said that I just wanted to look around at what else was available in the area, and he reminded me that he'd trained at West Wind since he was 6, so he knew what else was in the area. He told me I'd find the other schools were smaller, dirtier, and the instructors didn't care as much about the students. (Though it's my opinion that $400 bucks a month would pretty much take care of any of those problems.)
On the drive back, I chatted with Mr. M a little. (Mr. K did not accompany us.) Mr. M told me the biggest benefit of his training was the self-confidence. He said most of the students had never been in a fight, but just the knowledge that you could handle yourself if something came up was invaluable. If someone attacked him with a pipe, or a gun, or even multiple attackers, he knew thousands of defenses, so he didn't need to worry about anything anymore.
I asked if students got to spar at all. It turns out that once they reach the purple belt level (about two years) they're allowed to begin point-sparring. However, the school doesn't really emphasize it, so most students don't.
When we finally arrived back at the school, Mr. X came out as I was unlocking my bike. He told me (in a very nice way) that I had shamed him. Evidently I was the first person he'd sent to C.O.R.E. who hadn't signed up for the school. I apologized and left. Class was about to start at my real school.
Posted On:6/02/2004 4:19pm
how many showers will it take you to scrub off the west wind funk?
that is ridiculous, i wonder how many people they have buffaloed into signing those contracts
Posted On:6/02/2004 4:21pm
Style: Filthy Jailhouse Tactics
My crack squad of economists tells me that FOUR HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS PER MONTH is WAY TOO FUCKING MUCH!!
****, my rent is like half that.
MY NAME IS ANTAGONY I SUCK AT COMBAT SPORTS KTHX
"blahblahblah, but I don't think I'm going to train tonight."
"Well if that were true, then I'd really REALLY want to come train!"
This has been the best thing I have read on these forums to date. Another thing bunyip, you've got some serious balls, patience, and self-restraint for going through this. Doing something like this with a friend or two is a lot easier, but going solo, for nothing other than your personal enjoyment and/or posting the story on these message boards is just beyond awesome. Thanks for the story though, it has truly been entertaining!
Posted On:6/02/2004 4:30pm
Style: Alliance BJJ (Blue)
ty, ty ... that was one of the funniest (and saddest) things i've read in a while.. you get mad props for the ability to see it through ...
now... do you go back and allow them to try to "woo" you back into the fold?
Posted On:6/02/2004 4:40pm
Style: BJJ, MMA
Neutral, or nearly so
Posted On:6/02/2004 4:48pm
Nice job bunyip.
Posted On:6/02/2004 4:51pm
Style: Muay Thai
gold man, gold. this is one of the best bullshido threads ever. 400 bucks a month? thats like 700 bucks in my country. I could rent a sweet house with that. you should seriously inform the local media about these rip off merchants.
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