Posted On:10/11/2004 10:16am
Style: Shorin Ryu
I'd like to discuss the ATA with anyone that is in this organization. I feel, at least in FL, the ATA is plain rotten.
Community Corrections Officer
Posted On:10/11/2004 10:18am
Style: Judo, TKD BB
Where are you in FL? I'm in the O-town area and there's a big chain of ATA schools here.
Posted On:10/11/2004 10:24am
I'm in the Jax. area. A bunch of schools here also. I believe that Bill Clark owns about 20 schools in FL.
Posted On:10/11/2004 10:56am
The guy here is "Von Schmeling" or something like that.
Posted On:10/11/2004 12:20pm
Yes...that's correct. I really don't know that much about him, only that he has a bunch of schools like Bill Clark. Do you know anyone who trains at these schools? I'd like to see if they are run like the ones in Jax.
Ninjer Pile on Me! Hurr!
Posted On:10/11/2004 11:16pm
Style: Bad KB, Worse MT
Chief Master William Clark is like an 8th degree in "ATA" TKD. The guy was actually a certifiable Kickboxing badass back in the 70's. By all accounts he is the true marketing genius behind the ATA's business plan and purportedly fronted the money to start the XMA which is now heavily intertwined with his ATA schools at least. The guy makes a ton of money from at least 13 schools and then gives seminars on how to run schools that are attended by McDojo...I mean school owners from around the world.
I'm friendly with an ATA head instructor who is an ex-amateur kick boxer. I've seen a number of ATA schools and met some of the instructors and they tend to to fall into a couple of categories.
1) There are a couple instructors who are very good fighters, but make their living teaching TKD. My friend actually teaches MT kicks to his students instead of the traditional TKD kick and allows his students to practice kicking to the leg. Furthermore he teaches same basic groundfighting...enough that some of his students have a very, very basic competency in it.
2) Then there are the instructors who are pure TKD guys...point sparring machines who you would destroy in a fight.
Something else Clark does is bring over very, very competent fighters from Argentina and other SA countries and makes them instructors. Everyone of these guys I've met is hardcore and a good fighter...and they are brought over to teach watered down TKD and sell to soccer moms.
ATA...as has been discussed many time before...is a marketing machine but absolute trash when it comes to pure competency as a fighter. If they just marketed themselves as a family oriented sports organization, I don't think anyone would have an issue with them. However, they market themselves as "self defense" and "t3h deadly" which is where the problems start. As someone who was once in sales, I have a healthy admiration for their ability to market and upsell students from a basic package to the black belt club to the "Leadership" program...also known as get your blackbelt in a year and a half. Then there is the Krav Maga as well.
ATA TKD is the weakest "major" TKD taught in the world that I'm aware of but once again, I've got tons of respect for their marketing prowess, Master Clark brings in over 5 million a year from what I've been told.
MMA Record vs Llamas 0-1-0
(The Llama bit my junk but the ref didn't see it).
Posted On:10/12/2004 7:59am
I believe you correct concerning Bill Clark, but has "at least" 20 schools in just FL. This does not include the schools he has part ownership in other states, or part ownership in FL. I believe he has about 14 schools just in Jax. He must be "great" at selling his product...
You are correct that I have heard he was a very good fighter in his day and was the PKA fighter of the year (can't recall what year). A lot of his instructors are from over seas and like you said are "very" good fighters and most were not in TKD, but are given a rank, or tested for a rank in TKD.
My son started TKD when he turned 6. He tried baseball for a couple of years, and that wasn't really his forte, so he wanted to try karate. At the time we looked close to our house and found several schools and liked the teacher from the ATA TKD school the best (I didn't know anything about karate, nor the business aspect at the time). So we started him there at the ATA school. Like you stated several instuctors are from other countries, his was from Argentina. He was a great person, instructor, and just an all around nice guy (couldn't speak much English though). From what I understand he was 2nd in the World in JJ in his weight class. He tought that to the students also, since it was just a start up school and there wasn't any other ATA instructors there.
To make a long story short...he left (back to Argentina), and we went through several other instructors and basically, in my opinion, it was all about the money not the individual. I have "numerous" "true" stories of how they did us wrong, and it's just a shame.
I wish I would of done more homework on the organization before we got involved. I think this is how most people get sucked in...just don't do their homework. We started mainly to just get him excersize, but as he got older we wanted him to learn how do defend himself, but that just wasn't going to happen in there schools...
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