A high turnover rate of instructors is NEVER a good sign. This ww place sounds like a load of crap, but I think that I aint punchy's post says it best- you want to THINK that by paying so much money you're receiving top notch instruction, but in the end that may not be the case.
I definitely have my opinions about the current MMA craze, but the one thing about it that is great is that it has really taken the wind out of a lot of these "the instructor is so amazing and doesn't need to work out with his/ her own students" sheisters. MMA has really demystified a lot of the crap in MA's, and for that it is a godsend.
As far as MA's go, you can devote your entire life to the study of one, two or even several styles and barely scratch the surface. Fighting arts are so wide and varied at this point, you might as well try a few and see what you like. There is everything from people teaching for free in their garages to schools with nice big signs and fancy ads that are part of an international chain. EITHER and ANY could be BS, which is what makes choosing one the most difficult.
Anyway, several peeps on here have recommended Machado JJ. I have rolled with some of their students in the past and they were all great guys who possessed excellent skill. If there were more hours in the day I'd train with them full time. Keep in mind tho- BJJ is totally different than stand up Karate, but it's effectiveness as a fighting art is well documented.
Thank you for letting us hear your story! I do hope that it helps any prospective WW initiates to think twice before they sign on the dotted line and join what appears to be a (very expensive) cult.
Hey I formerly trained at West Wind Alameda, I'd like to talk about it with ya guys too.
I might have even met you guys at one point. Recall a very tall guy with loud Kiai's but very slow blocks?
West Wind started as East West?! Holy crap, I took krotty as a little kid at East West school in Alamo, California... musta been in the really early 90s. They claimed to teach "bok-fu", which now thanks to my knowledge of real CMAs gained in the last few years, and my general knowledge of karate, I know know that this so called "bok-fu" was really just kenpo krotty in disguise. Hell, we didn't even wear Chinese uniforms, we did it with gis, Japanese colored belts (with oh so many colors and oh so many stripes), and in barefeet (I know of few if any Chinese styles that practice in bare feet).
Originally Posted by new2bjj
Has anyone else been to the Alamo East West school? (or West Wind if it changed)
Here's the place.
It's now called "Richard Lee's East West", and they teach "Bok Fu Do", the 2500 year old, ancient and most devastating form of Chinese Kenpo. An ancient and devastating adventure for your whole family! (particularly devastating to the pocketbook i would imagine)
Nikyu and all...
I am a former student of West Wind as well, back in the 90's. I started after feeling a push to find self confidence having ended up in a bad relationship that made me feel smaller than an ant.
West Wind did it's job and helped me get my power back, leave the rotter, and start again. This was also before C.O.R.E. and the first year and a half was great. It was expensive, but I was young and I liked what I was learning and gaining.
When there was a change of guards (President), I think that's when the money thing really got out of hand. I started to feel that it wasn't about Martial Arts anymore. It was all about the money, and I think at first, a lot of the teachers weren't really getting paid much. It was about a year later that I heard something about the new teachers getting paid by how many students passed their belt tests. Kind of like a meeting quotas.
Like you, I never mentioned any pain I was feeling. One of the pain I ignored would eventually bring about a serious injury. I thought, it was just like any other pain--I mean I was in pain all the time. For one thing, I was asked to do demonstrations in group classes a lot and was also praised a lot in front of the other students. I didn't want to be seen as weakling, a kind of person I ended up when I was in a bad relationship. One highlight while attended West Wind: I was asked to test as a candidate to become an instructor. I failed though. :D No big!
Back then, before the whole money thing, I did praise West Wind a lot. Like Nikyu mentioned, most of the teachers were great and really loved their craft. What they were teaching was empowering in many ways, and I learned a lot of different weapons as well. There were also a lot of people who have progressed so wonderfully in that program with their hard work and dedication. You can't fault them for working so hard, regardless of how the school has become.
I agree about Mr. F. He was a gentleman through and through and you can feel the peace emanating from this man. He truly deserved the title of Master Instructor.
However, the kind of push that led me to West Wind began to steer me away rather quickly. I didn't listen at first, for nearly a year. If it wasn't for the injury I sustained, it may have taken me far longer to get out. One of the things besides the $100 or more seats to watch the Head instructors duke it out that bothered me was the hiring of some of the new instructors during my last year and a half there. Most were pretty young, late teens and early twenties. Some were brash, rude, and mean in spirit. I was aghast to think about them being in charge of group classes full of impressionable children. I didn't understand how they could be called to instruct - Maybe they were cheaper to pay?
One memorable event that really turned me off was was during a tournament and a child was on a bleacher. One of the new young instructor just pulled the boy from the top of the bleacher into the floor. Where was this kid's parents? The kid was okay (he landed on his feet) but the very act I witnessed was just plain awful I thought. The kid could have been hurt.
Well, that was my experience. It had been good in the beginning, very full of supportive teachers who really loved what they were doing and believed in their art and teaching. They really cared about their student's growth. I never heard any negative comments or heard fear tactics (when your kids stopped attending). Then they started to leave, one by one... and schools started to be consolidated and closed.
Having read the other threads about the present West Wind Schools, I can't believe the organization have become like that. Somehow along the way, it morphed into a business about profit, rather than a school of learning.
Do you know the year C.O.R.E. was started?
I have the sick desire to go by and check this place out - I'll be in Berkeley next week... :D
2001 or 2002 maybe?
Originally Posted by Samuel Browning
things went downhill in 2002..
I started in 2001 when the world was still normal. In mid 2002 we suddenly had all our payments taking care of by this mysterious place called C.O.R.E in Emeryville. That's also the year the rates went through the roof. Many good peeps left that year..
seriously i went to west wind as well... at first it was legit... but now its crap... wen u get higher in the ranks they try to haggle u for money... and there was no core when i was there it was just you and the teacher and they tried their hardest to get your money. I do not respect them anymore. That school has lost all of my respect since i left it. they left me empty and disallusioned. they just dont know real talent when they see it. I got almost to my black belt... but when i saw that they were only keeping me longer for the money i left and never looked back. i would have loved to give a good review to this school 10 years ago... but now its crap an im glad im gone...