New Username of the Month Award Winner
Bowman's Tae Kwon Do -- Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada
Don't be fooled by the name of this martial arts school. It is primarily a TKD school, but it's also an up and coming MMA school with lots of talents. The school is headed by Sandy Bowman, whom is a 6th degree blackbelt in TKD. He is also an active MMA practitioner/fighter/trainer.
There are a bunch of TKD classes throughout the afternoon and evenings; the MMA, grappling/BJJ, and Muay Thai classes are spread throughout the week. The grappling (gi or no-gi) classes are on Mondays from 7:15 pm to 8:15 pm, and on Wednesdays from 8:15 pm to 9:30 pm. The MMA classes are on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:15 pm to 8:15 pm. The Muay Thai classes are on Fridays from 6 pm to 7:30 pm, and on Saturdays from 10:30 am to 12 pm. The BJJ (mandatory gi requirement) classes are on Saturdays from 12 pm to 1:30 pm. There are Sunday evening sparring classes held every second week. These classes run from 7 pm to 8 pm; come at 6:30 pm to do your own warm ups.
If you live/work up here in Fort McMurray, AB, like me, then these times are quite ideal for those doing shift work, work during the day, or drives an hour out of town to work. By the time you get off work, you can still make it into town to train.
The school is still green in terms of being a well established MMA school. To it's credit, it is a Miletich affiliated school and they have had students whom have competed in MMA events and have done very well in them (the win to lose ratio being 3:2 at the time of writing). This school started it's MMA/BJJ program in the summer of 2006. The current BJJ "instructor" is a BJJ white belt (who has been training under Dragan, Alliance BJJ brown belt, for three years). He is soon eligable for his blue belt.
Since Fort McMurray is such a transiant town, people come and go quite often. Likewise with the students who pop by. This school gets people from all over; this aspect tends to draw people of various skills to the school (seeing that this school is perhaps the most well known training centre in all of Fort McMurray). As such, new students who comes in may not be as "new" to the game as one would expect from most schools elsewhere. Due to it's open door policies, the addition of new students has the potential of bringing in new information/training methods/talent/etc.
There are two things I would consider to be "negative" about this school. The first is the training method, especially for the BJJ. The second is the time allowed to train in these non-TKD classes. Often time, the warm up and stretching will run for about 10 to 15 minutes. Of the remaining time that is given, students are taught 2 or 3 techniques. This probably takes 15 to 20 minutes. The rest of our time is spent sparring or rolling (which ever class it happens to be). This is your typical "here's some techniques, now let's roll" - style class. In terms of it being fully "alive," I can't really give top rating for it. If you didn't already know, I prefer the I-method training style of SBG over this method of training any day.
However, seeing that it is still new to the sport, there is a lot of room for improvement. There is a lot of encouragement to have students look elsewhere to expand their knowledge. Thus, it's only a matter of time before better training methods will be incorporated.
The fee for training is $90 + GST/month. If you bring friends or additional family members and get them signed up with you, then it will only cost them $65 + GST/month (provided that someone is paying the full gym fees). There is a one time sign up fee of $100 + GST. If you decide to quit, you must disenroll in person (and sign a form and pay for the last month attended). There is now a requirement for every new member to get their Hep B, Hep C, HIV, and ECG test done. This is a plus for those wishing to compete. At least you'll have those tests ready and the only thing you'll have to worry about is getting a CAT scan done.
The school does order a lot of training equipments for you to purchase, so you don't have to actually go out and purchase anything before joining. They order a lot of gears from Combat Sport International, Sprawl, Boes, and Twin. The prices on these items are also at a competitive rate (so you don't have to drive all the way down to Edmonton just to get a good deal on training gears).
This school is probably your best bet for getting decent training if you live in the Fort McMurray area. There isn't really another school that rivals this one, at least not within 200 kilometers of Fort McMurray.
Last edited by GhettoTopTeam; 3/25/2007 2:40pm at .