Hebei Wushu Dallas~
Hey, I have been looking for a Ba Gua (Baguazhang) school for a while in the Dallas area, and a lot of them seemed a bit scammy. One was strictly private lessons for $60 a lesson, and one was John Painter in Arlington who has all of these videos and stuff...his lineage was questionable at best, and so many flaws. I went with Hebei Wushu Academy. Run by a Chinese dude (makes me feel better when it is, though there are plenty great places that aren't), who seemed genuinely interested in teaching the arts.
This was my first dojo that I seriously put time into, so I looked up the Mcdojo post, and ran a few things by.
First off, 2 free lessons. Officially. Sifu Jia seemed really intent on teaching the arts moreso than making money.
I get in for my first lesson, he starts off making sure I know how to stretch/some dynamic and static stretching. His assistant is already working with the other one on warmup circle walking. They teach me how to walk the circle (though no one masters it in ONE time. Everything takes practice). Anyway, we started on my walking, and started on my first form. Class ended, and Tai Chi was next, and he offered me a free lesson in Tai Chi. I assured him I wanted my free lessons in Ba Gua, but I thanked him, and he said "Nonono, have this one too! No money, just learning!"
This instilled confidence in me. Sure, it could have been a ploy, but every time I go he offers me the Tai Chi class for "no money, just learning". Say what you guys will about this place, he's a nice guy.
The students are all adults (except his one kids class), and it was interesting taking a class with a guy who had a son at my University (Texas A&M--yes I take judo here).
Anyway, I only went to about 8-10 classes, because I came to A&M, but I'd go back. It was a bit more showy stuff, but every time I'd learn a new palm form, mr. assistant sir would go with me and explain practical application in an actual fight.
He'd have me in the stance, and show me what I could do, what kind of strikes I could do, not just against other Ba Gua fighters, but in general. "IF someone goes in for a kick here--here, I'm gonna punch you, try to block." Stuff like that. He'd make sure I could use them rather than just knew hot o use them for some pretty show.
Not much in the way of sparring. There's like 3 students of Ba Gua, but his shaolin classes have a lot more and (apparently) do spar. I saw those kids do some things as well. They're scary as hell. o.o
Overall, the emphasis is on learning, his goal is to make you a better person as well. Sure, you pay, but he'll randomly just be like "OH! No money! Just learning!".
It's more showy, but there is some application, and they are good people dedicated to teaching. <3 I'll go back from time to time, but I'm spending most of my time in Judo now. This stuff is the bomb.