Degerberg Academy of Martial Arts DAMA
I'm 24 and at the begining of the year I decided that I wanted to get back into some type of contact sport. I did boxing and TKD during my teen years and wanted to get back into the shape I was then. I did a little bit of research and asked around amoungst friends as to what schools they know about. Fortunately I live in Chicago where there are many schools to choose from and just about every style is represented. My one friend told me about the Degerberg School and that she has been taking Yoga there for two years . She gave me A VIP pass and I decided to check it out. When i went in I was given a GI to put on and given a tour of the school. The young man who gave me the tour also gave me a private intro lesson where I was shown jab, cross, snap kick as well as when to bow to show respect. The whole bowing thing reminded me when I was a kid doing TKD so it was kind of a turn off. After seeing the schedule and learning what the BLend was I decided I'd join.
I signed up for the Blend, Boxing , and Submission Wrestling. The Blend is a Mix of martial arts, however I really wouldn't compare it to an MMA program. There are 6 levels of Blend class as the student progresses they receive belts and move up in levels all the way to black belt. After a week of taking Blend 1 I became addicted. The class included several rigorous exercise routines, along with pad work, grappling techniques, take downs/defense along with other forms of self defense. I am currently in the Blend 2 class which introduces Muay Thai, Kali, and more advanced grappling. With the blend there are also specialty classes which are available to all students. Boxing, Muay Thai, Kali, Submission Wrestling, Yoga, and JKD are offered throughout the week. My one compaint would be that the wrestling class is only available on Saturday from 1-3. It's an intense class taught by an NCAA Division1 Wrestling coach. The instructors there are all very helpful and willing to answer any question you have in class or outside of class. Some of the instructors are a little more intense then others and will work you a lot harder. However the ones that don't push you as hard will stress technique and spend more time to explain the mechanics of whats being taught.
There is a full weight gym, 2 boxing rings, a bunch of different types of bags. You can come in any day you want and work out, hit the bag, or spar with someone there training. There are a few guys there who train MMA to compete and are always looking for guys to spar with. The school also offers seminars about every other month. Last month there was a Savate seminar offered by a silver glove from France who came and taught to the school.
So all in all I would say that this the Degerberg School is one of the better schools in Chicago and has helped me a lot. I have lost about 20 pounds, I have more confidence walking the streets of Chicago at night, and feel I am learning something valuable that can help me throughout my life. This school gives you both the old school get your ass kicked type of training along with a positive mental approach to life.
I've been training at Degerberg for over 10 years now, and I have to say I've been very satisfied with it. I've taken seminars at other schools, both in Illinois and in other states and think Degerberg stacks up very well. I recommend Degerberg for anyone that is looking to become well-rounded in personal defense..
Is this the Degerberg Blend that the guy who wrote Heroes Die practices? I liked that book.
Current student - female
First let me say a bit about what my goals are/were when I joined. I have belonged for about 10 months now.
I am a white collar professional so getting my face beat in isn't really an option -- or so I thought. I was looking for primarily some self-defense and fitness when I started, and there are plenty of those folks at DAMA.
However, I fell in love with Muai Thai and Kali and have since been ranked (beginner, obviously) in both. I regularly come to work with bruises from all day seminars. What I like about DAMA is that you are free to pursue your own particular interests, and they have people and seminars who specialize in particular things, like Kali, BJJ, JKD. I recently went to a seminar with Ron Balicki, and was introduced to Silat. Unfortunately, DAMA doesn't have a Silat teacher. They do have Kali, Muai Thai classes, and JKD teachers, and are heavy on boxing. The Degerberg Blend is the focus but the serious students have their additional niche.
What I don't like about DAMA is that the early students tend to be looked upon as transient. There's a good reason for that, lots of people drop out. However, I feel like the first couple of levels seem like an imposition to teach for the senior students and the black belts and therefore it can be a self-fulfilling prophesy for drop outs. It seems like if the better teachers can get out of teaching the noobs, they will. I guess you just have to take a little responsibility for your own learning in the early days.
I also end up tripping over kids in the after school program and sometimes it feels kind of commercial. On the other hand, lots of those kids stick around and stay for years and years. My favorite teacher started off as a 12 year old or so student at DAMA.
It's not unlike where I went to college -- at a Big Ten University. If you want to treat it like a fitness center you can do that, and if you want to be serious they have resources for you, but you will need to extend a little effort. Once the higher level people respect you, you're in. If you make no effort, they won't concern themselves with you much.
As a female, it was also important to me to be with a group of people that wouldn't either treat me like a delicate flower or look down their nose at me and imply I should be home in the kitchen. I definitely got that -- they'll punch or kick me just as hard.
Sometimes I get a piggy comment or two but a "**** you" seems to do the trick. :5flowerfa
I suppose getting even one might be a bit different for a female, in terms of the attention it would draw, but even when doing pretty full tilt MMA practice, you really don't get that many black eyes or anything if you use some sense and some gloves.
That's what I figured, but occasionally when I drop my hands people "remind" me by a tap to the face. Haven't had face bruises, though.
Originally Posted by JohnnyCache
Originally Posted by JohnnyCache
Have to agree with the consensus: I did submission wrestling, thai, and boxing about 10 years ago. Definitely enjoyed the time there. I thought there were excellent instructors and agree with their availability both in and outside of class. Good, clean atmosphere. But this info is 10 years old...