UMaine Shotokan Club
Hi guys! First post olol!
I studied Goju Ryu for about three years, six years ago. In the interrem, I got pretty decent at grappling, but developed a serious case of suck in striking and stances.
This club is a good one. I hesitate to call it a school, since it's pretty informal, and since it meets in an old basketball gymn court. On the other hand, it's free, and everybody's form is really tight (even lower belts all have good stances and strong strikes). The only floppy punches or off balance stances I see are from white belts, and most people can kick a whole lot harder than me.
We do touch sparring and grappling about once a month. No full contact sparring. Class twice a week for an hour, plus half an hour beginner class once a week before class, and a 1-hour advanced class once a week after class. A good mix of padwork, drills, kata, and self-defense stuff.
The good: :icon_thum
-Strong membership (15ish people on average), good mix of upper and lower belts.
-Upper belts are skilled and experienced, many with good fight experience.
The bad :eusa_naug
-Too informal. Too few people bow entering and leaving. Not nerely enough discipline - I feel like I'm the only one who stands in a good ready stance for more than five seconds, sometimes. I am definitely the only one who sits in zazen.
-No money = not much equipment. We only have enough mats for one pair to grapple at a time, or for two groups to practice falling, throwing, and rolling. Sparring equipment is limited and run down. There's no punching bag.
-Conditioning is scaled for a VERY mixed class.
The ugly :wtfgif9fr
-No training or practice of takedowns or takedown defence!!!
-No training of weapon use or defence against weapons!
-No practice of kicks below the belt, or of knee strikes (wtf?!)
-Training of techniques that would be useless wearing shoes/boots.
I'm really glad I found this club. It is helping me gain back what I've lost over years of laziness, and gain some new skills in the process, and I have some good stuff I can offer them in return.
Overall Score (not an average):
Well, I was on Google and this review came up in a search. I've been training with the UMaine Shotokan Karate club off and on since before it was officially founded in the late 1990s. Recently, I've attended almost every class since March 2009 and have instructed several of them. This is my 100% honest, down to earth review based on the Bullshido rating system, and my 20 years or so of experience training several martial arts at many different schools. I'm not trying to bash the club in any way; I'm just trying to line it up properly with the Bullshido scale. Below is my reasoning for the ratings.
The first reviewer described the club very well. The club mostly practices solo basics and form.
Aliveness is a 3. Continuous light contact sparring is done a few times a year. The majority of the training is in the 1 category (i.e. forms). Compliant partner drills are included a few times a month. Breaking is done rarely with rebreakable boards. Ground grappling to submission is about once a month.
Equipment is a 3. There is some club owned equipment, but not quite enough to go around at times. There is a set of mats, some light contact sparring equipment, rebreakable boards, several striking pads/blockers and some bo staves.
Gym Size is an 8. Most of the time the club practices in a full size basketball court. Sometimes that isn't available and smaller space is used.
Instructor/Student Ratio is a 8. The head instructor teaches almost every class. The classes are typically 10-15 students. There are several black belts in every class to assist with semi-private instruction.
Atmosphere/Attitude is a 7. Everyone is friendly. It is fairly informal and not very militaristic. Some people are more open than others.
Striking Instruction is a 5. Practice is mostly long range striking (punch/kick) with some realistic applications. There is much more air striking than pad work or partner work.
Grappling Instruction is a 2. Practice time is limited. It is almost completely ground based and basic. There is some throwing and locks.
Weapons Instruction is a 1. Practice time is limited. Only introductory bo forms are taught.