St. Louis Training Circle
Im giving a review of St. Louis Training Circle in St. Louis, Missouri. I attended this gym for a month before decided to pack my gloves and GTFO.
Aliveness: Ok Im going to start off with the main problem I had with this gym: Almost 90% of the drills they perform are done in a completely dead manner. For a gym that advertises what they do ass MMA, I did alot of stiff repetitive kids karate class style drills. And if you tried to progressively take the pressure up you would get yelled at by the clubs director and he'll give you a 20 min speech about how some guy broke his shoulder. I heard this story repeated to me and other members at least a hundred times.....per day!!! And whats really funny is on the front page it states they are trying to become STRAIGHT BLAST GYM affiliates. Right. Good luck with that one.
Equipment: Other than a few pair of ratty twins gloves there was no equipment.
Gym size: Now the gym was huge. Two rings with padded flooring and plenty of space around them to shadowbox, skip rope, drill, warm up, etc.
Instructor student ratio: There was one guy that ran the gym with a tight fisted insecurity almost. There were other guys there that would help out, but the instructor seemed like a bit of a neurotic control freak. Anytime someone would help you with technique he would run to the other side of the room to correct them, whether they were wrong or not. Most of the time it took him 10-15 mins to explain the most basic concepts. By the time he was finished with his long winded, step by step, painful explanation you would have cramps in your legs because your muscles went cold. Guys were literally laying on the mat annoyed, waiting for him to shut up so they can drill.
Atmosphere/attitude: This is the gyms strongest point; where it shines. These are some of the nicest guys you could ever meet. A breathe of fresh air compared to other MMA gyms where people bring their egos with them on the mat.
Striking: Below average striking instruction. The instructor conveys his ideas about standup well, but you kind of get the uneasy feeling he doesn't really understand what he's telling you. Almost like he's making some things up as he goes. Or maybe he watches those fight instruction DVDs before he comes to class, then tries his hardest to pass those concepts on. One day you're told to be a "Crappy knockout artist" as he was fond of saying. Other days he would say "Quit being a headhunter!" ?????? That was the meat and potatoes of his boxing/striking instruction.
Grappling: Nonexistent as most guys there, including the instructor, were horrible on the ground. It was like after spending 2 and a half hours on sloppy boxing sparring he would tell everyone it was time for ground fighting and we would roll until everyone gassed. Which usually was after about 5-10 minutes. Good times.
To overview St. Louis Training Circle is a cute gym with nice people, but it has the feel of a group of guys getting together to "play" MMA. If it was free or much cheaper I would recommend it, because the guys there are really nice. IF it was free, but it seems like this guy is trying to make a quick buck. Last day I was there he was talking about raising the dues to $80 a month! Check out the tacky website or go check the gym out and decide for yourself.
Real Review of St. Louis Training Circle
Wow stl freestyle im sorry that you had such a bad experience at St. Louis Training Circle.
My experiences with the gym have been outstanding. I came from zero fight experience...that is no boxing, no real fights, no bjj, not even a little basic high school wrestling....to having an all around game that i can feel comfortable with given the time, energy, and work ive put in. 6-9 hours a week isn't to much time to put in to absolutely see results in a month in my stand-up, clinch, and ground game. Considering I was a highschool student last year and juggling MMA, school, and a job I was impressed with the skills I had developed. I have trained with some elite guys since going to college who train for 20-30 hours a week with professionals like rich franklin and they are also impressed with my overall knowledge and skills considering the short time ive trained.
As for atmosphere, stl freestyle could not be more correct. That is definitely the gym's number one quality when it comes to beginners. If you are interested but a little scared of what someone might think of you because you are "unathletic", never been in a fight, or simply intimidated by entering a new place full of guys who have been training a while, then throw all those ideas out the window and come see the feeling you get when you enter and leave the gym for the first time. It is definitely a unique experience and you will be training like one of the regulars in no time...but your skill level, like any other new skill or task, will only increase with as much effort you are willing to put in.
As for equipment, we train with boxing gloves, a cup, mouth gaurd, thai pads, and a punching bag. For a person interested in MMA those are the necessities for beginners. Luckily, we have gloves and pads provided for new people so that they can train a few times and not spend a bunch of money on gear if it turns out they really don't enjoy the sport or being hit in the face...but i've come to love it. What other equipment is really needed for a gym that's just starting to make itself known?... and not to mention the gym has barely been operating for a year and we are currently SPONSORED by American Standup and Cytosport...not bad for a gym that "plays" MMA right?
Keep in mind. Stl training circle represents what it claims and does not act like it is something it is not. No, there is not a BJJ black belt...which is why it does not cost $250 a month. The guy who runs the gym also does not claim to know things when he really does not. Its all about learning things at your own pace and learning how to create a flow and devlop your own style of fighting that you have to find and develop for yourself...I have learned that there is some things that cannot be taught about fighting but instead must be learned through the playfullness of one's own mind. When you achieve this, you will feel it. You will be able to get a ton of positive thoughts, skills, and ideas out of every part of the work out from beginning to end. Why go into a gym and not learn anything until you can prove yourself to the instructor? Why go into a gym and leave with your face beat in because some hard ass had a rough day at work or at home? At this gym these things don't exist. You forget about the frustrations of the day and sink them into being a productive fighter. It's therepeutic.
We train together, learn together, teach together, and get better together. Every one wants every one to get better...and every body wants the other members to be better than them and reach their max potential. Fighting can't be taught in a single month, year, or even in the case of my best friend 8 years. Beginners can't expect to be cage fighters without putting the time and energy in.
Check your ego at the door.
I have been a member of the St. Louis Training Circle for about five months now. In that time my skills in all areas have grown very quickly. This was the first club that I spent any length of time attending. This is mostly because of the atmosphere and the willingness to share information.
Aliveness- Ok, with a newer guy that doesn't know the particular move the pressure level is low. That is until the guy starts getting the move 5-7 out of ten times. Then the level comes back up until he's only getting it half the time. The guys that have been here a while are trusted to go to whatever power level they want. Some of our guys are business men that can't walk around with there brains scrambled and their face cut up all the time. Also we are a club not a school. We do have guys that wish to cage fight, and we do have the means to help them get ready for their fights. The only time the instructor ever mentions a shoulder injury is during throws. Basically, don’t try to catch yourself wit your arm. We have recently become a Straight Blast Gym affiliated training group, and we do follow many of their principles and ideas. Including training different techniques and drills from their dvds.
Equipment- There is some things that a bigger school would have that we do not. The gym does have several pairs of boxing gloves, some newer than others, but all in clean working order. We have mma gloves, thai pads, a body protector, four heavy bags, a double end bag, two speed bags, and have recently acquired a sponsorship with American Stand Up and have ordered shin protectors, new boxing gloves and mma gloves from them. These are all free for the members to use, but they are encouraged to purchase their own equipment as they progress. The members also receive the bigger part of the discount from American Stand Up. What does this mean? Good stuff for cheap.
Instructor to student ratio- We have one guy that kind of runs the show, and with out him we wouldn't get squat done. He organizes, teaches most the moves, and pays the rent for the warehouse space that we work out in. But, what are called 'intermediates' are encouraged to bring any knowledge they have about a particular area or move to the table. We like to stay with high percentage moves but you need to know every aspect of the game, and we strive to give the student a wide view of what is going on and at the same time give him have a tight fundamental game.
Atmosphere/attitude- All of the guys at the gym are concerned about two things: keeping you healthy and in shape, and also making you better so you can make us better. There is no time that a member is just trying to beat you to make sure his place in the order of things remains. That is the reason for the different power levels. So you don't walk in without any experience and get knocked out because of a simple mistake.
Striking- You get most of the boxing instruction on the very first day, and you will have to actively use it, at a level you can handle, the very first day. Because we did not have the shin protectors we have not been able to spare much with kicks. Some members have their own and do use them when the other man agrees. We practice the standard thai kick, but mostly we believe that you need to be good with your hands and have the beginners start with them. Once again so that they are solid in one area and feel comfortable striking before they have to deal with the whole spectrum of strikes. We spar almost every class, and members are critiqued as we see things to fix. No one at the club is a pro boxer, but there is some talent. The meat and potatoes come from the lead instructor and he made his system up of teachings from three different boxing coaches, and the experience he had in other martial arts. Yes he wants you to be a knock out artist, but swinging for the head every time gets to be a habit. And habits can get you in trouble if the opponent sees them.
Grappling- We practice all levels of grappling. Mostly Greco, with some Judo mixed in for the stand up. And an array of systems from 10th Planet to Gracie jui jitsu and everything in between for the ground work. Once again we don’t have a black belt. The lead instructor teaches most standing moves and take downs, and I have started to teach some of the ground fighting. Most clinch work, which also including clinch striking, and take downs are done from books and dvds owned by the lead instructor. The ground work is mostly from these dvds and from the internet. Again we concentrat on the basic, positions, throws, and submissions.
In closing if you want to train for the UFC title you might want to go some where else. This particular club is young, just over a year old, but maybe not. It depends a lot on what you want to get out of it and how driven you are. But if you are looking for a club that is affordable with no drama or baggage, this could very likely be for you. We love critical thinkers and guys that are both driven and want to grow, not only as a martial artist but as a person.
I have been apart of this club for 5-6 months now, I started with nothing more than a desire to get in better shape and learn some self defense and that is exactly what has happen.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is that we are a club not a school. We are a Straight Blast Gym affiliated group and train with that idea in mind so its not random guys playing MMA games. We learn from each other from our instructor, vids and guest instructors from our sister gyms in the SBG system. You get a lot of bang for you buck and it is only getting better.
I could go on but Tyler2112 really hit the nail on the head with his post. Come on down and check us out its not for every one but then again not every gym fits every person, you get out of life what you put into it plain and simple.
See you in the ring!
Last edited by johnny5; 12/07/2008 9:04am at .
Dude you just don't know
Hello. I am Dwayne Rhoden, head Guru, webmaster, treasurer, owner, and emotional leader of St. Louis Training Circle. I would like to thank you guys(wink wink) for coming to the defense of the club. Like I always say, if someone wants to criticize what we do, I'll do everything in my power on a messageboard to convince people that what we do is great. Hey Nolan, how you doing buddy? You barely answer e-mails or phone calls because of your busy college schedule, but you have time to post on a message board huh? Just kidding buddy.
And just to correct you guys we are currently NOT sponsored by American Standup or Cytosport, WE have wholesale deals with them. I can get any of their products for 50% off and then pass the savings on to you. Isn't that sweet? Well you guys don't see the total 50% discount; it's more like a 15% discount once it gets to you as I have to tax a little to make money for the club, but you have to admit it's still a pretty good deal right?
Now I know as the head Guru of this club it wouldn't be fair for me review MY own club, but after reading Stl Freestyle's review I felt I needed to get my guys on here(wink wink) to even the numbers out. So I wont actually review the club, but rather give you a better idea of how we do things at St. Louis Training Circle.
I gave the club a ten in this category because I believe what we do to be very ALIVE. Are most of our drills stiff and repetitive? Yes, but we always throw on the good old Twins gloves and brawl until we gas out. Nothing more alive than wild brawling.
We have four pair of fairly used Twins gloves that you can feel knuckle through. We just recently purchased a few pair of American Standup 16 oz boxing glove which I have to say are very high quality, if you want to purchase some you can get them for me at Stlouistrainingcircle.com. We have a pair of Muay Thai kick pads that we really don't use because I can't teach a kick to save my life. But we break them out now and then to play around when I cant figure out what we should be doing next. That's it for our equipment, but what else do you need? I spend the majority of club dues on Straight Blast Gym DVD's so gym equipment has to wait for now.
Dude the gym is huge. I just wish I didnt have to rent from those stupid, dirty pro wrestlers.
But it is cool that we get to spar and ground fight in two bouncy ass rings.
Yeah its only me instructing, and I have to admit it would be easier to have someone else. I'm just so insecure I always think if I let someone else instruct they will try to steal MY club.
Yeah the only thing STL Freestyle got right was that we are a bunch of very nice guys. Sometimes I even bring my homemade gatorade in to share with the guys who don't bring an electrolye enhanced drink.
Ok first and foremost, I believe we have top notch striking instruction. I myself have studied three months of Taekwondo. A month of Kung fu and a few weeks of boxing. Does that matter? No, because I have all the Straight Blast gym Striking DVD's. I've got Rodney Kings Street Boxing vol 1-3 that displays OUR crazy monkey techniques that we teach to beginners in their first half hour in the gym. Then after they quickly learn crazy monkey defense, I'll throw them in the ring with me to spar. I think it's best to mostly work against beginners, because your ego gets bruised too much by working with guys on or above your level. Working mostly with beginners gives you that feeling of invincibility you need to keep going in martial arts.
Now as for my grappling experience. I've had one month of Judo. And one week of Brazillian Ju Jitsu. And I went to one SBGI seminar. That along with my Functional JKD 1-3 DVD's is what I base our ground game on. I never competed in any combat sport for fear of losing, but I do chat with Matt Thonton all the time on message boards and that is the difference between me and most Instructors. I don't need to have a working knowledge of submission fighting, as long I accept whats told to me by others who live it, then I will never have to think for myself. Pop in a DVD and instant greatness.
That people is the REAL St. Louis Training Circle. We jump rope, then we brawl. We do wing chun trapping drills, then we brawl. I give alot of speeches then we brawl some more. What else do you want in a MMA Academy?
Mr " Guru " , these scores are not arbitrary .
please read the forum stickies before you continue to make a complete ass out of yourself .
ratings and you
it would do you and your students well to read and respect the rules .
Originally Posted by ghost55
“I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.”
"Equipment- There is some things that a bigger school would have that we do not. The gym does have several pairs of boxing gloves, some newer than others, but all in clean working order. We have mma gloves, thai pads, a body protector, four heavy bags, a double end bag, two speed bags, and have recently acquired a sponsorship with American Stand Up and have ordered shin protectors, new boxing gloves and mma gloves from them. These are all free for the members to use, but they are encouraged to purchase their own equipment as they progress. The members also receive the bigger part of the discount from American Stand Up. What does this mean? Good stuff for cheap."
Um sorry Tyler2112, that is a complete lie. None of that stuff was there when I was there. Now mind you about 2-3 weeks have passed since I was there, but thats a pretty big come up. I've talked to people who have been there recently and the only thing thats there are the crappy Twins gloves and the near mint muay thai pads.
Well freestyle not sure who you talked to but if they told you that stuff is not there they are lying to you. I guess I will have to post some pics to show you. Yes at first we only had the Twins gloves( I myself prefer to buy my own stuff less likely to get some sort of infection I feel) our American Stand up stuff was on back order and has indeed come in in the last few weeks. Yes things can change in a few weeks crazy isnt it? I am not looking to start a war on here just get some facts straight I edited my scores after reviewing the links that Christmas Spirit posted ( thanks I did not know they had a system to base it on). We are new we are growing and changing all the time, sorry it was not for you freestyle and I hope you have found a place that meets your needs. If you dont mind me asking what is your back ground and are you training in a new gym?
Doing the best I can here people.
Ok freestyle your right. Two of the heavy bags are just sit in the gym waiting to be hung up and the two speed bags are still sitting at a closet, one at Dwayne’s and one at my place. And we have a wholesale deal with American Stand Up and Cytosport not a sponsorship. My bad, but other than that it’s the complete truth. Now, "wink wink," kind of weird Dwayne. And Mr. Spirit I really mean no disrespect, but I read everything and watched the videos on both those sites before I posted, then answered as honestly as I could. But I’m also pretty sure that most of Dwayne’s post was sarcasm. Hopefully we will have a video camera soon and we can show what we do and the equipment we have. Thanks for the opportunity, like Johnny5 said we don't want a war. Just the truth.
Just documenting this stuff bear with me here for a moment please .
Originally Posted by johnny5
Originally Posted by tyler2112
I like to make sure this stuff is saved for future reference . Sometimes the edited button gets hit by accident and stuff like this goes * poof * .
Are you guys going to actually use the rating system ? At first glance it looks like you might have but I doubt it deep down in my heart .
Happy Holidays !
Originally Posted by ghost55
“I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.”
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