Blue Cliff Tae Kwon Do
For this review, I will go into detail on each subject matter. I won't go into details about the history or style. However, if you would like to learn more about it, visit the website and you can read about it. This review is based on what I have seen after about a month of going.
The instructor is Mr. Ben Couch and the class is once a week for an hour to hour and a half.
Aliveness is a 5: From what I have seen, the sparring is light and continuous. The safety gear is limited to hands and feet. This you must buy yourself. Also, you can't spar until you are a yellow belt. Most training is partner drills and working on katas after a warm up.
Equipment is a 5: There is some equipment provided, but it depends on the day. I have seen arm shields and a heavy bag. You must buy your own sparring as stated above.
Gym Size is a 9: The training area is on a basketball court, so it is roughly 5,300 sq. ft.
Instructor/Student Ratio is an 8: The class size is small, about 6-10 for adultís class. There is only one instructor, Mr. Couch. Due to the small class size, there is a lot of attention and you can ask him anything at any time.
Atmosphere/Attitude is a 10: The atmosphere is great. Everyone is there to learn and they are more than happy to help you if you need it. Mr. Couch makes it fun while keeping it demanding.
Striking is a 6: This is pretty much how the class warms up. There are a lot of hand strikes, kicks, blocks, and counter attacks. Since the focus is not on tournaments and on practical self-defense (read more about that on the website), I'm not sure how this would transfer to competition.
Grappling is a 2: As far as I have seen, the only grappling is anti-grappling. There is a lot of anti-grappling techniques however, as I have already been taught 7 different ones.
Weapons are a 1: There has been no weapon training at all and don't think there is any.
Hey man this is tony.I'm the adult green belt(6 gup)in our class.We aint worked together yet cuz I'm testing this month and having problems with the armbars and wristlocks and Sensei's letting me focus on that.Anyway I've been going to bctkd since sept 06 and can maybe fill in some blanks for ya.I'm not sure what aliveness means so I'm gonna skip it lol.Sparring tho is something I can talk about.We cant spar till yellow(8 gup)cuz Sensei says we got learn some basics before being thrown in the deep end.The real reason I think is he's weeding out the wannabe tough guys.Who wants to be in the freaking horse stance for six mo. to a year before you can hit somebody?lol.Once we get there tho dude it's the bomb.To know our sparring you got to know the spar-ees.Sensei is Sensei.He'll go as hard or light as we want so long as we keep learning.I'm ex-army infantry and a former warlord of an outlaw motorcycle club.James the second yellow you met last week is ex-army infantry and a bonafied Gracie jujitsu brown belt from the nyc dojo(Royce Gracie I think).We three go hard.James and I have had battles and Sensei kicked me so hard once that I could'nt sleep that night.We were going hard and I could'nt land squat so out of frustration I reached out to grab his gi with both hands and he smoked me with a side kick when I was right next to him.Lesson learned,no frustration(or any emotion)when fighting.lol.Having said that I dont spar the other guys that way.We are kinda like a family and we're here to learn not beat on each other for no reason or for bad reasons(ego,sadism,etc,).Man this is too long a post.If you want see me before or after class and i'll fill you in on whatever your curious about.I'm glad your with us.tony
One more thing dude.I dont think we'd fit to well in a tkd tournament because we're so used to using our hands due to our shotokan influence but we could go the open karate or kickboxing route.I'm gonna ask sensei cuz now that you brought it up I think I'd like to go spar and kata at a karate tournament.We should ask him and see what he says.tony
Thanks for telling me about the sparring. It should be cool once I can start. I've always like sparring, but then who doesn't.
Yea, after looking at all sort of different Tae Kwon Do's, the tournament setting seems based on kicks. I wonder if it would be more effective in Karate tournaments and we should definitely ask him about it.
Thanks for all the help Tony and see you Friday!
Hey man,no prob.The thing about tournaments is'nt effectivness I don't think but more about rules.Most tkd tourneys are olympic style so no hand shots to the head allowed.We'd be there in the heat of a sparring match and fire off a stiff jab or a 1,2 combo and bam!instant disqualification.Open karate tourneys allow that stuff so it would be more style friendly for us.I didnt mention before cuz I got carried away with the sparring part:laughing1 but our system is set up in three sections.belts ten thru seven like the entry level.Lots of work to get the basics down cuz we need solid basics for whats coming.ranks six to three are mid-level and we start to branch out.I'm at six and I'm getting armbars and wristlocks for stand up grappeling like when a street fight goes into the clinch.ranks three,two,and one go into some fairly hardcore limb and joint destruction and other cool stuff.After black belt is knife work but I dont know much about it cuz I got my hands full where I'm at lol.It's like leggos where the first section fits into the second which fits into the third.Fit it all together and its pretty badass from what I can see and i'm lovin it.After my test this month maybe we can get Sensei to go out for a beer or a bite after class and talk.I love talking about bctkd almost as much as doing it as you probably noticed from the long posts.Also if you have'nt all ready check out the A-KATO,and nihon goshen aikido sites.Sensei and his Senseis are big on continuing martial education.Hope this helps.tony
Yea, with the way we train it would be pretty hard to hold back. I think I like this style because it has so many hand strikes. Tournaments are second to self-defense, but would be cool to do!
The higher rank grappling sounds pretty cool. I'll just have to train hard and advance in rank.
I've been researching and studying different styles of martial arts for years. I'm always trying to learn more and it would be awesome to hear what Sensei has to say. We should definitely see if he wants to go get a beer sometime.