Shidokan Karate, London, UK
I'm new to martial arts, and as of writing this review has only been to this school for a grand total of eight times, so take this with a healthy pinch of salt. I will continue to post reviews as I continue to attend this school.
Wednesday evenings at City YMCA are taught in a room with a hard wooden floor. Given the number of students, the room could be larger; I say that because sparring is regularly done, and when there's 7 pairs of people fighting at the same time you have to watch out where you're going, lest you step away from your partners kick to take a kick for your neighbour instead.
Saturday afternoons at Golden Lane Leisure and Recreation Centre at taught in an indoors badminton court. The Judo school that uses the same venue has recently bought new mats, which are very grippy on one side. That allows us to do stuff like breakfalls and sweeps. The room is much larger, there's enough room to spar without constantly worrying about people other than your partner, though sometimes I do forget that there are other people around.
The teachers are firm but not brutal. For technique drills, they will demonstrate a new technique several times at various speeds, and while we drill the technique with a partner they would roam through the class, stepping in to correct form or to demonstrate variations of the technique. They are very encouraging to newbies - sparring is strongly recommended but not compulsory if you are new, and they will often take the newbies aside for the first few lessons to show them throw a good punch without injuring their own wrists.
There is a culture of participating in tournaments (check out the school's website), and the teachers encourage cross-training.
There is no weapons instruction, and grappling instruction exists but is somewhat minimal - sparring tends to stop when someone is taken to the ground, and there isn't much emphasis for transitioning from standup to groundwork (especially for newbies, i.e. me).
I've enjoyed my first four weeks in Karate at this school very much, and I will be revisiting this review in the near future, say in a few months time.
Do let me know if you have any questions.
Last edited by Kerris; 4/17/2009 7:36am at .
I would just like to point out how awesome it is that the head instructor at this dojo is the bass player from the Stranglers.
I know he speaks French but not this. o_O
Originally Posted by PointyShinyBurn
EDIT: I just read Phrost's review for University of Warwick Zhuan Shu Kuan, and I've changed the Full Contact Fight Team from Yes to No for similar reasons that Phrost has outlined in the last paragraph of his review.