Chung Choi's Taekwondo Academy- Binghamton, NY
This was the first "genuine" martial arts school I had went to. I still think being here developed a ton of bad habits about striking that have only recently dissapeared. Anyway, Chung Choi was a student of WTF bigshot Sang Lee, who took over Mr. Lee's school once he left the Binghamton area. Choi's biggest claim to fame was training a medalist for TKD when it was a demonstration event in 1988, although at that school, everyone's days of competitions seem to be either long gone or never happening.
Onto the ratings-
Aliveness- 3. WTF style sparring with the chest protector and other saftey equipment is held once a week. That class, 9 times out of 10, is filled mostly with children flailing away. The adult who are in the school usually don't show up. Most of the time in the regular classes is occupied with forms, no-contact drilling, and no contact sparring, where even the slightest touch will earn a stern lecture.
Equipment- 6. The south point of the dojong has a line of free-standing heavy bags (8 in all) and there's an assortment of shields, striking pads, etc when they're actually used. It's not just the mat and you, for what that means.
Gym Size- 7. The area is rather spacious, and the only thing in the way are supporting pillars.
Instructor/Student Ratio- 7. Two instructors to about anywhere from 12 to 30 students.
Attitude- 3. The people at this school have a prime example of the "My style is the best, any other way or style is wrong" syndrome that populates a lot of TMA schools. The kids running around with black belts (oftentimes as young as 9 or 10) have a particuarlly distressing air of superiority. Master Choi for the most part is rather quiet about the attitudes, only ensuring that people aren't disrespectful in class. The whole air is similar to an elementary class- Let the kids do their thing, bring them together for the next lesson, and discipline anyone who is out of line.
Striking Instruction- 4. No, it's not 4 because it's TKD, because if it was trained correctly, I'd give it a 10 because of the context. (Just need to get that out of the way).
It's 4 because techniques are done in the air or stopped at the last second against a non-resistant partner. Targets are rarely used and full power blows are only demonstrated against non-existent targets.
Grappling Instruction- 1. Master Choi did attempt to teach "grappling" one month I was there. This basically meant wristlocks against non-resisting opponents, Aikido style (although Choi was quick to say the wristlocks were Korean in origin and he didn't know anything about Aikido). The fact that he professed to be an expert on grappling yet presented techniques anyone who's taken a single BJJ class would find laughable earns a 1.
I sound bitter, I realize that. But Choi in Binghamton was bonafied McDojong. Nothing resembling an active environment to test techniques, no context for the techniques, just a lot of poomsee (kata) and a lot of inflated heads.
That's pretty much a McDojang right there. I went to a school like that in the past. I would review it, but it is no longer running so it would be pointless to do so.
A little bitter? What's the deal?
This review was totally biased to the negative! I don't know what Master Choi did to Yodaman (if anything), but he does seem very bitter.
The first paragraph was fairly accurate with Master Choi taking over from Sang Lee (who left to run USA TKD in Colorado). I don't know who Master Choi trained, but I do know he trained Olympic hopeful TKD athletes as recently as summer 2007. For what it is worth on this website, Master Choi has more medals, awards, and trophies than anyone I know could hope to ever get-- but, funny enough, he keeps them all in a storage room behind his office and never talks about them or shows them. As far as everyone's days of competition being either long gone or never happening that remains to be seen, I guess. (but a young pupil just got a trophy that's over 5 feet tall at a recent tourney in NJ- it's in the front foyer)
Onto the ratings--
these are accurate, and I challenge anyone to dispute them, based on this websites criteria...
Aliveness- during regular training 3-5; during sparring 7-8...I have seen older teenagers and young adults go full speed, hard (full) contact, with safety gear--occasional bloody nose, bruises, limping, ice packs. The sparring classes have lots of kids with skill levels varying and, of course, variable skills. Adults (over 25 years) are rare, except when in training for Black Belt, when attendence is mandatory. Young adults and older teens are common with high skill levels. Regular classes are for learning the various techniques in slower motion and contact is minimal which is expected in TKD.
Equipment- 6-7 at least 8 heavy bags (i believe more but, haven't actually counted them)-all new, shields, strike pads--all used regularly within a training cycle.
Gym size- 8 over 3000 sf of gym space with some supporting pillars.
Instructor/Student ratio- 8-10 2-3 instructors per 10-25 students; Master Choi runs all classes personally with adult only, black belt assistants; Master Choi helps any student individually who needs it; his personal instruction ususally runs after class time--he is always willing to put in extra time to his students 6-7 days per week!
Atmosphere/Attitude- ? (don't even know what this websites criteria mean) Never, in 5 years, have I felt that the students are a prime example of "my style is the best attitude", or black belt superiority--on this whole subject Yodaman is full of BS!
Master Choi expects and returns respect, as it should be in this type of school. The younger students, especially, are taught to respect their elders and higher belts. The school promotes use of "Mr...., Mrs..., Dr...." etc. Diet, nutrtion, education,dedication, self discipline, avoidance of vices, are all stressed. This is not like an elementary class that I am aware of...but instead reinforces home and religious attitudes in the younger students.
Striking instruction- 5-6 it is TKD-- so it is TKD striking! in regular classes punching and kicking are demonstrated and performed with no or little contact for various ranges. In sparring, there is full contact striking with kicks/punches to padded combatants (not ever trying to hurt or disable an opponent- but, to make aggressive, competitive contact)
Grappling Instruction- 4 very limited instruction to red belts and higher (again--it is TKD-which has no grappling traditionally)
Weapons- 1 no weapons
yodaman is very bitter--who knows why?
This is a good school for kids, teens, and adults who want to learn a martial art-- stress on art-- TKD is not a fighting technique, although anyone who wants to step into the cage should be familiar with it's forms and techiques (it won't ever win in the octagon!)
TKD is a martial art that stresses self discipline, form memorization, exercise and activity and limited full sparring. It is an Olympic event, unlike cage fighting- so if you are into that don't do TKD.
Master Choi is an excellent instructor in TKD with over 20 years teaching kids, teens, and adults. He is actually a "grand master" since he has trained "masters". He knows how to motivate kids and adults alike, and can determine what a persons strengths and weaknesses are easily.
i welcome any further questions or opinions
Your grappling training certainly does not sound like a 4, champ. You train there no doubt?
website criteria: "4-5: Limited single sub-range (standing, clinch, ground only)."
master choi is a very good martial artist and as a teacher, he's second to none. he has been in the same location for 26 years, no website, no advertisements, no fancy attention getting signs, just word of mouth. you'd drive past his school a hundred times and never notice it. class size is very small, so nothing goes unnoticed. his only concern is making individuals better, not making money or being popular. he's a man of integrity and very caring when it comes to his students. he always wants to know what you ate for breakfast every morning, and what time you ate it. after class, he always talks about nutrition and the importance of eating the right foods. he knows how much to push each individual, and i was never injured while under his instruction, but i was always worked very hard. i made nothing but steady improvement training under him. i can't fathom anyone saying anything negative about his instruction.
So, in other words, everyone who is critical can be written off as "bitter"? The point of these forums is to give honest reviews, and yodaman's review is consistent with the classic McDojang formula (and my own experiences). I believe his review.
critics by nature are ppl who underestimate others while they overestimate their own importance. and they're almost never as accomplished as whomever they criticize. criticizing others is usually a cry for attention, or to appear smart and enlightened to others. if anyone here thinks master choi is so "mcdojang", then open up a school, and show us all how "real" martial arts is supposed to be taught, and produce some champion students yourself.
Chung Choi's Taekwondo Academy- Binghamton, NY
Well stop being a review critic then and generate you own review. There is a format for reviews. Multiple reviews are always better than a single review.
Originally Posted by lilburley
Nice Critical analysis.
Originally Posted by lilburley