Success Martial Arts
I attended Success Martial Arts (SMA) in Durham NC a long time ago ,and back then i actually thought i was doing something special.That being said SMA is your typical Mcdojo where they give sub-par (AT BEST) instruction.
Success is lead by Master Ronald Harris, a former Durham city fireman ,and police officer who hold a 7 dan in Taekwondo (unconfirmed). He claims to have trained a former five-time kickboxing world champion, but no name is given. According the school website:
Grand Master Harris is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of "SIMAA", Success International Martial Art Association which is the new and progressive world association that allows any martial artist to retain their own identity, individual style, and system and still receive rank, recognition, and continued training under SIMAA
( I have no idea what thats supposed to mean, but at least it "sounds" imperesive.)
he also claims to be a great motivation speaker, and Chief Executive Officer of Success International Motivational Institute. He claims to have spoken to:
- Fortune 500 Companies
- Small Businesses
- Real Estate companies
- Sales Organizations
- Schools / Universities
- Seminars / Rallies
- Beauty Pageants
- Private Tutoring
- Government Agencies,
but, if you google his name nothing almost nothing about him appears outside his own website.
Now as for the corriculum SMA uses the belt and stripe system, where you must recieve three stripes in order to test for the next belt, and you must test for each stripe as a rank. the school teaches basic taekwondo along with a randomly thrown in "Kickboxing form" that consists of punching, kicking, bobing, and weeving up and down the floor. They teach this along with a few judo moves and karate aerobics. In fact they also offer a blackbelt in aerobic karate ,but I digress along with this mish-mash of martial arts they also have made up their forms. In fact some of the forms like Rin-kup are named after Master Harris' children. Weapons are taught with foam or rubber ones. students can go and grab weapons whenever they want and end up beating eachother up with them when the instructors aren't looking.
the current facility is relatively small and is visable cluttered by equipment and merchandise. Now when i attended the school at its old location their was a giant big screen t.v. in the corner of the dojang where we were working out, but I don't know if they still keep there. They have 45 minute classes and an after school program where they pick children up from school and let them come in and play around for three hours. Children are loosely monitored and aloud to play with rubber weapons. SMA also has a summer camp program and according to the two years old pdf in includes
- All-Day sessions (7:30am) - Pickup (6pm)
- Daily Lesson Plans
- Kids Movies
- Field trips
- Karate Class
- Life Skills
- Music Classes
- Arts and Crafts
"Please take note of everything after snacks."
The overall atmosphere of the school is basically the same as any public school. Various groups of kids hang out together with some picking on others.
Since it has been such a long time most of my current information i have about SMA comes from a former student of there's who now attends my school and here is his story. Young Louis, or whatever generic name you like, came to us about a year and a half ago from SMA, he couldn't kick right and always had his hands down, but we liked him any way. He had apparent left SMA because when the instructors left the room all of the kids attacked him with the foam weapons for no reason. Afterwards Louis told his parents about the incident and of course his parents talked to Master Harris about it. Master Harris said the boy was lying and that this could not ave happened. Later on Master Harris told Louis he didn't like the fact that Louis told his parents about the incident. This raised a red flag with Louis' parents which led him to changing school's.Now if that wasn't bad enough SMA also has a video black belt program. that's right for the price of 59.95 you can by SMA's video black belt tapes. SMA's program tops all other video black belt programs because from this one video you can earn two degrees thats right one in taekwondo and one in karate aerobics "what a deal"
In conclusion SMA is a Mcdojo that is being run like some sort of telemarketing scam, the atmosphere is poor, the instruction sucks, there's crap all over the workout area, and if the teacheings aren't dead their comatose.
Last edited by korean dragon; 7/25/2009 2:15am at .
Ummm. The master of this school must practice the Vanishing Style of Martial Arts, because I went looking for Success Martial Arts, and was very unsuccessful in finding it. I guess, I'll have to wait until they appear again. so I can watch their classes.
Last edited by taekwondomaster; 5/07/2010 3:46pm at .
korean dragon and taekwondomaster together again.....shocker! Don't you have better things to do like run your own school if everyone else in Durham NC is so bad?
Oh, if only you could have waited a mere three weeks, and it would've been an entire year since anybody had bothered commenting on this thread.
People these days have no sense of style.
Thanks TKD4LIFE I forgot to acually rate this one!
Aliveness is a 3. they do point sparring.
Gym Size is a 6. based on where they were last they have moved again.
Student/Instructor Ratio is a 4. based on what I remember sometimes an instructor would teach class, and sometimes a adult color belt would teach class.
Equipment is a 6. They always had pretty new stuff ,it was just all over the place.
Atmosphere is a 6. some cliques and some drama from what I hear and from what I remember.
Striking Instruction is a 5. Restrictive point sparring.
Grappling Instruction is N/A. One-steps.
Weapons is 1. Forms only.
that is all!.
I am writing this because I have something I must share and I know only the administratvie staff on this site have my real name. I was a member of SMA on and off from December 2000 to January 2010. I made black belt (whatever it is worth in 2006). My experience goes like this. When I first joined I too thought I was going into something special but as hindsight has x-ray vision in this case I now see many things wrong with this dojang. Firstly, when I first joined the workouts for adults were challenging and the staff were real instructors. However, around the time the preceding post was written Master Harris got the idea that he should mimic L.A. Kickboxing with "bag rounds" instead of tae kwon do drills. I must confess I did some of that instruction. It was not the same thing. Secondly, the "instructor training" program was really baptism by fire and a rip off. Neither Master Harris nor Master Supernaw were around at the time it was to take place. They just plopped you with the responsibility with teaching classes just because you had a black belt. He was charging $ 170 a month for this "instuctor training" program. Master Harris ought to have been paying me.
Finally, around 2009 my contract ended and I was not in a financial situation to sign up for another one. This is when Master Harris set up a trade-in deal with me --BIG MISTAKE. The time I wasted "marketing the school" took away from time I could train for tae kwon do. I was mindlessly putting flyers on cars and driving around distributing flyers to apartment complexes. When I objected to this, he let teach tae kwon do and karate aerobics as my trade-in deal instead. That didn't go well either. What was I doing! I'm not an aerobics instructor and Master Harris sometimes left the school while I was there teaching depriving me of my chance to be trained.
The last straw was the friction this was causing between my boyfriend and me. He wa suspicious of how Master Harris had me there after 9pm when most of the shopping center store were closed and seemed to need to have me there when there was hardly anybody to teach. The demands on my schedule also caused friction. My agreed upon schedule was Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday for a couple of ours each of those days. One time he had the nerve to call me at 5:00pm on a Friday after I had got off work to come in at 6pm that evening. I refused of course but he would try to sneak in extra days for me to come in there.
I love the art of Tae Kwon Do but until I get into a financial situation where I can go to another school. It will have to go on the back burner.