Lund, SWEDEN: Lund's Songahm Taekwondo Club
I've been with this club (LSTK) for about two years now. The club is under the WTTU organization which is basically the non-American ATA organization. We train on Tuesdays and Wednedays for 1 hour and Sundays for 2 hours (Mondays, Thursdays and Satursdays respectively for the other group - the kids). Recommended black belts and black belts has an additional hour on Mondays. For those interesting in sparring, specifically WTF competition sparring, there's an hour on Thursdays as well.
There's a lot to say about the different aspects of the club, but I'll just touch on the important parts. First of all, the atmosphere in Group Two is mediocre at best since the mentality and attitude of the TKD players there are simply too reminiscent of junior high. There's enough of cockiness and random chatting to go around, and even if not everyone displays this, it tends to take over as the dominant atmosphere. Group One has a better atmosphere - I've talked and met with many of the people of the club, both inside and outside the Dojahng and most of them are cool, nice people that are great to talk to. It's a friendly atmosphere to the point where more aggressiveness could be needed to promote pushing and challenging each other's and one's own limits, including being more willing to give (and receive) criticism.
The training in itself is rather stale. Sure, there is a lot of kicking and cardio training to go around, but the self-defence drills are worthless unless you analyze them yourself and manage to take out the useful knowledge from them. I have during my time there not gotten any stronger whatsoever (although it's possible my stamina has increased somewhat).Most of you are familiar with the ATA, so I don't need to go further into how its sparring system works. Lots of time is dedicated to training poomsae and to try to get people to get promoted to the next rank.
It's not a money-making club. The money we do earn goes to pay off debts we have or buy additional equipment like pads, protective gear, etc.
For what it's worth. on Thursdays the training is decent. A lot of WTF kicking drills, plenty of push-ups, sit-ups and any other exercise you'd like, and always sparring with medium contact (at least) every class.
If you need a great exercise, get some cardio training and get some sort of foundation in martial arts (but do not want to go beyond), then this place works just fine. Great atmosphere. However, if you're looking for something more of a serious martial art, even if it's Taekwondo, then I would recommend another school.
Thanks a lot for the review. As someone who lives in the same city as the headquarters for Songahm I am always interested to hear about their operations abroad. A lot of Songahm players yearn for the days when their Taekwondo was done the old way, and this is as good an account of any of a club that operates by the older methods; Some of the old players really try to paint a picture of a hard fighting gym but that really isn't so.
That's actually about as good as an ATA club gets for what it's worth.