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    Andelas, your posts have been removed as they were heresay. I don't care about Master Lee's character, I care about substantiated actions. Not rumor.

    Comment


      As an ATA student, I wanted to reply to this thread, as it's apparent (and somewhat disappointing) regarding the lack of quality control and consistency across many of the schools.

      First a disclaimer: I have nothing to compare the ATA school that I am enrolled in to. I started Taekwondo one year ago, I'm 50 years old and in excellent physical condition, and am ranked a green belt. I have no delusions of competing in the Olympics or going pro, so in essence, so far MY experience has been positive. ATA has given me an opportunity to learn some basic martial arts, keep active, and it's been a fun experience so far.

      Undoubtably, and I know of one school in my area like this, there are some schools that give out belts like I give out candy on Halloween. This is seriously a huge disappointment, and I see it as an insult to those who REALLY work hard to EARN their advancements in rank and skill. Personally, I don't just show up for class, go home, and not work on my skills until the next class like some do. When I'm not in class, I'm either working out (advocate of Stronglifts 5x5) or hitting the heavy bag in my basement.

      Yes, ATA has a camo belt, along with orange, purple, and brown. To me, the belts mean little. Also, the founder of ATA added some belts "in between" the traditional belts (camo for example, is in between yellow and green) to essentially satisfy the "instant gratification" deal of alot of people. To me, camo, purple, etc., are pretty much a symbolic halfway point to the next belt. Nothing more.

      My school has an owner who has been practicing Martial Arts (Taekwondo) for over 40 years. He began outside of the ATA and later came in to the ATA eventually opening his own school. One of the other instructors is a 5th degree black belt who trained in Korea and tested in Korea. There are several more instructors, all who have at least 10 years of experience.

      Yes, we do have to sign a contract. My school might be different, but they first offered a 30-day "free trial" to see if I'd like the school or not. After the 30 days, it was time to join if I wanted. When it was time to sign the contract, I was able to set the length of the contract. My options were anywhere from 3 months to 3 years. It was up to me, no pressure. I signed on for a year and recently signed for another.

      Cost of classes each month is $85. Again, I don't know how this compares to other schools non-ATA, but I go 3-4 times a week, so if I break it down by class, this is pretty reasonable. Classes are an hour long. I don't get how some ATA schools offer 30 minute classes and charge MORE. Also, whether you are in the black belt program or the leadership program, you can attend any and all classes...you don't have to pay more for any "extras" at my school.

      My classes consist of conditioning, work on forms, and sparring. Yes forms. My thoughts about forms: they are a benefit essentially to work on technique (my opinion). In my school, there seems to be an emphasis more on forms at the white-orange-yellow belt levels and less so at the camo and above.

      I'm amazed that alot of schools have "no contact" sparring and only do the point sparring in class. Personally, I hate point sparring.

      At my school, we have full contact sparring, and we don't do the point sparring in classes. Yes we wear more protective gear than I did when I played hockey in high school and college. My school owner has a good philosophy regarding sparring...he basically states that "if you're going to just tap, don't even bother throwing a punch or kick....make it count".

      Good philosophy but unfortunately, some of the folks I've sparred seem like they've essentially learned nothing, and come out swinging like it's a street fight. In my opinion, some really take the "art" out of the martial arts aspect.

      ATA is a big organization, and apparently quality control and consistency are big issues. I agree that it seems that some schools are out there to make a buck and just advance people who don't deserve it. I've seen instances in my own school where people have passed belt testing who I thought didn't deserve it or put much effort into their training, and on the other hand, I've also seen students not recommended for testing because of mininal effort. I've also seen quite a few people drop out of the program during the 30 day free "trial". Many were grossly overweight and couldn't hack it (yes some can't hack it) or they came in because their kids were involved and tried to convince mommy or daddy that they should take Taekwondo also.

      Lastly, I'm not a martial arts expert...I'm a newbie. I just wanted to share my experience with ATA. For the most part, the experience has been very good thus far.

      Comment


        Originally posted by JAFMAS View Post
        First a disclaimer: I have nothing to compare the ATA school that I am enrolled in to.
        I have a lot of respect for you still being so active at your age. Unfortunately, without anything to compare your ATA experience to, it makes many of your points moot.

        I think there's certainly the possibility that there is a quality ATA franchise location out there, I'm simply not convinced that you are enrolled in it.

        Comment


          I was following you right up until the full contact part. If you have no experience in MA outside of this realm then you don't have a realistic idea of what full contact is. Besides that glad you're enjoying your school.

          Comment


            Originally posted by Omega the Merciless View Post
            I was following you right up until the full contact part. If you have no experience in MA outside of this realm then you don't have a realistic idea of what full contact is. Besides that glad you're enjoying your school.
            Thank you....I agree...being a "noob" I don't have much to compare to. Our in class sparring is pretty much the same as this as I found in another thread:

            Went to a (mostly) taekwondo tournament, filmed some sparring - No BS MMA and Martial Arts

            The only exception is that with ATA there is no punching to the head.

            Comment


              That's not really "full contact" but now we have a measuring stick.

              Comment


                I started with the ATA back in 1995 when I was 9 years old, and trained with them until about Sophomore year in high school, and ended up going back there and teaching a few years after high school and training again. The organization is a disaster.... the person who posted is correct though, there are some good schools, but most of them are BAD. When I first started and got my "camo belt" (extra testing fee belt) and was able to spar, myself and a few of my classmates got fairly good. By the time we were purple belts, we basically had our private classes that trained before hours and after school hours. We went full go when we sparred, and weren't allowed to spar with kids, we had to spar with the adults. It was TOUGH. The workouts were hard, the sparring was tough, you could barely walk out of class. I'm almost 100% sure there are ZERO ATA schools that still train that way. Almost every kid is garbage, every instructor is garbage. Except the old schools ones. It really is a shame. It's all about the money.... there is no reason for the face cages, no reason for the chest protector. They are now mandatory at all schools for the most part I believe..... it's just another way to generate cash. In all of the years I competed at their tournaments, I'm pretty sure nobody left with broken ribs, or a kicked in teeth considering they encouraged no contact.... shake my head why am I ranting pointlessly?

                Comment


                  I've heard of ATA and their McDojo approach. Alright, some some schools offer legitimate Tae Kwon Do, and a lot of them literally sell belts. Two obvious mcdojo traits: getting a black belt in less than 2 years, and little kid black belts.

                  Comment


                    Just my two cents: IMO, ATA is fine as a introduction to martial arts for young children. The bottom line is it all depends on the instructor of the specific school. My kids had an excellent instructor who loves what he does and is very patient with and encourages the kids. The instructor is a 6th degree (Master) in ATA's belt ranking and has achieved world championship standing in the past (ATA only tournaments). I wasn't trying to turn my kids into fighters. If I wanted that, I would have chosen a hard-core martial arts school. I wanted them to learn confidence, discipline and life skills such as perseverance. My kids didn't pass every testing, and I was fine with that. When they worked hard and practiced at home, it showed, and they passed. They also had to pass physical fitness tests as a part of the testing, so terribly unhealthy kids have no chance of passing at our school.

                    In what I will call adult martial arts, it takes many years to achieve black belt. Those are for fighters, and I have great respect for the discipline required to achieve the rank. In ATA, children can achieve ATA black belt rank. I don't portray the black belts as "real" black belts to anyone I talk to. I know that the belts were achieved through a children's program designed to teach children how to work hard for and achieve a really great goal.

                    I would say that depending on the child and the child's goals, a child who wants to learn real-world martial arts should discontinue ATA between the ages of 10 & 12 and move to a "real", or what I would call "adult" school and program.

                    I do however, take great exception with the financial part of the ATA. A non-cancelleable contract-based program means that an instructor is completely unaccountable for providing quality instruction. Thankfully, we lucked out and received excellent quality in our ATA program. Then came the other surprises: an annual membership fee and testing fees. Those fees were not disclosed at the time that I signed the contract. So I do believe the financial aspect of the ATA is very unethical and unaccountable.

                    Comment


                      Originally posted by seekchat View Post
                      Just my two cents: IMO, ATA is fine as a introduction to martial arts for young children. The bottom line is it all depends on the instructor of the specific school. My kids had an excellent instructor who loves what he does and is very patient with and encourages the kids. The instructor is a 6th degree (Master) in ATA's belt ranking and has achieved world championship standing in the past (ATA only tournaments). I wasn't trying to turn my kids into fighters. If I wanted that, I would have chosen a hard-core martial arts school. I wanted them to learn confidence, discipline and life skills such as perseverance. My kids didn't pass every testing, and I was fine with that. When they worked hard and practiced at home, it showed, and they passed. They also had to pass physical fitness tests as a part of the testing, so terribly unhealthy kids have no chance of passing at our school.

                      In what I will call adult martial arts, it takes many years to achieve black belt. Those are for fighters, and I have great respect for the discipline required to achieve the rank. In ATA, children can achieve ATA black belt rank. I don't portray the black belts as "real" black belts to anyone I talk to. I know that the belts were achieved through a children's program designed to teach children how to work hard for and achieve a really great goal.

                      I would say that depending on the child and the child's goals, a child who wants to learn real-world martial arts should discontinue ATA between the ages of 10 & 12 and move to a "real", or what I would call "adult" school and program.

                      I do however, take great exception with the financial part of the ATA. A non-cancelleable contract-based program means that an instructor is completely unaccountable for providing quality instruction. Thankfully, we lucked out and received excellent quality in our ATA program. Then came the other surprises: an annual membership fee and testing fees. Those fees were not disclosed at the time that I signed the contract. So I do believe the financial aspect of the ATA is very unethical and unaccountable.
                      Sorry if Im misunderstanding but what Im getting from your post is that you're not putting your kids through the ATA's system to learn self defence but to give them an activity with goals that can be accomplished.


                      Also you dont like the fee's system I cant help but think you could have found another activity that meets with what you want your kids to get out of it without the unethical and unaccountable fee's experianced in the ATA.

                      Comment


                        Originally posted by seekchat View Post

                        In what I will call adult martial arts, it takes many years to achieve black belt. Those are for fighters, and I have great respect for the discipline required to achieve the rank. In ATA, children can achieve ATA black belt rank. I don't portray the black belts as "real" black belts to anyone I talk to. I know that the belts were achieved through a children's program designed to teach children how to work hard for and achieve a really great goal.
                        You have a ton to learn about martial arts in general if you really believe this justification of "adult" vs. "child" activities.

                        Comment


                          Originally posted by seekchat View Post
                          ATA is fine as a introduction to martial arts for young children. The bottom line is it all depends on the instructor of the specific school.
                          So is a park district..costs less too.
                          I would say that depending on the child and the child's goals, a child who wants to learn real-world martial arts should discontinue ATA between the ages of 10 & 12 and move to a "real", or what I would call "adult" school and program.
                          That makes no sense at all. If you feel ATA is not a martial art school, "real" or otherwise, why bother spending the money there in the first place? Also, why uproot them and stick them in another school? That only gives a headache to the next instructor who has to break them of specific habits in order to have them learn their system. Plus what message do you send to the kids. You were not really learning martial arts you were just learning to jump around in cute white pajamas?

                          I do however, take great exception with the financial part of the ATA. A non-cancelleable contract-based program means that an instructor is completely unaccountable for providing quality instruction.
                          First of all most contracts you enter into are considered non-cancelleable. Try buying a car and then tell them you decided not to pay it off. Yes, they will repo the car, but your credit history is shot to hell. Plus schools have to do this because there are flipitant parents who sign Lil' Johnny up for karate lessons because he got a hard on watching Karate Kid, but as soon as he learned he will have to actually work he wants to quit. Health clubs have contracts too. Try just not showing up and say you want to cancel and see how nice they are about it.

                          If the instructor is not providing quality instruction you can report him to the BBB. However, the proof will be on your end to prove that he/she is not providing quality instruction. Now if he/she is not even present on the floor and allowing some kid to teach then you can easily make a case. Bottom line is you read the contract and you know the prices and apparently you are willing to pay those prices so you can't really be pissed a the ATA for what they are charging.

                          Then came the other surprises: an annual membership fee and testing fees. Those fees were not disclosed at the time that I signed the contract. So I do believe the financial aspect of the ATA is very unethical and unaccountable.
                          While it is good business to disclose this information, they do not have to. If your contract did not stipulate you needed to purchase an annual membership, then you do not have to. Same with the belt testing, if you do not want to pay for it then don't. However, if membership is required for Lil' Johnny to promote well then it is your call. Your contract is for instruction in martial arts and you are paying for just that. Nothing more...nothing less. All other activity payments such as testing, tournaments, organizational fees, etc. are seperate and do not have to be disclosed. Unethical...no. Bad business on their part? Yes.

                          Comment


                            Originally posted by It is Fake View Post
                            You have a ton to learn about martial arts in general if you really believe this justification of "adult" vs. "child" activities.
                            You have interpreted my posting as justification. It is simply what I was looking for for my kids at a young age - a fun activity, physical excercise, building confidence, enforcing respect for others, and other good characteristics, and at the same time they get to learn some self-defense skills. I wasn't looking for hard-core mnartial arts. I was looking for a physical activity with additional benefits. If you don't want to take my comments at face-value, so be it. If you just want to carry a chip on your shoulder, have fun with that!

                            Comment


                              Originally posted by seekchat View Post
                              You have interpreted my posting as justification. It is simply what I was looking for for my kids at a young age - a fun activity, physical excercise, building confidence, enforcing respect for others, and other good characteristics, and at the same time they get to learn some self-defense skills. I wasn't looking for hard-core mnartial arts. I was looking for a physical activity with additional benefits. If you don't want to take my comments at face-value, so be it. If you just want to carry a chip on your shoulder, have fun with that!
                              You should probably not post on this website again.

                              Comment


                                Originally posted by seekchat View Post
                                You have interpreted my posting as justification.
                                No, I interpreted it as someone who has only experienced one martial art and has a ton of bias.

                                It is simply what I was looking for for my kids at a young age - a fun activity, physical excercise, building confidence, enforcing respect for others, and other good characteristics, and at the same time they get to learn some self-defense skills. I wasn't looking for hard-core mnartial arts. I was looking for a physical activity with additional benefits.
                                So, you repeat what you typed while denying it is for justification? Wow. Like I said you have a ton to learn about Martial arts.

                                One of the top respected martial arts, Judo, teaches everything you just typed and competes in the similar venues as TKD.

                                Hardcore is a strawman used by people that do not understand Martial Arts.


                                If you don't want to take my comments at face-value, so be it. If you just want to carry a chip on your shoulder, have fun with that!
                                Your comments were taken at face value. You don't know what you are talking about when it comes to martial arts. I said nothing about justification of why you did what you did. You are trying to justify your lack of Martial Understanding.
                                Last edited by It is Fake; 12/14/2010 5:26pm, .

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