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  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2005
    jjj, mma, bjj

    You guys saved me from Westwind Karate

    Ok hopefully this post will let you guys know that this site does actually help people and its not all just arguments over style v. style!

    I trained at Westwind Karate school in Berkeley CA, a place that i'm sure most of you guys are well aware of. Here is my story.

    It was whilst walking around town that i first saw westwind and so i went inside to have a look and ask what it was they taught. The school has a huge banner on the front with 'Karate' and 'Kung Fu' in big white block letters written on it, and actually makes no mention of any sort of style. So i went in to ask.
    The dojo is a huge room, with an assortment of weapons lining an entire wall, and has rock gardens and punch bags and a boxing ring. Mistake one, judging by appearance. The place looked great, unlike any dojo i had ever seen before.
    The place was empty except for one guy, who approached me as i entered. He asked me what i wanted and so i asked him about the place. He then went off to get someone else to speak to me.
    A person in a black gi with red lining covered in patches and badges all the way down the arms came over and identified himself as a sensei. He then asked me some questions such as what im looking for etc, what styles i have practiced previously and so on. He then rushed me in to take a tour of the dojo. He took me to a japanese garden that is out the back, complete with a training deck and it was there that he explained the history of their style.

    For the record, i'm still not sure i actually know what their style is. As far as i can tell its just kempo with a few things thrown in here or there? He spoke for as long as 15 minutes on the history, and i got lost very early on. no doubt one of the tactics is to make it sound grand and heaped in tradition so that it is more attractive.
    The sensei also enjoyed mentioning the fact that he was only 21 (younger than me) and was a sensei.

    Anyways after a long visit as i made my way out the sensei asked me to come back for a free trial lesson as soon as possible. I had already said i would think about it but he was adament that i come back and give it a try. So i did. After my first lesson, which was no different than the first lessons mentioned in other threads on this site about the school, he wanted me to come back for a second the next day. I wasn't available and it was a week before i could go back. I did and then completed my other 2 complimetary lessons. I then went up for my whitebelt test in front of senior instructors who i was very lucky to have testing me!

    Anyways they deemed me worthy for the school and so i was taken to the CORE which you are all aware of. Only i didnt get a mercedes like the guy that wrote the other thread on this school got. Nope, i got to ride to the CORE in a black cadillac escalade complete with huge rims.

    anyway cut the long story short, the guy in accounting i spoke to wrote down the $1,900 sum for a 17 week trial period and when i said i couldnt afford it he offered me the $1,200 sum instead for lesser instructor, a sum i could still not afford. So then he began to talk about the scholarships they had and how they were usually only given to single mothers who have little money. Feeling that i had been pressured into it the whole time anyway i was happy to suggest that they save the scholarship for such a single mother then however he said he could make an exception. In the end i got my trial period for a few hundred dollars. In all actuality they have many people paying alot less than others, they just try to milk as much out of you as possible.

    So i signed the contract. i'm not just saying this, i actually did feel very pressured into joining. the whole process goes by so quickly and they constantly have instructors telling you how good the school is. Its not as easy to walk away as some might think though. I needed a ride home!

    anyways for the next few weeks i was somewhat annoyed that i had spent so much money but i went to training anyway and soon forgot it all.

    All of this you guys have pretty much heard in the other threads but i thought i'd put it down as it shows that their cases aren't just one -offs. This is actually a tactic they use to coerce members to sign up and put down a down payment.

    One thing that hasn't been mentioned before as far as i am aware though (yeah castrate me if i'm wrong), is the tournament.
    Each year, westwind school holds a tournament across all its different schools in the bay area. Before you get you're hopes up, no its not a fighting tournament. Its a kata tournament. Each student performs one kata and one move against an imaginery opponent depending on their belt level. This is done in front of hundreds of other students and a panel of sifus and sensei's.
    And so for months, all the students do is practice tournament moves in half circles, with one person in the middle doing the move, and everyone else cheering for them and shouting and giving them "support".
    Whats more is they have actual cheers! So you being the very lucky people that you are, i am going to teach you a couple of authentic westwind cheers.

    first one. yell lets go berkeley, lets go! and then clap twice. ready?

    "lets go berkeley lets go!" "clap" "clap"

    and this is just repeated.

    second one. bang the floor with your hands 7 times, then clap 7 times, then bang the floor 3 times, then clap 3 times, then bang the floor once yelling "lets" then clap your hand once yelling "go" and then jump up and wave your arms yelling "berkeley".


    "bang bang bang bang bang bang bang" "clap clap clap clap clap clap clap" "bang bang bang" "clap clap clap" "Lets (bang) Go (clap) Berkeley!! wooooooooooooo!"

    Ive just re-read what i just wrote and even to me it seems ridiculous. I know. I wish there was a way i could prove it to you all, but all i can suggest is you go to the school and see lol.

    So just some general comments on the school:

    In the other thread it was mentioned that the instructor said they do some light sparring after getting their second belt. I've never seen anyone spar at that dojo. Its all moves in the air. During a test you have to do an "application on a person". all this means is you do about 1/3 of your techniques on an instructor very lightly. I used to think i was just bad at the techniques because i always seemed to get my arms caught up in the opponent. Of course now i realize it was just that the techniques themselves were bad.

    So how did you guys save me? Well one day i was searching online for the phone number for the dojo (something they dont actually give you there) when i found this site and the previous thread on westwind schools. It was then that i realized that my concerns i had when i first joined up were not just me being stupid, but that i was actually right. You guys made me realize that its not just me who is put off by a school that makes you sign long term contracts (and by the way actually charges an interest fee for late payments), and that does no sparring whatsoever. I never signed a new contract after my 17 week trial period ended.

    So thank you guys. Yeah i feel like an idiot, but at the same time i realize now that i got out early. I only put in a few hundred bucks to that school. I'm sure some of you here have lost alot more than that.

    If you have any questions on westwind schools ill try my best to answer them.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Keep going North until I say stop
    Wado Kai
    Chalk up another one for the good guys, Phrost. :XXsunsmil

  3. #3
    Yrkoon9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Land of the Living
    Wow. I don't know what to say. It's like the website saved someone from a cult through an intervention.

    *high fives to everyone involved in that thread*

  4. #4
    Beatdown Richie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Munich, Germany
    Congratulations! Count yourself lucky that you made it out in time.

    Stick around a little longer and you may actually stop doing WC. :-)
    There are no wrong threats, only wrong answers. (Strategy game truism)

  5. #5
    bunyip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Berkeley, CA
    jits with hits
    Sweet! I feel all warm and squishy.

    Now come train at my gym. You've got a private message.

    EDIT: Evidently you can't receive private messages. I wanted to say:

    Now that you've escaped from West Wind, you should stop by my school. It's only a couple blocks away from the West Wind academy. It's super laid-back, and you'd be welcome to stop by and try an intro class just for fun. Or come to one of our Friday sparring sessions!

    I also train at an awesomely laid back BJJ school in Oakland. Let me know if you're interested at all.
    Last edited by bunyip; 5/06/2005 4:14pm at .
    "I'm offering straight punch, kick while downed to the ribs or head, and of course- the german suplex...which is one suplex quickly followed by another." - Guerilla Fists

    Matt Thornton explains "aliveness":

    West Wind Karate / West Wind Bok Fu / West Wind Kung Fu thread
    West Wind Karate / West Wind Bok Fu / West Wind Kung Fu archive thread
    (experiment to see if I can boost the thread's Google rank)

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Muay Thai
    That's fuckin' awesome....

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Boxing, Judo, BJJ
    It's awesome his eyes were opened and pathetically sad that schools operate in that manner. It makes me want to go punch someone in the head, then choke them til they gurgle!

  8. #8
    Wounded Ronin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    German longsword, .45 ACP
    Cheers! I'm happy to hear this.
    Lone Wolf McQuade Final Fight:

  9. #9
    It is Fake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    It is funny how a simple cheer that worked for sports, sounds so stupid when applied to MA. The first I remember the cheerleaders having us do at football games.

    I'd feel dirty but football isn't trying to claim it will teach you how to fight.
    Last edited by It is Fake; 5/08/2005 7:47pm at .

  10. #10
    Maestro Nobones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Austin, TX
    Mushin Dao, BJJ
    Yes! Glad to know you got out. It took me getting sick with MS to get out of my McDojo contract!!!
    I think it was two ninjas taped together, to make one GIANT NINJA!!!!

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