View Full Version : Community Ed based schools

6th December 2004, 18:53
How do you think the community education based schools (dojo's) fair? Do you think they produce individuals who can really defend themselves or are they more activity like - getting people to jump around and punch and kick?

I have visited a class in my community and it seemed like a joke. I just don't want my kid to be in a class like this - though for $20 dollars it almost sounded like a good deal.

Anyway, has anyone seen any long-term success with this type of program?

Thank you

6th December 2004, 19:40
Well, there is one program near me that has provided me with a half dozen students.

One class a week, 12 weeks, $145 up front, no refunds. Must buy gi and patches from instructor. Room was subject to change weekly based on 'paying' activities' needs, sometimes ending up in dark rooms in the recesses of the basement.

Have to complete two full sessions before eligible to test. Which means if you miss a single class, you will pay for three sessions before being able to test. There appear to be three or four sessions a year.

They had never had a black belt in class with them, it was taught by a brown belt. (Lead instructor being a Brown Belt didn't bother me, but not ever having a BB come in does!)

I had one student who had been in the program three years, earned one belt (two tests) and never learned even the simplest kata. Another parent told me her son would leave class in tears after being constantly berated for not knowing left from right.

It appears to be more a babysitting service where the person could yell at the kids than a martial arts class. Little left to say.

Was that $20 a class or for several weeks worth of sessions? I charge less than half that for my classes. If it is for a reasonable number of sessions, it might be worth trying to see if a kid really likes it.

The other thing to watch for is how consistent do they offer it? I know that one of the programs has changed instructors and styles three times in the last six years.

6th December 2004, 21:19
Thank you for the reply!

The class is 8 weeks, but seems a bit disorganized. Very little discipline by the Sensei and the kids run around a lot. Maybe I visited on a bad day ??

Perhaps, I'll look again or just enroll my son and see what he thinks. I think it looks like a mess and not a very serious style. One of the parents claims they have been going there two years and her child is brown belt and no gi. No technique - very sloppy (kicks at ground level - wrist it crooked), and it doesn't seem to bother the Sensei to promote slop.

I don't want my kid to be screammed at, but it is a karate class not a school outing to McDonald's playland.

Again - thank you for your thoughts

7th December 2004, 14:05
Before class my kids play tag. It's a good warm up and they get the excess energy under control before class starts. And I will sometimes throw out rule that changes things. "Blob Tag" is one, once they tag someone, they have to stay connected and try to tag others, which become part of the blob. Helps with balance, team work and using some strategy.

But once class starts I expect my kids to follow four rules:

1. Listen - You can't listen if you are talking.
2. Be Aware - Pay attention to who and what is around you.
3. Do Your Best - Everyone has different abilities
4. Do Not Touch Others - The fastest way to get thrown out of class is for me to see someone punch or kick someone.

7th December 2004, 15:12

I would hesitate to enroll my child. Please consider going another time to see if it just was an off day. Visit other dojos or dajahngs to see what kind of an impression you get. Keep in mind that a lot of learning can look like play. You might want to discuss what you saw with the instructor and see what he says.

Then decide what you want out of this.

Maybe this is a babysitting service and that’s what you need—a place for your child to have fun and socialize with other children. Nothing wrong from a parent’s point of view in enrolling him them. If however, you want a “traditional” martial arts program then start him off in one from the start. I think it would be confusing to start in a play place and then try to transfer to a more traditional setting.

A community ed program can be well run. I think the Aikido program I was in was decent. We had the same spot week in, week out. The program was associated with a large well-respected Aikido center. Once a quarter the center sent one of their senior instructors to either do the classes or review what the local instructors were doing. All testing was through the center. And as there was virtually no overhead and it was a labor of love for the head instructor, it was dirt-cheap.

Good luck,
Barb Bloom