Dodgy Club?

Discussion in 'Kickboxing' started by Atre, Aug 10, 2009.

  1. Atre

    Atre Valued Member

    Hey everyone, I was hoping I could ask some experienced kickboxers for opinions.

    I've joined a kickboxing club, and my preliminary checks suggested good things

    1. Awards from local council for best sports club
    2. Club has a very,very large haul of national/international titles (not sure if they're ALL true but I've found evidence to back up several titles for their members)
    3. Has time requirements between belts, so clearly not a total belt factory
    4. Students had a very high opinion of the chief instructor
    5. Good amount of bagwork (even at low belts) and I presume sparring at later belts.
    6. WKA membership/insurance - although I haven't been able to check that's true.

    Other details are £100 joining fee**, £40 per month training fees (for 2sessions/week). All lower belts (first 4 or 6 grades, not 100% sure) train in the same class, people at the high end of the lower belts can join extra classes ( I think these are extra curricular black belt training classes).

    However I'm no longer 100% sure, some dodgy things (which I'm not sure are dodgy, I'm looking for help/advice here)

    1. £20 grading fee, which is £40 if you skip a grade. (too high? The increased fee for skipping belts??)
    2. A slight padding of the lower belts (the first 3 colours become 6 by having colour+stripe versions). Which rings my belt factory alarms... Although perhaps it is to encourage noobs to stay by progressing them steadily.

    3. My current syllabus is very small. A combo incorporating 8 straight punches and 3 kicks(front/roundhouse/side), retaliation by left/right dodge then punch/roundhouse, retaliation by stepback then punch/sidekick. Also we are not learning the combo in reverse so I do each kick on one leg and almost never the other leg.

    This syllabus is the basis for all the lower belts (6 levels) at the next grading, perhaps the next syllabus will be significantly different.

    4. Students get away with imperfect technique (eg. not altering hand position to a more appropriate guard during a side kick). Indeed such niceties are rarely mentioned. I want to be shouted at until my basic kick etc.. is completely correct!!

    5. (minor) The rotation of punches on contact was stated as a way to tear skin & draw blood, I'm pretty certain that ain't it (rotational torque to drive fist over a few cm is very strong indeed and activates your skeletal muscles?).

    I am aware that my club is not doing a TMA so the niceties of doing techniques in reverse etc... will come below being able to do general damage, and perhaps my previous knowledge leads me to expect unreasonably high technical levels at low belts. But even so, I currently have suspicions of a little bit of belt factory profiteering with weak lower belts - unsure about higher belts - the competition success shows very high levels present at the club.

    Thanks for any help/advice!

    PS. Haven't named the club/instructor 'cos I don't want to libel a perfectly good dojo due to my being picky/petulant.
    **There are joining bonuses, so personally I got a few months free training for my joining fee (plus uniform membership insurance)
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2009
  2. Moi

    Moi Warriors live forever x

    That's good but not always relevant to any training
    Very good indication of quality. Which organization are they with?

    Depends on the times but yes......
    They nearly always do so again it's neither here nor there
    In the lesson or addition to it?
    That's good
    That's becoming standard now. Monthly fee isn't that bad. £5 a lesson.
    The joining fee is just taking the first couple of months training in advance from your edit plus the membership/insurance. Times are hard, makes good business sense
    Seems strange to charge more for talent. Grading fee is cheap enough
    Standard with WKA. It makes money but also ensures that black belts have a few years experience. I think it's to slow down people who want to grade every time but only just scrape through. The belt chasers.
    Did I mention it makes money:rolleyes:
    Kickboxing isn't symmetrical. Different kick from the lead leg.

    This syllabus is the basis for all the lower belts (6 levels) at the next grading, perhaps the next syllabus will be significantly different.
    If it's a fight club the instruction will come when you need it. They'll get around to you. They may want to see if you stick at it first before spending/wasting time on you (Just the way it can be in some gyms)
    I've heard that argument before. Don't know if it's true or partly true or not.
    The fight record is the main point and that appears positive. It appears it's just being run on a sound business idea. Lower belts/grades may not get the attention but if it is indeed a gym with competition in mind they'll treat fighters and the fitness/self defence brigade very differently. It's just the way it is. Show you're keen and you'll get the attention.
    Being from a TMA it'll appear strange but it works well.
  3. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    To add my 2.0 to the as-per-usual-excellent answer from Moi.

    You should NEVER be forced to pay more if you choose to skip a grading - EVER! This, to me, is just a ploy to get you grading more often, which means a guaranteed income stream for them. What happens if you miss three gradings, is the fee increased to £60? That is ridiculous.

    It's not so much the belt colour/pattern I'd be concerned with, but rather the content of the grading. If you're repeating much of the same stuff without doing more advanced techniques, then it is all just filler material to rake in the £££.

    Do they test your fitness at all?

    You will never find what you need in a commerical gym.

    As Moi stated, this is a fairly common urban legend in kickboxing/boxing gyms.

    After all is said and done, if you enjoy it and you get benefit from your training, stick with it - it sounds like things will improve as you advance in rank (even though you shouldn't have to grade at all).
  4. Moi

    Moi Warriors live forever x

    We have gradings based on the WKA format but they are optional.
  5. d0ugbug

    d0ugbug learning to smile

    The grade skipping fee I can only think of is that you double grade if you miss one?! Even then its not something I would do or pay for...

    I offer a grade system 8 belts (white - black) takes about 4 years in total but grading is made totally optional. You either want to grade or not. The only thing I do make compulsory is membership & insurance
  6. Atre

    Atre Valued Member

    Big thanks to both of you guys.

    Pad & bagwork is a common lesson component. Partnerwork with spot pads, a circuit with bagwork every other station (that was brutal). Occasional shadowsparring as well.

    I suppose I should clarify that (according to the grading invitation I got in the post) double grading only occurs if you couldn't attend a prior grading. I don't know if you can jump grades by talent.

    What's the WKA grading format by the way? I didn't see this on a flick through their [WKA] website.

    Fitness is a significant component. Instructor is very keen on remembering to breathe, getting out your combos as quickly as possible and the like.

    Don't know if you can skip through talent. As mentioned above - the grading letter is where my info comes from. I'm training at Uni as well so unless my home club gets flexible I'll have to drop them

    From what I heard talking to other guys, grading is 1.5 hours of alternating press-ups and low level circuits with demonstrating the syllabus material. Dunno if there's sparring, shadow or contact.

    Cheers for the vote of confidence, but I'm not that pro that I wanted to jump in mid-belt.

    I picked up some friends at Uni with black belts and got them teaching me [for fun] the basics - very strictly - repeatedly for a few hours over the course of a term (one-on-one is really good). Finally got spurred into doing some martial arts by being told I was an idiot not to start it earlier - apparently I'm a natural but we'll see how that pans out...

    One last thing - is the skin tear total bollocks or not? Twisting can drive the punch and help grab the skin but I imagine this isn't the prime reason for the twist. Otherwise a multi-Dan should draw blood regularly from bare skin and pro boxing would be a bloodbath?

    Cheers again to both of you, good points and really useful
  7. Moi

    Moi Warriors live forever x

    Usual lesson format
    Good and bad. What's the harm in missing one but nice you get the opportunity to catch up. Business decision on behalf of your instructor and whoever takes the bait. What's the rush?

    It's the amount of gradings before B/B. I do believe it's to preserve the standards of the B/B but it's a nice little earner but I believe the WKA take most of it.

    I don't think it's complete rubbish but it's not the only reason for the twist. I wouldn't judge the instructor or club on minor things like this. Fight science has improved over the last 20 years, sometimes the old reason might not be the complete picture. The technique isn't necessarily any less valid though.
  8. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    I'm not sure what you mean by "skip through talent". I don't think anyone should skip a grading and do the next one in the line of progression. What I meant was, if you miss your yellow belt grading scheduled for May, you shouldn't be charged double for taking your yellow belt grading several months later. Or did I misunderstand?

    Depends on who you ask. In my opinion, it's total BS.
  9. Atre

    Atre Valued Member

    Ah, yep... I gave you the wrong impression superfoot - if you miss grading day but do most of syllabus and then continue through the next syllabus you can "skip" a grade on approval from the boss. I assume this works because there are no strict "belt syllabii" just some material to pull off to the level your belt requires.

    eg. White - yellow (£20) - Orange(£20)

    OR White - yellow (missed) - Orange(£40)

    By skip through talent I meant someone coming into the club with prior experience and jumping in at a high belt. Or someone leaving homeclub, training elsewhere and then expected to return to homeclub at a higher level than they left.
  10. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Ah right, gotcha :cool:

    By the way, I'm asking my biological sciences buddies to help me look into the "twisting action = Chuck Norris esque flesh ripping" urban legend from a scientific point of view, should have an answer for you shortly.

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