Looking for a trustworthy school in my area

Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by Onesword23, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. Onesword23

    Onesword23 White Belt

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    Hi, I'm new to these forums and I was wondering if anyone knows about a traditional martial arts school that's been around for a very long time with a very reputable and good instructor from the NY Long Island area. Someone who's humble and teaches real legit arts, from spirituality to good exercises, effective self defense, does hard training etc. Someone who's not a fake or looking to just make money or use you as a punching bag. I'm trying to avoid places that have too many kids in the classes and are all about quickly promoting you to higher belt ranks.

    Thank you.
     
  2. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Where on Long Island? Are the 5 boroughs reasonably accessible? If so, you’re pretty much in the Mecca of MA in the US.

    Is there a specific art you’re after, ie karate, TKD, kung fu, etc? Or are you broader in the sense of striking or grappling?

    The possibilities are pretty much infinite. We need more information to help you narrow it down.
     
  3. Onesword23

    Onesword23 White Belt

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    I'm looking for any style involved with kung fu, karate, jiu-jitsu, aikido that may offer grappling, striking, external and internal fitness, self defense (competition as optional but not the main goal) from an authentic teacher that can be trusted and not from some scam artist. I prefer Long Island rather than the boroughs due to my job scheduling and distance. the city can also get quite expensive too.
     
  4. Onesword23

    Onesword23 White Belt

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    The style is not important, it's more about finding a traditional martial arts school that's been around for years, has a great reputation and a patient teacher who teaches the style in a legit way and can really be useful in self defense. Thanks for the help.
     
  5. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    Just an opinion, but I think you would be better served by researching and finding out what martial arts are in the area in which you wish to stay, then come here and ask about the school and instructor individually. You should know that it sounds to me like you are asking people to do your research for you, and that's not a good thing.

    I'm sure that's not how you mean it to come across, but that's how it appears.

    Good luck in your search!
     
  6. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

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    Too me I understood it as him asking people familiar with that area if they have any recommendations not asking people to research it.
     
  7. Onesword23

    Onesword23 White Belt

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    Thank you for the advise, sorry if that's how it sounded. That's not my intentions. I've been doing some more research of places that might suit my style of choice and if any of you know or have information on whether these places are reputable legit and any information on the instructors of which ones are truly the most caring, understanding and a great teacher, please let me know.

    American Black Belt Academy, by Tom Lavarco
    Ling Nam Sui Lam Kung Fu Academy, by sifu Mark
    Martial Art Institute, by sensei Anthony
    Long Island Asian studies, by Tom Collings
    Goshinkan Dojo, by sensei Jeff Lovering

    Thank you
     
  8. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes Senior Master

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    Do you have websites for any of these?
     
  9. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Being in Seido Karate myself, I know of a dojo in Bethpage, run by Sei Shihan Maureen Rouse. I’ve never been in her dojo, so I don’t know much of it personally. I’ve met her and a few higher ranking students of hers, and I have nothing but good impressions.

    Regardless of how I or anyone else feels about a teacher/dojo, that doesn’t mean it’ll be a good fit for you personally. Someone can have impeccable credentials and references, and then when you meet them it just doesn’t click for you. It’s happened to me a few times in my search too.

    The best bet is to make a list of everything in your area. Cross off the ones you can’t afford, the ones that conflict with your schedule, etc. Visit the rest within reason. You’ll see a huge variation in the arts in general, how they’re taught, and who’s training there.

    Within the striking styles/schools, you’re going to see a lot of differences in level of contact. Some schools are bare knuckle, some are hard contact with protective gear, some are no contact at all. If going the striking route, you need to find a level of contact you’re comfortable with for the long haul. That’ll eliminate a lot of places right off the bat.

    Grappling is grappling. Sure there’s variation as to how hard they go, but compared to striking, there’s not very much variation in that regard.

    What else? You’re in an expensive area to live. I used to live in Westchester, so I know the relative cost of living. Training may be cheap in some select dojos, but overall they’re going to be a good bit more expensive than the norm here. Don’t get scared off when they tell you $150+ per month and an annual contract, plus additional costs of belts/promotions. As you know, rent ain’t cheap in your neck of the woods. The tuition has to cover the rent and overhead as a minimum.

    If you’re willing to commute to Manhattan, there’s tons of great dojos. I have to give a shout out to Seido’s honbu (headquarters) dojo near the Flatiron Building. I’m in Albany, so it’s not my dojo, but it’s my teacher’s teacher’s dojo.
     
  10. Anarax

    Anarax 2nd Black Belt

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    To narrow your search down, look up all schools within driving distance and list them. You can get a general feel and the main focus of a school by looking at their websites. You could then cross some off your list that don't match your style criteria. Visiting the actual schools that match your criteria will give you a lot of insight what each school has to offer. Most schools will let you try out one or a few classes for free.
     
  11. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    Sending a pm instead.
     
  12. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    .
     
  13. Onesword23

    Onesword23 White Belt

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    Hmm ..I will definitely check her dojo out, thanks. Do you know if she's patient? Has been teaching for a while and covers all the concepts and aspects of fighting from standing to ground and does internal training? There' lots of places by me that I went to try and didn't like cause they were too focused on being like mcdojos. Also, you are right. It really depends what is the best fit for me and it all comes down to travel distance, money, timing, good training and an instructor that can work with me. Like you said it can get quite expensive by my area but I'll try to do the best I can in finding the proper school and teacher and hopefully not so far away. At least for right now, I'm more focused on places locally that have been around for a long time teaching.
     
  14. Onesword23

    Onesword23 White Belt

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    I will do that, the places I listed are ones that I found that were in driving distance but I don't know much about those schools and not sure of anyone that does.
     
  15. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    You have an interesting set of criteria. I'm wondering why you're stressing patient so much, because it's not something people often look for in a martial arts instructor. Perhaps if he told us more about why you want these specific criteria, someone might be able to help you more. You also listed several schools, and as of the others have told you, visit them. That's the only way, in my perspective -- but you might feel it is completely the opposite when you visit.

    Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
     
  16. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Seido doesn’t have any ground fighting that I’ve seen. Going by her rank/title (6th dan) she’s been in Seido for at least 30 years, probably closer to 40. She’s probably been teaching for about 3/4 of that time. As far as patience, everyone’s idea of that is different.

    Seido has an element of meditation to it. We have a monthly meditation class at our dojo, as do the other dojos that I know of. It’s not a requirement for promotion, but I’d be very surprised if she does hold that class too. If that’s what you mean by “internal.”

    I’ve never been to her dojo personally, so I can’t give any insight as to the atmosphere of it; I can only say I’ve met her and a few of her higher rank students through being in the organization. They were very good people and martial artists. I can’t comment on their day to day stuff.

    Regardless of all of that, the only way to know if that dojo or any other dojo is a good fit is to go visit and ask questions in person. Visit many dojos. Most will give a free introductory lesson or two.
     
  17. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Hmm... first off, welcome aboard. I genuinely mean that... which I'm emphasising as this will be a little blunt.

    You have no idea what you're even looking for.

    At the moment, you're simply listing things you don't know, but have a form of imagining/fantasy about, and are looking for that fantasy in real life... and we are now a part of your fantasy. What I mean is that you're throwing around a lot of terms, words, ideas etc, but the way you're writing about them tells me you don't even know what they mean... you also have the fantasy that all martial artists, or collection of them (such as this forum) will then have a complete knowledge of all arts, specifically in a specific area... and think that we'll also all agree on the arts, even if there is any collective knowledge to find (which, honestly, there isn't).

    You're also under the very mistaken impression that there is such a thing as "real legit arts" that are universally agreed on... and that fit your fantasy about what these arts teach. The variety and breadth of what are classed as "martial arts" is huge... and all will claim to be "real legit arts"... but nothing on the planet will fit the impossible stereotype you're looking for.

    This'll take a bit, but I'm going to break down your requests, to highlight how you've really asked nothing that we can help with... which will go back to pgsmith's advise to research more first... so hopefully this may show where your research should start. Although, at the end of the day, most of what you're asking for/about is rather beside the point... all you need is to do is find a school you like, regardless of it's age, or system, or anything else, and attend it. But we'll cover this first.

    Okay, you're asking for a "traditional martial arts school". What is that to you? Is it a classical Japanese art, and therefore based dominantly in weapon use? A Chinese system? A more modern Korean art that has a more "militaristic" training approach, such as many TKD schools? What defines a "traditional martial art"? Is that different to a "traditional martial arts school"? Let me tell you, even on the forum, we can't agree on what constitutes a traditional school as distinct from a modern one....

    A school that's "been around for a very long time"? How long is that? The average martial art school folds in less than 6 months... Is 5 years "a long time"? 10 years? 50?

    "With a very reputable and good instructor"? According to who? In what field? A very reputable and good instructor in BJJ is useless if you're looking for Iaido... so you're putting the cart before the domestication of the horse here...

    "Someone who's humble". Okay, that's movies talking.

    "And teaches real legit arts", which can mean a huge variety of things... and can be questionable, depending on who you listen to...

    "From spirituality" (mostly lip service in many schools, I gotta be honest... to find any school that actually has any emphasis on it is very rare)
    "to good exercises" (for what? Good exercises for boxing will be different to those for Kyudo, which will be different to those for karate, different to those for Judo, different to those for Taiji etc... and really, if the need is fitness, gyms are rather prevalent these days...)
    "effective self defence" (ooh, another can of worms.... but importantly, how would you assess that? What experience do you have to what is and is not effective self defence?),
    "does hard training etc" (yeah, that's another fantasy... you're not even aware of what training involves by itself, let alone "hard training"...).

    "Someone who's not a fake" (and what criteria do you use to check that?) "or looking to just make money" (financial success is a bad thing now?)
    "or use you as a punching bag" (there will be some discomfort, but if you don't like it in whatever school you find... leave. Easy.)
    "I'm trying to avoid places that have too many kids in the classes" (okay, then do the adult classes), "and are about quickly promoting you to higher belt ranks" (are those the same things?).

    Yeah, you're pulling words in you don't understand....

    Kung Fu is a generic term for the "rewards of hard work", and is a catch-all term often applied to Chinese martial arts, traditional, modern, unarmed, armed, and more. It can literally apply to any Chinese art at all.

    Karate is a grouping of arts based in Chinese methods and developed dominantly in the Ryukyu islands south of Japan, as well as including a number of even more modern Japanese-developed arts based in the Okinawan (Ryukyu) methods. These arts are largely unarmed, although there is some weapon work associated through Ryukyu Kobudo or weapons taught as part of the karate system itself. Largely split into Okinawan and Japanese arts, there are obviously a lot of similarities, as well as some distinct differences that are not worth getting into here. Karate is known for it's emphasis on striking and kicking methods, with the exact breakup and training emphasis depending on the system itself.

    Jiu-jitsu is an old transliteration of the Japanese 柔術 (most commonly rendered today as "Jujutsu"). This spelling is mostly used by BJJ practitioners and arts (Brazilian jiu-jitsu), a modern ground-fighting based system originating in early Judo. No weapons, minimal striking and stand up work, but very sophisticated ground work, and a healthy competitive approach.

    Aikido is a modern Japanese jujutsu system based in Daito Ryu Aikijutsu, with an emphasis on avoiding directly meeting an opponents force, and using the opponents momentum to extend their balance, leading to takedowns and joint locks. Some basic weapon use is included, but little ground work.

    NONE of these systems offer the entirety of grappling, striking, external fitness, internal fitness (whatever that is), self defence, and so on all in the one package... for example, karate has minimal grappling, basically all stand up (not ground fighting as a rule), a lot of striking, a certain degree of physical (external) fitness, maybe some "internal" (particularly some of the Goju kata from Okinawan systems).... BJJ will give you a lot of grappling options, a lot of physical fitness, little to no emphasis on anything "internal", almost no striking, and so on... Aikido is standup grappling, almost no striking, less emphasis on fitness, and so on...

    You're also rather obsessed with the idea of the teacher being "authentic", and "not a scam artist"... look, to be fair, you can get a perfectly authentic teacher, and they can be borderline useless... while I'm not saying you should then entertain the idea of a scam artist, honestly, if the rest is catered for (a proper, legit art), then you greatly reduce the risk for that from the get-go. I wouldn't worry about it too much.

    You have to remember, this is a worldwide website... I have no idea who "sensei Anthony" or "sifu Mark" are... but a little google, and we can find something...

    A modern, full time facility, teaching modern art such as Ed Parker's Kempo Karate (a modern US form of the art... opinions differ...), MMA, BJJ (for kids), and a lot of fitness programs. Looks okay, but not traditional, nothing to do with internal aspects, philosophy, or much else. Might be a belt factory for the kids, might be good. Certainly a fairly slick set up, and fairly professional.

    Chinese arts, teaching two rather interesting systems to find under one roof... Hung Gar and Wing Chun. The two are almost exactly opposite, really, with Hung Gar favouring deep stances, and wide actions, and Wing Chun liking short movements and direct lines... interesting. Lineage seems okay... the mention of William Cheung might get the WC guys up in arms, though...

    Er... a lot of things taught, but the instructor doesn't really show any history of training in anything other than sports karate... and claims like "Often called the Harvard of Martial Arts" just makes me laugh and cringe....

    So, basically an Aikido school and Taiji school with a real lack of grasp of history... a lot of issues with the site, but the instruction might be okay.

    Er... okay.... the only legit rank I can find for Jeff Lovering, 9th Dan, is a 3rd Kyu in Daito Ryu... that's... not good. A lot of modern, Western creations, trying to imitate Japanese arts, societies awarding rank they have no real authority to, and a minimalist actual legit ranking... not something that looks overly good to my eyes... but again, the instruction might be fine. Only way to tell for these schools is to go to them.

    No problem.

    One more to go...

    Why is "patient" important?
    What makes you think any particular system would cover:
    "all the concepts" (whatever you think that might entail)
    "and aspects of fighting" (nothing does... all systems are contextually dependent)
    "from standing to ground fighting" (there are two types of unarmed arts, specialist systems and generalist... a generalist system might touch on all of this, but not in the depth of a specialist system... which will only really focus on one or two aspects...)
    "and does internal training?" (what do you think internal training is?)

    I would also ask what you know a "McDojo" to be...

    Look, I know this was rather harsh, and I hope you take it in the spirit in which it is intended... to get you to think a bit more about what you're after... and to allow you to realise that there is no single system that does everything, or is the single "best"... traditional (classical) arts won't be particularly suited to modern self defence, for example... a grappling heavy school won't do much in the way of striking... "internal" elements are a rarity, and often not what you think they are....

    I wish you the best in your search, but you need to significantly reign in your expectations to begin with.
     
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  18. Onesword23

    Onesword23 White Belt

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    When I say "patient" meaning that the instructor doesn't send the students out the door, and one who doesn't like being asked questions. Someone who is open to listen to any answers I have and is not going to rule out any chance to help and correct you if you make a mistake rather than get the feeling you're just there to come and go like you're on an assembly line. But you are right, only way to know is to visit them.

    I guess that is fine, my guess is that having a little ground work helps a long way in self defense along with striking cause any situation could accrue but if they are a great school with a great teacher and students then that's what matters most. Just because a style is good for me doesn't mean the instructor or students will be cause sometimes I'm better off at a school that has the right atmosphere.
     
  19. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    First name I think of hearing Long Island is matt serra bjj and Mma. I've met matt and he's a real nice guy and he's former ufc welterweight champ and the first American to get a black belt under Renzo Gracie
     
  20. Onesword23

    Onesword23 White Belt

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    I appreciate everything you are telling me. Do not worry about sounding a little harsh as I do not mind that at all and this is a big learning experience for me. The more I learn the better I will understand. You are correct in that no place can offer a flawless structure as this is not fantasy land and everyone will have their opinion about which is better but if I can get the most out of a place that is very well rounded in a sense that it's known for a good reputation where lots of people would recommend to go. It usually helps in the long run, then it's up to me to decide if I like it based on my own experience trig it out.

    One thing I'd like to say is aren't most martial arts a hybrid of grappling/striking, etc.? Wasn't martial arts invented as a combative way to fighting in wars while also having the internal/breathing elements that sort of balance out the toughness? Correct me if I'm wrong. I would think that any martial art could focus on different aspects to train you for the real world like karate having punches, strikes but I'd assume they would also learn throws/grabs or how to get away and escape from being taken to the ground no? Same with kung fu I'd assume but I wouldn't know cause every style and teacher is probably different. This is why I ask.

    I say patent in a sense that I don't want an instructor that doesn't take the time to teach and just has you in the back line and when it's over you just go home, I may be a slow learner and like to ask a few questions cause at the end of the day it is my money and just to think you're leaning an art and to feel rushed, especially if they try to get you to the next belt as quickly as they can, which is more money I'm not learning. I understand that an instructor can be authentic, long lineage, knows some deadly stuff, etc, but if they have the wrong attitude and aren't helpful it's the wrong place for me too.

    Thanks for getting information on those schools I listed, I will check them out more myself. I think the ones that interest me most right now is that kung fu school and the Taiji school, not really feeling the tempo place at the moment, as for that Japanese arts school with western creations seems pretty skeptical to me as well, after looking it up on the site but only time will tell if I decide to try all the schools out just to get abetter idea.

    Thank you so much, anything else you want to inform me, please do. This was very helpful.
     

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