Need School Suggestions

Stargazer

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Do you know of any schools teachings Shaolin Kenpo or something similar in the San Francisco area? I'd like to avoid chain schools and finding an independent school or teacher would be great. I could commute down to the Peninsula if there's a great place there. I'm looking for excellent instruction, good ethics, and a relaxed place to train. Thanks.
 

Blindside

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How do you feel about kali? The San Francisco area has several backyard/park groups operating throughout the peninsula and in Oakland, they are about as non-commercial as you can get. Good quality FMA as well.
http://ptksf.com/
 
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Stargazer

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Thanks Blindside for the advice. A backyard/park group would be great to find. I'm pretty open on type of group, formal or informal, is ok. I was hoping to train in Shaolin Kenpo/Kempo (sp?). I'd prefer not to train at a highly commercial school. Plus an independent instructor may offer a better training experience overall. I'm open to all thoughts on this. You guys are kempo experts, what do you think?
 

Blindside

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To be honest these days I mostly do Kali, but at least from my Parker Kenpo background there was about an 80% overlap in movement patterns, I shifted into kali very easily and I prefer the training methodology. The SF Kali guys are good with a demanding curriculum, you could do much worse.
 

Carol

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Agree with Blindside, there's a ton of good Kali in the Bay area. How do you think you'd feel about stick and knife training that can easily translate to empty hand techniques? Do you think that would be something you'd enjoy training in?
 
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Thanks for the advice, Carol. I'll check out the Kali schools nearby. If I want to do SKK, are there any choices but the chains? Like clubs or groups? If not, that's ok, I'll look into other styles.
 

Carol

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Thanks for the advice, Carol. I'll check out the Kali schools nearby. If I want to do SKK, are there any choices but the chains? Like clubs or groups? If not, that's ok, I'll look into other styles.

SKK is one of a few styles that has done very well with a chain-type model for their schools. Many times that sort of business structure does not make it easy for those who want to go independent, due to trademarks, contractual agreements, and other intellectual property matters.

Chances are, there are independent folks out there that are doing SKK but for whatever reason can't or won't call it SKK. They may have a school that they just call "Mike's Kempo Academy" or something like that. It may take a bit of exploring to find.

Personally I met many folks with an SKK background when I took up Kali, largely due to SKK's strong New England roots. You might very well find the same, the practical weapons of Kali attracts a lot of martial artists that have trained in a primarily empty-hand style, but I think the similarities with the FMAs make those arts particularly attractive to Kenpoists.

Unfortunately I do not know California well enough to know who is out there teaching what for SKK, but it's such a great area for MAs....there's gotta be something good :)
 

John Bishop

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Are you talking about Vallari style Shaolin Kempo, or Ralph Castro's Shaolin Kenpo? If your looking for Castro schools, there's plenty in the Bay area with top notch instructors, since that is where their based. Vallari/Mattera schools are mostly in So. Calif.
 
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Stargazer

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Thank you, Carol. That is good advice. I tried a chain school and liked the material, but it wasn't a match. I'm pretty open to other styles, kenpo/ kempo in general, and even Kali. A friend of a friend offers a drop-in Kali class that I'll check out.

Professor Bishop, thank you for your advice. Your posts are excellent all around. Thank you for being a resource for all of us.

I guess my question generally is how to find a quality, independent program or teacher. It seems like there are these great places, but how do you find one? There are dozens and dozens of schools here. Where to start? Thanks so much for your advice.
 
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Stargazer

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Thank you. These are great recommendations. I'm going to research/visit some of the possible schools nearby in the coming weeks.
 

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