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TimApple

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Hello, I'm 51 and have been shopping around for a Martial Art to take, I've decided to go against popular opinion and skip Jiu Jitsu and instead go with Karate. My question is the local school I think is a chain, Amerikicks. I hear people talk of things like belt factories and such. I was looking for more general knowledge and opinions on the chain. I honestly don't have a lot of choice, there is one other school, but Amerikicks meets my schedule much better.

Thanks for your time..
cheers!
 

Dirty Dog

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Without knowing anything about them, it's pretty difficult to offer any opinions. Who are they? What do they teach? Got a URL? Anything?
 
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TimApple

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Without knowing anything about them, it's pretty difficult to offer any opinions. Who are they? What do they teach? Got a URL? Anything?
Their website is here.. Martial Arts School Janesville | AmeriKick Wisconsin

I emailed them with some questions and here is their answers...

Hi Tim!
Thanks for reaching out. We do study Japanese and Okinawa styles of karate. Mainly, we focus on Goju Ryu and Ryuei Ryu. There is a bit of history involved but our focus is on technique and developing our athleticism. We have people the same age in our adult class who recently started within the last 9 months or so. We offer classes 4 times per week with our sparring class for the adult age group. The classes are Monday through Thursday at 7 pm and are 45 minutes. Our level one membership is your choice of 2 classes per week and access to our student app where we have curriculum posted to review from home. The cost is $99 per month. We offer a trial on our website for $24 for two weeks and unlimited classes. It is a great way to start and we schedule a one on one introductory class before you join the regular classes. If you use the trial, we waive the registration and uniform fee. Then your first month would only cost you the membership fee. I do hope this helps ! Please reach out if we can help in any other way!

Hello,

I'm 51 and wanted to take on a martial art for my health and to finally do something I wanted to do since I was young.

Your website doesn't seem to strictly say anywhere, but I think you're a karate specific school? I believe there are 3 types? Which do you focus on? Do you teach the history and such?

How many times per week do you recommend someone attend?

Also what is the monthly fee? uniform cost? or anything else?

Sorry to bombard you with all the questions. I'm in Beloit and trying to find the right place for myself.

Kindest Regards,
Tim Apple
 

Dirty Dog

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I looked at the web site. It feels like a canned, "fill in the blank" site. And I can't really tell anything at all about what they teach, the training of the instructors, or how they teach.
The "virtual preschool classes" are somewhat of a red flag for me. I don't see any way that can provide any real MA training.
You should probably go watch some classes and see how they operate. If possible, you'd want to see forms, sparring, and drills.
 
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TimApple

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I looked at the web site. It feels like a canned, "fill in the blank" site. And I can't really tell anything at all about what they teach, the training of the instructors, or how they teach.
The "virtual preschool classes" are somewhat of a red flag for me. I don't see any way that can provide any real MA training.
You should probably go watch some classes and see how they operate. If possible, you'd want to see forms, sparring, and drills.
Gotcha, it seems most school sites around here are very similar... it's a small town. Of course plenty of MMA Jui Jitsu stuff, but it doesn't interest me much.
 

jks9199

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Hello, I'm 51 and have been shopping around for a Martial Art to take, I've decided to go against popular opinion and skip Jiu Jitsu and instead go with Karate. My question is the local school I think is a chain, Amerikicks. I hear people talk of things like belt factories and such. I was looking for more general knowledge and opinions on the chain. I honestly don't have a lot of choice, there is one other school, but Amerikicks meets my schedule much better.

Thanks for your time..
cheers!
I'm sure it's a chain, like Premier Martial Arts. I'd suspect it's a turn-key operation, where the corporation hands someone a package of "how to do its" and promotional gear, based on whatever they say their training background is. They may have a corporate curriculum or not...

As a loose rule, you'll likely get some decent exercise and learn something. Rank won't transfer, and it could be anything from a hash of krav maga/TKD/BJJ/who-knows-do to an experienced instructor in a particular style who just doesn't have the business know how to go on his own. So... VISIT. See if you like how the classes you would attend run. If they offer a free trial, take it. Because the truth is that's the only way to know if the school offers what you want.
 
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TimApple

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I'm sure it's a chain, like Premier Martial Arts. I'd suspect it's a turn-key operation, where the corporation hands someone a package of "how to do its" and promotional gear, based on whatever they say their training background is. They may have a corporate curriculum or not...

As a loose rule, you'll likely get some decent exercise and learn something. Rank won't transfer, and it could be anything from a hash of krav maga/TKD/BJJ/who-knows-do to an experienced instructor in a particular style who just doesn't have the business know how to go on his own. So... VISIT. See if you like how the classes you would attend run. If they offer a free trial, take it. Because the truth is that's the only way to know if the school offers what you want.
How does one know if a belt is transferable? Is there an association they should be affiliated with? My choices are so slim. I don't want to do Judo, but it is the only school I know is truly legit in my area... it's just hard to be sure, everything is focused on children on the advertising side.
 

Dirty Dog

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How does one know if a belt is transferable? Is there an association they should be affiliated with? My choices are so slim. I don't want to do Judo, but it is the only school I know is truly legit in my area... it's just hard to be sure, everything is focused on children on the advertising side.
Don't start worrying about belts and transferring rank. Rank really only matters within the organization that awarded it. And even then it shouldn't be all that important.
 

Buka

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How does one know if a belt is transferable? Is there an association they should be affiliated with? My choices are so slim. I don't want to do Judo, but it is the only school I know is truly legit in my area... it's just hard to be sure, everything is focused on children on the advertising side.
At your height, if you became proficient in Judo, I wouldnt fight you with a fighting machine.
 

isshinryuronin

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Don't start worrying about belts and transferring rank.
My style, not having one highly structured organizational "overseer," doesn't seem to have this problem. As far as I know it's up to each individual school to access a transfer's ability regardless of what branch (and there are many in isshinryu) they're from. I would normally accept the rank unless the student was way below my standards. Then, I'd insist he wear a lower belt color, and if he had a black belt with rank showing on it, give him a plain black belt to wear. If he came up a little short IMO, I would work to get him up to speed for weeks or months until I taught him anything more advanced.

Going into a different style, I'm more than happy to put on the white belt I'd take with me, unless the instructor is otherwise more comfortable. I just want to make him happy; my ego plays no part. If I'm learning, I'll be whatever rank he wants me to be. No worries as I'm willing to walk into any dojo, confident my rank will be self-evident based on my skill and knowledge. But that's only possible due to my instructors' high standards being passed on to me.
 

Dirty Dog

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My style, not having one highly structured organizational "overseer," doesn't seem to have this problem. As far as I know it's up to each individual school to access a transfer's ability regardless of what branch (and there are many in isshinryu) they're from. I would normally accept the rank unless the student was way below my standards. Then, I'd insist he wear a lower belt color, and if he had a black belt with rank showing on it, give him a plain black belt to wear. If he came up a little short IMO, I would work to get him up to speed for weeks or months until I taught him anything more advanced.

Going into a different style, I'm more than happy to put on the white belt I'd take with me, unless the instructor is otherwise more comfortable. I just want to make him happy; my ego plays no part. If I'm learning, I'll be whatever rank he wants me to be. No worries as I'm willing to walk into any dojo, confident my rank will be self-evident based on my skill and knowledge. But that's only possible due to my instructors' high standards being passed on to me.
I just let them wear what they want. If they're happy wearing a black belt and knowing nothing about our curriculum, it's no skin off my teeth. In my experience, those that do are mostly driven to do so by ego, and they tend not to stick around anyway.

When I joined the MDK, I wore a white belt, despite being an ITF 3rd Dan. The chief instructor of that school asked about my background after I'd attended a couple classes and I told him I "watched a lot of martial arts movies". He didn't buy it.
 
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TimApple

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At your height, if you became proficient in Judo, I wouldnt fight you with a fighting machine.
After reading around here, it seems Judo is sort of partner dependent. My schedule will make me need to practice at home as much as possible. So I think that may rule Judo out.
 

Bill Mattocks

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It's a tough thing to evaluate a training facility as a beginner. The ultimate question is whether or not they can provide you with the training you want. But this begs the question - what do you want? That's something only you can decide. There are many reasons people choose to train in martial arts, and many reasons they continue training past a certain point.

One reason people train is to learn to defend themselves. Some train to get in better physical condition, such as to gain flexibility, balance, endurance, or strength. Some people train to gain a belt (nothing wrong with that, necessarily). Some join for something interesting to do. You might think about why you want to begin training.

I started training at age 46. I don't think 51 is necessarily an issue, but consider that you may be starting with a lot of much younger people; perhaps even children. Many schools are more focused on the younger students than adult students, but it varies.

Hard karate training can involve injuries, so there is some risk. Bruises are common, and broken toes and such can happen. Consider if you're up for that, and if the school in question practices like that.

I realize in a small town your choices may be limited. I can't comment on whether or not the dojo you're looking at is a 'McDojo', but there are a lot of them. They fill a need, but tend to be more focused on teaching kids; an after-school activity of sorts. They usually do teach a few decent techniques - blocking and punching are pretty basic things to start with; but they may be limited in their ability to pass on refined techniques that are just, well, better.

Good questions to ask are where the instructors got their training. How long have they trained? Under what instructors did they train? That doesn't absolutely rule a dojo in or out, but it's good to have your eyes open wide going in.

Personally, I'd be concerned with contracts. Like some gyms, it can be easy to get locked into a multi-year contract that requires you to pay even if you decide it's not for you. The dojo is often a true business and not a labor of love; they have to have a reliable income stream and they'll happily take your money every month if you're there or not.

So, to summarize, I would suggest you attend some training as a spectator. Ask questions. Do some research once you get answers. Decide what it is you actually want out of training, and proceed based on that. Think about risks, and consider the financial implications if you sign a contract but then cannot continue training. I wish you the best of luck!
 

Brad KSN

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I would agree with some of the coments above. Take the trial classes. Get a feel for the personality of the school. Often you get out of a school what you put in. Look for a cirriculum and reasonable structure in the classes. Be sure the stress safety for yourself and the classmates you will be working with. In my opinion, colored belt rank is for all practicle purposes, simply a way of keeping track of where you are in learning. Belt rank becomes a little more significant in the black belt levels. You have plenty of time before you get there. Keep in mind martial arts schools are businesses and can only exist if the have a healthy level of students. In most schools there will be students focused on exercise, entertainment, and comradery, as well as martial skills and deeper knowledge of technique. After a while you will figure out whose interests most resemble your own. A little tolerance goes a long way with those whose interests may differ from yours. A good instructor will appreciate a student who is serious and open to learn. At the end of the day, work to find the best fit for you. Practice in and out of class, respect your instructors and classmates, focus on proper etiquette and enjoy your experience. The only way to know what is right is to try it. The worst thing that will happen is you will gain experience and know better what you don't like. The best thing is you will find new family of friends to share your adventure. With respect, Brad KSN
 

MuayJitsu

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Dont worry about that stuff just go to a class see if you enjoy it. If you do keep going if you dont like it keep looking but worrying about details at this stage doesn't matter the main thing Is if you enjoy it
 

JowGaWolf

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"There is a bit of history involved but our focus is on technique and developing our athleticism. " Not what I would look for, but it sounds as if this is what the majority of the adults in his school want. For me If I wanted to develop my athleticism then I would do something else like play basketball or soccer. I looked at their website, and they are more focused on being fit.

This may be the time that you ask them if they train applications. Don't ask if they teach it. Everyone teaches applications but they don't necessarily train applications. None of their feedback talk about how they train applications, so they don't.


I do like that they have a dedicated sparring day. So I checked out some of their videos and Now I'm all confused.

I don't know what this is. I get big questions marks when I see Chinese bow in Japanese clothing. I become even more confuse when I see Chinese bow with Japanese bow. I personally always feel like someone is just making up stuff when I see it. it makes me think they are trying to be everything, so they throw a bunch of stuff in there that they probably have no understanding of.

I don't stick fight so some of this seems questionable to me.

I think they are geared more towards performance martial arts than application martial arts

I'm really big on forms and the purpose of forms so this confuses me
 

JowGaWolf

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Definitely extreme martial arts focus, I'm making an assumption because of the type of Bo he has.

This is the type of sparring that they do




If I was going to check out this school I would want to know the answer to the following questions.
1. What type of martial arts do they do and if it comes from a traditional system or traditional roots.
2. Show up on sparring day to see that first hand. If sparring day is only used for point sparring then I'm out.
3. Ask them how often they train applications with sparring partners. Ask this only after you have seen the sparring class.

If you are more interested in performance martial arts then sign up without asking questions. If you are interested in more of applications and how to used techniques on other's then you may want to try a different school. It just depends on what you are looking for and what you want to get out of martial arts.

I'm really big on martial arts applications, so this school would not be for me. But not everyone is interested in martial arts applications.
 

JowGaWolf

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I looked at the web site. It feels like a canned, "fill in the blank" site. And I can't really tell anything at all about what they teach, the training of the instructors, or how they teach.
The "virtual preschool classes" are somewhat of a red flag for me. I don't see any way that can provide any real MA training.
You should probably go watch some classes and see how they operate. If possible, you'd want to see forms, sparring, and drills.
I took a look at some of their videos on Youtube. Not from this particular school but from other schooks with the same name.

I'm sure it's a chain, like Premier Martial Arts. I'd suspect it's a turn-key operation, where the corporation hands someone a package of "how to do its" and promotional gear, based on whatever they say their training background is. They may have a corporate curriculum or not...

As a loose rule, you'll likely get some decent exercise and learn something. Rank won't transfer, and it could be anything from a hash of krav maga/TKD/BJJ/who-knows-do to an experienced instructor in a particular style who just doesn't have the business know how to go on his own. So... VISIT. See if you like how the classes you would attend run. If they offer a free trial, take it. Because the truth is that's the only way to know if the school offers what you want.
This is the feeling I got when I watched their videos. It made me wish for a traditional martial art school.
Don't start worrying about belts and transferring rank. Rank really only matters within the organization that awarded it. And even then it shouldn't be all that important.
My guess is that the belt rank is only going to transfer within the Amerikick organization. I'm saying this just based on the forms that I saw them perform.

Dont worry about that stuff just go to a class see if you enjoy it. If you do keep going if you dont like it keep looking but worrying about details at this stage doesn't matter the main thing Is if you enjoy it
I would worry about things at this point. I've come across too many people who took a martial arts class and assumed they were getting a specific type of training only to find out that their training was useless. It's always good to match a school with your goals. If your goal is to have fun and enjoy the class then fine. But if your goal is walk away with something more than just a good time and enjoyment then it's best to define what you want and then attend a school that matches it.
 
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