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Seamas
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 13 May 2020
Posts: 10
Location: Northern Ireland
Styles: Wado-Ryu, Shotokan

PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2020 7:08 am    Post subject: Who to train with? Reply with quote

Hi guys, Iím new here. Iím age 31 trying to get back into karate, but Iím finding it hard to decide where to train. Iím finding it hard to trust any school. I feel they either have no standards, or if they do have standards, they pressure you into training every night of the week, which is extremely expensive. It ruined Karate for me before.

I trained Wado-Ryu as a teen for 4-5years and then in my 20s I learned Shotokan for 2 years. I had drastically different experiences in both clubs. In the Wado school, it was difficult to progress (but I liked that) and it felt like there was a high standard set. I reached 4th Kyu which, for that club, was hard to achieve and many people failed tradings. But I was expected to train 5 nights a week at that stage and I just didnít have the money. So even though I didnít want to give up, I had to.

In my 20s however, the Shotokan club was very welcoming. But it just seemed like no one ever failed tradings and the standards were super low. They gave me 4th kyu after only a year, and I was winning kata competitions. I felt weird, and I wanted some of what I felt before. The struggle, being held to scrutiny. I just canít afford training every night. I really like Shotokan though.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14819
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2020 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to KF, Seamas; glad that you're here!!

Who to train with is as just important as to where to train; it's that double edged sword.

Just like when trying to figure out where to train at, nothing can ever truly replace the most simplistic way of deciding, and that's by visiting said MA school as often as necessary.

While they might want a student to train everyday/every night, that's just not practical for a myriad of reasons from school to work schedules and in between. While I might suggest to my students that 3 days a week is ideal, 2 days are quite permissive. Nonetheless, the student should ALWAYS have the right to decide how often that THEY want to train; after all, the MA journey is THEIRS and not anyone else's to decide.

My advantage for my Student Body is that my dojo is open 6 days a week, 6am-10pm, in which we have a plethora of opportunities to train that class times are wide open. Whereas, some dojo's are only open certain days and hours, which can also be quite problematic for that student, and school as well, across the board.

Students attending any Testing Cycle should never ever pass every single Testing Cycle; that too is unrealistic. If said school's Testing Cycle's passing rate is far higher than its failing rate, that's one HUGE red flag. My Testing Cycle's failing rate is far higher than my passing rate because of my extremely high standards; knowledge and experience over rank.

I'm huge on practicing, and I can tell if a student is not practicing, and that's one of my deciding factor if I'll invite said student to a Testing Cycle. I can also tell if a student hasn't practiced leading up to a Testing Cycle because that which was once solid became wishy-washy through being complacent after they've been invited to a Testing Cycle, in which the student thinks that now that they've been invited to a Testing Cycle, that they're going to pass...that's the furthest thing from the truth. Of course, the lack of practicing isn't my sole reason for ever failing a student, that too can be unrealistic, yet the whole has to meet the high standards that I've set.

Good luck; depend on your gut!!



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Seamas
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 13 May 2020
Posts: 10
Location: Northern Ireland
Styles: Wado-Ryu, Shotokan

PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2020 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply Sensei. All good info. As a student itís really hard to gauge what standards should look like. I also feel a person who trains 1-2 nights a week is perfectly capable of progressing if they practice and put their hearts into it. And they might not be able to attend any more classes per week due to their circumstances.

I found the local JKA guys to train with, and did a Zoom lesson with them tonight. It was pretty good! Iíll stick with these guys and then attend class after lockdown lifts. And go from there 😄 thanks again!
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14819
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2020 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seamas wrote:
Thanks for the reply Sensei. All good info. As a student itís really hard to gauge what standards should look like. I also feel a person who trains 1-2 nights a week is perfectly capable of progressing if they practice and put their hearts into it. And they might not be able to attend any more classes per week due to their circumstances.

I found the local JKA guys to train with, and did a Zoom lesson with them tonight. It was pretty good! Iíll stick with these guys and then attend class after lockdown lifts. And go from there 😄 thanks again!

Sounds good that you've been able to find a dojo that meets your training needs. Practicing is a very important element to any students progress in their MA journey. Keep that open mind across the board and you'll be fine.

JKA is a reputable Governing Body, as is Shotokan.

Train hard, and train well!!



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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 28085
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see a few issues with the gradings handled by both of the clubs you described.

1. If there is a high failure rate in the gradings, then it seems to me be because the instructors let any test, regardless of whether or not they are ready. I may be different than others, but I feel like it would be my responsibility as an instructor to be confident that the student is prepared to test, and should have a high likelihood of passing. If the student just blows a gasket at the testing and messes things up royally, then it falls on the student under the pressure, and this can and does happen. However, as the instructor, it's my job to put them in the best possible position to succeed.

2. If the students are testing at every grading and passing every grading, then it might have something to do with the curriculum not providing enough of a challenge. Martial Artists aren't performing quantum physics, but the material should still be a challenge, and should be progressing to the point of becoming harder and harder each time. I'm not saying every student should have a failed grading here and there. But, I don't find it unreasonable that a student may need to take an extra cycle to get some material down and refined, as in higher ranked students.

3. Both issues could be a money issue, if the schools charge for gradings. The instructor with the high fail rate might not care, so long as he gets the testing fees. The instructor with the high pass rate is the same. Both are an issue, especially if the testing cycle is relegated to merely a source of income.
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Seamas
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 13 May 2020
Posts: 10
Location: Northern Ireland
Styles: Wado-Ryu, Shotokan

PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think, in theory, only those who are ready will grade. However in reality, lots of people try to force progress and grade regardless of their instructors advice. When I got 4th kyu, I almost failed, and the other 2 who went for it did fail. Many people failed that day. We didnít just get a pass or fail, we got a secondary mark that indicated whether we did well or just brushed through. I just made it and no more and really, I was lucky because my Karate was pretty much identical to the 2 that failed.

I enjoyed the harshness if that club. 4thkyu was hard, and at the competitions here our 4th-1st kyu competitors were often equal to 2-3rd Dan competitors from the other clubs that were there.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14819
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seamas wrote:
I think, in theory, only those who are ready will grade. However in reality, lots of people try to force progress and grade regardless of their instructors advice. When I got 4th kyu, I almost failed, and the other 2 who went for it did fail. Many people failed that day. We didnít just get a pass or fail, we got a secondary mark that indicated whether we did well or just brushed through. I just made it and no more and really, I was lucky because my Karate was pretty much identical to the 2 that failed.

I enjoyed the harshness if that club. 4thkyu was hard, and at the competitions here our 4th-1st kyu competitors were often equal to 2-3rd Dan competitors from the other clubs that were there.

Solid post!!



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Seamas
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 13 May 2020
Posts: 10
Location: Northern Ireland
Styles: Wado-Ryu, Shotokan

PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2020 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sensei8 wrote:

Solid post!!




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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 28085
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seamas wrote:
I think, in theory, only those who are ready will grade. However in reality, lots of people try to force progress and grade regardless of their instructors advice. When I got 4th kyu, I almost failed, and the other 2 who went for it did fail. Many people failed that day. We didnít just get a pass or fail, we got a secondary mark that indicated whether we did well or just brushed through. I just made it and no more and really, I was lucky because my Karate was pretty much identical to the 2 that failed.

I enjoyed the harshness if that club. 4thkyu was hard, and at the competitions here our 4th-1st kyu competitors were often equal to 2-3rd Dan competitors from the other clubs that were there.


Would you say that you weren't properly prepared for the test then?
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Spodo Komodo
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 24 Mar 2010
Posts: 305
Location: Derbyshire, UK
Styles: Wado Ryu, Shotokan

PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some Wado Ryu clubs in the UK are extremely technical. Move a foot twice instead of once or fail to exit a technique properly and you start to rack up the faults. You can know a kata inside out but if you land unsteadily from a jump or are a bit slow to kiai you could well be on course to fail. I think part of it comes from a need to be better than the McDojos that undoubtedly still exist but all the very technical clubs I have trained with tend to have low or no grading fees so it really is just a matter of taking notes and trying harder next time. I have only trained with a couple of Shotokan clubs and they tended towards the position of only putting people forward for grading if they are well past the required standard. Nobody fails but some don't get to grade for a long time. In the end I suppose it depends whether failure or frustration feels worse.
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