Sunday, August 12, 2007

There's no perfect Taekwondo school

Finding a good Taekwondo school in San Francisco is a challenge. Fair to say, it's tougher than learning a rare African dialect.

The issues:

- Schools want contracts to be signed. Am I dumb to sign a 3-year contract *with* a penalty for breaching it? Am I wearing a dunce cap? (Read: ATA schools.)

- Back to the wonder years. If you're being taught like a kid, there's ego involved. I'm not against lining up in a class with kids, I *don't* want to be treated like a juvenile. I don't want to play kid's games. I'm paying wads of cash, treat me like an adult, give me respectful training. Don't ask me about my grades in school. And yes, I obey my parents, thank you.

And as a rookie, I'm banned from the "intermediate" and "advanced" classes, where the adults are.

- Short classes. What kind of workout am I getting in a 1-hour class in which the first 1/2 hour is spent meditating and socializing?

- Expensive. I'm selling a limb for an hour of training, I want a good workout. Schools want the limb, but don't deliver the promised "brilliant" workout. Everything in San Francisco's expensive.

- Distances. Each hill in San Francisco adds minutes to the commute, and a decent Taekwondo school can't afford prime area. Property's too expensive. There's one school accessible to me, that's all, but the classes start too quick.

- Timings are weird. Classes start at 6pm, when my work ends. That's fair, but they don't want students coming late.

"We ask students to take rounds if they are late," said one instructor, clutching his black belt with a kung fu grip.

"Rounds?" I asked, amazed. I just told him that I'd probably be late, but no accomodation. I looked at the gym; it's barely 15x15, it would take 200 rounds to take the gas out of me.

"Thank you sir," and I leave, looking for a coffee store to gather my breath and gasp over what the instructor just said.

- Styles. Taekwondo is fragmented -- with so many styles -- it's hard to pick one that will last long. There are no vanilla TKD schools - they are either combined with other styles, or the styles suck.

I could rant for hours. Nevertheless, it's been fun checking out different martial arts, their complements, and their flaws, like the "internal martial arts."

The quest goes on!


Blogger tkdjunkie said...

Good luck in finding a school -- it's more difficult than it seems!

Taekwondo schools make most of their money from kids, so they tend to market their services toward them. Hopefully there will be a few schools in your area that market toward adults too.

Keep looking and don't give up!

Many hugs to ya :)

5:06 PM  
Blogger Khakra said...

hey junko, the only choice i have is one that falls into the meditation/chatty problem category! It's a hapkido/TKD mix, but something's better than nothing. I'm trying stuff out of town too.

You're right though, schools need all the money they can get, especially in San Fran. Costs can get way out of hand -- just renting a place once a week for a month can be $850+. Sheesh!

8:31 PM  
Anonymous Downunder said...

Try some karate and learn real martial arts :p No more red pajamas.

Oh and by the way, my USA Visa comes in 4 weeks. Guess which kangaroo is moving to the USA for a few years?

4:46 PM  

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