Q: How often are classes and how much?
A: Being that we only teach adults, we've found few adults over 30 yrs old can realistically attend more than 3 days/week. Many have very active lifestyles with family, work, and other things. So we only offer classes 3 days/wk on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. To correspond with that schedule, we offer 3 different pricing options. If someone wants to come just 1 day/wk the cost is $50/month. Should someone want to come 2 days/wk the cost is $75/month. And if someone wants to come 3 days/wk the cost is $100/month.
Q: $75 a month for 2 days/wk of class?
A: Our own students have reported to us that prior to joining they called around to check on prices at other schools. One school actually quoted one of our students $90 a month for (1) day of training per week and $180/month for (2) days of training. We found one school that charges adults $225/month for classes! We offer a fair price for what our students are taught, especially when compared to how quickly they become highly skilled, compared to other schools! Several of our students were breaking full-sized 1 inch boards with punches and kicks 2 months into their training. That's a skill that in many schools students don't acquire until 2-3 yrs into their training! A couple of our students with no prior martial arts training, and less than 6 months of training in our school, have already entered tournaments, consistently beating higher ranked students from other schools. One of our students, while still a yellow belt, entered a tournament and beat another schools brown belt! Take a look here. There may be places that charge less, but ask yourself this "do you want cheap training that may not deliver results or do you want great training that does?".
Q: Why not 4-6 days of classes per week?
A: We only teach adults, and those adults often have busy lifestyles (family, work, travel, and other interests) which makes 4-5 days/wk of a fixed classroom schedule unlikely for the almost unexpected daily changes some of them have in their lives. Yet when they combine fewer classes with our 20-30 minute suggested home workout routines, another day or two per week, we've found that 2-3 days a week of classroom time is more than enough for their busy lifestyles. Most schools in our area charge students 1.5-2x more than we do, and one of them tries to put a sales-spin on that by implying "you get more classroom training per week over here". But keep this in mind, "you don't benefit from that if you don't use it", and they likely know that, just like health clubs know most of their members don't workout everyday! Yet what I bet that place doesn't tell adult student is this, "the average adult martial arts student over 30 yrs old only attends class 2-3x per week, due to work and family issues"! So why pay for extra time that most adults won't use? If adult students follow our suggestions, they can customize their own home workout routine to target their specific individual needs, which is something a school can't consistently provide easily in a group classroom environment!
It is the chief instructors belief that for students to become real martial artists, they need to learn to train on-their-own. Thus at Mann's Martial Arts the home workout is an important supplement to ones classroom training and progress. Furthermore, its been said that few people became great in martial arts by only doing classroom training. The amount of time you can devote to training outside of class, is what more often creates incredibly skilled martial artists, and often does so quicker than just classroom training can by itself! Giving adults the flexibility to decide based on their busy schedule what time and days they can fit their home workout into their lifestyle, and how often, is one of many things we feel makes our adult classroom program unique. We've found 2-3 days a week of classroom time for adults to be just enough, yet not too much, that many with hectic lives are still able to maintain near-perfect classroom attendance!
Additionally, depending on the type of workout and intensity, we believe having days-off between an adults training is often needed for their muscles to recouperate and displace any lactic acid build-up. Some studies suggest that adults not taking days-off, can actually slow their rate of progress, as it relates to muscle development and recovery time.
Also, days-off teaches adults how to have "balance" with respect to their training and lifestyle, thus preventing burn-out, or guilt they might feel if personal matters make daily training unrealistic. A healthy "balance" allows adults to more easily make martial arts a permanent part of their busy lifestyle, instead of a temporary here-today-gone-tomorrow activity, that as their life changes they might mistakenly view as getting in the way of their constantly changing lifestyle. The chief instructor believes "balance" with regards to training and lifestyle, isn't emphasized strongly enough in most schools to adult students, and is part of the reason why adults dropout quickly in many of them.
Q: How long are your contracts and what are your "enrollment fees"?
A: We have no contracts nor enrollment fees. We do not believe in them as mentioned here. Students pay as they train. As soon as a student has reached his or her goals, they may want to move-on, much like a baby bird eventually maturing and wanting to leave the nest. Unlike some schools, we don't believe in enslaving students with contracts! Freedom and flexibility in all aspects of ones training is one of our core values.
Q: Why don't you teach children?
A: The street/self-defense portion of what we teach requires split-second rational decision making, as to whether or not one should seriously injure their attacker. The decision a person makes could potentially have legal ramifications, especially if they make the wrong decision. We feel that decision requires a certain level of maturity that typically only comes with age.
Q: Do you have a women's only class?
A: When asked this question we usually ask this one back. "What gender do you think is more likely to physically assault a female?" We believe women need an environment that primarily teaches them how to defend themselves against men. The best way for that to happen is by having an environment in which there are men of a variety of ages and sizes. Even better, men with a variety of fighting skills, that will likely exceed the more common ones a woman might face in the street! We are CO-ED and train as realistically as possible with a strong emphasis on training safely.
Q: Do you offer a kickboxing or aerobic kickboxing class?
A: Around 50% or more of our class is done in that type of format. One of our primary routines during class is having everyone line-up across from a partner and doing a variety of punches and kicks into targets/shields. We don't believe in lots of kicking and punching into thin air like many places do, as that is harder on the joints for older adults and doesn't help develop power. That often lasts about 15-20 minutes. Later during class, often after doing 10-15 minutes of "street defense", we do 10-15 minutes of what's called "point sparring", where students are required to have safety gear consisting of head, hand, feet, mouthpiece (shin and rib protectors optional, cups for men mandatory), and practice lightly-and-safely throwing punches and kicks at one another. We feel this is essential in learning timing, countering, developing ones defense, and how to use your offensive weapons against a moving opponent. You will get a good workout in our class often leaving tired and glad on Mondays the next class is on Wednesday, thus giving you a day-off between the two.
Q: But your picture shows you doing a jumping kick...is what you teach 90-100% about kicking?
A: In alot of schools kicking is nearly "all" they teach. We mainly focus on just a couple of kicks at stomach level, that most any adult can do. I advise all my adult students over 30 y.o. not to jump higher than an inch or two off the ground. Let kids and maybe adults in their twenties do all that 4 ft off-the-ground jumping. I only did a jump kick in my picture because I wondered if I still could, and if a 43 y.o. could, it might be a somewhat impressive picture for marketing purposes. Prior to that pic, I literally hadn't done a jumping kick of any kind in over 10 yrs!
Ideally, I'd like to see adults try to kick at least to the waist/stomach level. I don't expect them to do head high kicks! There are several kicks I absolutely can't do head-high myself. Why expect something of others I can't do myself? A favorite saying I love is "why kick a man in the head when its easier to punch him in the head?". Yet some places that label themselves as TKD, leave out the "kwon" (punching), and don't allow students to practice punches to the head (sparring). I think they should rename what they teach to "Tae-Do" (the way of kicking) so its a more accurate description of what they are mislabeling.
Take for instance TKD, there are some TKD associations and schools that are 80-100% about kicking, and who because of that I believe rarely retain adults very long. I put much less of an emphasis on kicking for adults.
The first full contact karate federation was the Professional Karate Association, with well-known fighters such as Joe Lewis, Bill Wallace, Benny Urquidez, Anthony "Amp" Elmore (which Grandmaster Brown trained with and did a movie with), and others. If any of you ever saw some of the old PKA kickboxing matches, you'd often notice that in each round some fighters would start the round by quickly doing the minimum number of kicks required, which was 8 per round. Then they would completely stop doing kicks, switch to using their hands, doing a hundred or more punches before the end of that round. Sometimes it seemed certain fighters could almost be classified as 10% kickers and 90% punchers. For older adults or those with limitations, that concept may be a better fit for them. We have some guys in our school who mainly use their HANDS during sparring, due to limitation issues, and I'm fine with that! In fact, I would classify myself as someone who uses his hands about 80% of the time during sparring, and who when he does kick, 90% of those kicks are to the stomach! As mentioned already, why expect something of others I can't do, or don't do, myself?
What we teach we simply call "American Karate", which we've found our students feel is a more realistic street version for older adults, that places emphasis on stomach level kicks, and alot more hand techniques than most TKD schools emphasize! We do it in such a way that it provides a very aerobic type workout through our striking drills, point-sparring, and light-contact kickboxing. The kickboxing portion of the sparring we do is the equivalent of a light tapping pillow fight, with no facial shots allowed. Many of our students are white collar professionals, who want a challenging workout, yet want to train safe, with the highest probablity possible that they wont' go to work the next day with their face looking like they've been in a street brawl. We train very aggressively yet as safely as possible. No one has yet had a broken/bloodied nose, busted lip, black eye, stitches, or been knocked-out in our class. We're there to teach students how to do that to others that legally deserve it, who of course aren't allowed to be our students.
Regarding kicking and that stereotype, the amount of kicking each adult can do is individually explored in our school instead of globally demanded. A student should be challenged so they and their instructor can figure out if they can do some kicking, what they can-and-can't-do, thus tailoring their fighting/self-defense style more towards what they can presently, yet pushing them towards new techniques for the future. I have found this leads to a more enjoyable training experience for each adult. It shouldn't be about constantly frustrating them with things they'll never be able to do, penalizing them for that, or holding back their martial arts dreams because of what they can't do! It's a shame most instructors don't individually tailor each adults bag-of-tricks (techniques) to what that adult can-do, by doing that adults are more likely to enjoy their training, which of course would lead to fewer adults dropping out after a month-or-two.
Unlike alot of schools, I realize the older an adult is the less likely he'll be able to kick, jump and run with the same ease, endurance and athleticism that a 7-12 yr old kid can! What I don't understand is why other instructors don't realize this too, especially when most are scratching their heads wondering why they have more kids than adults, or why they never keep an adult student more than a month or two! The problem isn't with the adults, its with the instructors unrealistic expectations of them, and instructors trying to force a square peg into a round hole.
Q: Can you explain your grappling program and what you teach?
A: We are primarily striking oriented, yet we will teach basic throws, chokes and locks, eventually adding to that every dirty trick possible, to quickly end a grappling situation. So why would we teach how to deal with a grappler that way?
I don’t know about most people, but I’m in my mid 40’s and it would be insane for me to assume that I’m stronger or have more endurance than everyone who is half my age! So how do you win at grappling in the street if someone is younger, stronger, and has more endurance? If it were to really “go down” in the street, I’d strongly suggest you be ready to use every dirty trick possible to survive.
Things like: eye gouging, fish hooking, head butting, hair pulling, face shredding, palm heel strikes, ripping off an ear, biting, pinching, finger locks to pull off a choke or lock, strikes to the middle of the throat, neck cranks/breaks, kicking and stomping a person who’s down, joint and limb destruction, groin strikes, knees and elbows to a persons spine, knee destruction, throwing people so they land on their head or face down, etc. Several of these things WILL END the grappling game fairly quick, if you have enough speed and skill to pull-them-off.
Many of our students are in their 30’s and 40’s. They want to learn how to quickly end a real confrontation against someone younger and stronger. They have little interest in attempting to be successful with the sport aspect of grappling in the street! In my opinion, the UFC has wrongly brainwashed the public into thinking what they see done in the ring is the way it will "go down" in the street. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to roll around in the street for 20 minutes, constantly reversing positions and tiring myself out, with some sweaty smelly guy that’s heavier and on top of me!
Few people probably remember this, but when the UFC first started in the 90’s it had fewer rules. Some of the things that are now fouls weren’t at one time, and at one point there weren’t even weight classes. Now they’ve added more rules, weight classes, in what almost seems to be an attempt to make things more evenly matched, almost fair! I felt it was misleading, and mainly as a marketing tactic to help gain popularity, when people tried to refer to our new era of sport grappling as NHB (no holds barred), implying "no rules and this is what it will be like in the street". Now they've added all sorts of rules and weight classes, and with the UFC's popularity continually growing, people still think they want to learn that way of fighting because that's what will happen in the street! Seriously folks, do you really think a criminal is going to play by the UFC's book-of-rules in the street? If a criminal isn't going to fight by the rules why should you, and more importantly, why would you want to spend 90-100% of your time training by-the-rules? One of my favorite sayings is "how you practice, is how it will come out in the street".
I spent many years in grappling and earned black belts in Jujitsu and Judo. Once a person learns the basics in those arts, they start learning things like counters and then counters-to-the-counters. Eventually, grappling becomes sort of like a chess game with practitioners rolling around on the ground with one another of equal ability for 10-30 minutes, trying to see who can get the first choke or lock on one another. After spending years of going through all that training I eventually realized that a smart street thug could do about a half dozen things (considered fouls in most grappling arts) that would most of the time immediately end the grappling game. It was after that realization, combined with having no interest in the sport aspect of grappling, that I sort of went full circle in my training. I now teach and practice more striking, combined with minimal grappling exposure, yet maximum grappling foul exposure.
Simply put, we don't encourage our students to roll around on the ground, and have a rules-based wrestling match with someone who is heavier, stronger, faster, younger, or has more endurance than themselves. Even the old professional grapplers, who were once the kings of the UFC (i.e. Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock), and have tried to make comebacks as they get older, are finding it near impossible to win against younger, faster, and stronger opponents. We address grappling from an end-it-quickly street perspective (using minimal grappling exposure combined with grappling fouls), not a rules-based ring perspective, believing that will give older adults a better chance of winning in the street!
Q: How can I learn more about what you teach?
A: Please see About MMA or come try a class.
Q: Can I come and watch a class?
A: Just as you want to make sure you select the right school, we want to make sure we select the right students. The only way you and our staff will know if we're a good fit for one another, is by getting you to try one of our classes. If you are serious about training, and have an interest in what we have to offer, we will let you try a class as an active participant, once you've completed a brief screening process. Trying a class versus watching one, will give you a chance to meet the other students, us to get a feel about you, while allowing you to experience the exhilaration of our training methods. Call us and we'll be happy to set an appointment for you.
Q: What about tournaments?
A: They are an optional part of our training. As an instructor I will of course help make my students ready for them, if they have an interest, and try to be there to support them. However, tournaments are not a requirement, nor something I feel adults should feel forced to do or participate in. Part of my reasoning for this is that some adults have busy lifestyles and want their weekends to themselves. However, if an adult is looking for a little fun competition, they are welcome to participate in them.
Q: What about having to wear a uniform?
A: Traditional uniforms are optional during class. About half my students wear them and the other half don't. The only time they are mandatory is during testings or tournaments, as during either its a show of respect and complies with formalities.
Q: What about forms and katas?
A: We don't require forms/katas! These are formal components that are taught at some places, and required for rank advancement, if you want to earn rank in arts like Taekwondo. Because we call what we teach American Karate, we don't feel there's a need to require forms! Instead of spending 1/3rd of class punching and kicking into thin air doing forms/katas, we spend more time on developing speed and power by kicking and punching into shields/pads, and doing sparring. Some schools are known for spending more time on "forms" than they do "sparring", and my preference is to focus more on sparring.
Q: Do I have to do tests and how often do you test?
A: Testing is what leads to earning new rank and respect amongst your peers, and we line-up in class by rank. Testing is offered every 90 days. One week prior to each formal test we offer a free in-class informal pre-test, to see if the student is ready for formal testing the following week.
Q: How long does it take to get a black belt?
A: Unfortunately some less reputable places will give you a black belt in 1-1.5 yrs, but students from those sort of places are truly no better than an intermediate colored belt in our system. Ask yourself a question, "do you want the belt or the ability that goes with it?" They really are 2 different things! If you want REAL ability that other black belts at quality schools would respect and never question, then at least 2.5 yrs is the length of time you should be willing to put into a kicking art. Hint, the more time you put-in to get your black belt, the better your techniques will look and the less chance anyone would ever question whether or not you're a REAL black belt! Once you get that belt, one of the common questions you'll be asked by another black belt is "how long did it take you to get yours?" If you think you'd be happy going through life with a black belt in a "kicking art" and saying you got in 1-1.5 yrs from a questionable school/association, knowing that with that piece of black cloth your ability is no better than an intermediate colored belt at a higher quality school, and you don't care if people are whispering about you behind your back, then have at it! If on the other hand REAL skill is what you're after, I'm highly confident that our students start noticing that within a few months, provided they regularly attend classes and are consistently doing their home workouts.
Q: Is it all work and no play?
A: Absolutely not, we work hard and play hard. ;-) We've recently started getting together once-a-month and watching pay-per-view UFC fights at a "local establishment". We even have a once-a-year X-Mas party and a Super Bowl party. At the X-Mas party, in front of about 80 non-martial artists, (3) white belt students who had been with me about (2) months did board breaking instead of me. I felt it would be more fun and impressive for spectators to see them do it, because it shows how quickly we can make students great! I decided to just be a board holder. Why? Because teaching and having a school to me is about the students and their ability, not mine! Many schools act as if the instructors are more important than the students, I think that's wrong! Without students, there would be no school. Simply put, I try to make everything in our school about them! What's always fascinated me is the way some schools try to demand respect from their students, but I believe true respect has to be earned. Meaning if you give it, you'll get it. My guys workout hard, I respect that, and many other things about each of them. OK, back to what they do outside of class.
Some of the students go to tournaments together, local and out-of-state. Some students even coordinate their own weekend workout sessions at local parks, in which all the other students are invited. Unlike alot of other schools where the students don't really know their instructor, nor get to spend time with him or one another, we're alot different! Its a pretty tight knit bunch! I can't tell you how many schools I've seen where the students feel "left out and on their own", regarding interacting with other students that share their same interests, or with the instructor!
Q: I have trained before...what about my old rank that I earned?
A: Depending on your rank and level of skill/ability, especially as it relates to generic kicking and punching, you might be able to cross-grade into our school/system at your former rank. This is handled on a case-by-case basis, as what one school might say is their "standard" for a certain belt, unfortunately might not meet ours. Should all things be equal, and what we're offering interests you, then by all means why not try too versus not doing anything at all, or starting completely over somewhere else. Should all things not be equal regarding your skill/ability, then credit towards some amount of your earned rank will be considered. Don't assume that your former rank has to be penalized because things didn't work out somewhere else. I've hoped our school could become a new home to unhappy black belts from other schools and associations, who might be sitting at home thinking there's not a place locally that would accept them. If you are in that situation, or some other kind (a lower rank than black belt), please call us to discuss this. It is likely you will have questions for us and we will have some for you. We can then setup a time for you to try our classes and for us to view your skill and ability. It's never to late to get back into the martial arts, if you've been out-of-it awhile! You'd be surprised at how quickly your skills can return under proper instruction!
Q: I'm kind of interested, but...?
A: Many people began martial arts who initially were scared, felt a little intimidated by it all, feared they might get seriously hurt doing it, thought they might not be able to do it, felt they were too out-of-shape, to unflexible/tight, or felt they were too old. I have examples in my class right now of people who felt one or more of these things, yet each one has become skilled and it happens quickly. I consider us to be the type of place that can make anyones martial arts dreams a reality, no matter their concerns, age or physical condition. Unlike alot of instructors who made it to black belt on their athleticism, I didn't. All kidding aside, I was literally the most unathletic person to ever try the martial arts, I probably put in 2-3x the amount of time more athletic black belts did, and if I can make it, anyone can. Thus I can relate to those who think its a long-shot for them, probably better than most instructors, and I relish making the dream of becoming a real black belt a reality for those who think, "yeah, but my situation is different". All you have to do is stop reading this, pick up the phone, call and simply say "I'd like to come try a class". Its that easy to get started. If you take that first step, we'll show you how easy it is to take the other ones.
Questions you should ask every school!
If you are over 30, its not too late!
Why you should never sign a Karate Contract!
How to choose a school/instructor!
Train for a Lifetime, not just a few years!
The TV Workout - now you have NO EXCUSE!
What we teach and why it works!