My son started going to this karate school a few months before he turned 5 and has been going over 8 months now. While I am told this is somewhat young for students to start karate I felt he needed it so that he could learn to focus, become more self disciplined and learn respect for the rules before he started school. The instructor, John Masculine, has been wonderful with my son. I have seen such a difference over a short period of time that I can't believe it's the same child. Although it took some time and encouragement for things to start to sink in, John was patient and understanding and was never overbearing or condescending. It is a small school, the largest class my son has been in is about 8 students. But I truly prefer this. At times it's like getting a one-on-one session. There is no rush to progress from belt to belt, no testing fees, and it is a place where you would feel comfortable bringing your child. If you are looking for a large school where your child would just learn karate moves, this isn't the place for you. But if you are looking for a place where karate is learned but also things like respect, self-esteem, and character I would encourage you to give it a try.
I heard there was a Grand Opening at this school and I went to check it out. This was just a few days ago, 3-22-08. They had some really great demos of all the arts and they even had Capoeira! The Capoeira demo was exciting and I could see how this would be a great program for older youth and teens! I'm definitely going to refer the Capoeira program to my sister. The Aikido instructor demonstrated some really great throwing applications and he moved so efficiently. All of his students showed much respect for the art. The other demos that were there were Kenpo, Little Dragons (really great for toddlers), Brazilian Jujitsu, and Kombatan (which I think is modern Arnis). I was so impressed by how approachable each instructor was and to my surprise they were all humble and friendly. I've been browsing studios for a while now and in my opinion this is the best one so far. There's a real family feeling there. The only thing is that the dojo is not visible from the street and was a little difficult to find. Make sure to refer to their map they have posted on their website.
Owned and operated by one of the truly last of the "old school" East Bay martial arts...Professor John Masculine! Nearly a life-long student of the late Master Robert Gaylord, who taught a hard-hitting self-defense method, Professor John carries on the legacy...progressive without compromising tradition. If you're looking for a "self edifying, ego boosting, trophy/belt and competition-type school", then look elsewhere... I rated the school "exceptional" because it is really an "exception" to what's available nowadays.