My family has been studying martial arts at AKA for almost 4 years, generally attending classes several times per week. The instructors are all highly trained in many different martial arts, which is obvious the first time you work with them; all have reached the master level in at least one style.Master Instructor Mark Clark is especially good with teaching children, but he adjusts the lesson to fit the age and skill level of each participant. It is a true family activity. Master Clark has a great sense of humor and keeps things fun, while still emphasizing discipline and proper technique.
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My son and I joined American Karate Academy a year and a half ago. It took me two months before I got my first stripe as a white belt, coming about 5 days a week. Others received their white belt and first stripe after the second visit. After a year and a half and watching others automatically move to their next level every 4 visits, I became weary that it was taking me 5 - 9 visits to move to the next level each time I came. There was always some excuse from Master Clark. As an athlete who played football for 10 years from elementary school into college and who has 2 Masters degrees, I was certain it wasn't because of my work ethic or ability to catch on to instruction. Others complimented me on my technique and asked for assistance. Bottom line is that I'm African American (black) and almost everyone else attending is not. I hope I'm wrong about it being a racial issue, but nothing else makes sense. Today was definitely the last day for me and my son to attend there. Master Clark became rude and coarse when I politely asked him why he continued to make me take more lessons to move to the next level. Not very professional. After spending approximately $3000.00 in lessons and gear over the last 1.5 years, its time to move on and to learn from an instructor who treats everyone equally and with respect. Best wishes to everyone else that continues learning from Master Clark. Although my experience was highly disappointing and questionable from an ethical standpoint, I'm hoping others have a better experience if you choose to attend!Best wishes to Mr. Clark as well. It's my hope that in the future he treats everyone equally (as their work ethic demands) and with respect.