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GKR Karate


Con artists

Complaint Rating:  46 % with 69 votes
46% 69
Contact information:
GKR Karate
United States
GKR Karate is nothing but a pyramid scheme. It encourages people to give up their jobs to go knocking on doors to recruit new members. The Karate is sports based and very watered down but they sell it as teaching you self defence.

I know several people who have lost theis marriages because of these people. They get you to do more and more promising you the earth but the truth is the only people who earn are those few at the top. I lost my house because of these people.

They lurk outside job centres to recruit people to go door knocking. Please don't get fooled by these con artists.
Complaint comments Comments (96) Complaint country United States Complaint category Sports & Recreation
More GKR Karate Complaints & Reviews
GKR Karate - greg brown region 6 manager [1]
GKR Karate - Pyramid scheme [5]


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N  20th of May, 2010 by    -4 Votes
Agree.. Golden Rule... AGAIN... "IF IT'S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, THEN IT IS" don't fool yourself into get rich-quick or get-qualified-quick schemes! I know its a tough truth, but thats the mean world for job-seekers.

Companies such as GKR karate, Carolina Consultancy, London Marketing Company, EA World WIDE..etc are ruthless, heartless, merciless con artists, please do not fool yourself or others.

anything els, please email me as I am currently doing a research on these companies.
A  4th of Jun, 2010 by    -2 Votes
my fiancee took job with these people has so far he has worked 1whole week 6.5 days 10-12hrs each day including travel door knocking (not even the advertised position he applied for) and has received ZERO dollars. These people prey on the desperate and offered my partner a job as soon as they heard we were having our first baby in less than 20 weeks. these people are pure [censor] and have cost us more than they will ever give back!
N  5th of Jun, 2010 by    -4 Votes
Send me thier address.. I'll pay them a visit,
A  14th of Oct, 2010 by    0 Votes
Quite recently, about a month ago I replied to a paper advert advertising for a self-defence consultant near my area and it turned out to be for GKR Karate. (In UK, London Borough). I attended the interview and he talked about door knocking to get people to join and how you progress from there.

To me it wasn't clear what the income would be and he was not clear on telling me when I will get paid.

In the past I used to do GKR Karate and left because yellow belts were allowed to teach. You just had to be over 18 and no matter what colour belt you were you could become a sensei. To me I thought that was strange because when learning new techniques and a student higher than the coloured belt of the sensei came to the class they may not know how to help the higher grade student to improve or correct their technique.

Also they can judge at competitions as well. Imagine a student doing a kata they were just learning or did not know.

How on earth can they score it? They can't and should not be allowed.

At the interview for this self-defence consultant role I was told I needed a car to get to the classes, etc which I thought was stupid because I could use a bus to get to them and if that was not good enough a taxi or a bicycle. When the business grows and I get enough income I will be willing to have a car then.

When I said this I was told I can only get the role if I had a car. To me I think that sounds very odd.
What on earth is wrong with a bicycle?

Anyway I am not interested in this opportunity due to not knowing when I'll get paid and the quality of the teaching.

The reason why I left GKR in the 1st place and went to another martial art where they are taught by a 5th dan.
It is much better and much more fun!
N  7th of Nov, 2010 by    0 Votes
funny how the only people who complain about gkr are either the FAILED self defence consultants, the competition who folded due to overheads and gkrs popularity, or the sat at home sceptic who belives the whole world is there to take advantage of him when reality proves they have never taken advantage of anything themselves for them selves and others or the bad parents or lazy folk who never took advantage of the BENEFITS OF KARATE offered to them by gkr despite the fact they had a perfect opportunity to gain them all but never went despite buying a membership to the club by there own choice or applying for a job by there own choice its easy to blame someone else for your own failures ...ITS A 2 WAY STREET gkr would love to help everybody learn self defence or get fit or help some poor kid build his confidence, concentration levels or coordination etc but you ACTUALLY HAVE TO ATTEND CLASSES OR DO THE WORK.
i personally joined gkr as a student many months ago BY CHOICE, and yes a guY came to my house (who i must say i invited round to bring me further information) and blah blah 20 minutes later i willingly joined.
loving my training and in every way getting EXACTLY WHAT BOTH I WANTED FROM IT AND WHAT I HAD BEEN TOLD ABOUT CLUB i had no complaints whatsoever .
Due to unforeseen circumstance i found myself several months later seeking alternative employment seeing an ad for a self defence consultant for gkr karate my eyes lit up !!! make my hobby a job WOW !!!
i applied got the job and started soon after !!!
not only as a self defebce consultant (SDC) Do i get to train 3-4 days a week in intensive advance karate, I AM NOW A QUALIFED INSTRUCTOR and have a chance of promotion within the club just like in any job i have personally seen many people advance and be promoted in front of my own eyes not only that i get to take my love of the martial art out to the people and public, yes i am promoting and marketing the club by canvassing door to door (would you prefer junk mail flyers ? or maybe newspaper ads you never read ? or maybe if we didnt promote at all and the 50, 000 students who train per week worldwide all got fat lazy and mugged ..come on please !!! the club has been aroiund for 26 years for christs sake wake up GKR IS TRYING TO HELP YOU !!!
the main reasons gkr goes door to door is -
1 - its a cheaper way to promote itself for growth (yes its a business yes so is tesco, walmart and microsoft -- HELLO WAKE UP)
oh and if the club saves money guess who gets cheaper training fees or alternate and extra classes or cheaper equpiment even free or other special club events offered ..um er oh yes YOU THE STUDENT !!!
2- by taking karate / martial arts to the general public in this way IT HELPS PEOPLE, HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU SAID "I WANNA GET FIT !" but done nothing about it or put it off, how many times have you wished your kids had more confidence or discipline or concentration . do you really need an explanation ? GKR IS TRYING TO HELP PEOPLE, get kids off the streets, save some poor guy from a heart attack in a few years, save a woman from an abusive partner or worse . gkr is for everyday people a family club not thugs .
So thats that covered now what about the other side the guy who knocks your door thre self defence consultant (SDC)
yes i admit i am one and i love my job it is by far the most enjoyable and rewarding job i have ever done what do you do for living ? and can you say that ?
applying for a job is done by choice correct ?
being offered a job and accepting itis done by choice correct ?
yes i work on a self employed basis on a commission as do many people in a wide variety of careers
yes i work on average 40-70 hours a week by choice because i love karate and love helping people and just like you i need to make a living.
in my time as an SDC i have seen new recruits come and go some cant handle the training in martial arts to instrcutor level i say what did you expect a soft blanket and a cuddle if you have to push through the pain barrier to excell and better yourself NOT.
most fail simply as an sdc simply because they choose to, they have no desire to help others only themselves they expect instant results without undergoing the month or so's training it takes to truley understand what your job role is all about its easy to say anything is a scam or a job is [censor] because the hours were long or your boss made you work hard ...sounds to me more like you couldnt or wouldnt cope with hard work maybe serving fries is more your cup of tea .
maybe if the job ad said self defence consultant required, weak characters, pussys, unmotivated, selfish, lazy, conmen not required. call 123456789 would you still of applied ???
what annoys me most is how you can call it a pyramid scheme when the SDC gets the money from membership sales AFTER ALL HES DOING ALL TH E WORK the club gets the students training fees sounds fair to me after all my job is to promote the club get people involved in karate help them benefit in numerous ways and to make the club grow so if i do my bit, the student does there bit and attends and the club does its bit by teaching (and i must say as an instructor a very structured and thorough training and development program for all levels of ability, stick around long enough and you will see the proof in the pudding or were you a quitter having a winge and a moan because your the failure really) THEN SURELY EVERYONE WINS SDC, GKR AND STUDENT .
over 500 people successfully work fulltime as SDC's by choice because we love karate we love helping people and we belive in what we do, i have no trouble sleeping at night knowing ive helped little billy learn self defence and help build his confidence so he stops being bullied nor do i lose any sleep knowing that a teenage girl whos been raped in the past will learn the skills to prevent it ever happening again or preventing a girl from ever having to experience such horrors in this sick world because i taught her how to protect herself, nor do i lose sleep when mr or mrs brown rings me and thanks me for helpiong them lose weight and bring there blood pressure down and self esteem up.
i have walked and knocked doors in burning sunshine sweating and gasping for water, in gale force winds taking 2 steps forward and one step back in thunder and lightening and torrential rain being soaked and drenched to bone in freezing cold snow ice and blizzards unable to feel my hands and toes turning blue ready to die or give up my left arm for an electric blanket ... did i quit NO !!!
because no matter how hot cold wet tired or hungry i am i believe in what i do not only the 50-60+ walk per week for my fitness nor the awesome training in karate i receive nor for the personal sense of accomplishment seeing a student i joined grade to the next belt knowing that one day both they and i will look back and say i did that ! not for the money either im sure you do your job for money and you provide a service or sell something in order to get your wage packet right ? but because behind the next door if there is 1 person man woman or child who i can help then the aching muscles, didnt make a penny today days, heatstroke, frostbite and rain sodden flu symptons in the morning are worth it .
a blackbelt is only a white belt that kept going
an sdc who gets his own region to manage is only an sdc who worked hard took the training on board had the guts drive determination and beleif in what they doing to succeed and most importantlythey cared for others (the club is constantly expanding because more people benfit than complain im sure microsoft, walmart and ford get complaints- see the wood for the trees)
or maybe your a moaner who didnt get the benefits of karate but didnt keep going to classes - whose faults that ?
an sdc who failed to make a living in there chosen career choice at the time is only a failure to themselves and others .
i rest my case.
if you would like to join the club or become an sdc and dramatically improve your life visit www.gkrkarate.com
D  11th of Nov, 2010 by    +1 Votes
So let me understand this. As an SDC you are allowed to train in classes for free and you receive no remuneration for doing this, all the fees paid by students go to the club. What you actually get paid for is selling the club to the general public and signing up more students. Effectively you are a self employed door to door sales man whose hobby is provided free. If it was a job that paid sufficient income to support a living then why is my daughter taking part in OBG week. OBG stands for Operation Go Ballistic. Basically the SDC's work every hour god sends in all weathers for the meager commission paid for each sign up. She has even had to pay for her own Sensei pack consisting of all the necessary paperwork to run her sales person business. Surely GKR can provide that for free? She drives her own car to the training sessions many of which are not local. Recently had to attend a seminar in Birmingham. Once again had to pay for her own fuel and even had to pay for the occomodation when she got there. Any wonder that she and a number of other SDC's were considering sleeping in their cars to save their hard earned cash. Even though she works damn hard and looks completed washed out as a result of her efforts she is effectively getting in to debt with her grandparents who keep having to provide money so she can buy petrol and attend the meeting. As for the Self defence aspect I shall just say that be under no illusion the fact that GKR is a NON CONTACT Karate you may think you are well equiped to take on a mugger but come the time I fear that you may find that actually hitting a target is completely different to what you learned in class. Can you teach someone to drive a car using a steering wheel in your lounge chair? No! You need actual experience of driving. In the same way you need actual experience of full on Karate to consider yourself able to take on a mugger. GKR Karate (in which I have been involved as a mature student) is no more than a sport. Indeed I used it for the fitness workout it provided. No more than that though. As long as you understand it's limitation you will be fine. As an employer you either need to be a regional manager of GKR (limited no. of managers) or above them to earn a salary and could find yourself stuck as an SDC till a position become available. The commission is the carrot to draw you in. The earners are the management and Sensei Sullivan. Unless you are superb at selling to the public and have the gift of the gab as it were then you may want to consider alternative employment than becoming a commission only door to door sales person.
A  17th of Nov, 2010 by    +3 Votes
Just had a visit from GKR reps, was interested until I was told I had to commit to full registration without even trying one session, then told I could try it once for free, then told actually I couldn't without committing to the registration. The guy selling was a pro in door to door selling but felt I was been conned to sign up to a timeshare or double glazing. Fundamentally his technique was underhand and made me lose all trust in the product. I worry how many others have let themselves committ to this type of sale
N  11th of Dec, 2010 by    +1 Votes
I have been a member of GKR for 15 years, and yes I agree, it is a scam! It is a dictatorship as in where it can interfere with your private life. The expectations of you as a instructor to promote the club is a must and they have no loyalty to you if you do something wrong or speak up about your rights. As an instructor you are treated badly, even as a black belt, when all the while GKR are filling their bank accounts with the money from students you are teaching. If you want to become an instructor with them you lose your right to be yourself and must submit to their way of thinking and living. Yes you are entitled to free tuition at any class, but when you consider the treatment you get for sacrificing your family time and personal time to the teaching and comitment to the club, you get stuff all back in return. You neglect your own training because you are sucked into giving so much of your time to the club while the club makes all the money. Its a scam, please, please, please dont get sucked in like I have for 15 years only to be treated like a nobody and have your lifestyle and personality critised and judged by some big egos making all the money at the top!
A  19th of Jan, 2011 by    +3 Votes
I was recently offered the position of an SDC with GKR karate and after attending the interview and reading about what the actual job requirements and payment methods are I turned it down. The instructor rang me the day after the interview, very keen for me to commit to the job was extremely rude when I informed him that I had considered all factors of the job and spoken with my partner and decided that the possibility of being paid nothing a month was not something I was willing to leave my current employment for. Some of his exact words were 'are you not capable of making your own decisions?' when I mentioned I had spoken with my partner. Another was 'no there is not' when I mentioned that there was a possibility of earning nothing a month, when there quite clearly is that dire possibility (what if you were ill?). Another one that stuck out was 'so you want to get paid first and then do some work?' when I mentioned that I thought the company would pay a yearly base rate of pay and any extra commission from sign ups would add to that. I know for a fact that he gets a yearly salary with extra commission added on top of that based on new recruits as he told me during the interview. I got the impression during the interview that this guy was a manipulative [censor] who loved himself and I was right. I'm a salesman by trade and know when I'm being fed bullsh*t and everything about GKR's business plan screams a scam and boarders on being unethical to the lower end of workers.
I have trained in Shotokan for 5 years and know good karate from bad, I asked about stylistic differences and kicks such as mawashigeri jodan and yokogeri kekomi jodan and his answers - 'we don't do them'. Why not, yes they are technically very hard kick to perfect but every club I have trained at makes you do them as they are part and parcel of Karate. Yes they are hard but you have to push yourself and train hard and you will perform then rather than just not training them. I have seen some piss poor kata from some of their 'instructors' on the internet and I can honestly say I am no Gichin Funakoshi but even I was better than these inflated kyu grades they call senseis. (I'm not even going to mention the kihon...)
To surmise – if you want to train karate with this company that is your decision, be warned that the level of instruction you pay for will be of an extremely low quality and you could get much better value for your money by training at another club where the instructor is more established.
This is a money making scheme, the karate on offer is an afterthought.

If your thinking of working for them – FORGETT IT! You will earn next to no money what so ever and they offer no financial security for yourself or your family. The fat cats see their bank balances swell while you see yours along with any free time you may of previously had disappear.
N  27th of Jan, 2011 by    +2 Votes
i have just accepted an interview in sheffield on tuesday i thought it all sounded great but now i have read all this i dont no what to do. it doesnt state on the job description that it is on commision and door to door sales. it says karate training £300-£350 per week meets national min wage. 24, 000 per ann and bonus after training. should i not even bother going to this interview? i most certainly do not want to leave my current job if this is a bag of [censor] :/ cannot risk my life. i need help please??? :/
N  9th of Jun, 2011 by    +2 Votes
i have just been given a job as a gkr sdc but after reading all thuis feed back im very scared off losing out on the job i have already i am not happy were i worknow but i cant afford to make my 5 kids and my own life any worse than it is I already have 11 members willing to sign up but if theirs no differnet weekly income im domned...PLEASE HELP ME IF YOU HAV ANY GOOD REASONS WHY I SHOULD STOP NOW BEFORE I LOSS OUT>>>:{
A  25th of Jun, 2011 by    +1 Votes
I took up GKR about 5 years ago in Oxford, England where it was trying to establish itself having only moved into the area 6 months before. I wasted my time for over a year before finally seeing sense and giving up the fake martial art that it is. My instructors were orange belts who had become "sensei's" inside of 3 months (one while a yellow belt) of taking it up, and within a month of me taking it up I began to realise that they were only marginally more competent than me at karate and certainly no better at looking after themselves if attacked on the street. A man who started at the same time as me became an instructor after one of the original ones quit actually hated to get hit and used to flinch away from children hitting during sparring. The techniqes are as poorly taught as you would expect and also their is no real depth to them, it feels as if someone designed the whole style from a Karate instruction book. Its absolutely no use as self defence, someone will get seriously hurt on the street trying to use it one day. Started Boxing since leaving and the difference in effectiveness is frightening, a black belt in gkr would not last 30 seconds with the average lad in my gym.

The techniques to get people into handing over money and join are the same sort that got double glazing salesmen reviled during the eighties, pressurerising vunerable people into paying money upfront before they have been to a class, about 95 percent quit after a week anyway. The instructors and door to door salesman dont seem to last much longer with none of the people who were involved during my time still present when I last checked a couple of years ago (neither did any of the students seem to be). All of the instructors soon realise that it is a big con and pyramid scheme is exactly the right way to describe it, apart from the top few no one will ever earn a living from it.

The facillities where you train are always some school gym/church hall/wherever is cheapest in the area which have no shower or changing facillities and in one case no where to go to toilet yet gkr charges as much if not more than other MA/sports clubs that have to pay for proper Dojos or gyms. It is not even cheap which is inexcusable considering the all round terrible standard.

Hopefully given the ease of finding bad reviews on the internet the fraud that is gkr will cease to be due to both a lack of instructors and students but as they target the uninformed they will probably carry on being the biggest pretend martial arts club in the world. But if anyone is undecided about having anything to do with this get rich quick scheme masquerading as a martial art go on youtube and watch the footage of the clown (but now extremely wealthy) "Kancho" Sullivan (if they have not removed it yet). He could barely fight his way out of a paper bag that some has already opened up with scissorsyet he is the founder of this "art" and is also hilariously a self awarded 7th dan despite only ever being graded as a second dan by anyone else.
N  5th of Jul, 2011 by     Best Advice +5 Votes
1. Karate whether you believe it or not exists in marketplace that considers it as a sport. It has never been, it is not now, nor will it ever likely to be a frontline sport. By frontline sport I mean it generates money from outside the sport itself beyond the organisation, the participants, and friends.
2. Some Karate organisations operate on a not for profit basis. Some like GKR run it as a business.
3. GKR karate recruits the vast majority of it's memberships by SDCs (Self Defence Consultants) knocking on peoples doors. The SDCs will sprout out a door script that goes like this:-
Hi I'm (...) I'm from the local karate club. I'm just in the area letting people know about our classes, would you like some information about our classes? (This is to find out any initial level of interest) Other questions about previous MArts experiance and sports other info may be ask to build a profile of the potential customer.

Script pt2 I can drop that information into you when I drop in on some other people in your street. (Makes it sound like the whole community is interested)
Script Pt 3 When I drop in the information I'll spend about 5 to 10 minutes (reality it will be a least half an hour or longer)
Script Pt 4 Get name address phone number ages of residence date of birth even. (It's amazing and scary what information people will give to complete strangers who carry either a very low grade ID or none at all) Worse still
Script Pt 5 The unsuspecting person now gives permission to this complete stranger who they have no real idea where they are from to come into their house!!! Would 6 or 6.30 be okay for you.

No where does the SDC let the customer know that they are an agent of the company and not an employee. Nor does the customer know that the money for the membership they have just purchased goes to the SDC. Whether the customer gets an excellent instructor, a very good instructor, a good to average instructor or a very poor instructor is based on a lot of factors which from the customer point of view are totally random given that the vast majority have no real knowledge of martial arts prior to their purchase and certainly have no knowledge of GKR an how they do business.

More to come:- Post getting too large!
N  5th of Jul, 2011 by    +3 Votes
There are lots of people with good people who put in enormous amounts of effort into keeping GKR operating on a daily basis and they get paid absolutely no nothing for their efforts. Most of these volunteers do so without any real knowledge of how the organisation works or where the money goes to. In fact without the volunteers GKR could not function as it does. The classes they run are lead by volunteer Sensei and Sempai (assistant). The Gradings are organised and run by volunteers apart from the RM (Regional Manager) The same goes for Tournaments and other special events such as beach training. Anyone who shows any interest in helping will be quickly snapped up because the RM finds it very difficult to make any like a reasonable standard normality without getting as much free help as they can. More on the RM position later. Personally having spent many years (Time, money, effort & emotion) as part of GKR as a student, instructor & SDC I think the Organisation would work well as a purely not for profit volunteer organisation that was trimmed right down to black belt only instructors. That a business the size of GKR operates on a daily basis with prehistoric financial practices is a disgrace. Try getting a receipt for almost anything you purchase from GKR is like trying to pull teeth.

More later
N  5th of Jul, 2011 by    +3 Votes
The standard of instructor a GKR student will get depends on lots of things. A major influence will be the quality of the Regional Manager in the Region you are in. I was fortunate to have a RM who was a Dan Grade Black Belt in 2 other styles before he ever joined GKR. No one ever questioned his knowledge and skill as a karateka or his ability to teach. There are some excellent RM's in GKR in terms of their karate knowledge and ability. However there are also some very poor ones who have been promoted either very quickly because of their perceived ability to lead a region. Worse they have been long time SDC's on brown belt and a vacancy suddenly appears because a Regional Manager walks outs because he suddenly realises he is working 7 days a week making little, none or in some cases losing money working for GKR.
A  13th of Jul, 2011 by    +1 Votes
I worked for these guys for about a month, before I was FIRED for not recruiting enough weekly members in that time. Seriously, any decent human being should know that at the end of the day, people will only join a club/organisation IF THEY WANT TO, yet according to our team manager, the reason I wasn't recruiting members was because of something I was doing wrong.
I don't want to go into too many details, but they treated me like absolute ### there, and I feel that I was unfairly dismissed (although ironically I was glad to be out of there in the end). I was lucky to make $50 in one week (not to mention the expensive set-up fees I had to pay, which included the price of a karate gi and some equipment, which were ridiculous prices) and I think it got the stage where I felt I was losing my soul to these people.
Seriously, DON'T have anything to do with these tossers. And if you're working for them now and reading this, GET OUT NOW while you still can!
N  29th of Jul, 2011 by    +1 Votes
I have signed up for GKR for 4 months on a Special offer of £24 plus the £6 per session, as a 47yr old man my Main motivation for this is Fitness & toning, so far ( 5 lessons in & GI on order ), i am enjoying it and i feel Benifitting . The Sensei's all Vary in their teaching methods so by Trying different Dojos on different Nights, you can Choose which one suits your needs ! I had No idea about any Scam until a Work-mate pointed it out to me, but where i " Train ", it all seems very Normal and Established . I used to do Shoto-kan Many years ago and Regret giving it up, the Non-contact aspect of it should encourage families to attend and Not go home each week battered & bruised ! When it is called for ie an unprovoked attack, i am Pretty sure the Adrenalin will Kick in & full contact soon follow . I will see my time out ( 11 weeks to go ), and Maybe get a tab onn my white belt, or Even yellow then see how things stand . Any thoughtsa on this would be Appriciated ?
N  25th of Sep, 2011 by    +3 Votes
ok I have recently joined GKR as a SDC. I will admit that that add I seen said 50000 a year (AUS) and yer but i didnt know it was OTE earnings. I attended the interview and found out everything I needed to know. The door to door knocking scared the shot out of me as I know personally that someone coming to your door at 7 pisses anyone off. But as I had no other job I thought well I will do it whilst looking for other employment and the fact that it is (Cash in hand) was really appealing also. On my very first day I got NOTHING. I went home feeling like crap and asking myself why am I doing this. I have so many bills rah rah rah. on my second day I signed 4 members and made 250 bucks in 2 hours. It felt amazing. Normally thats a day and a halfs work and I made that in 2 hours :) I have now been with the club as a SDC for 2 weeks and love it. IM averaging about 17 members a week which is around 1000 a week and 900 after fees. I start training at 12pm and only actually "WORK" from 4 - 8. I love the door knocking aspect as it keeps me fit and I get to meet all different types of ppl. I attend there very fisrt classes to make them feel welcome and show that I care. Im lining myself up for a RM position in the next 2 years... oh and by the way the are on a very attractive salary. IM very proud of what I do and I love my job. Even my gf can come to work with me its fantastic.

All i can say that it truely is one of those classic senarios of IT IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT. If you have the wrong attitude your going to fail in everything not just GKR. So dont hate just appreciate the fact that it wasnt for you if you tried and failed and that there is something else out there that is great for you and leave the company alone. God I can think of countless jobs I have had where they have lied and promised the work and it was all bogus. Life is what you make of it and so is a career with GKR.
D  13th of Oct, 2011 by    +1 Votes
Like many people of my age (dont ask) I grew up with Kung-fu movies, Westerns and Robin Hood on a Saturday morning. It’s amazing what sticks with you as you grow up.

Even given a keen interest and some knowledge on the subject I would normally have turned away any door to door salesman, but on this occasion the ring on the doorbell was answered by my teenage son. Now my son is a very sensible young lad who earns his own keep, and could have signed himself up there and then, but the GKR rep resisted the urge to get a quick commission and arranged to come back later when I would be home. In my book this earned him 30 minutes of my time. Of course he sold GKR in the best possible light (and yes he was a black belt), but anybody with a few brain cells never believes all of a salesman’s pitch. He caught me at the right moment and we both signed up for the trial membership.

Now here’s the first point. As much as I hate the door to door sales technique, it can catch a person at the right moment in their life and give them the opportunity to try something new. It’s about balancing the risks and having a small amount of common sense. Trial membership was under £30 (no contract), and each lesson between £4 -6 for 90 minutes. That’s less than a lot of people spend on a single night out. In the end life membership cost under £50.

Lets not forget that GKR is a very large organisation, with a business plan, structure and all the trimmings. So where do they make their profit? Surely they make it from clothing and equipment, or tacking on extra fees here and there, or charge you for every belt you earn? The answer is YES they do but not that much. I sourced and bought everything but the GKR badge online. If you really want to take pot-shots at GKR ‘the business’ then go ahead. Despite the promising developments of the ‘GKR Brand’ there are still some archaic business practices, but the effect of these on the student is minimal. If I am being ripped off then it’s the slowest most inefficient mugging in history.

So what’s GKR Karate like; What’s it’s good side?
Lessons are structured and cover Kihon, Kata and Kumite as you would expect. The style is a mix of traditional Keishinkan, and Goju Kai but other self defence methods are covered. I don’t have the figures for the speed of grading to provisional black belt but it’s certainly comparable with other Karate styles. You’re looking at 4-7 years depending on the amount of work and hours you put in. Physical contact is controlled. There is no contact below Yellow belt. Yellow to Brown is light contact and after that pretty much all the contact you want but under supervision as you would expect. Instructors (Sensei) are knowledgably and extremely dedicated. They are not all Black Belts that’s true, but I have not come across any lower than a high level Brown so far. I have had experience of instructors travelling several miles after a long working day just to ensure that a small class gets its holiday cover. They have never let me down. Classes are very friendly and supportive and the grading progressively harder but positive.

So what’s the downside?
The quality of the Dojo does vary from basic to good but is never fantastic. Mixed ages add to the fun and friendly atmosphere but occasionally it’s hard to get the age balance right and focus on the more advanced forms. Most of the recruitment is via door to door marketing. This could fluctuate greatly in quality, but to be fair private recommendation does happen, and several times a year there are ‘bring a friend’ months.

So is it an effective style? Without going into personal cases or to much detail it certainly has saved lives. This is always going to be a bit subjective; I have met high ranking Martial Arts experts who have still been taken by surprise, when no amount of training will help you. It does build up confidence & increase general levels of fitness in gradual stages. It’s unlikely to harden or condition your body, so don’t expect to turn into a cage fighting machine. To finish, no Karate style or organization is perfect & GKR will not be the right style for everyone. However is offers a respectable choice and promotes the right fundamental attitude to Karate. It’s certainly not Karate ‘Lite’ but there are harder styles or more traditional styles out there if that’s what you want, and it’s that choice that makes Karate great – learn them all!
N  7th of Jan, 2012 by    +1 Votes
i'm slightly concerned after reading these comments, a man called connor i say man he must have been about 20, came to my door last night and after all the talk i handed over my card details for £25 3 month trial plus £6 a session for my 5yr old and now feel like a total pratt please tell me i'm not going to go to my account and find out they're taking regular payments or something??!!!i just wanted my son to learn more respect and confidence, don't get me wrong he is so lovable, and an academic already but can also play the clown with ease!!i just wanted something he could go to every week with his dad for them to add more to their bond and for him to grow up with more disapline and no how to handle himself in this day and age it was either this or when he's 6 to do boxing and that doesn't teach control so i picked this..please don't tell me i'll be 1 out of pocket 2 he'll learn nothing and 3 he'll never progress and a reconised level i am very nervous that i've just been taken for a fool!!!

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