First thing to mention is that Krystyna advertised a beginners class on her website: http://www.ksi-taekwondo.com/ and although I tried to ring the mobile number provided twice there was no answer. I turned up anyway but I wan't that surprised to see that I was alone - a little more investment in newbies may be required.
Based at Parklands Leisure Centre, KSI Taekwondo is affiliated with the International Tae Kwon Do Federation, one of the bigger associations and Krystyna is a Fifth Degree Black Belt. I arrived as the junior class was wrapping up, lots of kids but no gangly useless 10 year olds wearing black belts their Mummies had paid for so an excellent start. The kids seems well versed in the basics and etiquette and best of all tired and happy at the end of their class.
Despite being the only beginner for her class Krystyna was happy to provide a free 1 on 1 session and sensibly asked some medical questions to start before beginning a good series of warm up exercises. We went through basic kicks, punches and blocks at which point Krystyna asked how far I had got with Karate, I confessed that I had first dan but had not studied for years. She proceeded to work thorugh the patterns/ forms of tae kwon do from white belt: Chon-Ji to the black belt pattern Kwang Gae for the rest of the session explaining the differences between Karate and TKD and giving meaning to the movements.
Overall the session was a good balance of instruction, tailored to my ability and with a friendly and knowledgeable instructor. The venue was noisy (a quartered off section of a sports hall in the leisure centre in which trampolining and badminton were also taking place) and the costs of the lessons (around £35 per month) seems steep.
Personally I would be more than happy to attend this class again, although I would struggle with the start time of 6pm on a Thursday.
If this is the quality of Martial Arts instruction in Leicester generally I think we're okay.
Next week: Mick Gannon's Black Belt Academy