Our family has been privileged to train with Jorge and Natalia for over a decade. Our oldest son has received Jorge's instructions (while in West Coast Association) since he was six years old; now he is seventeen and owns a second degree black belt. I would not exaggerate if I said it was a life shaping experience for him.
As soon as our daughter turned four, we came to Hiruko looking for the same quality of experience, and we were not disappointed. Jorge has a real passion and a talent for working with students of all ages, fitness levels and belt ranks. He has an excellent rapport with students, and, in my experience, is always willing to address parents' concerns.
I would recommend Hiruko to a friend in a heartbeat..
After School Activity Venue.
The construction at the new location is nearing completion! This has been a long process, begun in July 2008,and will provide a much needed larger space as well as convenience for the Palo Alto customers.
Attending the Hiruko martial arts school for the past 3 yrs. earning my third black belt, watching it grow to the over 200 students. The growth is driving changes from the mom and pop school to needing to hire employees as well as manage time and projects better. The instructor's wife controls this part of the business. She teaches occasionally as well.
Moving soon to Midtown Palo Alto (2741 Middlefield Road) for a larger space and "better demographics", but may be able to keep the Los Altos location as they have two more years on their lease.....who will be teaching where? (info in public records)
Classes are composed of 10-15 min. warmup, 20-35 min. instruction/practice , 5 minutes closing. Very young students are regularly led in physical games the last 10-15 minutes of class.
Be careful in allowing your info to be posted on the website/parent's forum. It has been used to send unwanted and negative emails. Gossip is tolerated causing rumors and conflict. Policies for resolution aren't in place.
The "head instructor" Jonathan, while terrific, is leaving Hiruko in the Summer for college. Overall, for kids in need of afternoon activities locally, Hiruko provides a nice place. At $149/month (+ $65 annual "comm. fee), it's mid-level price is reasonable.
Hiruko attempts to teach "life changing" concepts to all students which may or may not align with parental views. Some students have been offered "scholarships" to Landmark Forum (see Wikipedia).
The "master instructor", while earnest in his efforts, sometimes misapplies language, is wordy and difficult to follow for children and adults. Parents should be attentive and help their children through confusion, frustration and double messages. Validate the feelings of the child and maintain a solid view of reality. Be wary of medical advice.
Black belt candidates are required to achieve certain levels of fitness, some of which are extreme (i.e. 50,000 push ups over a 6 month period or 277+ per day*). As adults or parents, keep in mind that YOU have the final authority in what is safe.
*Requirement from 2009 Black Belt candidate documents.
(This is an update from my original review in 2006.)
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