San Jose, CA
I started at Hiruko in 2005 because I wanted to exercise and learn a martial art. I began as an adult student who had not been physically active for a long time. At first, I found I was in worse shape than I thought. I was stiff, out of shape, and lacking in balance. Then, slowly but surely, I began to gain strength and flexibility. My instructors are always patient and encouraging. They don’t expect less of me, so I don’t either. When I started training, I noticed the increase in my energy right away. When I leave class I feel more relaxed and grounded and I’ve gained confidence in my ability to do things I had assumed were too difficult for me. Now, I have increased strength and flexibility, increased stamina, increased ability to balance, kick, and perform traditional techniques. Outside of class, I am able to control my breathing and focus when stressed or under pressure. Hiruko is completely fun! I see the possibility of always being a Hiruko student and achieving a high level of fitness, strength, and vitality.
Ryan and Pam
My son Ryan started at Hiruko in 2006, at age five, when we were looking for a sport that he would enjoy. Things like soccer, tee ball, swimming, and gymnastics didn’t interest him. We wanted him to improve his coordination and get exercise. I never considered martial arts, and never would have, until a friend told us about Hiruko. She said it is not about learning to fight, but instead about increasing self esteem, improving coordination, meditation, and learning about nutrition. From the first day, Ryan immediately bonded with the instructors. After watching Ryan’s classes for over a year, I couldn’t sit still any longer – I had to join because it looked so fun.
The main reason we continue to go to Hiruko is because we get so much out of it and have fun. Beyond the physical benefits, we have made lasting friendships. Ryan has found an athletic activity that he loves and, in two years, he has never said he is tired of it. His coordination and self confidence have improved tremendously, and he truly feels like a member of the team. As for me, it keeps me on a regular exercise program, and my flexibility, strength, and coordination have improved. I also love that Ryan and I can take classes together and support each other. The word that best describes Hiruko is “Amazing”! The best thing about it is the instructors; they are fantastic. Their motivation, energy level, commitment, and compassion are all outstanding. Honestly, I would never consider going to another school.
Nicole, Sammy, and Lori
Our family first joined Hiruko in 2005. My daughter, Sammy, started because we were looking for an activity to do with her preschool friends who headed off to different schools. Tae Kwon Do was a good fit for her because she wasn’t interested in competitive team sports. I started attending the KickBoxing class a couple months later, because I was looking for a new workout. After watching her sister and mommy have so much fun, Nicole, our other daughter, decided she wanted to join in 2008.
Since starting at Hiruko, I’ve noticed that all three of us take pride in what our strong bodies can do. It has helped both of my daughters with self-confidence and feeling good about themselves. They are also more aware of the concepts of community and showing respect for themselves and others. Before Hiruko, both of my daughters were very shy and easily intimidated by new people and activities. They are still relatively shy, but I believe they are more comfortable trying new things that are a bit beyond their comfort zones. While neither of them is particularly competitive, I believe their experience at Hiruko contributed to them embracing new sports such as soccer and tennis. Sammy has had periods where her juvenile arthritis and related conditions have left her feeling physically and emotionally tired. Having a place like Hiruko, with instructors who are always supportive and encouraging, has been a great help in reassuring all of us that we can work through the ups and downs that come with a chronic illness.
Hiruko is positive, uplifting, and empowering. I think the frequent discussions in class on focus, responsibility, and caring for others help reinforce what we are trying to instill in our children at home. The flexibility of the class schedule is extremely helpful as we juggle many activities. We feel that we are truly a part of a community of families who share our desire for raising compassionate, caring, and responsible children. Hiruko is a place where we always arrive feeling welcomed, and always leave feeling physically energized and emotionally upbeat. Simply put, we love it!
Ivanna and Zach
Mountain View, CA
Our children have been taking lessons at Hiruko since 2006. Our son Zachary started with private lessons and, with the staff’s guidance and encouragement, gradually transitioned to group lessons. Our daughter Ivanna started in the Pandas class. We enrolled our children in lessons at Hiruko because we wanted a disciplined martial arts studio with an understanding of the whole child and sensitivity to their individual needs. For our son specifically, we were entrusting Hiruko to improve focus, coordination, strength, and overall body awareness.
Training at Hiruko has helped our children’s focus and ability to follow directions. In particular, Hiruko has helped our son with his physical challenges. His strength, flexibility, coordination and overall body awareness have improved tremendously since taking lessons. Our daughter relishes her training and is blossoming into a budding martial artist at an early age. It’s a great outlet for her intense energy level and she’s become an outspoken, confident disciple. Before starting at Hiruko, we would have described them with words like tentative, shy, worried, hesitant, or unbalanced. Now, they are stronger, coordinated, energetic, confident, and motivated and they both take pride in their accomplishments.
There are aspects of Hiruko that have worked especially well for our family. It’s an inclusive, enlightened, comfortable, energizing, and family-friendly, place. The instructors have a unique talent for breaking down skills in a way that minimizes frustration and maximizes success. With every session, they introduce a variety of fun activities that develop our kid’s strength, flexibility, endurance, and problem solving skills.
Hiruko focuses on building community and the school is interested in the bigger picture of what parents hope for their children as they grow and mature. Zach applies principles from the “student commitment” to his daily life. He regularly points out instances where he is being “responsible”, such as carrying out his chores, or “putting his best effort forward” when doing a challenging school assignment. In the long term, for our son, we hope to build on his great progress - primarily his physical and social skills. For our daughter, we hope she will master successive challenges and levels. We’d like to see her continue this learning throughout her childhood and teen years in order to build the physical and emotional confidence important for a woman.