map-marker Bakersfield, California

United Studios Of Self Defense Customer Care Review

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I have been involved recently with this studio. Up to this point I am impressed with the staff and their willingness to ensure the student retains the information, and answering questions without the frustration. Often I recommend the studio to all who inquire about what I am learning and hope to learn.
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Reason of review:
Poor customer service
Contrina Rsf

United Studios Of Self Defense Customer Care Review

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Joining United Studios has been one of the best decisions I have made. As a youth, USSD gave me the confidence and humility to help place me on a responsible path. Increased health, grades and personal character are just a few of the things that I benefited from while enrolled at United Studios. After taking a break, I came back at the age of 35 with the hope of regaining and strengthening my mind, body and spirit. I also came back with a lot of anxiety and self doubt in my ability to physically keep up with the group classes and in my ability to remember all the martial art material while handling the basic adult responsibilities such as fatherhood, career and higher education. My fears were quickly dissolved as the best parts of USSD growing up only got better and their many services continued to stay (student focused). I would recommend martial arts to anyone as the benefits are seemingly endless, however United Studios of Self Defense is the best organization for me as they have earned my respect and admiration by consistently providing top quality instruction and individualized goal assistance.
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Reason of review:
Good customer service
map-marker Salt Lake City, Utah

USSD Murray Utah Dojo

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I recently joined USSD within the last couple of months and have been training at the Murray Dojo in Utah. Sensei Aaron Faber is amazing at what he does. He helps students of all ages tap into their own motivation & goals to inspire them to achieve. He has several instructors working with him and they treat students at every level with respect. I wish that I would have joined the Murray Dojo long ago. I joined the Kempo Karate training but they also have regular self defense class for those that do not want to do karate. I like having the goals of working towards the next belt. I have felt benefits physically, mentally, and with overall well being & confidence. If you are at all considering something like this, you have to meet Sensei Aaron Faber.
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  • High quality training
Reason of review:
Good quality
map-marker Murray, Utah

United Studios of Self Defense - Review in Education category from Murray, Utah

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I have never been happier than I am with the guys at USSD Murray (Utah). It takes a special kind of person to teach children with just the right amount of firmness and discipline. These guys teach with great ability, but also just the right amount of tenderness. Kids do need that too. Aaron and his staff are phenomenal. I would not trust anyone else with my child. She adores them all.
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Reason of review:
Good quality
1 comment

Joining United Studios has been one of the best decisions I have made. As a youth, USSD gave me the confidence and humility to help place me on a responsible path.

Increased health, grades and personal character are just a few of the things that I benefited from while enrolled at United Studios. After taking a break, I came back at the age of 35 with the hope of regaining and strengthening my mind, body and spirit. I also came back with a lot of anxiety and self doubt in my ability to physically keep up with the group classes and in my ability to remember all the martial art material while handling the basic adult responsibilities such as fatherhood, career and higher education. My fears were quickly dissolved as the best parts of USSD growing up only got better and their many services continued to stay (student focused).

I would recommend martial arts to anyone as the benefits are seemingly endless, however United Studios of Self Defense is the best organization for me as they have earned my respect and admiration by consistently providing top quality instruction and individualized goal assistance. Great appreciation for Sensei Aaron Faber, Master Martin and many many others.

Adelynn Blw

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| map-marker Salt Lake City, Utah

United Studios in West Valley City,crushed my little boys self esteem!!!

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As others parents stated, not only did they take our money and promise great tutoring, they made my little boy timid about anything to do with kempo training. On the third day of training I found my little boy standing in a closet?? for reasons unknown till this day. I still haven't seen any refund, probably never will- however I will open my mouth to gebhart, so he can warn other parents about the abuse I have gone through. My little boy is now in another school, it's taking him awhile to even participate, I would like some sort of retribution for the action United Studios caused to my little boy and me as a parent. The next thing I'm doing is posting this on facebook,I have over 1000 friends!!!
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  • Promises not fulfilled
  • Poor attitude
  • Very poor service
Reason of review:
Bad quality

Preferred solution: Full refund

map-marker Las Vegas, Nevada

Resolved: USSD - there are other options parents!

My daughter enrolled at $200 per month and attended every class with vigor. To make a very long story short, when we moved, we were told that she should have never received the belt rank she had, and that she didn't know half of what she should have. I was not surprised by this because after she won trophies in the annual tournament, it was almost like they quit teaching her. She was ready for challenges, yet was being placed with white and yellow belts. I brought this to their attention several times, but to no avail. I witnessed other children being brought in and treated better with lower monthly rates than ours after I started raising questions on the caliber of education. It's disappointing to me to see an organization that focuses so much on profit instead of teaching kids like they claim. Someone else mentioned it was like a used car sales every time and they are right on. Every time I walked in I was being pitched...$$$ every single time. I've found several other schools that offer good quality teaching and don't make you buy ONLY THEIR GEAR. I'm just sorry my daughter had to be lied to every time she had class, being told she was excelling when in reality, she wasn't being taught anything new.
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Welcome to the real world. Life is about Dollors and cents.

We as parents need to embrace the good with the bad. We critique other and yet I've too have seen parents leave their children for an hour, like if the Karate location is a day care. Let's teach our childern not hinder their abilities.

In other words, STOP complaining.


A lot of their schools Dont have good teachers. Some just know how to run businesses and Dont know how to provide quality teaching.

I am a former instructor for Ussd and I may not necessarily agree with some of the pitching that goes on in some schools but I always taught great quality in my school. I am only making comment on this old post because of the only buy their gear post. I used to think it was marlarky until I saw a student get their eye almost knocked out the socket. By a simple defect in the gear that wasn't ours.

Our insurance company at least at the time only covered certain manufactures of products and we know that all products from Bushido martial arts are insurance approved. Would you want me to knowingly allow your child to spar against someone with weighted gloves. Or if the open face mask gear that was bought from the karate school down the road was defected and your child got a broken nose. Who would be liable.

The gear issues is definitely for the safety of your child and our liability. But you are absolutely right about quality of teachings. Because USSD has 300 schools if you want good application training you need find a school with a master in the school. If not your only learning techniques.

White , yellow, orange and purple are technique levels. You Dont really have to know how to use it to get promoted you just need to know the technique. However a master will be picky and start your application early. I didn't learn my applications until blue belt and I didnt really learn anything until after I got my black belt.

Its when you get your black belt and realize that you still know nothing. That you begain to actually learn that your still a white belt. The purpose of the first five belts is so that you feel accomplishment. People are lazy and want to move up the rank system.

The color system of Chinese martial arts does not exist.

When your white belt turned black from all your sweat and blood then you were a black belt. First thing someone should ask though is what is Shaolin Kempo Karate?


USSD is a joke. My 5 year old daughter is already a yellow belt and shortly after that they wanted to test her for orange.

The instructor told my wife, they will pass her either way. I went to see her class to see whats up. Pigeon toed uncoordinated kids are running around in purple, green and brown belts.

Ussd is stroking the parents for $190/mo giving awards to the kids they didn't earn. We are switching to a different club.

reply icon Replying to comment of Guest-306273

at the school i went to,the instructor didnt care if you knew the material or not.they would still pass you to the next belt just to keep you motivated.they are so full of ***!

reply icon Replying to comment of Guest-306273

I used to be a teacher for USSD I had one instructor that told me to pass a student all the way up to blue belt however when I moved into a school with a master in it. I never saw that happen.

This is the break down and should work this way. A student should be able to go from white belt to yellow belt in 2 to 4 weeks. Keep in mind the white belt was given to you. It was not earned.

However I been in some USSD schools where you had to earn your white belt. Mine was one of them. You actually wear the belt your earning. For example when you get your yellow belt or not really a yellow belt .

you completed your white belt and now working on the yellow belt . your always one belt behind. The USSD system is not designed to teach you application at the lower belt levels. USSD is about teaching g instructors.

That's their survival. There looking for instructors. That's why they have the blue belt / black belt academy that cost an arm and a leg. So its not uncommon to see a student go from white to yellow in two weeks and then 4 to 6 weeks later orange and then 3 to 5 months later purple.

You should be a purple belt by the end of the year. Most of my student quit because they were an orange belt too long and went to other schools because they weren't advancing in my school. So some people just want a belt. So here here is one to keep you here.

That's how it goes.

it's whether or not we pass you pass the purple belt. When you have purple belts that beat up your green belts something's not right.

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map-marker Spring, Texas

United Studios of Self Defense

This place is a joke...or should I say nightmare! I was sucked in by an amazing instructor (and the owner) teaching my child. That lasted about 3 lessons before he traded my child off to someone who simply didn't care. It's all about the money with them. They don't care if you're happy or have any respect for your time or schedule what-so-ever, only their paycheck. It's highly frustrating. I've come close to pulling my son out of the program many times and each time they pacify me with empty promises just enough to keep us there, only to have it all fall apart again! My child deserves better than this. Every person who is interested in the program, save yourself a lot of time, money and heartache and keep looking!! (Unless you enjoy throwing money away and having your schedule change constantly)
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karatebum L
map-marker Aurora, Colorado

USSD not worth the money or the heartache

I was in line for brown belt when I moved and changed to a different USSD dojo. The sensei there never trained me in brown belt material. In class he'd take me away from my brown or green belt partner and send me down to work with the white belts. He'd never teach me brown belt material although he taught it to his pet students who were a couple ranks below me. I was supposed to have a private lesson every week where I'd get specific, personal training for improving my skills and moving up in rank. The sensei would disappear after a couple minutes to either train other students or sit in his office and get on the computer or just yak with other people. He'd come out a minute before my lesson was up, which wasn't enough time to do anything with. I was paying almost $200/month, yet I was treated with disrespect and made a laughing stock in the class. I was an older student, and obviously not a jock, but I took my martial arts training very seriously. I tried everything I could think of and gave the school every chance I could, but it became painfully obvious that the sensei saw me as a permanent white belt despite the color I was wearing around my waist. And I'm now too old and too disheartened to start over with another school and another style. I honestly can't recommend USSD to anyone. I'm sure there are martial arts schools that treat their students with respect and give them their money's worth in training. USSD is not one of them.
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You probably had an assistant instructor. Dont get fooled by the red belt.

I had my red belt when I was an orange belt. I was a great teacher bit I couldn't teach brown belt material. I really agree with a lot of you . the business doesn't have the quality because they Dont have 300 masters.

Most of their teachers are still at blue belt level. They have their black belts but don't know how to use any of it. Just know the moves.

And that's why when you go from one school to another they explanation will be different. It wasn't until I transfered into a school with a master in it that I was able to notice this.


Try finding an American Kenpo school. Ed Parker's American Kenpo, as well as dojo's that teach the related Tracy System, have always been very welcoming, accommodating, affordable and professional.

They usually won't push you into believing that they are the original true source of real martial arts or any of the other tactics USSD tries. In fact, if you have an AKKI or IKKA sponsored dojo in your area, it is well worth it. And, because all Kenpo/Kempo evolved out of the Chuan-Fa system, there are common roots, principals and concepts that you'd adapt to very easily.

Advancement should come easier for that very reason.


I was a student at the dojo in Carp.CA. The instructor there had his own adgenda and would only advance when he needed the money.

I never got the instruction I needed to improve or advice to help me with my stances. There was very sloppy work done there. He is no longer there but he humiliated me in front of the class.

I'm older and I needed both knees replaced. I would like to go back and try someplace else but now I'm gun shy .

reply icon Replying to comment of Guest-884899

There is a reason they split in half and the other half became zultimate. If you want good beginner training take jijutisu or goto the community center.

Find an instructor not motivated by money. Ussd has over 300 schools . there is no way they can keep a handful of quality instructors . some schools are good some schools are bad.

If you were in my school you would have a check list and when you knew the material you could test. If you failed then younshoukdnt have told me you were ready.


My son Brennan goes to the Dojo in Santa Barbara Ca, could not be more happy. All this ragging on USSD is a joke.

Parents will not get ripped off year after year, that simple. Most people post *** and don't leave an e-mail or anything if you want a great school ussd is great, not to say there are some that are not but im 100% satisfied mware14343@***.com


WAHH! :cry USSD only cares about money?

AMERICA only cares about money! And all your in-effective complaining only serves as further proof of your ignorance. If you don't like how your money/country is being run, or how the money is handled, get off you *** and DO SOMETHING about it instead of whining like a bunch of little squealing piggies on the internet blaming a company like USSD or Z Ultimate for only trying to survive like every other American Co. in this hellish American economy.

I have dealt with these companies plenty, and I can tell you that most of the complaints on here are from people who probably didn't read the contract they signed when registering. If the instructor didn't inform you of these policies when you started, well then, they suck. THAT'S STILL NO EXCUSE FOR YOU NOT READING THE "FINE PRINT". THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SURE THING.

Grow up people.


Untied Studios of Self Defense is a crooked organization !!! They are not giving me a refund for money pulled out if my account after we canceled and why I call I am treated so poorly !!!! Very sad

reply icon Replying to comment of Guest-681854

Christine I am sure they told you that it was not their doing that it was Advantage Billing or something like that. The problem here is that thats the billing company.

By law I cannot call advantage billing and speak on your behalf and unenroll your child. I can only notify advantage billing that your no longer taking classes. However advantage requires a 30 day notice from you. If you did not fax them or send them a cancelation notice they will charge you until you do.

Its not USSD. Ussd Dont bill you they get a big check from advantage. If they had to be on the phone with advantage or take payment in the office all day then there would t be anytime for teaching.

There really is not any teaching g going on in group class anyways. Group classes are for practice and the private lesson is for learning.


I trained in Anthem Hills and the instructor there is the worst. They did not tell me about the testing fees and the masters class you must attened at 100 a pop every other month.

Oh and each "masters" class is a variation of the same thing as the last one.

But the fees it was 80 to test for a yellow belt 150 for green belt and from what i am told it is 300 for each stripe on your brown belt. They do teach some good stuff but some of it would never work, ever.

reply icon Replying to comment of Guest-608355

everyone thinks ( master black) is so outstanding.if that is so true why do hey have unprofessional ways in there dojos

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Fishy USSD review from 2003

Prior review of USSD is pretty fishy. Sounds more like something written by a competitor. Let's see, the reviewer claims 30 years experience in martial arts and has studied Kung *** himself, yet it took him 1.5 years to realize that his kid wasn't being taught Kung *** (USSD clearly teaches Kempo Karate with a slight smattering of Shaolin derived defensive manuevers.) Kung *** and Karate are quite different; hard to imagine anyone with any martial arts experience not being able to tell the difference. But then, anyone with martial arts experience also knows that there are many ways to block a punch and no one correct way. Oddly though, the reviewer seems to think that there is some "correct block" and his son wasn't taught it. As to belt colors, USSD has the same 10 belts like most other schools these days. Nothing new there unless your 30 years of experience in m.a. were all prior to the 70's. All in all, that review smells awefully fishy. Dan in West Covina, CA
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To teach the complete shaolin in America is very hard, most Americans want a quick lesson on how to kick but and real shaolin is far deeper than that however if you really no anything about kung *** then you also understand Tao lu, young fa, and bein hua which if you use those 3 you will then see that yes Ussd does have shaolin influence which would explain the fact that they go to the shaolin temple every 10 or so years. Used is a complete system, their forms have origins all you need to do is research.


Worst mistake of my life was walking into a ussd dojo and getting dupped into paying astronomical prices for a average product. I have learned my lesson though.


I go to the USSD in San Anselmo. I have been going for the last 8 months and have had an amazing experience.

My son also goes. The Head Sensei who owns the Dojo is incredible as are the other Sensei's.

The students and the place in general is fantastic. I get my money's worth and more with all that is offered here.


I owned a USSD dojo for almost 10 years, and while it is true that the quality of training will always depend on the instructor, I found the instructor, as a group, to be highly well trained.

There we a number of comments in the blogs above complaining about the cost of USSD training. I have to say that I never saw a lack of MA business competition in my town, so people certainly has their choice of locations and prices. If my prices were too hign, or if the quality of instruction were poor, I would lose business, but my studio was successful. I will add that my prices were generally higher than my competitors, and yet I rarely had a shortage of students, so we muct have been doing something right in order to sign up new students, and more importantly, to hold on to existing ones.

I was also a USSD student at a different dojo and found the training to be effective.

Did some instructors cross ethical lines? Clearly some did, and most were weeded out. Some were never caught. I find it difficult, however, to imagine any system where that might not be the case.

Is Kempo/Kenpo the best MA system? If you know anything about MA you know that no system is the best. I believe that USSDs Kempo system could be improved my a greater emphasis on ground work, because most fights end on the ground, but it is hardly the only system that places greater emphasis on stand-up fighting.

USSD has been criticised for operating McDojo's, and yet this criticism must stem from people who have an issue with successful business practices. To me, the term McDojo represents a system that offers quality and consistency across the spectrum of studios. My hat is off to USSD for developing a system with such effective quality control that a student can move from one USSD school to another and continue his/her studies without a hitch.

I don't have the time to answer all of the criticisms noted in this blog, and USSD has enough faults to go around, but all-in-all, it is a good company, led by highly respected martial artists who have a demonstrated ability to teach and to run successful businesses.

...and by the way, the teaching of martial arts is a business. Doesn't it make sense that you would want to be as successful in your business endeavors as you are in your martial arts?


I,unfortunately, had a bad experience at a USSD dojo. The instructor knee I was having physical problems but he constatly berated and put me down. Its sad, I think the instructors teaching at any dojo should be required to have a license or be registered with the state, so if one has a has somewhere to go.


I think it is absolutely necessary to place cameras within these studios. This is a business where adults, young adults, and children train! It's not to be used for your personal pleasure!


Ok.....I know some will think that much of these individuals are former instructors who have been weeded out or competetors wanting to place negativity on a name, or some *** who hasn't even tried the Art (which may all be true)...BUT I honestly am someone who has been a parent, a student, and a friend to the USSD family. I used to believe in this company.

I WAS amazed to see how it affected my children in a positive way. I THOUGHT that the instructors were knowledgable, helpful, and caring. I USED to be in awe when meeting all Masters and hardworking instructors. Most of this has changed.

Before I continue, I do want to say...there are a FEW instructors that DO care. There are a FEW who have the love for the Art. And there are a FEW who work there butts off to build what they have started, have the dojo grow, and who really care for the well-being of others to be able to protect and defend themselves. But this is a company.

This is a business. And much of it is about the $$$. Yes, it is true, if you find that dojo who has an instructor who really cares, it's all worth it. But honestly most of them aren't that way.

My main gripe is they teach you about RESPECT, DISCIPLINE, HONOR, LOVING YOURSELF and OTHERS, KNOWING YOUR SELF WORTH, and trying to build YOUR SELF CONFIDENCE. But what does that matter when you DON'T practice what you teach? How can you teach someone to live their life with these characteristics and values when you yourself don't follow them? I know of instructors who are alcoholics, drug users, have had trouble with the law, have had affairs with other students and other instructors which have resulted in families broken and children hurt.

How can you teach my daughter to respect herself and have self confidence and self worth when you as an instructor have done nothing but sleep around from dojo to dojo???

The ART is a beautiful thing that should be shared by all but it will cost you with them. Just BE AWARE looks are deceiving!!!


As a former USSD Instructor I can tell you point blank. The system does work however, the company as a whole is a MONEY MAKING VENTURE.

Not to say that this is unusual for any and all martial arts schools,but ussd has unfortunatley taken advantage and really started to goudge people. The red belt asst. instructors are students themselves and are NOT BLACK BELT INSTRUCTORS. They are in actuality, FREE LABOR for the Instructor.

USSD insists that you buy ALL uniforms and equipment from them. They will then charge you in excess if $120.00 for a $40.00 uniform and $50.00 for $15.00 karate shoes. And so on,and so forth. I became disheartened when I felt more like a car salesman than a Sensei.I love the arts, and loved teaching however, I am not in the business of ripping people off.

They apparently are. Buyer beware!

As for the "Child Molestation" comment, There was no proof and by all accounts the accusation was made by a disgruntled patron. As Per Amy's comment about not letting your kids train there because of this I only have this to say. In my dojo there were cameras,multiple cameras.

As a father, my own kids were there constantly. And I always invited parents to stay or pop in continuously during lessons.

Further more,by your logic perhaps no one should go to a catholic church either because if one preist perhaps maybe molested a child, they must all do it.Right? Dont be a fool.


as a former instructor of USSD I\'ll tell you this, they dont care about the student unless you are willing to pay the ripoff fees and put up with the illusion that they are so great. Being fair; there are some good instructors that really do care about the art and take the time to really teach.

That though is a small handfull. Most of the instructors have big heads and think they are all that. USSD is a business....not a martial arts change. They art of Kempo is good and they do have a good martial art...if they would learn to teach it right.

They burn out instructors and students. Matt - Pinan #1 (all 5 Pinans) are from Karate. Pinan #1 itself is taught in the many different styles of Karate and Tae Kwon Do. Kempo put more of a Kung *** spin on it; that is why the moves are mor circular and soft.

The 5 Katas I believe were of Karate descent excpet for Kata#6 which (from what I have heard) was created by Mr. Fred Vallari. They forms taught at Black Belt are of a more Shaolin Kung *** style. Amy- that is a very hefty comment, that should be backed up with where you saw that.

I know that a lot of those instructors are drunks and drug abusers and really dont have that great of moralsBottom line is this...USSD is like Starbucks, they are everywhere, they know how to market and are smart in business. They charge way too much (they have to find some way to pay for those massively exspensive cars) and dont put to much care into the students or instructors. If you now or plan on signing up at a USSD, be very careful, ask a billion questions about the instructor (how long has he/she been a black belt-certificate should be hung, how long has the school been there?

what equipment is used? Yes all the USSD dojos are clean....dosent mean they are good dojo\'s.


Im just going to say that Im a former USSD student and Instructor. That $250 is standard.

Everyone who has not signed a contract (they call it a agreement) to exclusivey only buy USSD merchandise and study at USSD you have to pay the $250. There are 4 different packages USSD offers. 3 month $225, 6 month at $210, 1 year at $200, and the 2 yrs at $185. Worth it only if you have a good instructor.

That itself is rare no matter what system. Secondly USSD testing fees start at $80 and range to $600. the hightest being your brown belt. Three degrees to brown.

So in the end while at another dojo you could pay up to $1000 for your black, at USSD you could pay $3200 starting from 3rd degree brown. In all USSD has massed marketed itself to being outrageously priced. Those who say that it weeds out the *** only are saying what the instuctors say. Would I recommend USSD.

If you have found a great school and can afford $2000 a year then yes. If not then there are plenty of schools that are just as good and are alot less.

Oh and USSD is Fred Villari's former dojo just that Mattera wanted to do the same as Fred but under his money. Only difference is he massed marketed the dojos since 1989.

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