Tell me about Wado Ryu Karate

I am trying to decide what TMA to start in and have narrowed my choices down to Isshin Ryu, Kuk Sool Wan, or Wado Ryu. If any one has trained in Wado Ryu please tell me a little about it. How functional is it, any weapons to be learned, difficulty of katas, how long does it usually take to get to black belt level? Any input would be appreciated.
Thank you

Wado - Ryu ( Wado - Kai ) is a traditional style martial art. The founder was Hironori Ohtsuka.
He started out in Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jui - Jitsu.
Apparently he was awarded a very high rank, at some point in time. He did study with Gichin Funakoshi.
He incorporated some of the fluidity of evading, and body shifting ( Tai - sabaki ) into the karate, as compared to a very rigid form. Wado is known to be a very fast style.

The main weapon is the " shindo ", a 3' stick, which has some katas, and some self defence applications.
Almost like a billy club. Some clubs will do other weapons as the Bo, etc.

Techniques are basically the same as the other japanese styles, with the emphasis on body shifting and quickness. The katas are similiar to other styles......the first 5 being called the Pinans, in Shotokan they are the Heians. One of my buddies who was a black belt in Wado, went to a Shotokan school. The Sensei watched him perform, and said he would be graded to a brown belt immediately, but had to modify the katas as per their style.

As far as Self Defence, this will be up to the Instructor. I believe in working with other styles as much as I can, and through that, have picked up many excellent self defence techniques which are worked on with Senior belts.

As far as the kumite, for beginners, they are taught to pull their punches. Now with that being said, once you get to a higher rank, and want to work on body
conditioning, and do some hard kicks & punches, if you find a willing partner, go ahead. However, in class you must execute control, as well as in tournaments.

how many katas must you learn

 Standard amount in most traditional forms is one per belt, with usually an optional as well.

I've tried it but wasn't too fond of it

We have a rival school in town that does Wada Ryu(sp).We have to put them in place on occasion.I'm not to impressed with what I've seen.I think the local tkd school could kick their asses

Think what you will.......remember, its the individual, not the style.........correct ??

I kow that is the case the majority of the time but these guys have a classical cult like mentality.They are of the old school "My style is best" idealogy.

I don't subscribe to a best style theory.I had a kid come into my school and ask me which was the best style to learn and I told him if there was a best style I wouldn't be teaching two different styles.

A lot of what is taught in the WadaRyu schools is bullshit though and the followers actually believe what they are taught.

I did a grappling demonstration at a wadaryu school once.They had a hidden aganda when they invited me to do the seminar.What they wanted to do was to show that their style could use their karate strikes to avoid the takedown.I went to take the instructor down and he nailed me with an uppercut as hard as he could when I shot in.I still got him down and mounted him and just held him there.He tried to pass it off as an accident but the knot on my head was no accident.I played it off as cool though.By the end of the day he had come to the realisation that he could not avoid teh takedown using his old methods.

6 months later one of his guys came into my class with the cockiest attitude I had ever seen.He challenge one of my guys to a personal sparring session after watching one of our muay thai classes and warned him that they dop a lot more kicking than he is used to.After discussing grappling briefly he said that they did no grappling in their style."All we have to do to avoid the takedown is to step to the side" is what he was preaching.Finally I had had enough and told him that even with a torn hamstring I had taken his instructor down at will.And that he should go ask him about it.The kid never came back into my gym again

 Yea, it sounds like they do have an attitude problem. However, dont paint all the clubs, with the same brush. Challenging others to a personal sparring session, shit like that, they deserve to get what they ask for.

My MMA school has a Wado-Ryu Karate program for those that want to do some traditional training. They get spanked constantly by the MMA/BJJ/Boxing & Thai-Boxing students but they do VERY well in Karate tournaments against other styles.

I study Wado Ryu but have a good instructor. We cover stand up and groundwork (50% = groundwork). I believe the quality of the school comes from the teaching of the instructor.

I don't know too much about the history of wado ryu - but I believe its origins blended jui-jitsu with karate teachings.

From my experience the art is less rigid looking compared to Shotokan, and less linear (with more kicks!). The lessons I attend are less traditional involving sparring & grappling. we get the gloves on and also use kick shields. My instructor used to train in Judo so we cover techniques such as - armbars, chokes, pins, escapes and other sweeps & throws. My instructor teaches a more hybrid form rather than following the art religiously.

I also train in Judo seperate to wado ryu, so I like throwing and grappling a lot! And I like the way the two art forms blend in with each other. The funny thing is I like going to my karate lessons because of the groundwork! (and the sparring) Sounds wierd doesn't it. Personally I would like to top up my knowledge with another striking art such as boxing/muay thai to become a harder striker.