As I mentioned here, there are some distinct differences from what I learned at National Karate. Today as we were drilling sparing related skills, I started feeling very out of place -- worse than if I were a true beginner. Almost nothing seemed to feel close to what I'm used to. One big difference was that we were supposed to be alternating the front side, and keeping our chest much more towards the opponent that I'm used to in any martial skill I've practiced (National Karate, SCA fencing, Olympic Fencing). On top of this, the combat drills were slow enough to completely throw off my timing.
One other thing that worried me was the level of personal protection required. When those who had the equipment put it on, they only had head gear -- and one of them had an open face mask -- hand, feet and shin protection. I'm used to adding a chest protector and elbow pads to the mix. Not having good chest protection, and possibly not having a face mask, would make me hesitant to use one of my favorite weapons -- my legs.
Since I have much better reach with my legs than my arms (I think I have long legs for my height) when I can get them up they are a good closing or distance attack. Occasionally being able to kick someone my height in the head (genitally) doesn't hurt either.
I still have at least two more group classes, and another private lesson, before my free trial ends -- and I've signed Derrick up for one that hasn't started yet (I don't think) -- so I won't want to rush out and start calling other schools. But if I could find one closer to what I'm used to, I think I'd prefer it.