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Seija
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 22 Dec 2008
Posts: 33
Location: grand rapids, mi
Styles: Wado-Ryu Karate, JuJutsu, Kempo, Iaido

PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To me, it is a matter of breaking down the analogy. McDonald’s food is quick, cheap easy and fast and it will fill you up if you can keep it down, but it isn’t really good, high quality cuisine. Five star gourmet foods may cost a little more (not necessarily paid in dollars but always paid in “sweat equity”) and may take a little longer, but it is so much better that it goes beyond comparison.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 24175
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE Combatives

PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seija wrote:
To me, it is a matter of breaking down the analogy. McDonald’s food is quick, cheap easy and fast and it will fill you up if you can keep it down, but it isn’t really good, high quality cuisine. Five star gourmet foods may cost a little more (not necessarily paid in dollars but always paid in “sweat equity”) and may take a little longer, but it is so much better that it goes beyond comparison.
I like your analogies here, but if you look at the McDojo trend, the McDojos tend to cost more than others usually do, as opposed to costing less. Just a thought...
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Seija
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 22 Dec 2008
Posts: 33
Location: grand rapids, mi
Styles: Wado-Ryu Karate, JuJutsu, Kempo, Iaido

PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bushido_man96 wrote:
Seija wrote:
To me, it is a matter of breaking down the analogy. McDonald’s food is quick, cheap easy and fast and it will fill you up if you can keep it down, but it isn’t really good, high quality cuisine. Five star gourmet foods may cost a little more (not necessarily paid in dollars but always paid in “sweat equity”) and may take a little longer, but it is so much better that it goes beyond comparison.

I like your analogies here, but if you look at the McDojo trend, the McDojos tend to cost more than others usually do, as opposed to costing less. Just a thought...


This is precisely why I put (not necessarily paid in dollars but always paid in “sweat equity”)

Most McDojo’s will ask all kinds of things from you in the way of money, but very little of you in the way of actually learning anything or actually working up a sweat. I even know of one McDojo where belts are awarded on a points system and you can earn major points for signing up your friends. To make a long story short, if you are popular enough and have enough friends that you can get to sign up, you can earn a BB and not know a thing.

The point is, true Bushido takes hard work, dedication, devotion and discipline.
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Blade96
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 19 Nov 2009
Posts: 376
Location: Newfoundland, Canada
Styles: Shotokan Karate-Do 7th Kyu (orange belt)

PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i went to a kempo school, that had some mcdojoish characteristics. (although i believe the sensei and his family who own the business are legit ma's but as it is their livelihood some things are mcdojoish)

Not like the shotokan school I attend now.
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Sibylla
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 19 May 2003
Posts: 199

Styles: Kickboxing, FMA, MMA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Imho the term Mcdojo doesn't always relate to money or to how long it takes to rank. Different arts have different standards, and some costs more money than others. Getting a BB after 2 or 10 years says nothing in itself.

Also, you can very well find McDojos within otherwise respected styles, where the dojo basically is driven by corruption and types of abuse. For instance where an instructor gives advantages to "friends" in form of rank and other qualifications (travels to competition abroad that other people in the dojo are more qualified for), chasing women, beating up students, etc, etc, etc. Dojo where this happen may be a shotokan, kendo, judo, or whatever respected style.

The strongest indicator of Mcdojo to me is:
- huge and unexplainable inconsistency in rank skills (see above)
- erratic, weird instructor behavior, claims about superpowers , "preaching", etc.

Quality of instruction can actually be ok in some McDojo, but if the place is run in a corrupt manner, whether it's money or other motivation behind, it's still a McDojo to me.
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Toptomcat
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 04 Sep 2008
Posts: 464

Styles: Japanese and Korean karate systems, judo

PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Exactly. There are some very reputable and effective styles that offer one-year live-in student/uchi deshi programs that take you to shodan.
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CTTKDKing
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 05 Jan 2006
Posts: 165
Location: Connecticut
Styles: Tae Kwon Do, Greco Wrestling, Muay Thai, Sho Bin Ju

PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I had to put my 2 cents in on this one. A McDojo to me is any school that puts money in front of teaching practices, and any school that advances rank for the sake of advancing. Also if you can obtain a black belt in less then 2 years I'd highly recommend going elsewhere. The quality level of that training is not going to be up to snuff.

That being said I don't think child black belts necessarily is a sign of a McDojo. Our school has child black belts down to about age 8, BUT, the rank is that of Junior Black Belt on the child curriculum. You cannot test for an adult black belt until you are age 16 or older. The Junior Black belt is not registered with the federation until they test for adult bb status.

Achieving first Dan in my school takes an adult about 4 years (some a little longer) and the child curriculum takes about 3 to get to Junior BB. These child black belts are also only allowed to test if the instructors think they are ready. He sits down with the parents and has a discussion with them about the responsibilities of how their child needs to act around the other kids if they are allowed to test and they pass to achieve junior black belt status. There has to be a maturity about the child, and not all children can handle being an example to other kids at age 8 or 9, but the few my instructor has let do this have made him proud. If the parents think that their child can handle it and the instructor agrees then they are allowed to test.

My point is I'd hate to have someone walk into our school after reading about McDojo's on here or anywhere, and think hey there are a couple child black belts, this place is a joke and walk back out. To determine if it's a McDojo or not you really have to look at the quality of the students that the school turns out. Take a trial class if it looks interesting to you and see how the class is run. Talk to some of the lower - middle ranking students and ask if they are feeling like they are being rushed from belt to belt, and most importantly sit down with the instructor and see what his focus is. If it's getting you to sign up to get you out of his office quickly then get out while you can, but if he wants to sit down and really discuss with you the school and it's teachings, then give it a shot. You might love it.
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sensei8
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 7167
Location: Owasso, OK and Van Nuys, CA
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No students left behind!

Most, not all, McDojo's rankings as far as the context of one being prepared, is akin to graduating from a high school with only a 2nd or 3rd grade education. Public schools, K-12, push their students from one grade to the next, whether they're ready or not. The majority McDojo's do the same thing. Both turn out unprepared students!

But, this problem isn't with just McDojo's.


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Jeffrey
Purple Belt
Purple Belt

Joined: 14 Jan 2010
Posts: 576
Location: Alberta
Styles: Wado Kai

PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think a good example of the McDojo is Grand Master Simon Temple Kung Fu. This a was Franchise MA that was created in the 70-90's. It had Dojo's all over western and central Canada. I believe they also had some in the western States.

This was a made up MA from the ground up with a little back ground in Kenpo Karate and Kung Fu all rolled into a Marketed Art. I can remember the late night TV ads clearly. It had all the mysticism of an ancient art with a falsely created background to help promote it. Fees were huge and could cost $1000-$2000 year. It had cult like atmosphere no matter how you look it. These are the years before Internet was widely used and information was not easily available.

It is a lot easier to find and check credentials and comfirm information these days. This board is a great example.
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Martialart
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 27 Apr 2010
Posts: 128

Styles: Taekwondo

PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:12 pm    Post subject: TKD Plus and McDojoism Reply with quote

I train at a McDojo. There is no question about it. We (my wife and I) just started at a TKD Plus school here in our area.

Both of us trained in the 1980's and then again for a year in 1999-2000, and now at this school. So, we've actually been able to watch the evolution of McDojoism. Heck, just last night I was talking to a 3rd degree black belt. I think he's fourteen. He said proudly that he's been training for three or four years, says he can't really remember (as if there have been so many years of his training).

That same night I also watched an instructor give a little colored tab to a white belt for doing his four basic stances. The problem is, he didn't have a clue how to do them. That's just good ol' McDojoism.

Everything costs: uniforms, badges, sparring gear, the yearlong contract, a signing up fee, books, videos, gradings, belts.

The adult class is usually almost all black belts of various degrees, and except for the instructor, none of them are adults. My wife and I, at 45, are like freaks in our white belts. Granted, last night there were about half and half. Half were adults of different colors, the other half were adolescents with various degrees of black belt.

I don't think the black belts actually know how to throw a punch. They flop about through their forms, and I hope when I get my green belt in a couple of months, I don't accidentally hurt one of them in sparring. They don't seem to know at all what a combination is. I will need to use a lot of control, and I will. I'm not out to prove anything. I learned to spar very hard in Higashi (Wado-ryu) Karate in England in the 80's, and that has stuck with me. This class has seen nothing like that--ever. Maybe a couple of the instructors have. But interpret that as you will: a real green belt is only evenly matched with the instructors.

The kids (that's what we call the black belts in the class) are allowed to talk during class. Sometimes they talk when the instructor is talking. To the credit of one of the Masters (I think it's master in the sense of "owner"), she admitted, she has to cater to kids, and the parents of kids, primarily in order to keep the business viable. If they are too heavy handed, the kids simply won't come.

I am ashamed at what I see. I am disgusted by it. When I think back to my Higashi days, I can't reconcile the two. Be that as it may, here's the thing: The style is very traditional Taekwondo (they call it Ho-Am Taekwondo, but it might as well be called Korean Karate, because that's what it is. It's like something General Choi would teach the Korean Military). The self-defense techniques are effective. The dojang is modern and well equipped. The actual instructors are disciplined and pretty good in their techniques, and they teach effectively. There is line work, forms work, sparring, and a lot of attention is paid to the lower belts (us).

So, all the ingredients are there for some very effective training--if one wants it. If you don't want it, you're still going to pass your gradings--that much is clear. But if you want it, there's no rule against making your dobok pop when you punch or kick. There's no rule against increasing your flexibility so you can kick higher. There's nothing that says you can't visualize an enemy while you're punching or kicking a target. There's nothing that says you can't do your forms with snap and precision. And that seems to be the example the senior instructors and Master-owners display. But they don't make you display it--not for a belt anyway.

And so, I have come to find that the McDojo I am in may be the most real martial arts class I have ever been in. The nobility of the black belt can't be handed to you, you still have to earn it, and that nobility is shown in your forms, your punches, your kicks, the speed of your self-defense techniques and in the aggression of your sparring. It is not at all evident in the degree of your black belt.

Yesterday, when I was doing my Chong-Ji (the white belt hyung [kata]), I made my dobok pop a couple of times when I punched. No one else did. But I noticed that night, at the end, before bowing out, the instructor gave a little speech about how the class needed to stop talking during stretching. She was kind in her words, but it was clear she wanted them to shut up from now on. So, maybe there's hope.

Oh, and why would I choose to train at a McDojo? The same reason as anyone--it's what's available in my area. If it weren’t for the three McDojo TKD Plus schools down here in the armpit of the United States, there wouldn't be any martial arts at all. So, I don't want them to change at all. I need the floppy black belt kids to keep coming and paying for their belts--so I can train.
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