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The Pred
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 287

Styles: Goju Ryu

PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sensei8 wrote:

No!! I don't need Hombu approval to conduct a Testing Cycle, that's a separate concern. One in which the Hombu has no say over.

However, every candidate that wishes to attend my Testing Cycle, they'd have to have Hombu approval, in which that specific approval/denial would then be forwarded to me from the Hombu prior to the date of my Testing Cycle.

75% of the SKKA Student body lives not far from the Hombu. The Hombu is located in the San Fernando Valley, which is just north of Hollywood, California. The other 25% live outside of that region...as far away as Tulsa, OK, and as near as Dallas, TX, no further north and/or east than the Lower Midwest.




So quick question, if a student attends an SKKA school that isn't the Hombu itself. can that student open up his or her own school under the SKKA banner? Or does that student have to have trained under the Hombu first?
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Sentoka
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 12 Mar 2016
Posts: 22
Location: Victoria, Australia
Styles: Ryukyu Mudokai Karate, Wado, Kyokushin, RBSD

PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ps1 wrote:
If you're not for profit...why does it matter if they leave?

Marketing does not = McDojo, it's just good business.


Because while I'm not for profit, I'm still in the establishment stage. As I said, continuously losing students to this sort of thing could have serious repercussions to my business.

I didn't say marketing in general is bad. I did, however, say that dubious marketing and business practice is. I'm not confused on the situation at all. I market my school, but I tend to steer away from blatantly poaching students from another school. That may be for some people, but for me it's a no-no.

And in my eyes, offering to hand a student a black belt from 4th Kyu after a year if they exclusively train there does very much constitute a McDojo. Is that the very definition of a black belt mill? Pay your fees for a little while, get a black belt.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 12235
Location: Houston, TX and/or Van Nuys, CA
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Pred wrote:
sensei8 wrote:

No!! I don't need Hombu approval to conduct a Testing Cycle, that's a separate concern. One in which the Hombu has no say over.

However, every candidate that wishes to attend my Testing Cycle, they'd have to have Hombu approval, in which that specific approval/denial would then be forwarded to me from the Hombu prior to the date of my Testing Cycle.

75% of the SKKA Student body lives not far from the Hombu. The Hombu is located in the San Fernando Valley, which is just north of Hollywood, California. The other 25% live outside of that region...as far away as Tulsa, OK, and as near as Dallas, TX, no further north and/or east than the Lower Midwest.




So quick question, if a student attends an SKKA school that isn't the Hombu itself. can that student open up his or her own school under the SKKA banner? Or does that student have to have trained under the Hombu first?

Yes!! To the first question. No!! To the second question. Neither is a prerequisite of either!!

I just happen to have been an in-house student at the Hombu before and after I opened my dojo's. Having said that, we've dojo's within the SKKA network where the CI has never been an in-house student of the Hombu. Those CI's that have had their dojo open for some time now, they've been in-house students of the Hombu. Nowadays, as the years have melted away, that is becoming more of a memory than it was in years gone by.



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ps1
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 09 Nov 2004
Posts: 3024
Location: NE Ohio
Styles: Chuan Fa, Shotokan, JJJ, BJJ

PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sentoka wrote:
ps1 wrote:
If you're not for profit...why does it matter if they leave?

Marketing does not = McDojo, it's just good business.


Because while I'm not for profit, I'm still in the establishment stage. As I said, continuously losing students to this sort of thing could have serious repercussions to my business.

I didn't say marketing in general is bad. I did, however, say that dubious marketing and business practice is. I'm not confused on the situation at all. I market my school, but I tend to steer away from blatantly poaching students from another school. That may be for some people, but for me it's a no-no.

And in my eyes, offering to hand a student a black belt from 4th Kyu after a year if they exclusively train there does very much constitute a McDojo. Is that the very definition of a black belt mill? Pay your fees for a little while, get a black belt.


Ah... the situation is clearer now. Thank you for clarifying. I do agree with that. In BJJ, we have "Open mats." This is a time when members from any other school, BJJ or Otherwise, can come and practice together. Similar to you, I NEVER approach any of those people about signing up. I know they already have an instructor. If they approach me...that's different.

Text from a member who joined from another school:
"If I hadn't approached you. What would you have said to me about joining."

Me: nothing...I don't do that.

Him: D***! That's part of what I love about this place! Thank you so much.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 26607
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Montana wrote:
How would I deal with it?

Easy...LET THEM GO!

If a student wants easy rank, and that's not what your thing (it's sure not mine!)..then they shouldn't be there anyway. LET THEM GO!

Perhaps after a few weeks, months or maybe years, they will realize their mistake and come back...or not.


I agree here. If you are standing on your principles, and the students don't like them, for whatever reason, then there really isn't anything you can do to change their minds. All you can hope for is that a few years down the road, they mature as Martial Artists and realize that they are likely missing out on what may be the better training.

Just out of curiosity, why do you choose to remain non-profit? Could you not teach quality Karate and still make a profit doing so?
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Luther unleashed
Purple Belt
Purple Belt

Joined: 30 Jan 2014
Posts: 596
Location: Phoenix
Styles: A few!

PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So there's something that I find really really interesting about the word McDojo! The op used it in part in the way I always thought of it. So, it would seem to me that 90% of people seem to feel the word is used to describe a place that is all about money. In my mind I suppose that's part of it, BUT mostly I think of a place that is a bit fake. A place that does whatever necessary to attain students no matter how watered down it gets, or even a place that has an instructor that doesn't have the experience he leads people to believe and so on. The money factor to me is only a small part but if a place is really overcharging people but teaches good stuff then it's not a McDojo, not to me anyways.

So, to the original poster I think it's simple as ststed, let them go. You see I have seen that many students will look at fast rank and many wont. Here's an example. I have skipped a few students in my time, past a belt. Approximately 4 or 5 times in almost 2 years. Not the same student, in fact never the same. Typically it's easy to do it in the beginning. I have an adult student who I skipped past white belt with a black stripe, which is 9th rank, and placed him directly at yellow belt 8th rank. I didn't do it to please him, I did it because he was a 5th rank in Shaolin Kempo, and surprisingly enough many of his techniques and forms were very similar so he picked up the material very quickly. Within the second week I was already able to move on to the higher level techniques so it became clear that skipping him was a way to sort of move him along and place him where he should be since he had previous experience.

Now, that was his first and only test so far, as his other test is coming up he asked if he was going to skip again and that he felt he knew the material to skip two bbelts. I informed him that not only have I not ever nor do I plan to skip somebody to belts after skipping them one already, but I also informed him that he should never expect to skip hand if you was to skip over again he should see this as an unexpected honor. In my mind they McDojo would please him and throw him the extra belts, not about money per se but more so just to keep him. I would rather go out of business personally and close my doors before I give away rank to anybody any reason other than they aren't it.. to me this is what makes the rank that I passed out and really rank in general or something. You can't buy it and you cannot beg for it nor can you steal it. It must be earned and us as martial artists have a responsibility to at least hold some type of standard. Bystander might not be the same as sensei8, and sensei8's standard might be appalling to Bushido mans. This is a big reason why people form Federation and associations to uphold a standard, however I think the most important standard to uphold is the standard of not making everything given but earned. This is the standard of pride, dignity, honesty, hard work, and reward for dedication after achieving a milestone. In my honest opinion this is what sets apart the mcdojo of the true dojo.
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Emanon
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 23 Jul 2016
Posts: 10


PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess the immediate reaction for most is to look at the other school and their business tactics. But I tend to look at things a bit different, my focus is on the students. If they wish to leave and train at the easy dojo and look forward to a quick easy shodan then they aren't worthy students and I wouldn't want them in my dojo anyway. I guess this is why in old time Okinawa a perspective student had to get approval first and prove himself before being accepted. If they want to switch schools then they have no hope in being true karateka anyway so they did you a service.

What if there were no gradings at all? What if there were only white belt and then black at your discretion and you just gave a student there belt when you saw fit. What if that was anywhere from 5 to 10 years? True karate spirit means "who cares?" As long as you are constantly improving on a daily basis physically as well as mentally in body and spirit as well as character then who cares about rank? If this type of dojo isn't to their liking then goodbye. The ones who stay will be the good students who want to learn and show true spirit. Do you need a belt or certificate to tell you what you know? Or is that belt and certificate not for you but for others? Is it a "look at me?" Especially in todays karate world where practically everyone has a black belt these days. Old men and woman who only started training a few years ago at an old age as well as kindergarten children (Babies) I don't think a black belt is anything to brag about anyway.

In my opinion this is all silly modern karate politics and business ventures and it all kills true karate and what karate is all about.
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RJCKarate
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 19 Jun 2006
Posts: 97
Location: Australia
Styles: Matsubayashi-ryu Karate-do & Kobudo

PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good post, OP (I'm not sure: but I have a feeling we already know each other).

Firstly, someone remarked about if it's not-for-profit what does it matter. My dojo is not-for-profit but we run a commercial full-time dojo where we offer regular karate classes per week, 2 aikido, and various events. Not-for-profit means we're not doing it for the profit, but we still need to make one.

When I started my dojo, I would have been concerned about this. I was concerned about everything that may affect my student's happiness. Now, I'm only concerned with what's in my control.

So, what's that? Firstly, I educate my students on what grade means at my dojo: not much. It's about the skill, and not the colour of the belt. We have 4 testing cycles per year for juniors, and most students test at 1-2 of those cycles depending on their progress. I have had junior students at a white belt for more than a year because they can't meet the standard, but everyone therefore knows it's a standard.

For seniors, we have actually moved away from having any formal grading cycle. When a student is ready, I tell them, we organise a one-on-one time (or sometimes there are a few students) and we do atest to formalise their advancement to the next rank. Or I just award a grade in class.

I think that this method works well, and our feedback is that people enjoy not being just given a belt or stripe. Why? Because we educate, right from the start in our welcome letter and student handbook (and before that on our website), what the grading system means in our dojo. We do not grade students to shodan before 16yo.

I do have little Johnny coming and telling me every now and then, "hey sensei, my friend does XYZ-ryu and he just got a black belt!", and I usually respond with "that's great, good on him/her!". That's usually the end of it.
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Kodokan Matsubayashi-ryu Cummings Karate Dojo
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"Even after many years, kata practice is never finished, for there is always something new to be learned about executing a movement" Osensei Shoshin Nagamine
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Emanon
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 23 Jul 2016
Posts: 10


PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The word McDojo gets tossed around a great deal these days. Personally I remember a few years back that only really traditional dojo used to use the term referring to the business or commercial schools. These days everyone uses the term and oddly enough even the McDojo themselves use it! They have no clue and now the Mcdojo is calling other schools Mcdojo. I have to wonder what it all means. Surely we can look at many great masters from Okinawa and Japan teaching today and traveling the world giving seminars and producing DVD's etc. It's all about money. Some of them technically may have thousands of students worldwide. Who is more business than these supposed great masters? Descendent's of the founders. It's all business these days.

I had a smile this morning while reading a timely post called "Farm Fresh Karate" on a new blog I have been visiting. https://outercirclekarate.blogspot.com It reminded me of this thread. This guy speaks my language...seriously.


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MatsuShinshii
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 337
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Matsumura Shorin Ryu, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo

PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
No!! I don't need Hombu approval to conduct a Testing Cycle, that's a separate concern. One in which the Hombu has no say over.

However, every candidate that wishes to attend my Testing Cycle, they'd have to have Hombu approval, in which that specific approval/denial would then be forwarded to me from the Hombu prior to the date of my Testing Cycle.

75% of the SKKA Student body lives not far from the Hombu. The Hombu is located in the San Fernando Valley, which is just north of Hollywood, California. The other 25% live outside of that region...as far away as Tulsa, OK, and as near as Dallas, TX, no further north and/or east than the Lower Midwest.


Sensei8,

Forgive my ignorance and please take no offense but I do not understand why a students instructor isn't in control of when their students test.
I can understand the Hombu having a hand in the test results, as far as oversight, but to say yes or no to a student that they may not have seen and certainly do not see on a weekly basis is very confusing to me.
I am in complete control of my students and when they test or do not test. However any student testing for Yudansha ranks are tested by at least three senior ranks and at least two ranks above the students rank. These tests are video taped and sent to the Hombu for verification purposes only. In the 36+ years I have studied I have only seen one student get denied rank due to the Hombu not agreeing with the instructor. All instructors are of the same mind set that we are in the business of producing the best Karateka possible and only test when we feel that they are ready.
The only other time our Hombu gets involved is when we have a student that is testing for rank close to ours. I am a Rokudan and can test to Yondan without Hombu intervention. However if I feel that a student is ready to test for Godan or Rokudan they must travel to the Hombu to be tested by the board of promotions.
No disrespect, and I'm sure I do not have the whole story, but it seems that your Hombu doesn't grant much trust in their instrcuctors to tell them when a student is ready to test. Not to mention that it is quite unfair to leave the responsibility of a students capability in the hands of people that may only see this student on a few occasions. In our case it may be years as I am 4 states away.
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