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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: Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:24 pm    Post subject: The Revenge of the McDojo. Reply with quote

Excuse the dramatic title, but once I explain I'm sure you'll understand.

I established my school early this year, and so far we have been a resounding success. We based ourselves around the ideal of no nonsense karate, removing artificial success criteria and being wholly accountable and transparent in our methods. No hocus pocus karate, no immediate gratification, just hard work and real karate.
We've developed a core group of students, some from a martial arts background, and some who have recently caught the bug. These guys are fanatics, I love training with them and have developed some good friendships through it. The rest of the students kind of float in and out, and I'm ok with that.... To an extent.

Now, getting back to my subject title, I've recently lost students who were training with both me and another school, because my style of training demanded effort. Nothing extreme I assure you, but effort nonetheless. And by only grading every 6 or so months, meant they wouldn't receive a belt the moment they performed a technique correctly.
This other school, who shall remain nameless, has caught wind of this and offered to grade them to black belt from their current 4th Kyu in that style within a year, provided they only train there.

So, no immediate gradings with me. Instant grading there.
Effort required with me. Only attendance required there.
Not for profit business structure with me. Dubious McDojo style marketing and business strategy with them.

My question is, has anyone dealt with a similar issue, and how did you deal with this? I know the obvious answer is "don't worry about it, keep on keeping on" but as I said, we're not for profit and losing students regularly to this sort of thing has the potential to cripple our business. And I refuse to stoop to McDojo style training and marketing.

I'd love to hear ideas!
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 12352
Location: Houston, TX and/or Van Nuys, CA
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Solid OP!!

I feel your pain through and through. There's nothing you can do about the manner of which other MA schools conduct their affairs; they do what they do, no matter how wrong it might feel to you.

Conduct your affairs with a conscience that's above board, and you'll be fine. I'd rather close my dojo than conduct my affairs without any integrity across the board.

Our job is to teach EFFECTIVENESS through and through; alas, providing solid confidence, and not false confidence within our students.

One gets what they deserve. They choose you...they'll be solid! They choose the fast food school mindset...they'll be that house that is built upon sand; without a solid foundation.

All we can do with schools that lack integrity is to shake our heads, and pray that before it's too late, they wander in your school or my school or any credible school, whether it be by mistake or on purpose, and discover the truth. Cause you know, we don't force them into our schools, the consumer decides on their own, and sometimes, they regret their decision either now or to much later.

We, when that stray student wanders into our school, we've got one chance and one chance alone to make that positive impression; so make it a good one.

It would be a waste of time to try to do anything about those type of schools that wear the badge proudly of being that fast food business. Why? Because that's the path they chose to reach that bottom line, and their bottom line is much more important to them than worrying about their lack of integrity. They're set in their ways, as we're set in our ways...so let them have their cake and ice cream...all they want...and in time, they'll get that upset stomach from eating all of that greed and more and more and more.

Meanwhile, an integrity based school, as yours and mine, might not like what we're witnessing, but at least, we can lay our heads down on our pillows and sleep soundly because we've conducted our affairs with integrity.



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Nidan Melbourne
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 21 Aug 2013
Posts: 1981
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Styles: Goju-Ryu, BJJ, Balintawak Arnis

PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand your dilemma because it is hard to maintain numbers with no nonsense karate.

I personally haven't experienced this with my own club (yet to start mine), but i have worked with clubs who have.

At my dojo we hold gradings usually once per term for all Kyu Grades (1st Kyu is ineligible to Kyu Gradings), and all Dan Gradings (including 1st Kyu's attempting for Shodan-Ho) are held once per YEAR.
For instance we recently held our Junior Color Belt Grading, we had 30 students attempting for promotion and this is out of 100 Junior Students that train regularly. We have never had our entire Junior student body eligible for promotion at the one time. But for many students they will usually grade once per year, or for the regulars (Train every day that we have classes) twice per year.

With that in mind we have in-belt testing which is to test their knowledge across 5 areas of training before they can even consider going for grading. This is to help us as instructors see where they are at in their training but also for the student to see where they are at. We test every 6 lessons, but just doing the techniques is not enough you have to put the effort and attitude into what your doing.
The students get tested on:
- Basics
- Combinations
- Kata
- Pre-Arranged Sparring
- Sparring

There is nothing wrong with holding gradings every quarter, but should only be available to those who are eligible. From memory Sensei8 does this with Shindokan where students have to apply to grade, but will only be approved to attend by Senior Management (correct me if i'm wrong). Which in my eyes makes students work harder to reach that level where they would be even considered to grade by their instructor and management.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 12352
Location: Houston, TX and/or Van Nuys, CA
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nidan Melbourne wrote:
I understand your dilemma because it is hard to maintain numbers with no nonsense karate.

I personally haven't experienced this with my own club (yet to start mine), but i have worked with clubs who have.

At my dojo we hold gradings usually once per term for all Kyu Grades (1st Kyu is ineligible to Kyu Gradings), and all Dan Gradings (including 1st Kyu's attempting for Shodan-Ho) are held once per YEAR.
For instance we recently held our Junior Color Belt Grading, we had 30 students attempting for promotion and this is out of 100 Junior Students that train regularly. We have never had our entire Junior student body eligible for promotion at the one time. But for many students they will usually grade once per year, or for the regulars (Train every day that we have classes) twice per year.

With that in mind we have in-belt testing which is to test their knowledge across 5 areas of training before they can even consider going for grading. This is to help us as instructors see where they are at in their training but also for the student to see where they are at. We test every 6 lessons, but just doing the techniques is not enough you have to put the effort and attitude into what your doing.
The students get tested on:
- Basics
- Combinations
- Kata
- Pre-Arranged Sparring
- Sparring

There is nothing wrong with holding gradings every quarter, but should only be available to those who are eligible. From memory Sensei8 does this with Shindokan where students have to apply to grade, but will only be approved to attend by Senior Management (correct me if i'm wrong). Which in my eyes makes students work harder to reach that level where they would be even considered to grade by their instructor and management.

To the bold type above...

You're correct Nidan Melbourne.

No matter the rank ALL students have to apply with the Hombu, and the Hombu decides who is and who isn't admitted to any Testing Cycle!! No dojo within the SKKA network can conduct a Testing Cycle without the specific approval of the Hombu. I can't conduct a Testing Cycle in my own dojo unless the Hombu has approved it, even though I'm the Kaicho of the SKKA, and am of a Senior Dan Rank....no way and no how!!

SKKA network wide conduct Testing Cycles once every quarter, Hombu included. Also, the Hombu conducts a annual Testing Cycle in June/July for all ranks, especially Godan and up: they MUST test at the Hombu without exception.




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**Proof is on the floor!!!
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Montana
Red Belt
Red Belt

Joined: 18 Apr 2007
Posts: 823
Location: Formerly Kalispell, Montana, now Spokane, WA
Styles: Shorin Ryu Matsumura Kenpo & Kobudo

PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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.
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If you don't want to stand behind our troops, please..feel free to stand in front of them.

Student since January 1975---4th Dan, retired due to non-martial arts related injuries.
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Nidan Melbourne
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 21 Aug 2013
Posts: 1981
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Styles: Goju-Ryu, BJJ, Balintawak Arnis

PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sensei8 wrote:
Nidan Melbourne wrote:
I understand your dilemma because it is hard to maintain numbers with no nonsense karate.

I personally haven't experienced this with my own club (yet to start mine), but i have worked with clubs who have.

At my dojo we hold gradings usually once per term for all Kyu Grades (1st Kyu is ineligible to Kyu Gradings), and all Dan Gradings (including 1st Kyu's attempting for Shodan-Ho) are held once per YEAR.
For instance we recently held our Junior Color Belt Grading, we had 30 students attempting for promotion and this is out of 100 Junior Students that train regularly. We have never had our entire Junior student body eligible for promotion at the one time. But for many students they will usually grade once per year, or for the regulars (Train every day that we have classes) twice per year.

With that in mind we have in-belt testing which is to test their knowledge across 5 areas of training before they can even consider going for grading. This is to help us as instructors see where they are at in their training but also for the student to see where they are at. We test every 6 lessons, but just doing the techniques is not enough you have to put the effort and attitude into what your doing.
The students get tested on:
- Basics
- Combinations
- Kata
- Pre-Arranged Sparring
- Sparring

There is nothing wrong with holding gradings every quarter, but should only be available to those who are eligible. From memory Sensei8 does this with Shindokan where students have to apply to grade, but will only be approved to attend by Senior Management (correct me if i'm wrong). Which in my eyes makes students work harder to reach that level where they would be even considered to grade by their instructor and management.

To the bold type above...

You're correct Nidan Melbourne.

No matter the rank ALL students have to apply with the Hombu, and the Hombu decides who is and who isn't admitted to any Testing Cycle!! No dojo within the SKKA network can conduct a Testing Cycle without the specific approval of the Hombu. I can't conduct a Testing Cycle in my own dojo unless the Hombu has approved it, even though I'm the Kaicho of the SKKA, and am of a Senior Dan Rank....no way and no how!!

SKKA network wide conduct Testing Cycles once every quarter, Hombu included. Also, the Hombu conducts a annual Testing Cycle in June/July for all ranks, especially Godan and up: they MUST test at the Hombu without exception.





To the Bolded Information, if you wish to hold your own Testing Cycle would you have to gain approval of your Board of Regents/Directors?

Also I'm curious to know how far would people have to travel to the Hombu for that particular Testing Cycle?
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 12352
Location: Houston, TX and/or Van Nuys, CA
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:35 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.

Solid post!!



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**Proof is on the floor!!!
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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: Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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

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

My good friend is the CEO of the most successful Foodbank in the US. They are not for profit. They serve people more than most anyone does. Yet they market all the time.

If you don't want to be a business...there's nothing wrong with that. But you seem conflicted.

There's a TKD chain in my area that often garners the term, "McDojo." I hear it all the time. I used to think that as well. Until I opened up my school. Then I checked out what they are doing. THey are actually quite talented. They put team members in the nationals every year. Certainly, they have things I'm not a fan of...10yr old black belts and such. But doing those things allows them to provide an outstanding service to those that really want to work hard.

Here's what I believe.

Running a successful business is my duty to my students. If I do not, I can not guarantee the continued existence of the academy. If that goes under, we have no place to train and my students will suffer because of it.

My recommendation is to do one of the following:
1. Run a club in a way that your overhead is so inexpensive that you can do it with only a few members.
2. Run a business in serious way that you can have great success.

"If you Karate do yes, good. If you Karate do no, ok. If you karate do sometimes; SQUISH...just like grape." -Mr. Miyagi, The Karate Kid
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"It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenius."
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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: Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A passage from "The way of the Peaceful Warrior" by Dan Millman

Soc- "So remember, Dan, embody what you teach and teach only what you have embodied."

Dan- "I don't know what I would teach besides gymnastics."

Soc- "Gymnastics is enough for now; use it as a way to convey universal lessons," he said. "Give people what they want until they want what you want to give them. Teach somersaults until someone asks for more."

Dan- "How will I know if they want something more?"
Soc- "You'll know."

I teach 200 members. I teach about character, doing well in school, and self defense. Out of those 200 members, I know most will not be training in just 4 years. Less than 10 will make it to Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt. But I give the opportunity to as many as I can.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 12352
Location: Houston, TX and/or Van Nuys, CA
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nidan Melbourne wrote:
sensei8 wrote:
Nidan Melbourne wrote:
I understand your dilemma because it is hard to maintain numbers with no nonsense karate.

I personally haven't experienced this with my own club (yet to start mine), but i have worked with clubs who have.

At my dojo we hold gradings usually once per term for all Kyu Grades (1st Kyu is ineligible to Kyu Gradings), and all Dan Gradings (including 1st Kyu's attempting for Shodan-Ho) are held once per YEAR.
For instance we recently held our Junior Color Belt Grading, we had 30 students attempting for promotion and this is out of 100 Junior Students that train regularly. We have never had our entire Junior student body eligible for promotion at the one time. But for many students they will usually grade once per year, or for the regulars (Train every day that we have classes) twice per year.

With that in mind we have in-belt testing which is to test their knowledge across 5 areas of training before they can even consider going for grading. This is to help us as instructors see where they are at in their training but also for the student to see where they are at. We test every 6 lessons, but just doing the techniques is not enough you have to put the effort and attitude into what your doing.
The students get tested on:
- Basics
- Combinations
- Kata
- Pre-Arranged Sparring
- Sparring

There is nothing wrong with holding gradings every quarter, but should only be available to those who are eligible. From memory Sensei8 does this with Shindokan where students have to apply to grade, but will only be approved to attend by Senior Management (correct me if i'm wrong). Which in my eyes makes students work harder to reach that level where they would be even considered to grade by their instructor and management.

To the bold type above...

You're correct Nidan Melbourne.

No matter the rank ALL students have to apply with the Hombu, and the Hombu decides who is and who isn't admitted to any Testing Cycle!! No dojo within the SKKA network can conduct a Testing Cycle without the specific approval of the Hombu. I can't conduct a Testing Cycle in my own dojo unless the Hombu has approved it, even though I'm the Kaicho of the SKKA, and am of a Senior Dan Rank....no way and no how!!

SKKA network wide conduct Testing Cycles once every quarter, Hombu included. Also, the Hombu conducts a annual Testing Cycle in June/July for all ranks, especially Godan and up: they MUST test at the Hombu without exception.





To the Bolded Information, if you wish to hold your own Testing Cycle would you have to gain approval of your Board of Regents/Directors?

Also I'm curious to know how far would people have to travel to the Hombu for that particular Testing Cycle?

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.



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