View Full Version : I've started training at a McDojo!

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7/26/2005 3:47pm,
Hi, BigDickRich! (I feel stupid just writing that.) I saw your post in the Throwdown thread. It would be awesome if you attended so we could chat and train together! In fact, if you'd like to meet up for lunch sometime and correct my misconceptions about WW, I'd be up for that, too. Just send me a private message. I really did try to go in with an open mind, but like you said, perhaps the intro classes were just totally over the top and didn't reflect your school's real philosophy.

I'll try to address your questions now.

Is it wrong for them to make money or want to make more?

Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. Everyone draws their own moral line in the sand. Is it wrong to con senior citizens out of their life savings? Is it wrong to fool your students into believing they possess the skills to protect their own life? You may say these are totally different situations, but what about the girl who ends up raped after wasting years training eye gouges and groin strikes instead of brazilian jiu jitsu? What about the man who ends up beaten to a pulp because his unrealistic assessment of his self defense abilities?

Most people don't like con men in the first place, but those teaching bullshido aren't just stealing money, they're endangering people's lives.

And aren't all of these schools based on traditions of students having unquestioned loyalty and servitude to their master? Isn't that part of the experience? Or is that one of the Americanized system ideals where I am equal with my teacher and can talk **** at will and be disrepectful and expect to be respected at the same time?

I've never been in a situation, whether in academics, sports, or martial arts, where I was expected not to question things. An unwillingness to address questions should be a huge red flag for your bullshit detector. Asking questions and considering the answers is how I know I'm not wasting my time with crap.

The problem is that West Wind and many other "traditional" schools confuse "respect" with "unquestioning obedience". I have a huge amount of respect for my professors at college and for my martial arts instructors. All of them have put in years of practice to learn very difficult skills.

However, my respect for them doesn't prevent me from asking questions about what they're teaching me. Even Nobel Laureates and black belts make mistakes from time to time. Calling them on it isn't disrespect, it's an enthusiasm for learning.

7/26/2005 4:09pm,
I agree. There are tons of parallells with con men. I actually get the feeling that I get when I look at new cars. But usually I just tell the cars salesman to shut up and I'll call him when I want a test drive. I've been there a while now. I can talk considerable **** about the place. But, like I said in the other posts, it is what it is and overall it's been a positive experience.

As far as unquestioned loyalty, it's a double edged sword. I was in the military. I know bullshit when I hear it. But sometimes you deal with it to get what you want.

I was just trying to get an idea of what everyone is talking **** about. Is it the system being taught that is weak, the way it is taught ot the ethics of the school? It seems everything I'm looking at there is a cover for BJJ.

I love BJJ and am thinking about exploring it further. I've also thought about the usefulness of what I've learned at West Wind. I figured it might be useful if there were more sparring type applications going on, but it's usually fighting against air. And from experience, once you're fighting, that crap is ugly to watch. I'm not even close to being in shape.

As for my nickname, that's what my friends call me. Sometime they just say BD.

7/26/2005 4:40pm,
I use BJJ in my examples because it's my primary style. A lot of people say that the Bullshido forums are full of BJJ-nutriders or MMA-fanboys, but they're missing the point. Plenty of people (including most of the admins here) train in traditional martial arts. The point of this site is that it's not what style you train that matters, it's the WAY you train it. Correct training (aka "alive" training, vs. "dead" patterns like kata) must include training against resisting opponents. Matt Thornton explains aliveness very well in this video clip:


From what I've been told of West Wind by multiple students, most students do little or no alive training. The techniques I was shown would never work against a resistant opponent. Alive training would quickly make this clear, and instructors would stop teaching the techniques. This is one reason why alive training and sparring are so important - they reinforce what works and force you to discard what doesn't.

So we are left with a gym teaching ineffective and unrealistic techniques. What makes West Wind so galling is that they charge hundreds of dollars a month for this. $300 a month for private instruction is not necessarily a ripoff. $300 a month for private lessons from Carlos Machado would be a steal. But what he teaches works, and you know it works because you roll every lesson. At West Wind, if you don't spar for the first few years, why would you have any confidence that what you're learning is worth the price?

7/26/2005 8:03pm,
BD - have a read through this, I've never trained at this gym but their philosophy is pretty much dead on IMO


So theres 2 issues, the con and cult like business model, and the non-alive 'self defense' training. One of the biggest red flags that there is something wrong with your trianing, is when free sparring between experienced students looks little like the bulk of the training you do.

7/26/2005 8:41pm,
to expand on my comment about following you teacher and what not...

I am fully for questioning things. Especially flawed thinking. Sometimes my teachers say some idotic stuff. I have to shrug it off. Then I hear the assistant instructors taking it to heart and spouting it off at the next student they teach. What happens when that student gets it wrong and tells someone else? We know that it will turn to crap. I would like to think that I am getting a return on my investment. In many ways I am. I don't smake anymore, I am in much better shape and I feel better about myself and life in general.

I find the cult comparisons a little disturbing though. I wonder when I'll get some new Nikes and wait for the mother ship.

Got anymore of those videos? I want to show them that ****. Maybe with your help I can make a better school instead of just quitting and letting every other schmo get sucked in.

7/26/2005 9:39pm,
Dear BigDickRich-

I, like Bunyip, would love to see you at the throwdown and even talk to you a bit about West Wind. As is my understanding, you can't send or recieve private messages until you get a few more posts, so please either hurry up and post more so you can write to me on bullshido, or send me an email at [email protected]

I know there are a lot of reasons to *not* go to West Wind, and I would love to talk it through with you, hopefully face to face sometime. If not, private messages or emails will work fine. I have yet to hear of any redeeming qualities that West Wind has, so I hope you might let me in on what *is* good about the place.

7/26/2005 11:47pm,
$300 a month for private lessons from Carlos Machado would be a steal. But what he teaches works, and you know it works because you roll every lesson.

*in my best Brazilian accent* Take it easy my friend.

7/26/2005 11:59pm,
**** that, I wouldn't pay 300 per month for anything.
Maybe if Rickson, Frank, Bas and Randy got together...

7/27/2005 12:32am,
BD - I think the video clip is pirated from Matt Thornton's (president of the Straight Blast Gym) Functional JKD dvd. Modern Combatives, where the throwdown is going to be held, is the local SBG affiliate gym and has copies of a lot of SBG videos that they are willing to lend their students.

If you're interested in more alive training but don't want to turn your back on WW yet, why not take some classes at another school simulataneously? In fact, I currently train at two different academies. If a school is confident that they're teaching good ****, they shouldn't have a problem with you seeing what other schools have to offer.

Modern Combatives has a more MMA style and is just a few blocks away from WW, but there's no shortage of excellent pure Muay Thai or BJJ schools all around the area. I can give you some recommendations if you'd like. I work on the Berkeley campus all day, so if you'd like to meet up for lunch sometime to chat, that would be cool.

7/27/2005 6:55am,
You know, since you guys have been itching to get a West Wind to go to a throwdown, I'm wondering if I can guilt West Wind into not only participating but hosting a throwdown. I'm going to give my teacher a bit of a put up or shut up ultimatum. This is a great time, too. My sensei is about to take over as the head instructor of the Berkeley school. They all go around spouting off about how good each other are. I would really like them to show it. It must be different than boxing or the occasional tough man competition.

They will probably kick me out for even suggesting it.

7/27/2005 8:03am,
They will probably kick me out for even suggesting it.

Maybe you should just try to get some other students to go with you to the Throwdown. I doubt you are going to change the school.

The people who will pay as much money as, I am gathering that, it takes to train at West Wind are probably not the same people who would pay that much to train while getting hit in the face or having to roll every class. The people who are fine training that way are probably not going to pony up that much money.

7/27/2005 11:19am,
West Wind will never host a throwdown. From a business point of view, it would be an incredibly stupid thing for them to do. Unless I'm totally mistaken and somehow their students have learned to fight without ever actually sparring.

If you want to start making a difference at the school, here's two small things you can do. Neither of these suggestions would cause a legit school to bat an eyelash, but I bet you'll meet with significant resistance if you suggest them.

1) Make the instructors understand that you and the other students should be sparring on a regular basis. My understanding is that you have group classes in the evenings. Every one of these should include some sort of sparring with contact.

2) Encourage as many people from your school as possible to come to the throwdown. There are flyers, designed by JKing, posted in the throwdown thread. Print them out and post them around your school. Be sure your instructors understand that they aren't advertisements for Modern Combatives. If West Wind wants to host the next throwdown, they can post flyers at ModCom and all the ModCom students will come out and attend. Also, be sure your classmates understand the throwdown isn't a competion. It's training, and free training at that.

3) (bonus) Meet beka and I sometime so we can chat. Once you've made your 10th post you'll be able to receive private messages and we'll set something up.

7/27/2005 11:25am,
Is there a sensible formula for figuring what a "proper" or "normal" monthly fee is? I have found a few threads on the subject but nothing really concrete, it seems that around 100$US is average for TMA schools, a bit higher for MMA/Boxing gyms (due to higher insurance premiums) Any thoughts?

7/27/2005 11:45am,
Is there a sensible formula for figuring what a "proper" or "normal" monthly fee is? I have found a few threads on the subject but nothing really concrete, it seems that around 100$US is average for TMA schools, a bit higher for MMA/Boxing gyms (due to higher insurance premiums) Any thoughts?

I dunno. I go to a MMA type gym and I pay $49 a month. www.nesf.tv

8/01/2005 1:34pm,
Bunyip, thanks for posting that stuff about training with "Aliveness". I'm eager to start fight training soon. This site and more specifically, that Matt Thornton clip really opened my eyes to what kind of school and training I should be looking for.

See you guys at the 2008 SoCal throwdown. :)

Steel Yo Yo
8/07/2005 4:04pm,
wait, I missed the part when you challenged a teacher there to a fight to prove that your skills are greater..what page was that on?