Hey everybody I'm a noob here on Bullshido but what I've seen so far, I really like. Glad to be a new member and I'll try and contribute to the site as best I can.
For my first thread ever, I would like to describe how the Taekwondo Dojang that I attend is run and I would like to hear your opinions on how McDojo-ish it is. I really want to have the best (and least bs) training I can get.
So, here we go, this is my Taekwondo dojang:
It is run by a late 50s year old man who is a new seventh degree black belt. The national certification that he has is from the organization Taekwondo United, a group that broke away from the ATA in the 80's because they didn't like a lot of the things going on. He was one of the original founders of our breakaway group.
At the school level, it usually takes about 3 years to get a black belt. We have the usual color system, with 14 belts before black.
Here is one of the main reasons I'm even posting this, the many children in our program aren't all that good (what do you really excpect from kids), does that make the school a mcdojo? Our adult classess are pretty legit, with black belt men doing about 80 percent contact in sparring, including light low kicks, but sadly no grappling, takedowns or other techinques that would be really sueful in a fight.. We practice hard and our instructor is yelling at us all the time to keep our hands up while sparring (ive leearned to obey that rule the hard way) and we must break boards, spar, and demonstrate our form (from the traditional ITF syllabus) at testing to proceed. Usually about a third of people fail at any given testing, and must try again for the next belt in 2 months. My instructor is obviously committed to making us better people and better able to defend ourselves, yet too many people couldnt fight their way out of a cardboard box. There are others though that could wipe the floor in real fights (i can say this because a 5th degree was in an altercation about a year ago and used back kick to floor his attacker almost immediately.) There are many other factors to consider when saying how mcdojoish a martial arts school is, i know, but just given this info., how much of a mcdojo would you guys say my school is? Thanks in advance for replies.
The kids are crap? Doesnt sound that bad. Most kids look spazzy doing MA's up until early teens. Any other issues?
Doesn't really sound like a McDojo at all, though you would have to be training bloody hard to get a respectable black belt in just three years. I think most people training only 2-3 times a week should be looking at 4-5 years to get one so sounds a little low. To me, the magic equation for a mcDojo is low standards and high prices. If you're happy with the price and you think the standard is good, it's not a mcDojo. If the school or association have any videos on youtube, then post them here and I'm sure you'll get some different opinions on the standard of the class. It's not whether the students are hard or easy to spar, it's just about them doing things right, generating proper power, using proper technique, not being sloppy. If you see black belts with bent-leg kicks, making big steps before spinning kicks, standing high in their stances during punches, not clasping their fists closed tightly with flat knuckles, wobbling through stances and not completing a move before doing the next one. Then those are all things that beginners can see is not being done properly (I have been there). When they demonstrate a move or pattern, look it up on youtube and see if they do it right.
A McDojo (or McDojang) is a school/club/association that teaches a watered-down and impractical form of martial arts in the name of making money.
Originally Posted by WayOfLife
From what's you've described, I agree with The Juggernoob, it doesn't look/sound that bad.
For someone in their 50's to be a 7th Dan is very possible (with approx 30 years training, give or take a couple of years using what most clubs/associations use as the minimum time between ranks along with passing the gradings). If he was a 7th Dan with 10 years training, that would ring bells :)
Kids will (for the majority) not be as strong or as honed as adults, this is why alot of associations and clubs with have alot of intermediate grades and/or a junior black black program - once the kid reaches 13 or 16 (depending on the rules of said association) then they will have to regrade for an adult one. Not saying that your association does this, but alot of other associations do and will take alot of this onboard when grading.
80% contact in sparring doesn't mean that a club is a McDojo or not. Neither whether or not grappling or takedowns are being taught. To my knowledge TKD is a striking (and kicking) art, if you want grappling either move to or combine it with Judo or some sort of Jitsu (JJJ, BJJ, etc).
About 1/3 of people failing at gradings, again doesn't mean anything apart from they weren't good enough to pass for whatever reason.
And it's goes on.
However what you could mean is instead of your club/association being a McDojo, is whether or not the TKD you're learning is more of a Martial Sport instead of an art. There are two trains of thought on this:
1. Some clubs/associations that are pro-compeition believe that competition breeds better and more efficient practitioners, and gives a sense of good sportsmanship.
2. Some clubs/associations, however, believe that the rules under which competition takes place have diminished the combat effectiveness of martial arts and places the focus on winning trophies.
However going back to your original question, even though you've given alot of info there's not alot of info there (if you know what I mean) to make an educated guess imo.
thanks for the replies guy. Theres not really any other problems i can think of. Thanks kitkatnija for you rather lengthy but very informative answer. Progressivetkd, i'll try and get videos up pretty soon of our organization.
Doesn't sound Mcdojo sounds alot like my place. I'm not a Black belt in TKD but I train hard
and am pretty hardcore about it.
Hi hi. I'd like to address the use of the phrase "McDojo" in this thread.
McDojo does not mean the system is crap. A BJJ club could easily (and usually is) a McDojo and most ppl agree BJJ is an effective MA. A McDojo is about money. Lots of belt gradings and accompanying fees, and/or long term contracts i.e 1yr. Specific requirements for gear/equipment needed that is sold by the club i.e Karate/Judo/BJJ Gi. Black Belt clubs and special training availiable only in those special classes.
The 14 belts to Black Belt, to me, sounds like a McDojo redflag,but that doesn't mean what you're learning is rubbish, just expensive lol. How much do you pay?? do you have a 12 month contract?? and most importantly (as far as McDojo goes) do you care how much you pay??
As for the Bullshido side of the argument?? i can't comment as i don't have experience in any TKD but if the TKD club was offering grappling and groundwork i would be more inclined to call Bullshido.
Sorry, i have to disagree with you on the above statement. A BJJ club is not "usually" a mcdojo. A BJJ club can be a mcdojo as can any art but to say a BJJ club is usually a mcdojo is bullshit. How many BJJ schools have to been to? What evidence do you have that BJJ clubs usually are mcdojos?
Originally Posted by KiwiPhil889
I would say people failing testing is a good sign that instructors take quality control seriously. Now there are mitigating factors in this, such as having to repay for the test and the cost, but taken at face value, seems a good sign.
Three years is generally a little quick for black belt...depending on what your style considers a black belt. For example, typically BJJ and JJJ first degree black belt have quite different meanings in skill level despite the similarities of the two styles.
In Japanese arts, a first degree black belt identifies a student who has a firm grasp of basics and is now a serious student of the art...someone to whom this martial art is a part of their life. Others have a different perception.
Kids programs are an entirely different animal. I've seen kids programs where the little ones are treated like mini-adults. They are disciplined and have decent form. I've also seen kids classes where its 70% games hiding basic martial concepts within the requirements of the games, to help prepare them for adult classes later on. I've seen these different approaches in the same organization! Often kids classes are left up to the devices of the dojo instructor, with little organizational oversight, as kids classes are what often keeps full time dojo running. So its really not something to take into account for adult classes other than the instructors' interactions with the children and safety considerations.
Doesn't sound like a McDojang to me. But I will say this.. our kids KICK ASS. Kids that stick with our program learn proper nutrition, (foods like soda and fast food are strictly forbidden and considered contraband), loose weight, go off of medications like Ritalin and others, improve grades in school and learn over all balance. Believe it or not our kids spar... a lot! Sweeps, grappling, amazing kicks.. you name it. And I have personally watched some of them go from soft cryers or bullies, to balanced, calm young adults. A great observation about kids vs adults training.. Kids get up EARLY in the morning, sit stiffly in a chair all day in school, get mediocre gym class, eat lunch way too early like 10:30 or 11am and when they arrive at the dojang they have already had a full day and are low on bloodsugar. Ours get a chance to eat an organic snack with water or juice.. then it's on to class and believe it or not they can be pushed harder and for longer than the adults who complain about popping bones and being old and tired. lol And at the end of the day not only are the kids smiling ear to ear, but they don't want to go home! Black belt is achieved in 3-5 years with committed attendance and practice for both adults and kids so it's hard work and nothing is given to you. But if an instructor is clever then they can hide the repetition and work of training inside some fun!