Thread: My McDojo's "Point of No Return"
2/20/2005 12:39pm, #71
- Join Date
- May 2003
- Washington, D.C.
Is it Fake?....
I actually have no way of checking his background in an indepth manner. I knew a number of guys who grew up with him and they confirmed that he had been training since he was a little kid, and I heard all kinds of wild tales about some of the **** he had been able to do. So basically, I know that his training was badass, his teacher was badass, and that he became a badass.
But, whether or not what he taught was actually "Ninjutsu"? There isn't any way to confirm this.
However, what leads me to believe that what he was doing was actually "Ninjutsu" is this:
Let me backtrack and explain a little bit about our training.....
First, the guy was only about a year or two older than I. I became friends with him through work. We grew up in the same general area, but went to different schools. My understanding about his personal training is that he had been trained from his early youth until his mid teens by a friend of the family, a Japanese immigrant. In my instructors mid teens, his instructor died of cancer.
In our early-mid 20's is when I started training with him. He only taught hand-picked students from amongst his friends, or his friends' friends. He did not charge any money, and we would train in each others basements, or we'd sneak off somewhere into the woods or in a park to train.
Many of us also studied other martial arts on the side, like me. I was studying Karate, then switched to Muay Thai while training under him. Another guy did Hapkido. Another guy did Aikido. Another guy did some drunken kung fu. And we had a girl who did Aiki-Jutsu and Iaido.
The chick who was studying Aiki-Jutsu and Iaido actually knew her stuff. She actually has traveled and trained in Japan by invitation, performing demonstrations for the Japanese of Westerners learning their art.
She would often come to our "ninjutsu" class and show us what she had learned recently. Our instructor would then take what she had learned, and proceed to show us the nastier, more brutal and lethal applications of those moves.
One time, she went back to her Aiki-Jutsu class and absentmindedly performed one of our "Ninjutsu" instructors variations.....
The Aiki-Jutsu instructor immediately took her aside and DEMANDED to know who showed her how to do that move that way. She talked her way out of it, but he apparantly was very suspiscious of her after that and kept a close eye on her during class.
Now, I know for a fact that this chick is not making that **** up because she was MY friend... NOT my instructors friend. She and I had grown up together. We knew each other since early grade school and were very close friends. She was also one of the students who questioned our instructor the most and would try to call him out if she suspected any BS.
Take that for what its worth. Was in authentic "ninjutsu"? I can't say. What I can say is that the guy was a legit badass, and that he was probably the worst instructor I ever trained under. I only stayed with him for as long as I did because despite how horrible of an instructor he was, you do tend to learn and pick things up through "osmosis" when you train with someone who is much better than you.
2/20/2005 2:40pm, #72
For me so far?
I trained at some kempo place when I was seven, it was bullshit, tons of horse stances and stuff. I quit after the instructor would threaten to fight us if we were bad and started calling us fags. I don't care, I was 7 or 8, that wasn't cool.
Now I'm in a TKD place. I was really enthusiastic about joining and my mom signed a contract cause she knew I wanted to train badly.
I am quitting as of june when the contract runs out, It was decent to start off with, but the fact is its a social club in the tournament circle (its mianly teenage snotty blackbelts who talk abou thier lives). When I asked the instructor (like a 50-60 year old 5th dan) if there was any clinch work he told me not at all, just recently at a tournament class he was teaching the blackbelts some drills and stuff for "The clinch that your not supposed to do" as he put it. That pissed me off the most. There was no fucking reason for him to lie to me.
Whatever, After being enlightened here at bullshido, I searched and searched and searched and found a guy in yorkton that teaches Jiu jitsu. He didn't want to teach it to me because I wasn't sixteen but was persistant enough that he let me join. This JJJ is in reality MMA, He teaches me real submission grappling, and clich work, the whole bit. I'm lucky. but whatever, My plan is when I leave TKD to write the owner a letter.
2/20/2005 7:05pm, #73
I have a condo being built right now, it's complete in August 2006 (latest, apparently). Until that time, I don't really have any option to move, and no room for a wavemaster. Trust me, I've twisted this every which way but loose.
I will definitely make sure my teacher knows why I am leaving, when I choose to leave. He is already aware of my feelings about how the classes have been going. I intend to revive this thread with that outcome/update whenever it occurs.Regards,
"Na'h, they should go to old school rules.
One guy gets sword and sheild, the other gets a net and a trident.
Lions eat christians between rounds." - Strong Machine
10/30/2005 10:50pm, #74
- Join Date
- Jul 2005
- Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Why I left:
My First club:
1) Started taking TKD to improve my kicks - mentioned it to one of the Brown Belts - he said, I've noticed your kicks getting much better in a short space ot time...don't let shihan find out...he doesn't like people training in other styles because he thinks it will confuse them.
2) When Black Belt grading time came around, same brown belt didn't test but 4 other people who were nowhere near as good as him tested and got their BBs. when I asked him about this he said he wasn't good enough to wear a BB yet.
3) When it came time for me to grade for my green belt my shihan wouldn't give me a yes or no when I asked if I was grading....all he said was "we'll have to see how your attendance is". Attendance as a grading requirement is bs
4) Told the friend who had got me interested in MA that he should come to class more often, when he said he had to work evenings (we were in high school) he was told that he was a teenager and he didn't need to work...apparently earning money for university isn't important.
So I quit shotokan and went ITF TKD
ITF TKD: Good school, hard sparring....I got suspicious when my teacher wanted me to go from blue to black in 6 months....just in time for me to go to university and open my own school under him......riiiiiight. At first I was excited and bought into it....having a BB in TKD and Hapkido sounded awesome....then when reality hit me I told him I didn't want to grade because I wasn't a good enough fighter and because I was nowhere near good enough to be a BB in hapkido...I couldn't grapple for ****.....he insisted I test...I said no....he got pissed I stopped training with him.
WTF TKD at University: Everyone's hands were at their sides sparring...I could kick them in the head before they could move their hands...yet they were all blue/brown belts..so they should have been at my skill level or higher and I know I wasn't THAT fast...kept getting yelled at by the teacher any time I threw a punch to the head because it was against the rules....finally got pissed....asked her if that work on the street when I guy hit me in the face and walked out.
JuJitsu at University: Taught to slap the guy grabbing me to loosen his grip...the reason I was given was that we don't want to use excessive force and get charged with assault. Sorry, if some 250lb monster grabs me a slap isn't going to make him loosen his grip so I can break free...at best he'll laugh at me, at worst he'll get even more pissed and pummel my ass.
Taught to axe kick a guy on the ground. I ask, wouldn't a stomp do more damage and eliminate the risk to my knee from axe kicking a guy lying on his back? The response "you're only doing hard enough to wind him..you don't want to injure the other guy". erm, some fucker attacks me and I don't want to injure him? I wanna put him down hard and make sure I don't get my face fucked up!! If he gets hurt...tough ****!
Taught some lame move where we have the guy on the ground....put his elbow between your knees and drop to the ground to shatter his elbow. I say "won't that hurt your knees?" The response: Well you squeeze your knees against his arms so that will break your fall (wtf!?!?!)
Wado Kai at University: Teacher thought it would be a good idea to each inside forarm block (Uchi uke) by telling us it's like scooping ice cream and making us yell "Ice cream scoop" as we did the block....sorry doing that when you're 2 might be fun...but not at 22!
I've left my fair share of clubs....always sucks to leave the people you like behind but you've gotta do what's best for you. Not all of them were pure McDojo but all had some element of McDojoism to them.
10/31/2005 12:21am, #75
- Join Date
- Oct 2005
- Brisbane, QLD, Australia
As much as it shames me to admit it, I was prey to exactly similar (though predictable) bullshido which pushed me over the edge while I was doing TKD(ITF). Originally, I thought this **** was awesome - we did sparring in the first class I went to and the instructor at the time seemed to know what he was on about. As time passed though, head instructor closes the gym due to high rent/low student numbers and passes instruction over to some lower ranked black belts. Training rapidly degenerated into a load of bullshit patterns for 2 hours or useless drills with kids that were basically pathetic. It got to the point where I would dread going, and I was given a good excuse to do something else when I moved cities. 1st post :icon_salu
10/31/2005 12:06pm, #76
- Join Date
- Oct 2005
I had a really good TKD teacher when I was a child/teenager. A short while after getting my BB he was killed in a accident while driving home. His assistant (who was a 2nd or 3rd degree BB) took up his class but I stoped going because I found him too soft (my teacher was really hard on us, pushing our limits with endurance training and sparing, this guy was more about no touch point sparing, and getting younger kids and familys into the class). I took a year off when I moved about 100 miles away for work. Finally, i start looking and end up in this old korean guys school. He talks the talk and his class looked strict (although it was a forms class and not sparing which should of throw a flag that he didn't invite me to see a sparing class). They also taught hopkido and gumdo. I thought the idea of grappling would be something I was really interested in, but he said to take hopkido you also had to take TKD. He also wanted me to come in as a white belt and said I could quickly test up to my level if I was good enough (another flag). So I suckered up and signed the contract for a year. Went to a few classes and found out it was crap. He wouldn't let me attend the hopkido until I was a higher belt, and his tkd classes where WTF style (this was the first time I had ever seen WTF tkd). So basically it was not my TKD, it wasn't anything I had seen as TKD. I was disillusioned. I went to a few more schools but all I could find was ATA schools and they were more of the same (light sparing, very young instructors or very fat high belted guys with limited range of movements). After seeing black belts who couldn't kick or punch, and a few other things I just quit.
I didn't even keep going during my contact, I just stopped and threw the cash away. It took me almost 2 years to get back into martial arts. I ended up going to a friends krav maga class. I had a blast with the speed of it and the freedom in sparing. A little grappling, a lot of endurance work with punching, kicking, knees, elbows etc. Tons of work with a partner and pads. And of course a good 1-2 hours a week of sparing. But the teacher was 'new' to krav maga and he quickly ran out of steam. I started to see techniques I didn't like, or just plain knew wouldn't work (and proved with some sparing on my own time). And I felt like I learned all he had to teach. I later found out he was an ATA TKD teacher doing a krav maga class on the side. The upside to that was the sparing was very good with lots of contact. I frequently went home feeling beaten and tired (in a good way).
So again, I was disillusioned and took the summer off martial arts looking for some inspriation. I felt I needed to re-address what I wanted from martial arts. Did I want to be a sport figther? Well at my age most sport fighters are all ready established, so thats out. Self defense? I feel I have some skills to handle myself if I need too. Personal growth? I could use that, stress release, focus, etc. Scholar interest? Yes, I think that is a major driving factor.
So I came up with my new goal. I decided I wanted to try all the arts I can. So firsts on the block was aikido. I found a local small school. I went there with an open mind and the teacher there really impressed me. He demostrated some great locks and throws on me and even answered my questions about all the what ifs. He allowed me to 'come at' him in a friendly sparing sort of way and was very impressive. We didn't fight, but I dont think we needed too. This guy is one of the most impressive martial artists I've ever met.
He teachers a blend of styles from his exp. He had a wide range from judo, aikido, and jujutsu. We mainly focus on aikido, but ever now and then we will drill how to put a strike here or take this technique from the non violent to the violent (take this into the jujutsu realm, or add a strike, etc). And the technique works. We train in a varying resistive enviroment (resitsance gets stronger as skill increases). Its a very small class (under 10 people) and its almost free in comparison to other schools. I've never been more focused or more excited about anything.
I still plan on my original goal of trying all the arts I can, but I think aikido will always be part of my training. I love this place and I dont think i'm ever going to leave. I'll just supliment it with other schools that I want to try. Currently I've been looking at a KK school, a judo class at the Y, and a BJJ/MMA gym down town.
10/31/2005 3:34pm, #77
- Join Date
- Sep 2003
- The Netherlands
This is such a good thread , thanks to everybody sharing!
10/31/2005 4:38pm, #78
- Join Date
- Jul 2005
I used to train at a really traditional Shotokan school. They trained hard, but most of their training methods were things like Kata, semi-free sparring, etc. There were some good things that offset a lot of the traditionalist b.s.: tough cardio conditioning, bag work, and they were moving into more hardcore sparring for the blackbelts. Well, time came around for me to test for my second degree blackbelt. The head honcho has us doing a few sets of basics up and down the floor when suddenly he stops and says "You're too slow, show me that you want it. Give it everything you have." So we all crank it up as far as it can go. We get done with everything, after I took a nice rib shot (some hard sparring again finally), and no one passes. Guess what the reason for me not passing was? I was going too hard and some of my techniques weren't as controlled as they should be. Hmmm, I'm told to show that I want it and to give everything I have, then I'm criticized for going too hard. Strike 1, actually count that as strike 2 as well, it pissed me off pretty bad.
Afterwards, they said there were just a few things I needed to fix and that I could retest in 2-3 weeks, but I was moving out of state for school the next week. I did visit the last time I was in town. Turns out this old guy who once taught a class in which he spent 5 minutes explaining the right way to bow, got his second degree. The little zen opening ceremony at the beginning of the class was a nice reminder of how much time I wasted buying into all the bullshit hook line and sinker. Strike 3. I do BJJ now and just hope that someday I get the chance to take some of my old colleagues to the mat and show them there is more to learn than just how far the rising block should be from your head.
10/31/2005 5:04pm, #79
I left my old school because my new school has some rotties.
2/24/2006 2:20pm, #80
- Join Date
- Feb 2006
- Clinton, TN
All Isshin-ryu is not created equal.
I had an epiphany about 12 years ago. I had been studying Isshin-ryu Karate for about 15 years at a karate school that was fairly well respected in our area. I also ran my own dojo in a city about 15 miles away. However, I had grown increasingly disillusioned with tournament karate and self-defense techniques that in no way resembled the movements from the kata I was learning. I was ready to quit.
Then in 1994, I became re-aquainted with a karate instructor from Carson, Iowa that I had met a few times before named Sherman Harrill. Sensei Harrill was giving a seminar on kata bunkai near Waterford, Michigan. He mostly covered Naihanchi kata. It blew me entirely away. At that seminar I realized that after 15 years of training, I knew absolutely nothing about karate. In 1995, I hosted my first in a series of seminars with Sensei Sherman Harrill and took off from there. I was still a member of this other dojo at this time. However, at a rank testing, I was told to change how I was then performing a kata movement back to "their way of doing it." I could not do that, because their way of doing it was wrong....not just different...but wrong. Wrong because it ignored correct body mechanics. I never looked back.
I was accepted as a student by Sensei Harrill a short time later. Isshin-ryu Karate became a brave new world for me. It was sometimes painful for me to have to unlearn old habits, change my understanding and focus, and correct years of improperly performed techniques and kata movements. However, my karate has developed to a whole new level of understanding. It is fascinating to me that you can understand so much, but still know so little. I have so far to go. Thanks to my Sensei, I have a new appreciation for "real" Isshin-ryu Karate-do. I have only begun to comprehend the level of Sensei Harrill's skill and abilities. It is actually scary. I wish I had more time. Unfortunately, Sensei Harrill passed away in 2002. I will have to do the best I can with what he gave me and continue to work with some of his other senior students to add to my understanding.
It is really unfortunate that so many students of Isshin-ryu Karate's founder, Tatsuo Shimabuku, continue in their ceaseless efforts to make Isshin-ryu Karate the laughing stock of the karate world. With an ever increasing over-abundence of high ranking Isshin-ryu "karate masters" who can barely stumble through a kata, it is with mixed emotions that I embrace my chosen art. True Isshin-ryu Karate is a dynamic, deadly, efficient fighting art. What passes for Isshin-ryu Karate in most dojos across this nation is only good for beating up drunks.
Thank you, Sensei, for showing me they way!