Posted On:8/07/2002 4:15am
Hi, I've been reading all the posts and articles lately, and it seems to me that one of the most surefire marks of a McDojo is its belt promotion system. Guaranteed belts based on payment, fake tests, etc seems to show a dojo's real character.
I took judo all throughout highschool at a place (now closed) that was definitely not a McDojo. In those four years I went from white belt to green belt (white - yellow - orange - green just as I graduated and had to leave). I remember training very hard for the tests. I never failed, but this was partially also because our sensei would never test us until he felt we were really ready (had our techniques down flawlessly in class, went to tournaments and showed a certain level of skill).
Having that background of tough and rare testing I find it amazing that a dojo could offer guaranteed promotions. I mean aren't promotions supposed to be based on how much you know, how hard you train in class and how hard you practice outside of class? You can't just say that a student will know this amount of stuff that well in that number of weeks or months. It obviously depends on how hard the student works in and out of class!
As for fake tests, I think its appalling. I can see if the kid is nervous during the exam but has shown during class that they know whats going on then you could help them along, but if the kid hasn't been paying attention in class / hasn't been caring and just wants his belt but can't do anythings that's just an embarrasment. I remember thinking similarly when I was an 8 year old taking Tae Kwon Do and got my yellow belt. I got up there to be tested, and I realized I couldn't remember the kata I was supposed to perform, and not because I was nervous, simply because I'd never memorized it. It must've been ugly to watch, but I still got promoted. Hence I was happy to go around babbling about how I was a yellow belt but a) not really knowing anything and b) not having learned an important life lesson.
These dojos always talk about building character and spirit ecetera but a lot of times they skip the most basic character building lesson of all huh?
Anyways just my two cents
My guns bigger than Scrapper's!
Posted On:8/07/2002 4:24am
BELT ,per say, are not the problem.
WHAT PPLE THINK A BELT SIGNIFIES IS THE PROBLEM.
Kano designed the belt system to give markers on a students progression. HOWEVER pple, mainly westerners, took this and ran WILD with it. A BLACK BELT was a status symbol. It has been perverted to such an extent that it means nothing. This is truly sad.
ANYONE that gaurantees a belt rank, especially if they have a price scale on it, is a McDojo.
As for BUILDING CHARACTER well very few MA instructors are acutally qualified to professionally BUILD someones character. And I find this whole concept in MA to be hypocritcal and illogical.
Xiao Ao Jiang Hu Zhi Dong Fang Bu Bai (Laughing Proud Warrior Invinsible Asia) Emporer of Baji!!! THE FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE AGAINST THE UNITED AUSSIE FRONT!!
Xiao Ao Jiang Hu Zhi Dong Fang Bu Bai (Laughing Proud Warrior Invincible Asia) Dark Emperor of Baji!!!
Didn't anyone ever tell him a fat man could never be a ninja
You can't practice Judo just to win a Judo Match! You practice so that no matter what happens, you can win using Judo!
The key to fighting two men at once is to be much tougher than both of them.
Posted On:8/07/2002 10:02am
I agree with Asia, and would like to add:
Why should the student even pay for his belt testing and promotion??
None of the schools I train at have this strange custom (and the secondary is TKD ! ) One may pay if he wishes a Diploma, but not for the promotion itself (you can be promoted in the school without an outside diploma - which we get from the "international organization" in Japan in the Korindo Aikido case)
How can everyone who approaches a test pass? I have a story:
My Korindo Aikido Dojo is very small, and we have decided with the teacher that past the first Dan, there will be no tests, the teacher will decide when a person deserves his promotion (take as many years as it may, nobody really cares anyhow), but before actually being promoted, the person has to present several Kata for the advanced students group (note it isn't a test, but comes only as a display).
Well, about a year ago the teacher thought one of the students deserves his 3rd Dan, the student presented his KATA (a traditional Ju-jitsu Kata in this case) and the teacher decided it wasn't good enough and hasn't promoted him yet, until the students does the Kata correctly as well. We are talking of an advanced student who has his own class, yet he is not being promoted until our teacher is certain he deserves that.
I would have thought any serious Dojo and teacher wouldnít promote in any other way. Otherwise it may very well be a McDojo.
P.S. I know some of you have something against Kata, and may come to think it is the only criteria. This isnít true, the criteria is your training in the advanced group (we meet once a month) and regular group (for those who can come more often, up to 3 times a week). The training includes Randori as well as techniques, and the study of various applications of those as well as the Kata.
If you donít learn the reasoning and applications hidden in the Kata, you donít know it, you just know the dance and the Kata is worthless.
Posted On:8/07/2002 10:25am
Making students pay for gradings/belts is a proper McDojo thing to do.
I agree with what was just said, the instructor should give the student the belt when they are ready and have proved through hard work they deserve it.
"You realise the transformations give a man enough strength to destroy a truck with his bare hands!?
YOU HAVE BETRAYED ME, IN THE WORST POSSIBLE MANNER!!" - KiWarrior
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"This system was developed with the help of notible BJJ fighter Ribbon Muchado." - "Sifu" Anthony Iglesias
Posted On:8/07/2002 10:38am
Just because an instructor charges for tests and promotions does not make the school a McDojo. An instructor has a right to make as much money as she or he desires; however, gleeming every red penny possible from a student is McDojo warning material and a guarantee that the instructor in question is a scumbag.
Expensive schools are not necessarily McDojo. When they guarantee promotions . . . that's McDojo!
Posted On:8/07/2002 11:41am
The object of a test is to weed out who does and doesn't know the information and have the technique...McDojo's have decided that by "weed out" they should "charge extra"...
Posted On:8/07/2002 1:32pm
I don't feel that a belt is that important for adults, however for a child to train & train and have no incentive or movement, sucks for that kid, they need that.
We have probably 2 kids a month that DON'T make it in our testing, hell, I've flunked a testing..lol You can't pay for a belt change where I teach, the kids do work very hard & sometimes, they have to do it again.
They only pay for one change though, you flunk, you come back the next month & try again..
<img src=icon_smile_blackeye.gif border=0 align=middle> Sam
Posted On:8/07/2002 1:51pm
I have to admit, if you want to make $$ teaching, you need a rank system. I come from a system that has 5 level (although traditionally there were only 3). When I decided to open a public club (comming soon!!!) I felt it was nessasary to include a 9 colored sash ranking system.
I will also be running a traditinal program with no ranks, only certificates for those interested.
But to be frank, the program is geared towards the general public, and the system must reflect the clientel I will be dealing with (Soccer mom types and thier kids). That means teaching more material that they are ready for due to low attention spans of the populace, lots of rank promotions. 9 levels is too much in my opinion, but probually not enough for the public. And point tournaments for the "Feel Good" aspect.
Just to keep my self respect, I plan on farming the masses for talent, and building a real competitive team to fight in the Kuo Shu. That way I can at least say I haven't fully sold out.
As for testing, I learned through my Kid's Kung Fu programs it's best to review a student before testing. That way, only those who can pass the test are allowed to test in the first place.
I plan on making the reviews free, and the test fees no more than $50. I feel I can make more than enough $$ to support myself on just the enrollment fee's.
So tell me, does my plans for a rank promotion make me a Mc Dojo? Or does my plans for a full contact competitive Kuo Sho team make me a real Kung Fu studio?
Posted On:8/15/2002 7:30am
Actually, the question is whether you are compromising your responsibility as a honest businessman, as an instructor, or as a martial artist. If there is a "yes" anywhere, I suggest that you re-think your approach.
What you must make clear is that everything must be earned, not bought, begged, or handed out. Patches, plaques, pieces of paper, trophies, and belts are merely outside displays designed to assuage the psychological needs of the student, parent, and/or instructor. Make them useful. I have some ideas if you care to hear them. I doubt that they are unique or new, though.
Posted On:8/16/2002 8:36pm
I don't see anything wrong with offering McDojo type programs for kids, beginners, and those who are just into it for recreation and fitness. Just don't pass it off as "real" martial arts. Too many McDojos try to pass off what they are teaching as some kind of deadly, secret, easy-to-learn fighting system.
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