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  1. #1

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    Aug 2002
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Am I McDojo?

    A little premise to the current events.

    I am 30. I've trained in Chinese martial arts (wushu, to use the appropriate name) since age 10. I've trained in both traditional styles (bagua, hungar, wutao) as well as the "modern" stuff (chanquan, nanquan), in Italy, France, Hong Kong, China and Australia. I've competed successfully in both forms and sparring at local, national and international level, have conducted countless demonstrations and have appeared in two films. I regularly cross train in western boxing, do weights 4 times a week, and I am in excellent shape.

    BUT

    I never gave importance to belts and such, and have always trained under Chinese masters who didn't either, as they proved their worth with chinese university qualifications in martial arts, chinese and world championship wins, chinese highest military and institutional awards and just plainly amazing skill displayed at every training session.

    BUT

    Now I wouldlike to teach, as I have a great opportunity and location to do so.

    BUT

    With no belt and no "grade" certificate, the commercial opportunity to get a first batch of students (which would then hopefully spread word of mouth) are slim to none. So what do I do? Get a printing place to make some nice "black belt" certificates? Buy a black belt at the local martial supplies store? Get some thropies made as my medals are not visible enough on the walls and are mostly at my mom's house? Wear a nice chinese pretend-uniform instead of the cotton pants and singlet I usually workout in?

    AND

    Once I do all that and have students, do I have them boringly repeat basics thousands of times as I have done, having most leave within a month and consequently bankrupting me? Or do I get them all excited about their new uniforms, constant gradings and higher belts, new forms to show mum/girlfrien/buddies, weapons to buy, seminars to attend, impressive flying kicks, .....

    MAYBE THE ONLY WAY TO TEACH AS A LIVING (as in making a living from it), IN WESTERN SOCIETY, IS TO BE "MCDOJO".

    What do you think?

  2. #2
    Roidie McDouchebag's Avatar
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    May 2002
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    Kamloops, BC
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    9,417
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    You don't have to lie, just tell them the truth, of course a presentable uniform is both a good idea and not decieving them in any way. And you don't have to teach them crap either, teach them the useful things you know in private lessons and practice basics in group classes, this way they learn new things to use all the time and won't get bored, but they will continually practice the basics.

  3. #3
    JKDChick's Avatar
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    May 2002
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    Canada
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    8,131
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Once I do all that and have students, do I have them boringly repeat basics thousands of times as I have done, having most leave within a month and consequently bankrupting me? Or do I get them all excited about their new uniforms, constant gradings and higher belts, new forms to show mum/girlfrien/buddies, weapons to buy, seminars to attend, impressive flying kicks, .....
    If you're a good teacher, you can make anything interesting. My school is just called a gym, we joke around with the instructor to his face, he plays hip-hop music all through class, we have no grades besides "student", "instructor-candidate" and "instructor". My teacher is technically entitled to "sifu" and never ever uses, gets mad at me whenever I tease him with it, we do basics every class and he makes himself availble for more advanced stuff when people are ready.

    Our "uniform" is a T-shirt, which you don't actually have to wear. We do have uniform for the BJJ because he teaches the full gi competition style in the winter. In the summer, it's gi pants or shorts and a T-shirt. We attend semiars with out American gurus and the American BJJ black belt because they are fabulous teachers. The gym is doing very well.

    The bottom line is -- if you can teach, they will come. Only a bad teacher would need to tart up his school with all that junk. My guy is so amazing I get excited about doing focus-mitt drills everyday for a month because I know he's going to pull some surprise on us and it will be worth it.


    "Everyone listen to her. The walking timebomb..." -- USARULES, talking about the author.
    Monkey Ninjas! Attack!

  4. #4

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    Jun 2002
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    JKD has hit the nail on the head.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2002
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    199
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    MAYBE THE ONLY WAY TO TEACH AS A LIVING (as in making a living from it), IN WESTERN SOCIETY, IS TO BE "MCDOJO".

    What do you think?
    you make a great point. that is why there is so much churn in BJJ. people don't want to work hard, get their ass kicked etc...
    many quit when faced with a challenge. but when you pump their ego up with uniforms, belts and such, it holds their interest.

    as far as your accreditations are concerned, i suppose you could take 2 routes with that.

    you mentioned you've competed successfully. was their a ranking hierarchy you competed in? if you've done well against black belts, i don't see why you can't "give" yourself a belt. however, i would be upfront about your training history and explain how you determined your rank.

    you could always run with a rankless system, which would probably not be as profitable as you mentioned.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    542
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Yes, there's no need to indulge in all of those 'accessories' that the commercial martial arts industry has made so common. Your personal talent and your ability as an instructor will make all the difference. Now, will you make money as quickly as a typical establishment will? Does it matter? If you're good, then it does not matter if you teach at home, at a college, or have your own 'storefront'. In fact, I would wager that the lost revenue from all of those uniforms and kinder-belt services can be made up by the fact that you don't need to have prime commercial real-estate or slick advertisement. Just participate in your community, keep up your training, and provide some free demonstrations. Word of mouth is the second-best kind of advertisement. A recommendation by a happy student is the best.

  7. #7
    Roidie McDouchebag's Avatar
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    May 2002
    Location
    Kamloops, BC
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    9,417
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    There are no ranks in wrestling or boxing and I think there is a wrestling club and a boxing club in almost every town in North America.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jul 2002
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    147
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Yes, being a McDojo is the best way to make a good living as a martial arts instructor. Provide a decent/adequate product at a reasonable price, is consistent, never changes, never surprises... Isn't that McDonalds in a nutshell?

    Most BJJ instructors struggle to make a decent living. Some, however, do quite well... and just look at the ones that do well... Rorion Gracie... he's about as McDojo as you're going to get.

    Want a bluebelt with those fries?

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    the point I think I made is that at the end of the day an MA teacher, or wannabe teacher, is not a man on a higher mission willing to risk all he has to enlighten a few chosen persevering students. He/she is a person wanting to transmit his knowledge whilst enjoying the best possible living standards for him and his family, and the lowest possible economic risk. And that, in the west at least, seems to match the McDojo business model much better. So perhaps not all McDojos are really McDojos. Some might be run by very good teachers who will teach some students one way, because they show willingness, and to the masses will offer a formulaic feel-good get-fit have-fun package which might not turn them in wong fai hung but will give them belonging, fitness, skills, achievement, confidence, friendships, determination and some defence skills.
    And maybe that is exactly all what 99% of the population can handle, needs and is looking for when it comes to MA.

    C

    On a side note, for the person who wrote:
    ______________
    "Once I do all that and have students, do I have them boringly repeat basics thousands of times as I have done..."

    If you are talking about repeating forms and punching the air as the majority of your training, then, yes, in my definition, you are a McDojo.
    _______________

    Mike Tyson, when he started boxing, I'm sure spent the first months countlessly repeating the basic punches and combos to drill the proper techniques. So do all the Chinese full contact military champions when they start. So does every Shaolin school. So did the Gracies. ..... please go tell them that repeating basic techniques and sequences (forms is a name for them) over and over again is McDojo. :)

  10. #10

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    Jun 2002
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    58
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Ruk, have you ever rolled with any blue belts from Rorion's school. I never have. I am wondering about how good they are...

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