Warning: Moy Yat Ving Tsun School Richmond, VA = McDojo (2/22/06) Beware
I had heard nothing pleasant about the Moy Yat school in Richmond, Virginia. I choose to ignore the negative things I heard. Some said it was like a cult, others said just to stay away and not get mixed in with that kind of crowd. But I was curious. I was on a journey to find the best kungfu school in Richmond so I had to check it out. After my first free introduction class I was hooked. The art of Ving Tsun was so fascinating to me. The other students were serious and very dedicated to practice. I had found the best and asked if I could sign up.
I was presented with a 3 month contract for around $300. It seemed like a fair enough deal to me. 3 months of training, classes 4-5 days a week and a building that we could call our school. People are funny though. If you charge too little, people will think itís not worth anything and just poor quality. Charge a lot, and people think that it is overpriced and not worth that much. I thought it was a fair price so I went with it. Itís pretty much standard that all schools have some kind of homogenous attire, in this case an embarrassing bright red t-shirt with KUNGFU in huge letters on the back. Cool, only about 20 bucks or so. Black pants, slippers - pretty much normal for every school in which Iíve trained.
Sifu. Seafood? No itís Sifu. Our teacher was our sifu, which I later found out means teacher or master in Chinese martial arts. I didnít even say sir when talk to my father. This was new to me but I quickly caught on. Everyone else called him sifu. I called him sifu, so he was my sifu. ďBow to your Sensei!Ē HehÖ reminds me of that movie Napolean Dynamite. My sifu was a nice guy, always caring about my training, helping me the best he could and making sure I was eating the healthy foods I needed. There were other Sifus that taught in the school, all of which I met and there was also a sigung, which is the grandmaster. My sifuís sifu. I had been to the other sifuís classes and got to know them. Sigung and I never really exchanged more than 1 or 2 words. Hello. Hi. How are you? Good. Fine. I didnít really see much of him, seemed like a really busy guy.
The 3 months of training went by so fast. I wanted to continue my training and learn more. I was presented with another contract and you guessed it. I could choose 1 year or 2 years. I chose the 1 year mainly because it was cheaper. $1,000. $1,000 cash for a year of kungfu lessons. Not bad considering what other schools were charging. I signed, paid the money and that was that. At the time I really didnít think about where my money was going. It was for kungfu instruction. But now that I think about it I guess the school had to pay for heat, electricity, water, rent, phone, fax machine, other supplies and I imagine sifu got a cut and then sigung got a cut. Itís their time; time is worth money, why shouldnít they get paid?
As the year went on I found myself showing up to class earlier and staying later. Some people would just come in at the class time and then leave when they were tired or when sifu said the beginners could (needed to) go home. I attended my first seminar. $75! Ouch. I was told that it would be very valuable to me and I would get a chance to touch hands with other students. Afterwards I felt like it was valuable. Touching hands with people I usually donít work out with is a good thing. The more the better. The seminar was advertised as sigungs special seminar event. He was giving the seminar. We worked out for hours. We. For the first 3 hours or so I wondered where sigung actually was. Apparently he has this Hollywood fashionably late thing going on. At most, he gave maybe 45min of actual instruction and let us in on a few things sifu forgot to mention for some reason. Same drills I had always done in class, but just different information about them. Afterwards I asked myself about it. Sifu referred to it as poison. Too much kungfu knowledge gained in a short period of time is BAD. Maybe you will start convulsing or something, I donít know. I also heard from him and others that the kungfu life is long and hard, Why be in a hurry? So the year continued and I trained more and more. For seome reason I began to think Ving Tsun was superior to all other styles. Maybe it was from my sifu basically telling me that or maybe it was from going over various attacts other styles would use against us. But I was convinced that there was no other fighting system better than the one I was learning. Soon enough I found out about the ďspecialĒ or ďpersonalĒ students. It was kind of odd in class how students would be treated differently than others. There were regular students and personal students. Was I just a regular student? An average student? Back in school did I just want to get a C in class? So obviously I was interested. I wanted the extra attention. Everyone knows the personal studentsí kungfu is better than just the regular students. They are the ďindoorĒ students, those who want to teach and pass the art on. Which means extra attention, longer training sessions and extra helpful hintsÖ. Then I learned about kungfu life and money.
After I became a personal student, I assume unofficial (sifu said we would talk about fees later), I became part of the family. We were one big happy family. We took care of each other. Mentally, physically and financially. I received my first lecture about money in one of the personal student meetings. My sifu handed us lucky money envelops and proceeded to tell us what they were about and how to use them. Sifu says itís kind of like giving a waiter a tip. If he does a good job, you tip him. You know, $75, $50, $20 or $10. Sure! If you only have $10 weíll take it. ďAnything at all.Ē My 2 little red envelopes sat on my dresser for months. We would do periodic collections for ďspecial eventsĒ. Someone would have ďbad luckĒ because they wore funny pants and their money (cash) fell out of their pocket so we were asked to give. Itís sifuís birthday! A gift. Now itís sigungís birthday! Another gift. I never gave any money for a while. I never even saw sigung. I donít even think he knew my name. Why would I give my money to him? Sifuís response, ďOh it was very hard to get the kungfu. He worked very hard.Ē I ended up giving sifu $20 around Christmas, just because I felt bad for him. I hadnít given him any extra money. What kind of a student was I? But a lot of other people didnít either. We were a family though and we had to remain unified. What better way to do so than telephone. My sifu made me call and remind my kungfu brothers and sisters and ASK THEM FOR MONEY forÖ.. drum roll pleaseÖ Ö. Ö. ďA special gift for sigung.Ē
Lights out. So I show up for class one night and the power has been cut. The water off and all other utilities. It was February and it was freezing. We continued to work out in the school while we were being convicted. Sifu feeds us some story about the landlord being an asshole because we havenít payed rent for the past couple of months or someone wants to buy the building out and they want to kick us out? WTF? I never did get a straight answer. We trained there with no power, nothing for more than a month. What happened to my $1,000 to run the school?
My relationship with my sifu began to wear thin after I had done chi sao for a couple of months. Sifu always said that people tend to leave around that time because they donít like to get hit. I had no problem taking a hit. But it becomes a problem when Iím not learning from hits. My sifu would just beat the hell out me. Playing chi sao with him just became annoying. He thinks I get frustrated because he hits me so much and I don't hit him back. I'm just getting my ass kicked, and I'm getting annoyed because I don't feel like I'm learning anything. None of the other sifus play these stupid games with their students. Why does my sifu have to do this to me? So we continued being a happy family and we had many more special events and seminars that were expensive as hell. We also had these special dinners at local Chinese restaurants where we would just get together and eat. It was $50. Now when I think about it, it was no different than a Chinese buffet you would pay $6.99 for all you can eat. Because thatís exactly what it was. Where the hell did the $50 go? About 40 people would attend these dinners. Sigung needs some new tires for his sports car maybe we will have 3 or 4 dinners this monthÖ
Later I found out the personal student thing was $600 a year ON TOP of the annual $1,000 (which includes no additional expenses as you know now). There was no contract though. Just a personal agreement with sifu and I. I paid about $400 cash and stopped short because the **** hit the fan.
My sifu always had all these ideas about the school, us and the future of Ving Tsun. -The kungfu business. PROFIT. It was always about money. At one of our meets be passed out a document, which we had to sign basically saying that we were responsible and entitled to physical and financial aid to sigung and sifu mobo jumbo crap. And that we were some elite group of warriors who were in charge of preserving and passing on the art. I canít even remember any more. It was just pure crap. It made me so mad. So then sifu starts lecturing about costs and expenses. He had bad news for us. Cost of tuition was going to go up due to our decrease in enrollment in the school. WTF??? Cost goes up because we donít have any fresh meat coming in? Heís still wasnít adding all those additional fees. My sifu got up and actually did the math on a board and wrote down how much money we actually owed him if we had studied kungfu with him for like 20 years. Guess how much! $257,893,474 (or something like that). Then he went on to say that we are getting a GOOD DEAL for $1400 a year ($115 a month) which does not include ANY other expenses. I donít even know where he those these numbers from. WOW I FEEL REALLY GOOD. I AM GETTING A GOOD DEAL. Iím not smiling any more. A happy shopper leaves with a big grin on their face because they think they got a good deal on something.
How are we going to get new students in the door? It was funny, I attended an Asian festival right down the street from our school. They had Aikido, Muay Thai, Wing Chun, Wushu and BJJ demonstrations. But what really boggled me was- WHY WERNT WE THERE? The WingChun guy at the festival has only been in our town for 3 years and he's already in the festival. Guess how long the MY school has been in the area. 20+ years. Is our kungfu too powerful for the general public? Whats the deal? Are we too lazy? We don't have an Asian representative?? I never askedÖ
So my sifu thought of a way of getting new students. Boxes. We leave a box in restuarants, libraries anywhere, everywhere. There were about 20 we constructed ourselves out of old cigar boxes. On the boxes it reads - "Free Kungfu Lesson, Enter to Win!" But we called EVERYONE. Everyone was a winner. So when 2 friends joking around entered the contest, they both received a call saying that they both won. Congradulations!!! - What the hell is this? I think this is the lamest advertising (sifu said it was NOT advertising) (It is FUCKING ADVERTISING.) And Guess what. It was our job to do this- collect the boxes and call people. Beg people, call and harass people to come in for their free kungfu lessons. We students. If we wanted new students, we had to get them ourselves. What the hell? Is this how you gain dedicated students who want to train and pass the art on?
So anyways...I couldn't take it so I left. Iím surprised how long I stayed . All the other students just eat up whatever sifu says. Heís always right. Never question anything. We have all the answers. We are superior, but basically unknown by the general public? Do we compete? NO. Who says a guy canít train MMA for 18months and go back and kick sifuís ass?
Ö Sifu always carried a knife with him. He was afraid of something. He always felt threated by other schools and other people. He thought they were like coming in undercover or there to test us when these guys with 10+ years in taji and karate came in for free introduction lessons. When we finally got a new place to work out (some **** hole worse than the first shithole) sifu was very aware we were near a BJJ school a couple streets over. He said if someone wants to attack him he will be going to his car at this time but he will have his knife and he will defend himself. WtfÖ.
Months after I had left my sifu continued to call me over and over and over again leaving me voicemail after voicemail asking me where I was. He even got the other students to call me and harass me. I ignored every single one hoping they would just stop. Then he gets my email address and emails me. Itís like hey buddy take a hint. Iím done. Leave me alone. He said not to worry about money (I left when my next yearly tuition was to be due) I tell him to leave me alone and I havenít heard from him since then.
This is not my way of life. I could never run a school and have my sifu on top of me like that. Does anyone else see what is going on here? I see a pyramid scheme and also tax evasion. I give sifu money, sifu gives sigung money. Up the pyramid.
After my sifuís ďfinancialĒ lecture I saw black blood pore out of his mouth. The filth. The evil. The bullshit he had been feeding us. I began to see all the negative things inside this ďfamily.Ē
*The only thing I ever saw sigung do was smoke pot and play video games. Heís a fucking drug farmer and dealer also.
*None of the senor students came to class anyways. Most of them were still hung-over from the night before. Even sifu came in hung-over for our morning class
*And when they were there I could smell alcohol on their breaths on several occasions
*Practice what you preach. From the information I have I have nothing other to believe my sifu was just a drunk pothead. Eat healthy??? What are you doing to yourself?
*I ran into a couple of my kungfu brothers in a bar one time. All of them stoned out of their minds.
*Just a bunch of bums.
The Moy Yat school in Richmond Virginia is a scam. They are out to get your money. They are a cult. They are a pyramid scheme. They prey on college students who donít know any better. They brainwash you and create this confidence inside you making you think you are superior when in fact you are the one being taken advantaged of. I have talked with others about this and they all agree with me. Some have similar stories.
Nothing positive can be said about the Moy Yat School in Richmond, VA.
BEWARE. SCAM. PYRAMID SCHEME. OUT TO GET YOUR MONEY!
Good first post.
WC is dissed extensively on this board as it is but... Welcome to Bullshido.
So... you say it's bullshido because you don't want to call someone sifu?
Then think that it's bullshido because you signed up for a year after the introductory price... and you took full advantage of that year? You often say that you felt things were valuable. I guess I don't get why you are complaining here. "Afterwards I felt like it was valuable." So... ?
Then got upset because some students got more "personal care" than you did? I'm sure you've heard the mantra, "Don't expect." One of the things that I've noticed in my classes is that the ones who just go with it, who don't try to "reach that next level" or "get ahead in the game" actually get ahead faster. Those who appreciate where they are, instead of thinking they need to attain a higher level, seem to get the most out of training.
Then you're upset because of the "red envelope" aspect of some CMAs? This can seem a bit harsh, but my sifu has said time and time again that you should only give what you want, and that it is not a requirement for anything. I've been told that it's a part of Chinese culture, and that if I don't want to do it then I shouldn't. If this was presented differently to you, then I'm not quite sure why. What you've posted does seem a bit odd here though, and it hasn't been my experience with the family. We have a project we are working on at my school right now and I was simply told by my sifu, "I'm not even going to ask you to help out on the money part of this, but if you could come down some weekends and help out then that'd be cool." This is the first part of your post that seems serious though, so I'll see if I can ask around a bit on it.
The part about paying extra to be in the inner circle is new to me as well. I'm guessing this is your sigung's inner circle and not your sifu's. But as you've said, that is for those who want to teach... so I'm not sure that extra tuition for someone wanting to teach is a big deal... I'm just really surprised that they'd ask you to pay it if you hadn't already been in the family for a long number of years. Were you looking to become a sifu one day yourself? If not, I'm not sure at all why they'd want you to pay it. Very, very strange. Besides, I believe your sigung has often preached that "selfish kung-fu is bad kung-fu." What you are presenting seems to go directly against this, so it may be worth looking into.
A couple of questions though. How was the kung fu? Also, please PM me your sifu's name and I'll see what I can find out. My sifu is a very level headed guy, and certainly not of the "Never question anything" variety. You said, "None of the other sifus play these stupid games with their students." Do you feel your experience would have been much better had you been under a different sifu? The boxes, the knife, calling questions poison... all seems odd.
As far as the contracts? I've never signed one. We go strickly monthly right now at my school. We are thinking of adding a yearly option, which would probably be advantageous for guys like me anyway.
Dagon "mullet finger" Akujin
P.S. "The only thing I ever saw sigung do was smoke pot and play video games. Heís a fucking drug farmer and dealer also." That's not true. He also likes to drive his sportscar really really fast. :car32:
P.P.S. Are you in the movie? :director2 :5zombie:
P.P.P.S. My sihing throw some MAD parties too. ;P Certainly not for everyone. :occasion1
Jesus, dragon, how can you support that crap? That stuff is a holdover from before schools were openly commercial enterprises. That stuff needs to go.
Lucky, did your school send fighters to competitions? Did you ever do full on sparring?
C'mon Johnny you know this is typical TCMA. He is freaking out because it is public.
Last edited by It is Fake; 2/22/2006 4:45am at .
They're from the same lineage.
Yeah I fixed my post I meant TCMA.
lucky_money - glad you found your way here, sorry to hear about you getting ripped off. Just be grateful that you got out when you did, it could have been much worse. I know this is going to sound slightly nuthuggerish... did you ever think about checking out that BJJ school that made your sifu go kinda bonkers? Or are you only interested in kung fu?
Also, might want to think about turning that post into an article/review and submitting it so it can be archived as well as threaded here.
Good luck finding better training
No longer a Kaju-Critic
Why do martial arts schools think that because they are a martial arts school they dont have to share the same professionalism as other businesses? That always ticked me off. If I'm paying 75$, 100$, 150$ or more for your service it better darn well be done professionally in a proper environment or I have no patience for it.
In my opinion alot of that "old school" attitude is laziness. Oh a peice of gear gets a rip here, the floor gets a stain there... to the instructor it may seem like eveything looks good but to anyone else its just garbage. Same thing with the "red envelope" thing you describe. You expect to tip a waiter - not a personal trainer or a gymnastics instructor. Why should someone teaching a physical skill be any differant?
On that note, you all can have your stinky, dirty, torn up old schools with good instruction - because for everyone one of those theres a clean, in good repair, enjoyable school with good instruction waiting.
I'm from a (somewhat)traditional chinese family and I thought i'd just shed a little light on the red envlopes thing.
Red envlopes or "Hong Bao" as they are called in mandarin are meant as a sign of good fortune passed from one person to another. Normally Hong baos will be given out only on special occasions suchs as birthdays or weddings. By right, the value of money inside should be of no importance, however giving 1 cent is somewhat disrespectful. It shows how little you bother with the person. Usually it is the elders who give the younger ones Hong bao's. Usually because the elders are the ones with more financial security, but its not uncommon for the elders to recieve hong baos.