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  1. TonyB2776 is offline

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    7

    Posted On:
    3/14/2008 10:17pm

    Bullshido Newbie
     Style: Taekwondo

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Legit dojo or McDojo?

    I just started training with this instructor who seems to emphasize more a mixed martial arts style than anything else. A number of his dojo tendencies suggest it may have McDojo leanings:

    -- Our testing for belt advancement emphasizes sparring combinations, self-defense, and forms. Luckily, no board breaking.

    -- Yes, they do hold birthday parties (I guess rent and overhead costs are expensive).

    -- He's been training since 1970 and received his first black belt at the age of 9 (he also had a tough life growing up, losing both parents at a very young age). A local taekwondo teacher took him under his wing (the instructor is only referred to as 'Mr. Kim.' I'm guessing this might be a pretty common name in Korea so it's somewhat difficult to verify and confirm!)

    -- He now holds ranks in many styles: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Aiki Jiu-Jitsu, Aikido, and has recently been awarded a silver life award in the Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

    The characteristics that suggest legitimacy:
    -- No long term contracts
    -- In the classes I've taken with him (now going on 8 months), he emphasizes self-defense techniques and often says being able to defend ourselves in our daily lives is of utmost importance to him.
    -- I have yet to see any extensive sparring (and it might be limited to "higher level" -- green and above -- belts). He holds a special black belt class only on Tuesdays -- I should get down to the dojo and check it out and watch. We have had one class where we did shadow sparring, with no contact (his emphasis).

    So what questions should I ask him to establish his legitimacy? Has anyone had this experience where you train for a few months, but wonder if what you're learning is legit?

    Thanks for any feedback,
    Tony
  2. TheMightyMcClaw is offline
    TheMightyMcClaw's Avatar

    MADE OF STEEL!

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Posts
    3,379

    Posted On:
    3/14/2008 10:19pm

    supporting member
     Style: Kung Fu Swordfighting

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Keep in mind, being a legit coach and running a McDojo are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes, good instructors just so happen to really like money.
  3. TonyB2776 is offline

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    7

    Posted On:
    3/14/2008 10:28pm

    Bullshido Newbie
     Style: Taekwondo

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Yes, I think that could be the case. I guess I'll keep my mind open and see how it goes. Thanks for your feedback.
  4. PirateJon is offline
    PirateJon's Avatar

    and good morning to you too

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    DC
    Posts
    3,240

    Posted On:
    3/14/2008 10:28pm

    supporting member
     Style: MT/BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Welcome aboard dude. Allow me to clarify somthing.

    A legit dojo is a good school that teaches solid technique.
    A McDojo is a good school that teaches solid technique and rapes your wallet for anything it can.

    You seem to be asking the question - "is this a good school?"

    My question for you is "good school for what?" To learn TKD? To learn BJJ? If your goal is "to learn to fight effectively", from what you've said I would say probably not.
    You can't make people smarter. You can expose them to information, but your responsibility stops there.
  5. Omega Supreme is offline

    Administrator

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    West Coast
    Posts
    22,923

    Posted On:
    3/14/2008 10:30pm

    staff
     Style: Chinese Boxing

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Really going to need more than that dude.
  6. TonyB2776 is offline

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    7

    Posted On:
    3/14/2008 11:04pm

    Bullshido Newbie
     Style: Taekwondo

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Ok, from reading the comments I'll need to provide more info, so I'll try to keep this to the point.

    My family and I joined a health club taekwondo club, but after 3 months, the chief instructor and health club management couldn't agree on compensation and salary. He left. The health club management conducted a search to find a new director and they tapped this new guy. I've mentioned some of his qualifications earlier in my initial post. The new guy has his own school in PA (which he still runs) and now he also heads up this program at the health club.

    I joined TKD just to get into shape and learn some self-defense techniques. My kids also started taking classes and I thought this would be a good way to help them learn as well -- if dad is learning, so can I. Ok, I admit it's not so hard core. But I've always been interested in learning about martial arts and whatever the impetus, I'm in and I'm involved.

    Now, if the definition of a McDojo is one that rapes your wallet, then I guess I have my answer. There aren't any gratuitous fees for belt testing or equipment or "black belt club." So that eases some of my fears.

    The next question is, does the instructor's experience and teaching seem legit. You might ask, 'well why didn't you ask questions about the school before you joined?' And the answer would be because enrollment in TKD classes is included in the health club membership -- it's convenient, there's no additional charge for it, the kids seem to enjoy it -- so why not join? It was only after reading the posts on this site that got me to questioning what I've been seeing from the instructor.

    I hope this sheds a little more light. I'd be happy to shed more and I hope I'm not wasting your time.
  7. Omega Supreme is offline

    Administrator

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    West Coast
    Posts
    22,923

    Posted On:
    3/14/2008 11:31pm

    staff
     Style: Chinese Boxing

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Yes, there was one instructor that taught at a local health facility that turned out to be completely full of **** and managed to take a lot of money from people despite it being part of the club.

    If you are learning something great, if you're accompishing your goals then great. If you would like to see if he's exactly what he says he is simply ask for his credentials. Most ITF and WTF instructors can easily produce these.
  8. sambosteve is offline
    sambosteve's Avatar

    Stillness is death

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    3,736

    Posted On:
    3/15/2008 12:37am

    Business Class Supporting Member
     NY Combat Sambo Style: combat sambo

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    How about a website, name, anything about the club and instructor. At this point all we have is your story.

    Regarding, your health club being a McDojo, sounds like it is not. And, like said above McDojo does not equall bullshido. There are many good coaches who run McDojos. Rape your wallet? That may be an extreme description, though I have certainly seen examples of that. Any coach who makes a living (as I do) solely through martial arts, does not have the luxury of cheap rates...and may often run kids parties (which I do not). Like it or not, parties, fitness programs, and kid programs pay the bills. You can't survive as a martial arts school if you only cater to the fighter crowd.

    Is the guy a good coach? That all depends on what you want out of his coaching. If you are simply looking at TKD for fun, fitness, and family activity; it sounds like you are getting what you want...for no extra cost from the health club: a good deal. If you are satisfied and learning, why go any further with questioning?

    Is the guy all that he claims he is? That is a different question. We can't help you there unless you provide some data.
  9. TonyB2776 is offline

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    7

    Posted On:
    3/15/2008 9:38am

    Bullshido Newbie
     Style: Taekwondo

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Here's the Web site for now: http://www.familytreekarate.com/.

    More later, but again, thanks for your feedback.
  10. acidcrakker is offline

    Featherweight

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Trenton NJ
    Posts
    65

    Posted On:
    3/16/2008 10:57pm

    Bullshido Newbie
     Style: Wing-Chun/ Maui Tai

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Reading these posts, Id like to share some insite as to what a McDojo really is. Its more of a conglomerate corporation with chains of martial arts stores. They usally contain boards that look like menus at Mcdonalds that contain the numerous belts you can and cant have with how many weeks of dues you paid for already.
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