To McDojo, or not to McDojo...
I'm a couple of months into my new Art now (FMA), and am enjoying it very much. In fact, its been many years since I've looked forward to classes this much.
The catch is it smells a bit of McDojo, but the only yardstick I have to measure it against is my primary class which is so anti-money that it doesn't really offer me a fair comparison. So... I come to you people hoping you can give some broader perspective.
Here's the set-up...
Class cost is average for my area - £5 a lesson ($7), but here is suddenly a lot of money when it comes to extras.
The uniform (t-shirt and contact trousers) is compulsory if you want to grade. My other class couldn't care what you wear as long as its comfy and clean.
The uniform is association branded/badged, so bought from one source.
Both together cost £40.00 ($60). Elsewhere I can get an unbranded karate suit for £10.
Gradings, though not compulsory, are very frequent at about every 4 months or so and cost £25 ($38). My other class grades probably less than once a year and grades to Brown belt are free.
I would normally be interested in grading. It would help me to focus on my training (my self discipline sucks). An occasional boost to my ego would be nice too, but the cost and frequency above has devalued any grade I might get to the point where I'm not interested.
I should stress that its a good class.The instructor teaches very well (I can't comment on the quality of the content, as I know **** all about FMA), is a good motivator and a nice guy. I don't want to switch clubs, as I like this one, and it's the only one close to where I live.
So, I've got two questions:
1. What are the going rates for this type of thing in Normal-land? (where do you see the line between making a living, and fleecing students?)
2. When I tell my instructor I'm not going to grade, I'm going to be honest about why! How do I POLITELY say that I think his grading system is more about money than standards?
What style are you learning?
Do they have a website?
Most of the gradings I have done were done either in a normal class, just to one side or done after the class. I have never been charged extra for these gradings other than the cost of buying a new belt/sash which is usually a couple of squid.
I'm learning Kali from an JKD base.
There is a web site etc, but I'm keen to keep it general for info rather than open them up for attack (Yes I know I posted on Bullshido). I don't know enough about either the class, or how their operation compares to the rest of the world, to be wanting to start a ****-storm.
Gradings will be done in normal class, but during a visit from the Instructor's own teacher.
Your grading policy sound like our Aikido one. (We even have a hand-me-down policy on the belts.) It'll be interesting to hear if that experience is a common one.
Within the UK most Judo, Karate, Aikido, TKD clubs are not run as a business and therefore the fees are usually just enough to pay for the rent of the hall etc. Other styles like BJJ,JKD and the MMA gyms, which seem to be springing up everywhere ,are run as businesses, nothing wrong with that but it means you have to pay more for learning something a little less common. Sometimes these businesses dont charge a lot for each lesson but make it up by changing you for everything else, this doesn't make it a mcdojo just a well run business. If however the instrcutor is not fully qualified to teach then you call MCDOJO. If he teaches JKD then you should be able to trace his lineage probably back to Dan Inosanto. I'm sure there is someone on this website who trains JKD who could best answer those type of questions.
Originally Posted by ignorami
I'm happy with what's being taught, and the lineage, certainly at my newb level of training. It's just my first dojo that operates as a business, so I'm wary. I realise that the guy needs to make a living (and teaching MA is his living).
It's not like they are charging Kuk Sool Won rates or anything, but having been sheltered by the UK non-business model for the last 20 years, I just don't know what normal rates would be.
Also whether it's become common to take more frequent, smaller grades as opposed our old style of fewer but lengthier? Me = ignorant.
1.) I do Muay Thai, I only pay monthly fees and an annual membership. 'course I have to get my own gloves, wraps and mouth piece, but those basic are necessities.
In Judo, we pay like $2 per session but I'm not in UK. Sometimes we don't even pay... (club owns the place).
2.) Just ask him if you get to learn new stuff even if you don't advance in grades.
You might really like this class a lot but if I were you I'd also check other alternatives in your area. (Maybe you can find a cheaper, better place, you never know.)
Anyway, if there's no unscripted sparring against a live, resisting opponnet using medium to hard contact. It's a worthless place. Can't learn how to swim without a pool.
Your per-lesson cost isn't bad if that's what you opt for. The uniform and testing fee doesn't seem like too much either. What gets me is the frequency of testing, and that its done during normal classes. So you pay $7 for a class and may wind up only helping someone test? The instructor gets the testing fee and your regular class fee to boot. I don't like the sound of this. I think the McDojo factor is whether or not the instruction is any good. Some things to look out for are Black Belts in 2 years or less, and whether or not any of these techniques will work when you try them in sparring.
I just paid I used to pay around $800 every like 6 months at Degerberg.... You have it pretty easy
Wait, who is your JKD/FMA lineage under? Because as an Inosanto guy I know nothing of FMA ranks.
What does the grading system look like?