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Shaft
6/30/2004 12:49pm,
Does anyone else find that part of what makes a McDojo a McDojo are the odd traditions and behaviors performed during training? Meaning things like bowing into and out of class, odd vocabulary for seemingly ordinary punches and kicks, etc. When 24fightingchickens.com was still in operation, it was Rob Redmond's hypothesis that martial arts instructors use these elements to create an in-group/out-group mentality (something along the lines of a street gang all dressing in the same colors). From my experience, I find this hypothesis to be supported. Does anybody have any other McDojo experiences to further support or refute this claim?

Anthracis
6/30/2004 1:35pm,
We bowed into and out of the mat areas in my BJJ school even. This, by itself, in my opinion does not constitute a McDojo. We bow in and out of mats in order to show respect for the arts that we practice. However, having said that, McDojos do tend to take these practices to astronomical levels. One McDojo I used to go to: www.easternways.com Here they made you bow to each instructor when coming into the studio and exiting the studio each time. They made you bow to each other, and made you bow into and out of the mat. They also insisted on calling you by your last name only and always spoke to you in a monotonous tone and low voice. It was like a cult. Anyways that's my 2cents worth.

katana
6/30/2004 2:31pm,
A lot of schools have these traditions. Some people like it I guess but I don't. I've been to schools in the past that had a rigid structure of bowing before and after class and use of titles at all times. I think I agree with Redmond's hypothesis that at many schools it is used to create an in-group atmosphere to establish control. At my BJJ/Kickboxing school you don't bow at all and call the instructor/coach by his first name and he by yours. When you first see each other you simply shake hands and ask how each other are doing. Just like you'd expect in a western culture. We had one student who was bowing before BJJ sparring. Our instructor told him to stop doing it and shake hands before the match like everyone else.

The worst school I've been to that really pushed the Psuedo-Japanese atmosphere was the last Bujinkan school I attended. The senior student would come out of the office and ring a bell. The students would then line up by rank. The teacher would then make his grand appearance from the office and sit down and then the students would kneel. You would then face a shelf with various Japanese spiritual elements and a picture of Dr. Hatsumi (Grandmaster) and bow while saying the standard Bujinkan slogan. Then you would bow to the teacher, then to the senior student. At the end of class you'd do it all over again. Oh and I almost forgot that you had to hug everyone after class was over. It was incredibly silly.

SamHarber
6/30/2004 2:32pm,
Pretty much all dojos based around japanese arts have ridiculous amounts of bowing. The japanese culture gets imported with the art. The same goes for other cultures and their arts.
This does not neccessarily make them McDojos.
RBSDs are a good example... they may have no traditions or customs, but it doesn't stop them from sucking goats.

Ronin
6/30/2004 2:40pm,
well, we touch gloves in boxing, shake hands in wrestling, give each other wedgies in pankration and rub oil on our naked bodies...oh ****, never mind...

Chupacabra
6/30/2004 2:41pm,
moons of jupiter

chaosexmachina
6/30/2004 2:55pm,
Quit raggin' on pankration, ronin!

Ronin
6/30/2004 3:00pm,
Quit bending over and offering the baby oil ...

WingChun Lawyer
6/30/2004 3:07pm,
Originally posted by ronin69
Quit bending over and offering the baby oil ...

Stop that, you are making me jealous.

Peter H.
6/30/2004 3:46pm,
Every group has it's own dynamics of social interaction. No matter what you do, to be successful within the group, you have to adhere to the group's rules of acceptable social behavior, it doesn't matter if it is a street gang, high school, work place, or martial arts school. Those who are capable of doing this will find acceptance, promotion, and recognition within the group easier. Those who don't will find those things either more difficult to come by, if not impossible, and will face ostracization. Most of the people who have problems following these rules will make excuses about the rules being "Archaic, Anachronistic, Conformist, Outdated, Facist" or they will claim they are "an Individual, a Rebel, a Non-Conformist, a Free Thinker" or something along those lines. The truth is, they probably just have a problem with rules.

About once every two months I get a new student in my class who doesn't want to bow along with everyone else, thinks what we do is not applicable to the real world, doesn't want to work within the curriculm, and so on. They are not kicked out of the class, unless they get too rough. They usually weed themselves out of both my class and about the same time, the military, as their lack of respect for the "dojo culture" usually indicates a lack of respect for the "military culture", and considering the reasons some of these guys are bounced out a lack of respect for the "human culture"

Ming Loyalist
6/30/2004 3:55pm,
i actually like the gestures of respect we do in my school, however compared to the extreme cases we keep it to a minimum (bow upon entering and leaving the school, refer to head instructor as sifu, bow to sifu and the altar at the beginning and end of class, and we bow to each other before sparring or partner drills.)

i see it as a gesture of respect, nothing more, for the founders of the style, the teachers and each other, and i think that showing respect is always a good thing.

Blitzkrieg
6/30/2004 4:07pm,
When I train we perform a kneeling bow at the beginning of class followed by a short sentence. Repeated again at the end of class. Both times included takes less than 2 minutes. I dont see it as a problem especially since translated what we say is a prayer asking for the assistance of the gods in our training.

mod com gym
6/30/2004 4:16pm,
Most judo dojos line up by rank, kneel, bow to Kano's picture, bow to Sensei and start. and the usual bow to partners and bow off and on to the mat.
Culture is fine but there are some schools that take cult-ure (like above) and become cult-

Antagony
6/30/2004 4:18pm,
Originally posted by KumaOni
When I train we perform a kneeling bow at the beginning of class followed by a short sentence. Repeated again at the end of class. Both times included takes less than 2 minutes. I dont see it as a problem especially since translated what we say is a prayer asking for the assistance of the gods in our training.
Prayer to teh ninja godzors to makes you invisibles!!1!

CleanShave
6/30/2004 7:44pm,
I have no problem bowing when I enter and leave the mat or class. Bending at the waste will not kill me. I also have no problem calling an instructor by any title he wishes. In BJJ, if the teacher has taken the time to reach a high belt level and skill, he deserves the respect. However, most like to be called by their first name or just coach.
I also dont mind any sort of etiquette in a good TMA school. I used to bow in and out of a TKD/HKD school...it was run by a old school Korean gentleman that could kick the hell out of most anybody. He just asked his students to call him Mr. Kim. Dudes like him are few and far between.

Te(V)plar
6/30/2004 7:48pm,
Where I train it's REALLY informal. We bow to get in on that mat and that's it. I call my instructor chad, we talk ****, make potty humor jokes, there's little regard for rank and size (I usually end up having to roll with everyone), and at the end of class he lets us jump into his pool. I dig it.