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Maestro Nobones
2/18/2005 11:49pm,
I would like to do a write up on the first McDojo I was roped in to. I had no clue what the warning signs for a mcdojo were, and was unfortunate enough to have signed a contract for 1 year.

So what are the common pieces of evidence? I think I still have copies of the contract, plus the book that states ranking up is based on number of classes attended, and other assorted stuff.

v1o
2/19/2005 12:08am,
The first sign is when they make you sign long contracts.

Poop Loops
2/19/2005 12:12am,
It varies from school to school. Contracts aren't a bad thing necessarily, I mean, if you KNOW you are going to do this for a year, why not pay a lump sum that amounts to less than if you payed per month?

Generally, if they are more interested in your money than your training, it can be declared a McDojo. But those are usually easy to spot. It's the gray area ones that are hard to call.

PL

beka
2/19/2005 12:17am,
For me, the biggest deal is whether or not they answer your questions. If the owner/head instructor is unwilling to document his/her experience, I would run far far away from that school.


Then, there's the contract thing. If a school is good, then they know that the quality of their teaching is enough to keep you around, not a financial obligation.

nasty_totoro
2/19/2005 12:19am,
i dont think that there is ay single thing that does it ...

i mean my school has ...

- 4, 8, 12 months contracts ...
- kids classes ...
- girls kickboxing classes ...
- testing fee for rank (20-50$) ...

but i don't think anyone would consider it a McDojo ... it consistently produces fighters that compete at the local, provincial, and national levels in kickboxing and MMA ... not to mention that most guys who join can usually hold their own against other untrained or CMA people within 6 months to a year ...

depends on what you get for your money ...

FighterJones
2/19/2005 12:32am,
1- Contracts
2- Unrealistic sparring/techniques.
but mainly #1

Zeddy
2/19/2005 12:57am,
Nightstrike, if you added

#3 Instills false belief of martial skill, then it'd be bullshido.

As I understand it, McDojo is just the hard pushing selling of the martial arts? The level of skill may suffer of course, but I hear that TSK gets called a mcdojo, but not bullshido?

FighterJones
2/19/2005 1:17am,
Yeah, I spose, its kinda hard to differentiate. Mcdojo's and bullshido go hand in hand most of the time.

Sam Browning
2/19/2005 1:34am,
The best way to declare a school a McDojo is to actually go there and observe their training and their business practices. I hesitate to call many schools McDojos unless I have first hand evidence or a reliable witness. But there are red flags, and if a school has multiple warning signs, one doesn't even need to prove its a McDojo to conclude it should be avoided.

Signs a Place is a McDojo

1) They are willing to do almost anything for money to the detriment of training.

Examples include: promoting people to black belt after a minimal amount of time in the art; promoting more then a few children to black belt, catering to the youth market by selling bullshit. "Join our ninja turtle club today!" Overcharging for seminars, belt tests, gear, ect.

2) They do not tell their students the truth, for their own selfish interests.

Examples: unrealistic self defense stories, unrealistic claims to be part of the shaolin tradition, bullshit claims by the instructor to maintain student loyalty and recruit new students. "Then Ed Parker gave me his personal black belt and went down on me."

3) Their training sucks: No contact sparring, pressure point stories, poor workouts, katas that are designed for testing rather than for imparting any useful skills. etc, etc, etc.

Maestro Nobones
2/19/2005 2:33am,
right on, well I think I'll gather my case and make a nice hateful post about the almost year that I wasted locked into a shitty contract at a SHITTY school.

Boyd
2/19/2005 3:01am,
Well, to help you out, I'll tell a pretty typical McDojo story that happened to me.

It was shortly after I lost interest in karate that I began my search for a new art, and it wasn't long before I stumbled onto a school teaching some esoteric form of Japanese trick wrestling. To me, a dirty-faced refugee from no-contact karate Hell, it was an interesting departure. The grandmaster, I was told, was in his 90's but still quite the scrapper, and his sons were even better, boasting at best a fight record of 400-0-0(!!!). "Well good for them", I said, "But how do I know this will work for me?" At this point the head instructor, who could scarcely walk under the weight of all the patches on his gi, tells me not to worry. Six months of hard training will defeat 99% of the population. I was just about to sign up when I saw their rates. 150 dollars a month for three classes a week!!!! The hell they think I'm made of? Luckily I turned around and never looked back.

Since then I've found a kung fu kwoon that I'm very pleased with.

Poop Loops
2/19/2005 3:04am,
Well, to help you out, I'll tell a pretty typical McDojo story that happened to me.

It was shortly after I lost interest in karate that I began my search for a new art, and it wasn't long before I stumbled onto a school teaching some esoteric form of Japanese trick wrestling. To me, a dirty-faced refugee from no-contact karate Hell, it was an interesting departure. The grandmaster, I was told, was in his 90's but still quite the scrapper, and his sons were even better, boasting at best a fight record of 400-0-0(!!!). "Well good for them", I said, "But how do I know this will work for me?" At this point the head instructor, who could scarcely walk under the weight of all the patches on his gi, tells me not to worry. Six months of hard training will defeat 99% of the population. I was just about to sign up when I saw their rates. 150 dollars a month for three classes a week!!!! The hell they think I'm made of? Luckily I turned around and never looked back.

Since then I've found a kung fu kwoon that I'm very pleased with.

You should have found a BJJ school instead.

PL

Phoenix
2/19/2005 3:14am,
Well, to help you out, I'll tell a pretty typical McDojo story that happened to me.

It was shortly after I lost interest in karate that I began my search for a new art, and it wasn't long before I stumbled onto a school teaching some esoteric form of Japanese trick wrestling. To me, a dirty-faced refugee from no-contact karate Hell, it was an interesting departure. The grandmaster, I was told, was in his 90's but still quite the scrapper, and his sons were even better, boasting at best a fight record of 400-0-0(!!!). "Well good for them", I said, "But how do I know this will work for me?" At this point the head instructor, who could scarcely walk under the weight of all the patches on his gi, tells me not to worry. Six months of hard training will defeat 99% of the population. I was just about to sign up when I saw their rates. 150 dollars a month for three classes a week!!!! The hell they think I'm made of? Luckily I turned around and never looked back.

Since then I've found a kung fu kwoon that I'm very pleased with.

You mean to tell us that THAT'S the true meaning of Christmas???

eyebeams
2/19/2005 3:33am,
You should have found a BJJ school instead.

PL

Not to knock the effectiveness of BJJ, but aside from the enthnicity and patches, ithe school's line sounds exactly like Gracie press from the early 90s.

Depth
2/19/2005 3:58am,
I agree with beka about unwillingness to answer questions being a sure sign of a McDojo. Also, take a good hard look at the quality of thier black belts, all thier belts for that matter. It was Chuck Norris that always said he can tell if a person is a black belt immediately by the quality of a single kick. Well, whether you respect Chuck or not, there's a lot of truth to that statement.

So I think the process is simple, visit every single martial arts school in your area. Ask to observe a class or two. If they don't let you, walk away. If they demand a one day trial fee, walk away. If they claim any kind of secret knowlede, walk away. After vising a few you will be able to see differences in the level of skill between the students of different schools. You will also notice that some schools are filled with posturing assholes and others are all humble. It's subtle differences like this that will make it clear to you which schools are the real deal meal and which are just a over-prices happy meal.

Jekyll
2/19/2005 11:22am,
Not to knock the effectiveness of BJJ, but aside from the enthnicity and patches, ithe school's line sounds exactly like Gracie press from the early 90s.
:BangHead: :BangHead: :BangHead: :BangHead:
I'm going to have to go and +rep boyd now.

Edit:Well I would but.... You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Boyd again.