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ThaiBoxerShorts
10/13/2006 10:23pm,
I recently got a McDojo-related question I was unable to answer. Maybe somebody here can help me out.

The question came from a friend of mine who knows nothing about martial arts, but knows a scam when she sees one, and has another friend who trains at a pretty fucking obvious McDojo (http://www.nationalkarate.com/). She asked me how many people at a McDojo would likely be in on the scam. Obviously, the people at the very top know what they're doing: You can't run a successful scam by accident. But what about the rank-and-file instructors? Are they in on it, or are they just ignorantly passing on the bullshit they were fed? I'm sure there's a little bit of both going on in most McDojos, so there's not really a cut-and-dry answer to the question. But I didn't even feel comfortable speculating.

I dunno. I really don't have any personal experience with true McDojos. I spent some time in a crappy place that was bullshido but not McDojo, and I've been at a respected sportfighting gym ever since. I know the instructors at my old aikido school believed in what they were doing -- They were just deluded, not fraudulent. But I don't know if that would necessarily be true for a moneymaking scam machine like a McDojo.

Knave
10/13/2006 10:36pm,
Greetings.

There are all sorts of people who eat up their own ****. You can find them in all sorts of places where gullibility is preyed on (I'M LOOKING AT YOU, TV EVANGELISTS). Dillman schools, ESP people, whatever you want. Some of them probably know they are full of **** like Peter Popoff who was outed by Randi, but there are others who think they are legit and are making a completely honest living.

mmacount123
10/13/2006 10:41pm,
my old tkd instructor actually went to a seminar in which they taught him the basics of creating a Mcdojo. they then offered him to pay hundreds of dollars in exchange to be a part of their franchise.

CanucKyokushin
10/14/2006 10:56am,
Kajukenbo FTW!

CanucKyokushin
10/14/2006 11:05am,
For The Win

JohnnyCache
10/14/2006 4:35pm,
I think at this point it's time to redraw that old distinction - A McDojo is our term for a very commercialized dojo. You can teach good stuff in a mcdojo. Lots of perfectly good instructors use mcdojo trappings such as the lock-down contract. A shiny gym floor and some branch schools don't make you a bad fighter.

Bullshido is the term we use for hucksterism - people teaching bad technique or weak beliefs on purpose or sometimes sincerely. This is where you find your exploding heart dim mak, chi manipulation, guros who can light things on fire with telekinesis, etc. We also use this term for people with really, really bad ideas about where their style came from - handed down by tengu, 2000 year old art used to fight armored samurai, etc.

Many bullshido schools are mcdojos, many are not - some bullshido teachers do it not for money, but for attention, ego, and validation.

Many mcdojos teach bullshido - but many do not. The esteemed gracie family is a highly commercialized martial arts empire, running a money making enterprise and making a living at it - but they have good martial arts quality control as well. For that reason, rather then a "mcdojo" they are generally considered to be purveyors of premium martial arts instruction worth the cost.

We generally reserve the use of McDojo as an epithet for those schools with deceptive selling practices that drive the cost of their instruction beyond its fair market value, but many "mcdojo" practices, used individually or in moderation, allow good instructors to stay in business.

Sam Browning
10/14/2006 4:50pm,
The problem John is that McDojo refers to one end of the spectrum of commercialization, using the Gracies in Torrence as an example, one can be a successful commercial school and still not be a McDojo. Where does the difference come about? It usually first shows up in inflated rank. The Gracies will do many things to make a buck but in my experience they will not give out inflated rank above say a blue belt, no stripe and do not charge a testing fee. (They use four stripes for their blue belts) So while an occasional person may make blue belt before they should, ranking these people does not drive their business plan.

By contrast a lot of schools out there derive real income off of their belt testing fees, and use rapidly promoted people to round out their apprentice instructor base. Once the ranking system goes to hell in a school, and people are wearing belts they shouldn't be wearing then money making has crapped out the school. So McDojo is a distinct term from Bullshido indicating commercial practices that destroy quality control.

Sam Browning
10/14/2006 4:51pm,
That is kinda how the whole McDojo system started. You got guys like Graden who sold a program (NAPMA) and told you that you could teach your art, make a living doing it, and not sell out. If you take his book and follow it by the letter, you have sold out, watered down your stuff, and successfully transformed into a McDojo. The different billing agencies now do this with seminars, supershows, etc, to get you into the cash making machine in trade for your ethics.

This line of thinking starts at the top and works its way down to every instructor, student, and parent. I had a mom come in the other day wanting to enroll her 3 kids (all black belts from a TOUGH TOUGH school of course.) She was asking a billion questions, all about self-control, non-violence, etc. She was shocked when I said that we started the kids fighting their first day and thought that it was inappropriate that I wouldn't let her kids wear their belts in class. I think I lost the "sale" when I told her that my beginners would probably froth at the mouth for the chance to woop on some black belt kiddies and that I was doing this for her own kids protection. AHHAHA!

The anti-mcdojo I guess.

If you were ever willing to loan me some of the NAPMA material I would love to review it for the site.

CanucKyokushin
10/14/2006 5:07pm,
The question came from a friend of mine who knows nothing about martial arts, but knows a scam when she sees one, and has another friend who trains at a pretty fucking obvious McDojo (http://www.nationalkarate.com/). She asked me how many people at a McDojo would likely be in on the scam. Obviously, the people at the very top know what they're doing: You can't run a successful scam by accident. But what about the rank-and-file instructors? Are they in on it, or are they just ignorantly passing on the bullshit they were fed? I'm sure there's a little bit of both going on in most McDojos, so there's not really a cut-and-dry answer to the question. But I didn't even feel comfortable speculating.
.

:new_spira
Besides the flashy colored gi's, the apparent emphasis on Kata's and weapons and that they fight point-sparring. What made your friend think this could be fishy?

Doctor X
10/14/2006 7:11pm,
By contrast a lot of schools out there derive real income off of their belt testing fees, and use rapidly promoted people to round out their apprentice instructor base. Once the ranking system goes to hell in a school, and people are wearing belts they shouldn't be wearing then money making has crapped out the school. So McDojo is a distinct term from Bullshido indicating commercial practices that destroy quality control.

Great definition of the problem!

--J.D.

ThaiBoxerShorts
10/14/2006 7:18pm,
:new_spira
Besides the flashy colored gi's, the apparent emphasis on Kata's and weapons and that they fight point-sparring. What made your friend think this could be fishy?
Considering my friend's lack of martial arts knowledge, I don't think any of the things you listed would have even registered on her radar screen. They would mean little to the uninitiated.

What tipped her off was very simple: The long-term guarunteed black belt contract they got her other friend to sign. That should scream "fraud" to anyone with a decent bullshit detector.

JohnnyCache
10/15/2006 2:39pm,
The problem John is that McDojo refers to one end of the spectrum of commercialization, using the Gracies in Torrence as an example, one can be a successful commercial school and still not be a McDojo. Where does the difference come about? It usually first shows up in inflated rank. The Gracies will do many things to make a buck but in my experience they will not give out inflated rank above say a blue belt, no stripe and do not charge a testing fee. (They use four stripes for their blue belts) So while an occasional person may make blue belt before they should, ranking these people does not drive their business plan.

By contrast a lot of schools out there derive real income off of their belt testing fees, and use rapidly promoted people to round out their apprentice instructor base. Once the ranking system goes to hell in a school, and people are wearing belts they shouldn't be wearing then money making has crapped out the school. So McDojo is a distinct term from Bullshido indicating commercial practices that destroy quality control.

I did actually say the gracies were not considered a McDojo by most, because they had good quality control. :love3:

I agree, rank inflation - and rank destandardization - is a big, big facet of the problem here. A black belt in one art means nothing next to a black belt in another art.

I actually have a good idea for a whole new thread and I'm off to actually start it.