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fnargle
10/14/2009 6:34am,
It seems that every Dojo I hear about in Alaska is regarded as a McDojo by most. I guess it's not surprising but I would like formal training of some sort and the only local Dojo sounds reeeeeeaaaaly sketchy. Their site just screams bullshit.

www.kenaikarate.com/

Anyone know anything about it?

I live in Kenai AK by the way.

kenso
10/16/2009 4:06am,
Well, the dojo whose link you posted certainly carries many of the hallmarks of a McDojo. It talks a lot about the health benefits, fitness and positive thinking.


Our martial arts progaram includes a variety of activities, such as holiday partys, in-school tournaments and award banquets, outdoor workouts, sleepovers and more. We combine a warm family-like environment with state of the art instruction to help you to reach your martial arts goals of learning self-defense and improved health the fun way!

Says it all, really.

I did a quick bit of googling, and there definitely doesn't seem to be a lot of choices in your area. It looks like your only options are to train there or commute three hours to Anchorage. Sorry.

F-factory
10/16/2009 7:29am,
Go to a trial lesson and follow your gut feeling. What are your expectations? To find Mr.Myagi pruning his bonzai trees?
The text on their website is irrelevent, it is the training that matters. I have had many a good fighting class and workout at Dojos that looked like Feng Shui heavens judging by the pictures and the text on their websites.

It is always the trainer that counts.

Regards
John

fnargle
10/23/2009 7:10am,
Thanks for the input. I checked it out, they asked me to show them/explain to them what I already know and they said they couldn't teach me. haha

I asked why not and they said none of their students are at my level. That made me laugh a bit because they had blackbelts there and I have never had formal training.

Muerteds
10/23/2009 12:44pm,
Your first problem, of course, is that you live in Kenai. Your second problem is that you haven't heard of many dojos in Alaska, if you only hear about "McDojos". How many have you heard of? How many are on the peninsula, for that matter? Your research seems a little bit deficient.

The fact of the matter is, you live in bumfuck, Alaska. There isn't going to be a ton of instruction for you. I'm not trying to flame you, I'm hoping you see the reality of your situation. You're going to have to work much harder to find instruction than someone who lives in Anchorage, which has a wealth of options in town. Fortunately for me, I was stationed in Anchorage, and had a wealth of options.

Obviously, the school you visited isn't for you if they told you straight-up that they have nothing to offer you. Good on them for honesty. Have you looked at Anchor Point? Ninilchick? Homer? Seward? Or, Heaven forbid, doing training once or twice a month in Anchorage? Even if you have schools nearby that don't seem the best you could get, you may have to settle for second-best, and understand that. That, or you could post embittered rants to Bullshido. One of those choices will actively help you.

fnargle
10/24/2009 5:32am,
Commuting is a big pain in the ass with a full time job and paying to train once a month in a gym 130 miles away is far from worth it.

If you're implying that Homer, Ninilchik, Anchor point or Seward have much to offer other than fighting for sport then your facts are a little mixed. I'm not interested in training for sport.

As far as only hearing about McDojos goes, a lot of people with little martial arts experience like to claim they are blackbelts and charge for personal or one on one self defense lessons around here, getting attention by putting fliers up on bulletin boards. For some reason this goes entirely unnoticed by the law and a lot of suckers (and jr high students) get screwed out of some time and money.

I'm not ignorant to the fact that I live in the middle of nowhere, I actually like living here. Not that it matters.

Muerteds
10/24/2009 4:11pm,
I'm not implying that the peninsula has anything specific to offer. I'm not implying anything at all. I'm specifically stating that you will have to look hard to find something that suits you, and may have to settle for "training for sport".

That, of course, leaves you wide open to ye olde "sport vs. th3 [email protected]" debate, seen regularly throughout this site. You say you've had no formal training, yet list ninjitsu and hapkido as your style choices. Where then did you get those styles? Intarweb training? Videos? Books? You say you're advanced enough that the local karate club won't have you. That's either impressive or sad, and it's hard to say which.

I know there is a big tae kwon do presence in Anchorage, and there are two schools that teach hapkido. One was a school I checked out upon moving there, and though I opted for another school, was nice, and was high on my list. Is tae kwon do some of the "sport" fighting that is available there near Kenai? I know the Alaska Judo Association doesn't have any judo clubs out that way, yet. There's no ninjitsu training up there that I'm aware of.

Why don't you start with a little about your training, and what, exactly, is available, and maybe people can help steer you to something more useful than bitching about how there's nothing to do? I mean, you do realize that people can advertise to teach whatever martial art they want, and no law enforcement agency will step in to enforce non-existent codes? You might find a little one-on-one in a garage more useful than a book. I had some one-on-one training in my day, and enjoyed it. Certainly it helped with my basics, which everyone can use more of.

Anyway, I'm at sea, and my internet connection is going to be a bit spotty for the next 3 weeks, but I'll check in on your response from time to time.

fnargle
10/25/2009 5:11am,
That's pretty much all that my training has been. Just some one-on-one stuff with a friend of mine who says he took ninjutsu for six years. While I'm not sure if it is ninjutsu since it doesn't really look like the garbage all over youtube. If anything, it's better than what I already knew, which was just some basic boxing. As far as Hapkido goes, my uncle taught me some wrist locks and kicks from Hapkido when I was like fifteen. Both trained in California.

I know, not a lot of credibility here but I'm not asking for anyones approval, nor do I claim any level of expertise.

I certainly wouldn't put the local dojos lack of anything to offer as impressive since I'm nothing special. I guess they just suck.

While I realise it's a low priority for law enforcement, It is illegal for unlicenced practitioners to charge for formal martial arts instruction.

I wish there was Judo near by, It seems useful enough that I wouldn'y mind dabbling in it. I don't have much interest in most grappling arts though.

I wasn't bitching about having nothing to do, I was just stating that the options at hand for formal training aren't worth it. I suppose this site is made specifically for bitching though so it can seem that way.

Any advice is still appreciated but lets keep in mind the old saying "arguing over the internet is like racing in the special olympics: even if you win, you're still retarded."

kenso
10/26/2009 12:50am,
Hmm, well this post will be entirely conjecture based on very little information, so take it for what it's worth. After looking at your "training" history, unless there are things you aren't listing, I find it difficult to credit that "they said none of their students are at my level". That seems a very odd thing to say. Even if they're just starting out or something, I would think they'd welcome anyone who had prior training.

The only exception to that would be if they felt you weren't open to instruction but were more interested in showing what you "already know" and how talented you are. You may or may not actually have some talent, I have no way to judge, but some of your statements would incline me to believe that someone might tell you that they couldn't teach you anything. If you read the statement "I don't think we can teach you anything", there are two ways of taking it:
1. You're so awesome that we have nothing to teach you.
2. You're so full of your own knowledge that we don't want to try to teach you.

Having been in martial arts for a long time, I've seen a lot of guys walk in just bursting to tell me how much they already know. It's generally because they're really amped up to train and want some approval. Fine. But it can very easily get in the way of the actual instruction. More than once I've had someone try to tell me "I know how to do that" while I'm trying to instruct them. I usually respond with "If you knew how to do it, I wouldn't be trying to show you". The ones that continue to argue from there I just leave alone.

Again, I could be off base here. I don't know you, I don't know the dojo, I wasn't there, and I'm basing this all on your few posts. But that's the impression I get from you.

fnargle
10/26/2009 11:03pm,
Understandable assumptions. I did leave out a lot of information but I don't think I need to get into specifics.

I've already got all the info I needed to about the dojo, so topic closed in my opinion.

Muerteds
10/30/2009 7:22pm,
While I realise it's a low priority for law enforcement, It is illegal for unlicenced practitioners to charge for formal martial arts instruction.

Better to deal with this here in NewbieTown than in YMAS where you will get ear-humped. I'll put this gently- what kind of thought process led you to this delusional belief? You do realize that this site's purported purpose is to "out" the fakers. To let others know when claims are made that are unsubstantiated. Why? Because there is no legal oversight of who teaches what in the martial arts world. So, private citizens decided to take action.

Now, I think this place is a bit Quixotic at times. But their hearts are in the right place (just behind the sternum), in that they hate seeing people scammed.

Your own definition of what is "illegal" is fraught with ambiguity. Who decides who is licensed? Who hands out those certificates? What constitutes formal training vs. informal training? And, what are the penalties for ignoring those statutes?

I think once you start answering those questions you'll see how misguided your statement is. Why address it at all? To help you understand what martial arts is, and what it is not. It is not a well-regulated hegemony of schools working in unison. It is a fractious, cantankerous lot of individuals, all working towards goals that are often in disharmony, generally with little to no oversight. Keep that in mind, and you may find something better than a buddy who swears he knows some stuff to teach you something.

MGM
10/30/2009 9:13pm,
Finargel, I got this email from a friend who trains in Shotokan in Homer.

"am training in Shotokan Karate, and it is ISKF style (International Shotokan Karate Federation).

We have a visiting Sensei from Alaska Shotokan Karate in Anchorage that conducts the Rank Test.

The Karate style that we started 3 years ago was SKIF style, slightly different from what we have now. It was still Shotokan but we switched to ISKF so that we can join tournaments and camps.

Our Dojo is nice, it's located in the DMV building on Pioneer Avenue (main part of town)."

Not sure if this program meets your needs, but I encourage you to check it out. I can get contact numbers if you are interested. Driving from Kenai to Homer is less than 90 miles and is relatively easy throughout the winter thanks to the warm weather of the Lower Kenai Peninsula.

There is Kenpo Karate in Homer too, but I'm not sure where. I could ask my friend for more detail if you are interested in that style.

fnargle
11/01/2009 8:06am,
Homer is still a bit too far for everyday travel but I won't rule it out.

I have a little Shotokan knowledge already and it seems decent but a little too kata based. Granted I only know heian shodan and heian nidan.

Thank ya much MGM.