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Help! I think my family is in a ninja LARP cult!

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    Help! I think my family is in a ninja LARP cult!

    Dear worthy martial arts community at large,

    Two of my three cousins (ages 16 & 10) are studying at Ninpiden Dojo in Parker Colorado. My third nephew, 14, came to stay with us in Albuquerque last summer where I enrolled him in the summer program at Greg Jackson's. While there, he advised me of the going-on at his dojo and the reasons he left. He also gave me a book his instructor gave him on grappling.

    I researched the dojo's website and spoke to some of the cousins' friends. I must say I am rather concerned of the quality of the instruction at this business. (The instructor, not Greg, and the students at Jackson's thought the book was some sort of heinous joke).

    So my question to you all is this: will one of you be so kind as to research this scary place or would you prefer I do so myself?
    I would like to do it and report it as Bunyip did on West Wind Bok Fu.
    (Ironically, I was a part of West Wind in the '80s and can confirm ALL of what he reported with the exception of CORE as I was young and had never been there before).

    Any help or advice given would be appreciated!

    Sincerely,

    LKBS

    http://ninpiden.com/
    (PLEASE check out the video on the home page!)

    #2
    OOPs! I mean my NEPHEWS!
    (I know, I'm an idiot, sorry>)

    Comment


      #3
      I'm pretty sure you have to do as much legwork as you can before anyone here will help you

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by wetdogmedic View Post
        Dear worthy martial arts community at large,

        Two of my three cousins (ages 16 & 10) are studying at Ninpiden Dojo in Parker Colorado. My third nephew, 14, came to stay with us in Albuquerque last summer where I enrolled him in the summer program at Greg Jackson's. While there, he advised me of the going-on at his dojo and the reasons he left. He also gave me a book his instructor gave him on grappling.

        I researched the dojo's website and spoke to some of the cousins' friends. I must say I am rather concerned of the quality of the instruction at this business. (The instructor, not Greg, and the students at Jackson's thought the book was some sort of heinous joke).

        So my question to you all is this: will one of you be so kind as to research this scary place or would you prefer I do so myself?
        I would like to do it and report it as Bunyip did on West Wind Bok Fu.
        (Ironically, I was a part of West Wind in the '80s and can confirm ALL of what he reported with the exception of CORE as I was young and had never been there before).

        Any help or advice given would be appreciated!

        Sincerely,

        LKBS

        http://ninpiden.com/
        (PLEASE check out the video on the home page!)
        Not to sound rude, but I advise that you include much more specifics as to what is bothering you. Why do you want us to research it? Why is it giving you cult vibes?

        Can you possibly scan the booklet, or at the very least, explain what techniques; etc. were so laughable? For that matter, what did your nephew say were the goings on there, and why DID your nephew leave? It's not that I don't want to help you; I work with children and realize that there are lots of people out there who capitalize on how gullible they can be. It's just that you simply haven't given me a reason to believe that anything fraudulent and/or cultish is going on.

        EDIT: I read the website, including the New Students page. Granted, it did strike me as an odd read, but more because it read like "Karate Kid's definition of whatmartial arts are about" than "cult". As of now, it looks like a McDojo teaching "life lessons" and "MMA-Lite". Please provide us with more information. When in doubt, include more details.
        Last edited by Lysol; 4/07/2010 5:55pm, .

        Comment


          #5
          MMAMickey:
          I'm pretty sure you have to do as much legwork as you can before anyone here will help you

          OK, I sure will.

          Lysol; Not rude at all. While I'm no deadly badass, I've taken Kajukenbo (good), Hakko-ryu JJ (bad) and escrima (cool). I've dropped off the kids and sat in on several classes. The instructors never interact physically with the students and just emphasize the "theory of a technique". There is no sparring, no contact and they want everyone to "feel good". There is also style restriction; no training outside their system.

          Specifically, in their grappling class they place you in the end position (a submitting pose) and tell you what to do at that point. Granted, I've only watched, never interacted, never confronted the instructor.
          BUT....they forbid randori, their tournaments consist of sword, kata & self defense. (Self defense is "done with a partner and demonstrated in a controlled manner, to show effectiveness of technique" <from their website>) These are the main reasons Chris left-he wanted aliveness, resistence and something that was more than play-acting. It's my own fault, I suppose. I'm the one that insisted he keep his hand in martial arts over the summer and had him go to Greg's school. The only reason I chose there is because I met him a couple of times and was impressed with him and that a firefighter I worked with goes there and became really good!

          The booklet that I referenced shows pictures and short paragraphs on how to do the technique. My nephew's instructor told me that most everything in that book demonstrates what NOT to do. IF I can get a copy of the book, who do I send it to? I really don't want to seem like I'm talking out my ass.

          So, if it's determined that I need to enroll and give an unbiased as possible evaluation, I will do so. I'll write it like a paramedic report and be objective; give the positives and the negatives.

          Thank you for the responses so far,

          LKBS

          Comment


            #6
            First off, thank you for such a quick response.

            Also, before I begin, there's no need to enroll in the school. No sense wasting money on something completely worthless. And, if you own a scanner, scan a sample of one of the worthless techniques demonstrated and upload it to this thread. If not, then I'm sure one of the resident BJJ guys can help out. I practice muay thai and savate, so I am of little help for grappling critique.

            Anyhow, definite signs of McDojo. And the no crosstraining (i.e. studying at a different school) is certainly a red flag. Out of curiousity, who is teaching BJJ at the school? And who usually teaches the MMA class? To your knowledge, has anyone in the school competed in an MMA fight?

            P.S. Jackson is one of the best guys alive to go to as a coach. great move to have your nephew train with him!

            Comment


              #7
              Lysol,

              Cool, I'll see if I can get Chris to give me the book and I'll scan it ASAP.

              Greg IS cool. I went from Raton to ABQ for a medic refresher class. I had heard about his place and went by when it was off San Mateo and I70. He was the only one in at the time and took a couple hours just to BS with me. No arrogance, no nose in the air. I asked if I could send my buddy by and he said he looked forward to it. I got back and had Rocky call him. Greg came by our dojo and worked at length with Rocky and toured the area ghost towns; a passion of his it seems.
              Rocky moved to ABQ and is now a professional MMA fighter as Rocky "the Angry Aztec" Ramirez due to Greg.

              To answer your question, my nephew told me that the instructors learned BJJ from books and videos and no one there has ever done an MMA match. I love him, but he IS 14 and I only have his word to go on. I do trust him, though.

              LKBS

              Comment


                #8
                What does this place do that indicates cult activity? If you want a handy checklist look up rick ross whose website contains discriptions of cultic behavior. Also look at:

                http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/cults.htm

                http://www.rickross.com/warningsigns.html

                YouTube- Martial Arts Cults

                Comment


                  #9
                  Samuel Browning,

                  I reviewed the links you gave me-very interesting. The title of my thread was glib and intended to catch interest. I see now that using the word "cult" was an unfortunate choice. I apologize for that. While Ninpiden Dojo might not be a cult, I think it might qualify as a McDojo.

                  Incidentally, I am struck on how small our world actually is! The no-nonsense martial arts link staggered me for a minute. I just retired from the FD and moved to Founder's Village in Castle Rock Colorado six weeks ago! If I'm not mistaken, No-nonsense is over on Wilcox! You're in New England, do you know Mr. McYoung? Should I go and see him?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Not a cult....but Bullshido?

                    While watching the cubs game I saw this thread and decided to do a little research. Please note this is a very preliminary/cursory look at the website. I will try to get more in depth early next week after handing in my summary judgement brief (a big hello to all the other lawyers on here...just a lowly 1L here).

                    I noticed a few things:

                    1. All of the programs do not include any sparring or resistant partners. Even the MMA program only focuses on physical fitness and self esteem.

                    2. The instructor pages have no information on training, belts, or rankings. They mainly consist of background information from their past and current events. The lead instructor is especially troubling. It looks like he has no training in MT, BJJ, boxing, etc. It looks as if he has only trained ninpo and it does not say for how long he trained before opening his own academy.

                    If a belt is listed they do not tell you how it was attained and who awarded it. For all we know it is from a belt mill or is simply self awarded. Sensei Rudy (http://ninpiden.com/instructors/Sens...sky%20Bio.html) started training at this dojo at 5 and gained his blackbelt by 16. 11 years and getting a BB before 18? fishy.

                    Sensei Sawtelle achieved her BB in 3 years and is now an instructor. Sounds like Bullshido.

                    3. None of the instructors look to be in any kind of "shape". For the most part they either look skinny or flabby. If I am going someplace for MMA, I want my instructors in shape. How are they going to get you in fight shape if they themselves are not? Furthermore, none of their instructors look to have any kind of fight experience.

                    Quick and dirty. feel free to nitpick. Back to some civ pro and some summary judgment.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      While Mac McYoung is a controversal person in martial arts circles, I don't think that meeting him will be a negative, and might even be a positive. Sure, go talk to him.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        bigskymma,

                        Thank you for looking into it. I ordinarily wouldn't care HOW a dojo does things, but this is my family, right? I would rather they be somewhere competent.
                        Sensei Weekley maintains that he was a police officer in Ohio. I searched for some 3 hours, but could find no record of that. It could be that I just never found any such reference and he was, but my nephew told me he once said he tried to get on a department, but couldn't. The next day he went back to saying he was a LEO. I don't think you need to be or have been a LEO to be a good instructor, but I think he might be straining his credibility. My father worked for Oakland PD, CA for 23 years and Weekley knows some of the verbature, but not a lot of the procedures.
                        I don't know, I just don't know.

                        LKBS

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Can you find out which city he was an officer in? That would be critical information for such an inquiry.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            My dad takes them tomorrow; I'll place the request to him. I'll call him right now.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Well, that didn't go over too well! I got, "Why?! Why are you investigating their instructor?!!" He might do it, maybe not. Are you guys sure you don't want me to do it myself? I'm not big on confrontation, but I'm willing to ask questions and enroll briefly if I must. I can be unobtrusive. I'm retired and only 37; I could do it for the edification.

                              LKBS

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