Thread: Defining McDojo

  1. #1
    Mercurius makes this attempt to define the nature of a McDojo with his latest article:

    Certainly, that's not to say that there can't be "degrees" of 'McDojo'. For example, a lower-echelon McDojo could charge provide Olympic-style TKD training only and claim street self-defense effectiveness. A McDojo of the next highest degree could do similar and charge excessively for it. After that, worse McDojos might have masters of fraudulent credentials or be guilty of defrauding students.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Danvers MA
    oh......................this is according to who

  3. #3
    Mercurius's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Karate, Wrestling
    Like I said, this is something we all need to be involved in if we're going to fulfill our purpose as a message board. Everyone has something to add to this based on their own experience, and everyone can benefit from this being clear.

    We can have ten times the respect we have now and strike ten times the fear into McDojos by saying something like, "Soke so-and-so made this outrageous claim which does not stand up to logic, said he was taught by this person whom we contacted and has never heard of him, and has been reported by these students as having committed fraud" instead of "ahaha I looked at the website they teach TKD it has to be a mcdojo".

    With thanks to Mr. Don Cunningham, author of "Martial Arts Frauds and Flakes" (from which 1-10 were adapted) and Secret Weapons of Jujutsu, Sharp Phil, author of the VS profiles (from which 11-17 were adapted), and even PeedeeShaolin, author of "What is a McDojo?" parts 1 and 2 (from which 18-22 were adapted), here is a list I have compiled of characteristics of McDojo masters.

    In the compilation of this list, I decided to use the works of the above plus a few my own additions and alterations, instead of examining the characteristics of known or suspected McDojo masters. Since McDojo masters are often fraudulent in different ways, I thought it best to create a list based on common sense and the observations of others that could be applied to suspects, as opposed to (for instance) creating a list of characteristics of Temple Kung Fu and applying it to Tiger Schulmann's Karate or USSD.

    Characteristics of a McDojo "Master"
    (a.k.a. McSensei, bozo-shifu, Sokemon, etc.):

    1. Create fictional backgrounds and fictional martial arts styles

    2. Enter into mutual recognition agreements with other self-proclaimed martial arts expert

    3. Purchase certificates and credentials from unscrupulous individuals and organizations

    4. Claim to be a former member or self-defense instructor for elite military forces, intelligence agencies, or law enforcement

    5. Claim to be a military or law-enforcement veteran, frequently making fictional or greatly exaggerated claims

    6. Claim to have trained extensively with Oriental instructor, often under circumstances requiring secrecy

    7. Often adopt flamboyant martial arts titles (soke, sigung, shihan, grandmaster, etc.)

    8. Frequently assume or purchase academic titles, degrees, etc.

    9. Allow training accidents to occur due to inadequate supervision or lack of experience

    10. Commit physical, mental, or sexual abuse upon their students

    11. Appear to have a healthy ego and seem preoccupied with telling others about their talents

    12. Claim to teach a highly effective 'ultimate fighting/self-defense system' that can be learned in an unusually short amount of time

    13. Claim to be revealing previously secret knowledge, often ancient in origin and/or tied to exclusive groups (royal families, Oriental military units, Ninja/Shaolin/Samurai, etc.)

    14. Seek to associate themselves with well-known or famous martial artists as their teachers or students in order to create an impression of legitimacy, often having only "taught" or "learned from" said martial artists for a very short period (a seminar) or never at all.

    15. Make implied threats to their detractors (invitation to dojo, proposing a match) or seek to create the impression that one need be of superior martial talent to question their claims or legitimacy

    16. Exhibit inappropriate anger and vulgarity in their communications when questioned, often resorting to private or public harassment of their detractors

    17. Uses their students in discussion to support their claims and ideas, often having students claim to be a neutral party who does not train under or know them in order to create the impression of credibility.

    18. Guarantee that a student will be a black belt in a certain amount of time in exchange for a special, usually excessive, fee.

    19. Employ aggressive sales tactics designed to destroy resistance in a student in order to coerce them into signing lengthy contracts.

    20. Threaten students with legal action if contracts are broken.

    21. Employ inexperienced students without pay or knowledge of teaching to teach other students

    22. Charge excessive testing fees and consistently pass students with disregard for any unmet qualifications in the student.

    23. Seek to extort money from their students through various means (bait-and switch fraud, forced purchases of training material or merchandise, pressure students to sign lengthy contracts)

    24. Employ training methods inconsistent with advertised claims (i.e. teaching Olympic-style TKD, Wushu taolu, or competition Judo and claiming self-defense effectiveness).

    25. Seek to mold their dojos and students into chapters and members of a destructive mind-control cult organized around themselves as the master and leader.

    As always, everyone is encouraged to criticize, evaluate, and add to this list, even guys like KFDW and Peedee. I know you're mature enough at heart (perhaps even moreso than myself) to put aside our differences and I hope you can recognize this is something above whatever disagreements we may have on other subjects and join me in a worthy effort such as this, if nothing else.

    Edited by - Mercurius on October 25 2002 00:31:18
    "The morning glory blooms for an hour. It differs not at heart from the giant pine, which lives for a thousand years."


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