Left the McDojo, What to do Next? (Northern CA)

Discussion in 'Kenpo / Kempo - General' started by Martialartsfan14780, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. Martialartsfan14780

    Martialartsfan14780 White Belt

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    Hi Everyone,

    I'm new to this forum and really like it so far. Here is my dilemma. Maybe you can help?

    After completing roughly half of the curriculum at a Northern California martial arts school, I left over serious ethical issues going on. Although my instructor was wonderful, his boss began hiring new instructors who should never have been in front of kids, period. At one point I was offered an instructor position as well if I paid the boss $15,000. I declined.

    Anyway, I'm not sure what to do at this point. I adored my original instructor and the group of fellow students I trained with. It was wonderful to celebrate everyone's triumphs big and small. People have said, well if you cared about your original instructor, you should have stayed. Maybe that was right? Idk at this point. At the time, it seemed like staying would only condone seriously problematic behavior by the new hires.

    So what to do now? Any advice would be great. I've reflected long on this, prayed about it, and visited several possible new schools. And I still don't know what to do. I also don't know if it is worth trying to help my original teacher (who was without blame).

    Thank you for any advice
     
  2. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

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    ...$15k? Are you joking? Because if youre serious and that wasnt a typo, good lord.

    Anyway, ill quote a friend of mine. Ok, its not an exact quote. I always remember the meaning and forget the words.
    "Its nice to be attached to where or what you train, but youre the one whos learning, and you evolve and mature. Sometimes the two dont get along. Dont be afraid to be a bit selfish, and go try new things. You will either find something great and wonder how you never knew what you were missing, or youll find out youre not missing out on anything. Either way its not painful."
    This advice has never served me wrong, and so, in my humble opinion, leave them in your past, and look to your future. Try new things, do new things, find something new to enjoy. Theres lots out there. Dont become attached to a place or thing just because youve been doing it for a while.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Call me crazy, but I don't think there's any reason I'd ever pay someone to allow me to be an instructor.
     
  4. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    I don't know. I might be tempted if they were throwing in a house or nice car to make it worth my while. :)
     
  5. Aiseant

    Aiseant Yellow Belt

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    I really feel sorry for you, Martialartsfan14780. Leaving a dojang you loved is never easy, but I also really think you should if you don't feel home anymore.


    Man ... I really thought I read it wrong ... paying to be instructor ? WTF ?!!


    I disagree with "people". For me, the way you see your art has been influenced by your instructor ... and so the fact that you don't like what's going on. I once tried tkd in an other club, where I didn't agree with the spirit. In this condition, I felt ashamed of using what my master taught me so leaving was the good thing to do, to stay in the way he showed me. I think your situation is similar.


    At this point, what can you do to help him ?

    I strongly empathize with you, and hope you'll find a place you feel right.
    I can understand how you feel toward your teacher, and would advice to go have serious talk with him. If the situation is that bad for you and he's staying, maybe he saw something you didn't, and can help you.
     
  6. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

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    Paying $15,000 no less. I could pay the bills for a year with that kind of money. Well, most of them.
     
  7. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Paying to become an instructor? 15k no less!! Yeah, that sounds like a mcdojo! As for what to do next...well, if you're interested in staying with something Kenpoish, I'd suggest Kajukenbo. Not sure if any of this will help:
    http://www.kajukenbo.com/cafe/index.php/board,36.0.html

    Prof. John Bishop is a member on Martial Talk, as well as the Kaju Cafe. He could most likely offer some help with NorCal Kaju schools.

    Good luck in your search!
     
  8. James Kovacich

    James Kovacich Senior Master

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    MJS is right about John Bishop helping you find a Nor Cal school. And Kaju is an excellent choice, you wont be dissapointed. I checked your profile and didn't see where your from and you didn't disclose it in your post either.

    As far as likeing your instructor so much. If he's truly become a friend, that shouldn't change by your leaving.



    Sent from my DROID3 using Tapatalk 2
     
  9. sfs982000

    sfs982000 Master Black Belt

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    As unfortunate as it is, it sounds like you definietely did the right thing breaking away from your school. Not really sure how much pressure they put on your about paying to become an instructor, but 15K is ridiculous no matter what. If you truly love studying Kenpo then I'm sure if you look around you'll eventually find a school that will be a better fit for you. I wouldn't rule out possibly cross training into another art, even temporarily.
     
  10. Martialartsfan14780

    Martialartsfan14780 White Belt

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    Thank you, Aiseant. Your advice really helped. I agree with your comment that staying when the spirit of the training feels wrong, is wrong too. My original instructor is an idealist and stellar instructor. I never once questioned his judgment, ethics, or spirit. His boss is an opportunist. Boss comes across as abusive and obtuse. I guess I felt that good would always win out. I still do. But this situation has really thrown me.

    A separate thread talked about how the martial arts draws certain bad people/elements to the dojo at a higher rate than other sports. Certain precautions like screening, never giving new hires unsupervised access to minors, etc. seems rather common sense to me. When one new hire in particular began acting very oddly (you can paint the picture), I quit rather than condone it. There were other students who agreed the behavior was not right. I tried to speak to original instructor. As weird as this sounds, he sincerely does not believe this, despite clear signs to the contrary. I do not know why.

    Btw, where in France are you training? Has training differed in Europe as opposed to Asia or the States? Cheers.
     
  11. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    Twenty years from now you'll look back at this with a shrug. That is, if you just go train. So....just go train.
     
  12. Martialartsfan14780

    Martialartsfan14780 White Belt

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    Thank you again to all the members who have written and offered advice. It has helped a lot. Everyone's feedback was great and yes, $15,000 was correct, not a typo.

    To answer some questions, many people have tried to talk to our Sensei, to no avail. If I could help (financially, emotionally, whatever), I would. He fundamentally does not believe it.

    Today, I read an ad for a dance class that said, "Do you ever wake up in the morning and feel like you've just GOTTA dance?" That's how I feel about martial arts. I wake up in the morning and feel like I've just gotta do martial arts :) I can't explain it. It's like the movie where all the boy wanted to do was dance. All I want to do is martial arts. :) I think about the animal forms and how they could be varied. I think about katas with weapons forms. It's pure happiness to think about beautiful forms and playing human chess on the mat. I don't think I could do knitting (or insert whatever other hobby) and be as happy.

    Also, I've visited a lot of schools. A handful are decent. A whole lot completely suck. Does anyone have any recommendations for specific schools in the Northern California area? Another consideration is what to do with the time invested in this curriculum. Are there any schools that can complete the curriculum or is it a given that I must start over? I feel so sick of McDojos at this point and want to know that if I invest time, heart, and money in a school that there is a path to completion. If I suck and don't finish, then that's my fault. But it would be nice to know that the teacher wants to teach, wants the students to learn, and wants the dojo to have everyone at their best. I'm really bothered by schools with little kids/adults paying to rank up with the forms that look shoddy. Or others passing their pals to black belt while everyone else stalls out.

    Also, any advice on how to get the "heart and soul" back into the forms? Everything looks technically all right, but lacks the soul and fire that it once had. What do you do to get beyond this in your training?

    Again thank you for pointing me in the right direction. Best to all of you.
     
  13. Martialartsfan14780

    Martialartsfan14780 White Belt

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    To Buka, I doubt it, that I'll look back with a shrug. Some of my friends quit and will not continue with martial arts because of this. I've seen one boy traumatized because of it. And my original sensei, who I truly admired, fell to the dark side, in my opinion.

    A lot of people say keep on walking and never look back. Maybe this is a healthier attitude? I'm more of the "let's attempt a rescue". But it seems impossible.
     
  14. James Kovacich

    James Kovacich Senior Master

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    Nor Cal is really big. What is your location?
     
  15. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

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    The best advice i can give you is, pop out a phone book, or an online directory, and find EVERY martial arts place within proximity to you. List them all. Go from there :)

    If you want to get beyond that in your forms, thats up to you. For me, it helps to stop trying to use the forms youve learnt, and just practice their composition. Then think of the forms as a composition of compositions. I dont really like doing forms myself, but im apparently good at them.
     
  16. Martialartsfan14780

    Martialartsfan14780 White Belt

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    Thank you for the excellent advice. A few formers students and I reached out to our original instructor to no avail. I feel really disappointed, but at least we tried. He's a good guy and doesn't deserve his current situation. I'm going to pray about it and let it be.

    That said, I'll continue to train and seek a new dojo home. Leaving under the circumstances was clearly the right decision.

    I would love to hear what people have done post-McDojo. Did you open your own school? Train in a separate style? Continue in the same style? Train in a garage? Did anyone have a tough time leaving? Or do you think once you see the truth, the decision to leave is already made? Thanks and best to you all.
     
  17. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    As a 'serial leaver' let me tell you of my experience.

    I first quit many years ago after the school where I was training left the organisation we were with and went under another chief instuctor. The move was messy and left nasty feelings and with family pressures I gave training away completely for many years. Stopping was, with hindsight, the wrong decision. Lesson 1 .... Don't stop training.

    I always told myself I would go back and eventually a guy came door knocking and invited me to train with his school. It was local, it was reasonably priced and it sounded pretty much the same as I had been doing. Unfortunately it was a McDojo. The money came from grading, the instruction was less than ordinary from inadequately trained instructors and some of what they were teaching was just technically incorrect. I left. Stopping, with hindsight was the correct decision. Lesson 2 .... Before you sign up to a new dojo check it out thoroughly and if you do start and find things are not what you know they should be, get out fast.

    So, I found another school nearby that was run under the organisation of the son of my first teacher, and it was also close by. Wonderful! I was quickly back into it and loved it .. until the guy closed the school without informing us. Turns out he would run a school in one place until he owed a bit of money, shift to a new place and do the same. However, we tried to convince him to keep it going and he wouldn't. So we offered to run it as a separate school but under him. He didn't want that either. So we opened our own school in the same location, linked up under my first teacher and continued our training. With hindsight, continuing to train was a great move. Lesson 3 .... when one door closes another opens.

    A few years later we found another variation of our style training more reality based martial art. We left the security of the umbrella organisation and set off by ourselves. Most of our members left to continue as we had been training which left just four of us training. However, that number has slowly grown and we are back to full on training. We are independent but now we have links with other like minded martial artists all around the world. With hindsight taking the risk of leaving the security of what we knew to venture out by ourselves was priceless. Lesson 4 ... don't by scared to take that big step of starting your own school.

    What this offers you is a number of choices. Under the circumstances, where you have obviously been assessed as capable as an instructor, I would grab a few of your mates who you call 'former student's' and start training. Depending on your experience, you might like to approach a higher ranked practitioner, who you respect, and ask if you could set up as a satellite under him. That would cover insurance and give you ongoing grading opportunity.

    Good luck with your choice. :asian:
     
  18. Martialartsfan14780

    Martialartsfan14780 White Belt

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    That was a truly awesome post. Good for you for starting your own school :). It seems like it was your destiny. And it sounds like you've gone beyond simply knowing a curriculum to mastering and refining an art. That's an incredible story.

    In my situation, I wish we could have all left and started our own school. It would have been nirvana. And sadly, the opportunity was always there (we had a good mix of skills, we could have funded it, the group was harmonious). The problem was the original instructor either could not or would not leave the McDojo. Plus, I don't think he ever felt this was even an option on the table. They drilled into him "loyalty" and filled him with lofty promises. He is a good guy and maybe thinks he is being loyal. Or maybe he has no choice?

    I think the idea of voyaging out on your own is incomprehensible to some people. Not passing judgment, just an observation. It takes courage, balls, and a certain f-it attitude. And that comes from experience (having and learning from bad decisions), maturity, and probably some financial cushion. No?
     
  19. Kenpo5.0Hawker

    Kenpo5.0Hawker Orange Belt

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    Martialartsfan. If your still looking at possibly joining another school I'd recommend this place http://jeffspeakmansebastopol.com/ my daughter has been training there for several months and I really liked how they handled kids there but after watching some adult classes I vowed to make enough adjustments to my life so that I could take class there as well. The Adult classes are smallish and lots of fun. Everyone is very supportive and in a good mood. Our Instructor can really move but whats even better, he loves to teach. That love of teaching seems to be contagious because his assistants are also good. We train hard, but that's subjective. Everyone is inspired to train as hard as they can.

    I have done some TKD in my youth and I do think that very good experisnce has made me very picky about schools. Not saying my school is the best, but I am saying my school is awesome for me and if your in the area it's gotta be worth a look for ya.

    Hope I have helped and good luck finding a new home.

    Tom
     
  20. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    There are a lot of opportunities out there for a martial practitioner. Your just going to have to look hard and find the right fit for you. My advise is never compromise and find some thing that you will enjoy for a long time. By the way if you look hard I am sure you can find someone in your area that is teaching who does not run a McDojang. Good luck.
     

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