Avoiding a McDojo MMA School

Kosho Gakkusei

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What on earth do they want karate gis for?
Yeah, like I said - until about a year ago they were [name of guy] Karate and now they are [name of guy] Mixed Martial Arts. It seems that they adopted a grappling/mma curricullum to keep with the current trend as there is no legitimate grappling pedigree for the organization - wrestling or jujutsu. The guy who started the organization was Kyokoshinkai before he "created" his own art based on what techiques he felt were most effective. The guy who started the organization has a background in bare knuckle Kyokoshinkai competition and students in the Org seem to do well in Kickboxing competition but like I said - not as well against legitimate grapplers.
 

Tez3

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Yeah, like I said - until about a year ago they were [name of guy] Karate and now they are [name of guy] Mixed Martial Arts. It seems that they adopted a grappling/mma curricullum to keep with the current trend as there is no legitimate grappling pedigree for the organization - wrestling or jujutsu. The guy who started the organization was Kyokoshinkai before he "created" his own art based on what techiques he felt were most effective. The guy who started the organization has a background in bare knuckle Kyokoshinkai competition and students in the Org seem to do well in Kickboxing competition but like I said - not as well against legitimate grapplers.

It really would be worth his while getting a good BJJ/grappling coach in and building a good team up, it would make good business sense as well. People are more likely to overlook the cost if they get good training and fights.
If I were in it for the money I'd prefer charging less and having regular long term customers providing a secure living to charging a lot and not having a regular student list which is what tends to happen if you charge a lot.
 

Kosho Gakkusei

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It really would be worth his while getting a good BJJ/grappling coach in and building a good team up, it would make good business sense as well. People are more likely to overlook the cost if they get good training and fights.
If I were in it for the money I'd prefer charging less and having regular long term customers providing a secure living to charging a lot and not having a regular student list which is what tends to happen if you charge a lot.

I'm with you on all that your saying but you have to understand this organization is over 40 schools with probably over 12,000 students. I don't think they care about having the best team - like I said they do OK and as long as they keep rolling in new students by keeping up with the trends....
 

Tez3

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I'm with you on all that your saying but you have to understand this organization is over 40 schools with probably over 12,000 students. I don't think they care about having the best team - like I said they do OK and as long as they keep rolling in new students by keeping up with the trends....

Well if they get a fighter or two into the big shows like UFC they can double their schools and students lol. Greed is good....so they say!!

Ah where did I go wrong.......
 

Ybot

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I think Tez3 and K831 have given the best advice so far. Check their posts for the best ideas. I just want to adress a couple of the other posts though:

Hey there.

What has been suggested is good advice so far.
I would like to add my two cents though - i'm not a fan of MMA delivered in three seperate "packages" (striking, wrestling and ground). What i prefer - and where i think the MMA world will soon be heading - is a fully integrated system, where the three "games" are interwoved.
Now pick which schools deliver this type of approach will be very difficult - but if you can find one i personally think your technique will be ahead of the pack.

That's just my two cents.

At the end of the day though you have to enjoy the school your at. Training should be fun and enjoyable - you don't want to spend 5 or 6 hours a week (or more or less) in a place with people and attitudes you don't mesh with.

I have to disagree with the overall idea of an integrated system. While I agree that you have to train things together, you are going to get the best training from specialists. A good MMA gym should have instructors or coaches who hold rank or some sort of certification in a specific range of fighting. When it is an integrated system taught by a "jack of all trades" some of the finer points are lost in the shuffle.

I do agree that MMA gyms are headed towards integrated systems, but I don't believe that is a good thing.

There's a chain of schools in my area that used be called ______ ______ Karate, I think there are more than 40 of them in NJ, PA, CT, & FL. Now they are called ________ ________ Mixed Martial Arts. One of my students studied there for about a month. You know the $30 beginer program for 1 month and free uniform with their logo on it. When he started with me he had 3 stripes on his white belt. I asked him what the stripes meant and he told me that he got one for every class he went to and after he got to eight they were going to test him for yellow belt. If you go to their website they have a video of a demo they did for the NY Knicks with about 100 Blackbelts under the age of 10.

Could this be a chain of Mc Dojo's?
Also the guy who started the chain is a highly decorated Martial Artist - 6 x North American Kyokoshinkai Champion. Undefeated in 100s of fights. Creator of his own hybrid style of the most effective techniques. Featured in every major Martial Art Magazine (Black Belt, Karate/Kung Fu Illustrated, etc). Inducted into North American Grappling Association hall of fame in 2005 as a founding member. Claims his organization became number 1 grappling school in North America in 2004.

There is a MMA competition team - they compete in organizations I'm not familiar with as well as some that I am. There are about 20 pro fighters, no big names. I think they also compete within their own organization. They have both wins and losses.

None of this information is fictional - all was taken from conversation with my one student and the organizations website. I don't want to say names because I'm sure they've got a team of lawyers on retainer.

What are your thoughts?

Could this be a chain of Mc Dojo's?


_Don Flatt

I think I know exactly which chain of schools you are speaking of, and from what I've heard, yes it is a McDojo. That's not to say you won't learn anything by going there, but from what I have heard a lot of it's tournament sucess comes from flooding tournaments with large numbers of it's students. Makes the odds more in their favor. From what I have heard their grapplers are not well reguarded over all.
 

Kwan Jang

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Not only is MMA the new "hot trend" (the ninja craze of this decade), but pretty much the way the martial arts are evolving. BTW, I see MMA as constantly evolving and will probably look quite a bit different in 5-10 years as well, including from a technical standpoint. Because of this, you will see not only the McDojos trying to cash in on the trend, but you will see a large percentage of schools seeing the advantage of this evolution and going along with it. Let's face it, none of us got into this for the money, some just have the audacity to actually make some in the arts we love.

I can also guess which chain of schools you are talking about and my guess is that they could care less if they get any of their guys into UFC or any other big events. I can tell you first hand that it would do little to nothing to build their schools or their bottom line. The very small percentage of potential students that come through the door who are interested in being competitive fighters in MMA is hardly worth the time and effort from a financial standpoint (now an instructor's pride, that can be a different story). Or at least the ones who stay after the first few workouts. Most of the "I wannabe a cage fighter"-clowns who are attracted by this have no money to pay for training and usually go look for something else the first time they get hit.

Our schools have had many successful MMA fighters training with us regularly including Frank Shamrock (roughly 8 years), Bob Cook, and many others. AKA (American Kickboxing Academy) used to be a side program in one of our schools and many of the fighters and trainers from AKA train at our headquarters school on a regular basis. Strikeforce MMA (as well as K-1 USA) owner/promoter Scott Coker is one of our 6th dans. While this may be a source of pride for many of the instructors and black belts who get to roll or spar with these guys, our regular students don't care and many of them don't even know. The general public doesn't care what titles you have or what championships you've won, they care what you can do for them or what you can do for their child.

The benefit to the general public of MA schools switching from "KARATE" on the sign out front to MMA is simply that (hopefully) there is significant cross training and a solid base in each aspect of training. There will always be the McDojos that will try to just cash in on the popularity of the trend without building the skills required. Just like they did when they were teaching a substandard version of the TMA's that they watered down in the past. We will also see many schools that will evolve from their TMA backgrounds via legitimate crosstraining and put the time and effort in to truly be good. Some will likely even help to evolve MMA to a higher level beyond the standard MT/BJJ mix that is popular now by bringing in effective strategies and techniques from other TMA's and when they start winning in competition, others will pick these up as well.
 

matt.m

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Tez is right, the best MMA club in the area of St. L is Team Vaghi Martial Arts. This guy is a 1st dan in Judo, a 3rd dan in Rickson's brand of Gracie JJ. However, he has a great kickboxer/boxer for an instructor. He has a great Wrestling coach that teaches freestyle and Greco. He doesn't teach anything but the GJJ he was taught.

On his site he has the bio's of all the styles offered. I have been to his gym. It is all fine and dandy. He has students that want to learn GJJ only and those who want to compete. His MMA competition is quoted from his site as a "Sport". However, the training is no joke.
 

Kosho Gakkusei

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I can also guess which chain of schools you are talking about and my guess is that they could care less if they get any of their guys into UFC or any other big events. I can tell you first hand that it would do little to nothing to build their schools or their bottom line. The very small percentage of potential students that come through the door who are interested in being competitive fighters in MMA is hardly worth the time and effort from a financial standpoint (now an instructor's pride, that can be a different story). Or at least the ones who stay after the first few workouts. Most of the "I wannabe a cage fighter"-clowns who are attracted by this have no money to pay for training and usually go look for something else the first time they get hit.
I agree with this. I don't think the chain I'm referring to is interested with getting anyone into the big shows either. The tag line in their new TV commercial is, "You don't have to be a cage fighter to train like one." Then they promote getting into great shape building confidence etc.
I think I know exactly which chain of schools you are speaking of, and from what I've heard, yes it is a McDojo. That's not to say you won't learn anything by going there, but from what I have heard a lot of it's tournament sucess comes from flooding tournaments with large numbers of it's students. Makes the odds more in their favor. From what I have heard their grapplers are not well reguarded over all.
That makes a lot of sense of what I noticed when looking at their records.
 

Tez3

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We have a saying here that if you say you're a cage fighter, you're not. her we're fighters/martial artists or we do MMA. Only wannabes say they are cage fighters lol!
 

zDom

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We have a saying here that if you say you're a cage fighter, you're not. her we're fighters/martial artists or we do MMA. Only wannabes say they are cage fighters lol!




Cages ... don't fight back!



:D
 

K831

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My cage fighting record; 12-0-1 (8 cages by KO)

I'm not a cage fighter, I'm a cage killer!

lol how true. Silly phrase.
 

Kwan Jang

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I have an old friend who has had a long and successful career as a pro wrestler. About the time he was in the WWE (maybe right before then), he started a program to teach "Pro wrasslin'" (sorry, I actually have respect for real wrestlers and have trouble calling this by that name) at the local gym we worked out at. You would not believe the motley crew who came in there on Sundays to "live their dream" by learning to be a "pro wrassler". Many had serious hygine problems, most suffered from "summer teeth"(sum here, sum there, a lot missing). The cast of the next "Deliverence" remake had just been found. It's been at least a decade since he "taught this program", but many of the "I wanna ba cage fighter" crowd that come by my school remind me of those would be "wrasslers".
 

matt.m

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Yeah, like the Karate Kid II refrence that z put.....instead of Tree don't hit back.......same with a cage......
Best reference would be guns don't kill people, they are a tool used for killing, people kill people.
:asian:
Cages ... don't fight back!



:D
 
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LoneRider

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Sounds a lot like the MCMAP motto: "One Mind, Any Weapon." I still remember when Col. Bristol spoke to my graduating class at the Academy, that was one phrase I forever would remember.
 

SensibleManiac

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McDojo's can take many shapes and forms.
Basically a school that is all about the money.
Check the place out and the instructors credentials.
Does the place seem like it's all about getting your money?
The most important aspect I find is how focused are they on the students skills and learning and safety?
A good school of any kind be it TMA or Modern will take the students seriously and not just appear to be about the money.
Take a close look at the students training there, what do they seem like?
Are some of them skilled?
Do they seem positive or does it seem like they all think they're the next champ?
Ask about the focus?
Does the instructor only pay attention to those that are competing?
 
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LoneRider

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McDojo's can take many shapes and forms.
Basically a school that is all about the money.
Check the place out and the instructors credentials.
Does the place seem like it's all about getting your money?
The most important aspect I find is how focused are they on the students skills and learning and safety?
A good school of any kind be it TMA or Modern will take the students seriously and not just appear to be about the money.
Take a close look at the students training there, what do they seem like?
Are some of them skilled?
Do they seem positive or does it seem like they all think they're the next champ?
Ask about the focus?
Does the instructor only pay attention to those that are competing?

I shall keep that in mind. Thank you very much.

Does anyone know any really good BJJ training gyms near any of the larger Army posts?
 

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