Calling Somebody's Dojo A McDojo Is Offensive

PhotonGuy

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Calling somebody else's dojo a mcdojo, on this forum or anywhere else, I would like to point out that's very offensive. A dojo where somebody has invested their time and dedication, to bash their dojo is very bad manners. Im saying this because I've experienced some of that on this forum myself.
 

lklawson

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Now define what a McDojo is and get everyone to agree with your definition.

Or... you could just throw up your hands and realize that some people are going to be offended, regardless.

Aren't you kind of tired of always walking on eggshells, wondering if some off-hand comment that seems innocuous to you someone else is going to claim offense at?

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

frank raud

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Calling somebody else's dojo a mcdojo, on this forum or anywhere else, I would like to point out that's very offensive. A dojo where somebody has invested their time and dedication, to bash their dojo is very bad manners. Im saying this because I've experienced some of that on this forum myself.
What if the dojo in question ticks off every box in the definition of a McDojo? Does it now become offensive to tell the truth? Should we encourage people to continue to work hard towards their 17th belt on the way to black belt mastery? Should we point out the fuchsia camo belt is not really traditional in Korean Shaolin Kung fu?
 

Xue Sheng

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My definition of McDojo's would need this guy in the front of the Dojo as the Grandmaster

ronaldmcdonald_vert-49a6c0828f947362e985d8244aab69b9a3ad405e.jpg
 

Kuengi

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Many MA schools in America fail as a business entity. This is due to more than one thing, as is usual. The first is trying to satisfy the requirements of requisite oppressively expensive insurance. America is a land where the litigious and their attorneys have the greatest impact on schools of integrity in teaching a Martial Art. Signing a release of liability means nothing in court when being sued for an injury received. There is little to no accountability for one's own choices in these times, and to claim that one did not know there would be forceful physical contact in learning a fighting skill is unfortunately a common successful claim against MA schools. So to fill a room, many proprietors keep it very soft and pander to children's games. It might be considered a very soft, very slow way to introduce ones self to MA, but the inference of "McDojo, Take my Do," and others has arisen from a degree of honest appraisal. It is not polite or respectful, however.
 

Steve

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Many MA schools in America fail as a business entity. This is due to more than one thing, as is usual. The first is trying to satisfy the requirements of requisite oppressively expensive insurance. America is a land where the litigious and their attorneys have the greatest impact on schools of integrity in teaching a Martial Art. Signing a release of liability means nothing in court when being sued for an injury received. There is little to no accountability for one's own choices in these times, and to claim that one did not know there would be forceful physical contact in learning a fighting skill is unfortunately a common successful claim against MA schools. So to fill a room, many proprietors keep it very soft and pander to children's games. It might be considered a very soft, very slow way to introduce ones self to MA, but the inference of "McDojo, Take my Do," and others has arisen from a degree of honest appraisal. It is not polite or respectful, however.
Do you think the same is true for wrestling teams or Judo teams? Do you think every style feels the same pressure to "keep it soft and pander?"
 

Kuengi

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Do you think the same is true for wrestling teams or Judo teams? Do you think every style feels the same pressure to "keep it soft and pander?"
We were referring to "Dojo" schools ('generic' in general), you use the word, "team". A dear friend of mine is an Olympic Judo medalist, that was the USA Judo Team. They trained mercilessly. That said, he also trained during a time that, when you entered a place to learn any MA, you knew what you were getting into and whining was far less acceptable; I truly believe a Judge would have laughed you out of court. Times have changed in the US. When I have trained outside of the US, I got the worst (or best) of it as an American, but also only a little more than other students, they knew why they were there and accepted the fact that they were very likely to get hit. You also only refer to grappling arts. I do not believe that "style" has anything to do with it, it is a fact in America that it is most difficult to study seriously at all, but I do know that ALL should be studied, and seriously.
 

lklawson

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We were referring to "Dojo" schools ('generic' in general), you use the word, "team". A dear friend of mine is an Olympic Judo medalist, that was the USA Judo Team. They trained mercilessly. That said, he also trained during a time that, when you entered a place to learn any MA, you knew what you were getting into and whining was far less acceptable; I truly believe a Judge would have laughed you out of court. Times have changed in the US. When I have trained outside of the US, I got the worst (or best) of it as an American, but also only a little more than other students, they knew why they were there and accepted the fact that they were very likely to get hit. You also only refer to grappling arts. I do not believe that "style" has anything to do with it, it is a fact in America that it is most difficult to study seriously at all, but I do know that ALL should be studied, and seriously.
Boxing clubs? Muy Thai?
 

Steve

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We were referring to "Dojo" schools ('generic' in general), you use the word, "team". A dear friend of mine is an Olympic Judo medalist, that was the USA Judo Team. They trained mercilessly. That said, he also trained during a time that, when you entered a place to learn any MA, you knew what you were getting into and whining was far less acceptable; I truly believe a Judge would have laughed you out of court. Times have changed in the US. When I have trained outside of the US, I got the worst (or best) of it as an American, but also only a little more than other students, they knew why they were there and accepted the fact that they were very likely to get hit. You also only refer to grappling arts. I do not believe that "style" has anything to do with it, it is a fact in America that it is most difficult to study seriously at all, but I do know that ALL should be studied, and seriously.
I think business model and goals for the style matter. I picked a couple that I'm pretty familiar with, which is why they happen to be grappling arts.

That said, I think you kind of skirted the question. If a person joins the wrestling club or team to learn how to wrestle, do you think the instructors/coaches run into the issues you describe? What about other styles?

For my part, I think it depends on the style, but I see a common denominator either way. Does WTF TKD run into problems with pandering and keeping things soft? Do others? Is Kyokushin Karate in the same boat as other variants of karate?

To be clear, I don't honestly know, though I have my hypothesis. Either way, I'm interested to hear your thoughts.
 

Xue Sheng

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Calling somebody else's dojo a mcdojo, on this forum or anywhere else, I would like to point out that's very offensive. A dojo where somebody has invested their time and dedication, to bash their dojo is very bad manners. Im saying this because I've experienced some of that on this forum myself.

Now a serious answer......and a question..... Why do you care? If you enjoy what you are training, if you feel what you are teaching gives your students what they want and need....why do you care what someone else calls it?
 

Kuengi

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Boxing clubs? Muy Thai?
Again, we are no longer referring to training facilities, we are discussing, "styles", and substituting "Club" for "team"? Why is there a difference? When I fought professionally (stables, those were called), there were rules and regulations on protective equipment, because these are sports. When rules are being enforced for the sake of safety, how does that translate to the world outside? It doesn't; besides easily being some of the best conditioning I have ever received. I have been in the ring with Champions, and neither of us ever thought about having to apply it to the streets. I have exposed myself to a lot of conflict, after much use of your fundamentals your response flows with the moment. There are good training schools where the basics of an art can be acquired, but those masters are crafty about who gets through that door. But I find them fewer and fewer, sunk into easily hidden corners of big cities. More to the point of your portion of this question, when I trained PKA, we had a very nice gym (for a gym) with two regulation rings, always busy. Incidentally, when I was in "Thai" (Thailand) we enjoyed the spectacle of the sport, but most of those real fighters learned it in the streets the hard way. There is no school like that here in the land of lawyers.
 

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Again, we are no longer referring to training facilities, we are discussing, "styles", and substituting "Club" for "team"? Why is there a difference? When I fought professionally (stables, those were called), there were rules and regulations on protective equipment, because these are sports. When rules are being enforced for the sake of safety, how does that translate to the world outside? It doesn't; besides easily being some of the best conditioning I have ever received. I have been in the ring with Champions, and neither of us ever thought about having to apply it to the streets. I have exposed myself to a lot of conflict, after much use of your fundamentals your response flows with the moment. There are good training schools where the basics of an art can be acquired, but those masters are crafty about who gets through that door. But I find them fewer and fewer, sunk into easily hidden corners of big cities. More to the point of your portion of this question, when I trained PKA, we had a very nice gym (for a gym) with two regulation rings, always busy. Incidentally, when I was in "Thai" (Thailand) we enjoyed the spectacle of the sport, but most of those real fighters learned it in the streets the hard way. There is no school like that here in the land of lawyers.
I don't understand what you're saying. Trying to. You are opposed to talking about styles. Okay... that's fine, but I think it's useful to consider why some styles are less susceptible to the softening and pandering you referred to earlier. What makes some styles more resistant to falling into that trap?

Now, I think you're losing me a little with the street fighting stuff. I mean, it seems like you're saying you can't really learn to fight in a school, and that "real fighters learned it in the streets the hard way." So, you're not a real fighter? No one you trained with? That seems like a pretty extreme position to take.

Ultimately, I guess I just don't agree with you that in this land of lawyers, learning to fight is impossible. And I can point to a lot of fighters in the USA (and other Western countries, like the UK) to support my point. I think there are a lot of schools in which people learn to fight, and they're doing just fine. They just seem to all have one very obvious common element, which is that they incorporate sport or some other accessible form of application. Not a mystery to me at all. So, when you discount clubs because they're a style, I really think you're missing the point entirely.

And in other, completely different news... just to share how I view McDojo, I think it's more about business than quality. You can have McDojos that teach excellent skills. You'll pay for it, and may not get a super personalized training environment, but look at Gracie Barra. High skill level, high quality training... very McDojo in their approach. In my opinion.
 

Flying Crane

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Now a serious answer......and a question..... Why do you care? If you enjoy what you are training, if you feel what you are teaching gives your students what they want and need....why do you care what someone else calls it?
Well, if it is going on in the community and not just an online discussion forum, then it could be directly harmful to the training group. Particularly for beginners who lack the experience to really know how to judge something good from something bad, this kind of thing could undermine their confidence in the instructor, even if there is no reason for it. Perhaps someone has a vindictive agenda and simply wants to hurt a rivals program, even if the accusations have no merit.

Online, it is pretty easy to shrug off most of the nonsense. But if someone is deliberately trying to hurt ones good name and reputation in the community, it is harder to ignore.
 

Kuengi

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I think business model and goals for the style matter. I picked a couple that I'm pretty familiar with, which is why they happen to be grappling arts.

That said, I think you kind of skirted the question. If a person joins the wrestling club or team to learn how to wrestle, do you think the instructors/coaches run into the issues you describe? What about other styles?

For my part, I think it depends on the style, but I see a common denominator either way. Does WTF TKD run into problems with pandering and keeping things soft? Do others? Is Kyokushin Karate in the same boat as other variants of karate?

To be clear, I don't honestly know, though I have my hypothesis. Either way, I'm interested to hear your thoughts.
You have excellent questions. I did not intend to avoid your question, I found the examples divergent. Speaking to a High School wrestling coach, he first goes to the subject of teaching the student as "wading in", getting the fundamentals. But even schools have liability problems, so to a lesser degree, yes. You broach WTF TKD. OK, among my highest certifications. My Grandmaster left this world some time ago, but I think he would agree. First, I should mention that, -I think- the World Tae Kwon Do Federation Kukkiwon, Korea was absorbed into another iteration in Korea. I have eschewed those politics for a long time. But, to your question, I will guarantee, privately, many Masters teaching in the US know the vast difference in training intensity in the two countries. Who does it serve to have your school closed and most of your personal wealth taken if the wrong student has a good lawyer? That is why I agreed with the original assessment of -some- schools. Another Grandmaster of mine from Okinawa, Shorin Ryu would caution in a similar way. I also have extensive grappling credentials in Hapkido/Aikido (many similarities) and Judo (my friend insisted). I find the blend to be more complete, possibly necessary. I re-read my answer and felt I need to add that, I am not making a blanket statement that all American schools are "bad", but I am saying it is much harder to find good training. I must go, if there is further conversation, I look forward to it. Thank you most sincerely for your time and civility.
 

Xue Sheng

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Well, if it is going on in the community and not just an online discussion forum, then it could be directly harmful to the training group. Particularly for beginners who lack the experience to really know how to judge something good from something bad, this kind of thing could undermine their confidence in the instructor, even if there is no reason for it. Perhaps someone has a vindictive agenda and simply wants to hurt a rivals program, even if the accusations have no merit.

Online, it is pretty easy to shrug off most of the nonsense. But if someone is deliberately trying to hurt ones good name and reputation in the community, it is harder to ignore.

My daughter's first MA school was a TKD school that I labeled a McDojos. It had lots of students and it was one of several in a chain. But the one my daughter was in was run by the founder. We were there a year, contract I did not want, and early on I labeled it as such. I took my daughter to a Saturday function there, it was a cookout, demo and other things like a bouncy house (she was in elementary school at the time). I looked around at all the kids there, after the demo, that were in this school and the physical fitness levels (great shape) of the older (highschool) kids there and it hit me.

Is this the TKD that I first started training in 1976? .... No
But it was serving a purpose, yes the guy was making scads of money, yes he stopped talking to me early on when he found out I trained with Jae Hun Kim in Boston. Was it what I would call TKD? No. But all these kids had something positive in their life that was in place of all sorts of trouble they could have gotten into in the first place. Where they all great martial artists? No. But surprisingly a few were pretty darn good.

It was serving a purpose beyond the "McDojos" label I had put on it, It was, in its own way, helping a whole lot of kids. And to me that was a positive. I never used the term "McDojos" after that, unless it was in jest here on MT. Did my daughter stay there after the year? No. we moved on to Aikido and she loved it and she was getting good solid training. The original TKD school she was in is still there and going strong, the Aikido dojo is not doing so good since the head (founding) senesi died at the beginning of the pandemic.

I would not train at the aforementioned TKD school, and I do not agree with his business practices, but there is a positive in helping some kids.

Also it hit me, as a parent, I do not think I would have allowed my young daughter to train at the TKD school I went to. No mats, no pads, no protective gear. Linoleum floors.... that is all.. and there were high and low kicks, joint locks and takedowns.
 
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Kuengi

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I don't understand what you're saying. Trying to. You are opposed to talking about styles. Okay... that's fine, but I think it's useful to consider why some styles are less susceptible to the softening and pandering you referred to earlier. What makes some styles more resistant to falling into that trap?

Now, I think you're losing me a little with the street fighting stuff. I mean, it seems like you're saying you can't really learn to fight in a school, and that "real fighters learned it in the streets the hard way." So, you're not a real fighter? No one you trained with? That seems like a pretty extreme position to take.

Ultimately, I guess I just don't agree with you that in this land of lawyers, learning to fight is impossible. And I can point to a lot of fighters in the USA (and other Western countries, like the UK) to support my point. I think there are a lot of schools in which people learn to fight, and they're doing just fine. They just seem to all have one very obvious common element, which is that they incorporate sport or some other accessible form of application. Not a mystery to me at all. So, when you discount clubs because they're a style, I really think you're missing the point entirely.

And in other, completely different news... just to share how I view McDojo, I think it's more about business than quality. You can have McDojos that teach excellent skills. You'll pay for it, and may not get a super personalized training environment, but look at Gracie Barra. High skill level, high quality training... very McDojo in their approach. In my opinion.
I must withdraw. You are misquoting me and taking issue with interpretations that are strictly your own. I wish you a better day.
 

Steve

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I must withdraw. You are misquoting me and taking issue with interpretations that are strictly your own. I wish you a better day.
Sorry to hear that. Not my intention. I thought we were just getting to where we understood where the other was coming from. :)
 

Kuengi

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My daughter's first MA school was a TKD school that I labeled a McDojos. It had lots of students and it was one of several in a chain. But the one my daughter was in was run by the founder. We were there a year, contract I did not want, and early on I labeled it as such. I took my daughter to a Saturday function there, it was a cookout, demo and other things like a bouncy house (she was in elementary school at the time). I looked around at all the kids there, after the demo, that were in this school and the physical fitness levels (great shape) of the older (highschool) kids there and it hit me.

Is this the TKD that I first started training in 1976? .... No
But it was serving a purpose, yes the guy was making scads of money, yes he stopped talking to me early on when he found out I trained with Jae Hun Kim in Boston. Was it what I would call TKD? No. But all these kids had something positive in their life that was in place of all sorts of trouble they could have gotten into in the first place. Where they all great martial artists? No. But surprisingly a few were pretty darn good.

It was serving a purpose beyond the "McDojos" label I had put on it, It was, in its own way, helping a whole lot of kids. And to me that was a positive. I never used the term "McDojos" after that, unless it was in jest here on MT. Did my daughter stay there after the year? No. we moved on to Aikido and she loved it and she was getting good solid training. The original TKD school she was in is still there and going strong, the Aikido dojo is not doing so good since the head (founding) senesi died at the beginning of the pandemic.

I would not train at the aforementioned TKD school, and I do not agree with his business practices, but there is a positive in helping some kids.

Also it hit me, as a parent, I do not think I would have allowed my young daughter to train at the TKD school I went to. No mats, no pads, no protective gear. Linoleum floors.... that is all.. and there were high and low kicks, joint locks and takedowns.
I like your answer.
 

dvcochran

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We were referring to "Dojo" schools ('generic' in general), you use the word, "team". A dear friend of mine is an Olympic Judo medalist, that was the USA Judo Team. They trained mercilessly. That said, he also trained during a time that, when you entered a place to learn any MA, you knew what you were getting into and whining was far less acceptable; I truly believe a Judge would have laughed you out of court. Times have changed in the US. When I have trained outside of the US, I got the worst (or best) of it as an American, but also only a little more than other students, they knew why they were there and accepted the fact that they were very likely to get hit. You also only refer to grappling arts. I do not believe that "style" has anything to do with it, it is a fact in America that it is most difficult to study seriously at all, but I do know that ALL should be studied, and seriously.
From my experience and explanation from my insurers there is very little difference in liability (cost or limits) for a gym (weight room), an aerobics class, a wrestling/rolling gym, a rec league soccer team (unit cost), or a dojo/dojang. If there is physical contact or potential to do self-harm (lifting weights) while engaged with equipment or another person, it is all the same as far as the insurer is concerned. At that point it becomes a head count for determining cost.
We do have an additional rider policy for tournament competitors. Just goes with the territory but cost very little.

FWIW, I have had something like a dozen claims over the course of my 35 years of school ownership and have never had a policy increase due to a claim.
Relationships, reputation, and credibility and still words that carry weight. It is definitely an ongoing process.
 
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