I LIKE my McDojang

Flying Crane

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McDonalds isn't bad food. It's not great... but, y'know, there are times when I want a Big Mac or Double Cheeseburger. And there are times when I want filet mignon or just a good steak.

There is another side to this, however. McDonalds actually IS bad food. It's actually not good for you, and if you eat too frequently or exclusively at McD's your health will definitely suffer for it.

If you are starving, McD's will certainly keep you alive in the short term. But if you live off of it, it will eventually kill you.

Now, the McDojo...
 

Gordon Nore

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But there's another factor which plays into all this: the fact that for a lot of people, rigorous practice, relentless drilling of techs, emphasis on mastery and other expectations that go along with high standards are not crucially important, because they do not expect to actually have to use their training in self-defense. The difference in the role of unarmed combat expertise in the China or Okinawa of several hundred years ago, on the one hand, and modern suburbia, on the other, probably accounts, more than anything else, for the lowering of training standards in the western world since the TMAs fetched up on our shores at the end of WWII.

Solid point. Number of times I've been attacked since I started training in 1995: 0. Last time I was in a physical confrontation: probably tending bar in 1985, and that was a rare event for that establishment.

If I walked out of my house tonight and got smacked like a four-year-old at K-Mart, does that mean my training has be for naught? It means, on any given day, anyone can win a fight and anyone can lose one.

I would say, though, that one advantage that I've had in my training is learning to get used to getting hit, as well as learning how to take a fall and get up, run or fight back.

I'm not really crazy about the idea of dubbing a school a "McDojo" or not based on its website, syllabus, number of belts, or many other factors. The presense of children, for me, does not automatically ring a bell that something fraudlulent is taking place. However, if no one is learning how to take a bit of a bruising, then I question it as a legitimate self-defense exercise.

An example of a school that brings some solid intensity is this clip from another thread:
We may disagree on the use of headgear, etc, but nobody questions that this candidate has a better chance of surviving an attack.

Conversly, we have this example, in which this young boy, in my view, is ill-prepared for a serious attack: http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=1264jJu77CI&feature=channel_page

I think these contrasting examples are important because every martial school out there (McDojo or not) says they teach self-defense. No belt is a guarantee, but the training must bring a level of intensity and attention to detail in or for the self-defense claim to have merit.
 
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exile

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I'm not really crazy about the idea of dubbing a school a "McDojo" or not based on its website, syllabus, number of belts, or many other factors. The presense of children, for me, does not automatically ring a bell that something fraudlulent is taking place. However, if no one is learning how to take a bit of a bruising, then I question it as a legitimate self-defense exercise.

An example of a school that brings some solid intensity is this clip from another thread:
We may disagree on the use of headgear, etc, but nobody questions that this candidate has a better chance of surviving an attack.

Conversly, we have this example, in which this young boy, in my view, is ill-prepared for a serious attack: http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=1264jJu77CI&feature=channel_page

I think these contrasting examples are important because every martial school out there (McDojo or not) says they teach self-defense. No belt is a guarantee, but the training must bring a level of intensity and attention to detail in or for the self-defense claim to have merit.

Dead right, Gordon.

It's occurred to me from time to time that the description 'McDojo' as an either/or thing is probably way too simplistic. It would be more accurate, maybe, to think of 'McDojohood' as a kind of scale, with 0 at one end and 10 at the other, but all the integers between them represented as well. A 0 would be what I think of as something like the kind of place that Geoff Thompson or Peter Consterdine, both of the British Combat Association, run: tough, hard pressure testing, relentless focus on the SD apps of forms, intense physical conditioning, and plenty of attention paid to converting adrenal shock into ferocity instead of immobility. At the other end... well, we can all probably think of a few examples! But there are going to be intermediate cases: serious commitment to SD, along with a Little Tigers club and maybe a BB club that help pay the freight. Dividing it up in an all-or-nothing way probably shoves together many schools that really don't belong in the same bag.
 
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Gordon Nore

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Dead right, Gordon.

It's occurred to me from time to time that the description 'McDojo' as an either/or thing is probably way too simplistic. It would be more accurate, maybe, to think of 'McDojohood' as a kind of scale, with 0 at one end and 10 at the other, but all the integers between them represented as well. A 0 would be what I think of as something like the kind of place that Geoff Thompson or Peter Consterdine, both of the British Combat Association, run: tough, hard pressure testing, relentless focus on the SD apps of forms, intense physical conditioning, and plenty of attention paid to converting adrenal shock into ferocity instead of immobility. At the other end... well, we can all probably think of a few examples! But there are going to be intermediate cases: serious commitment to SD, along with a Little Tigers club and maybe a BB club that help pay the freight. Dividing it up in an all-or-nothing way probably shoves together many schools that really don't belong in the same bag.

It's easy to toss the label around, and on these forums we talk about schools that we haven't visited. For instance, on another board, I posted a picture of a technique from my school. Someone piped up that my school was a McDojo based upon the presence of kids, my wearing a red gi, and such. Judge for yourself. http://www.eyhkc.com

Calling a school a McDojo is tantamount to saying the instructor doesn't care about his students and only wants their money. Maybe the McDojo label needs to go, and we should focus our critique on actual training that we see and not what we infer from a website, etc.
 

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An example of a school that brings some solid intensity is this clip from another thread:
We may disagree on the use of headgear, etc, but nobody questions that this candidate has a better chance of surviving an attack.

I agree that we can't question the intensity of this type of test but do you guys feel that this type of "sparring" is appropriate for belt tests and/or regular classes? That this is ideal in some way?

I'm not pro-Mcdojo or a wussy, but I feel that regularly expecting this level of full-on contact from all students will serve only to marginalize anyone who isn't in the 15-35 age range. It looked like that test ended in several injuries that will impair the students training for some time as well. It seems like something that is appropriate for a tournament but not something I would want to participate in on a regular basis in class. Some of us have day jobs.:)

I feel that Tae Kwon Do is a way of life and something that children and adults of any age should be able to participate in on some level. I don't think that people should be given a false sense of security that they can handle any real-life self defense situation just because they have some belt or another, but I do think that there is merit to the OP's comment about rank being relative to age and physical ability.
 
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dancingalone

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There's a response to this, which I think makes sense: you could say, well, as long as you know that your black belt was earned with sweat, dedication and application over enough time to get you the requisite level, why should it bother you? If you're secure in the quality of your own training, if you know what your BB is worth, then why should it matter what happens anywhere else?

The problem with this viewpoint, Exile, is that we all get painted with the same brush. I know how hard I worked for my black belt in TKD, but I no longer volunteer the information that I have one because the reputation TKD has in my circle is so sullied. It's regarded as a baby-sitting, feel good about yourself kind of activity. Ever see that episode of Seinfeld where Cosmo Kramer is fighting the kids? That's exactly the type of respect TKD has right now.

Appearances don't matter in the big scheme of thing, but the martial arts is a huge part of my life, and I'd just as soon as not be embarrassed by the casual mention of it whenever it comes up. Perhaps I am not as far along on the path as many of you, but I despise McDojos and how they have made taekwondo 'Takes One's Dough'. These days I usually steer my friends and their kids to something else when asked for my thoughts, unless I know the teacher personally.
 

exile

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The problem with this viewpoint, Exile, is that we all get painted with the same brush. I know how hard I worked for my black belt in TKD, but I no longer volunteer the information that I have one because the reputation TKD has in my circle is so sullied. It's regarded as a baby-sitting, feel good about yourself kind of activity. Ever see that episode of Seinfeld where Cosmo Kramer is fighting the kids? That's exactly the type of respect TKD has right now.

Oh, I understandthat's why I said that I can see some validity to this sort of response. The thing is, I can see both sides of this question.

Appearances don't matter in the big scheme of thing, but the martial arts is a huge part of my life, and I'd just as soon as not be embarrassed by the casual mention of it whenever it comes up. Perhaps I am not as far along on the path as many of you, but I despise McDojos and how they have made taekwondo 'Takes One's Dough'. These days I usually steer my friends and their kids to something else when asked for my thoughts, unless I know the teacher personally.

And due to TKD's immense popularity because of its Olympic status, it gets marketed in a way which makes it much more likely to be dissed along those lines (as well as making it a very big target for whoever's in the mood to go shooting).

My bet is that this is going to get resolved, down the line, by a formal split between a relatively small number of combat-oriented schools forming their own federation(s) aggressively promoting the SD side of TKD, vs. the essentially sport-only or sport-mostly setup we currently have.
 

IcemanSK

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My bet is that this is going to get resolved, down the line, by a formal split between a relatively small number of combat-oriented schools forming their own federation(s) aggressively promoting the SD side of TKD, vs. the essentially sport-only or sport-mostly setup we currently have.

My hope is that it happens within the ranks of the KKW itself in the next few years as Kukki-TKD stops being an Olympic sport. Rejuvination from within. Although it's an outside chance that the revolution will come from within, it is possible.

There still are some "old school" GM's & ex-Korean military folks around within the Kukkiwon. I'm hoping that with the failed Olympic experiment, these folks will say, "remember when...."
 

exile

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My hope is that it happens within the ranks of the KKW itself in the next few years as Kukki-TKD stops being an Olympic sport. Rejuvination from within. Although it's an outside chance that the revolution will come from within, it is possible.

There still are some "old school" GM's & ex-Korean military folks around within the Kukkiwon. I'm hoping that with the failed Olympic experiment, these folks will say, "remember when...."

It would be best if it happens this way, I agree. Things usually don't work out so smoothly and easily, though.

I get the sense from this and other posts recently that a lot of people think TKD's Olympic status days are numbered... is there some particular reason for that (i.e., some strong hints from top brass), or is it just a sense that it's inevitable, as the cumulative result of all the crap that's gone down recently in the WTF and KKW?
 

Gordon Nore

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I agree that we can't question the intensity of this type of test but do you guys feel that this type of "sparring" is appropriate for belt tests and/or regular classes? That this is ideal in some way?

I don't want to derail this thread analyzing a video from another thread. I would certainly hope that these folks would be testing lower kyu at a less intense level. From what I saw, actual participants were blue belt and above. I didn't see any children present, same as my own grading. A key that's missing from this clip is the actual soundtrack. I would hope that senior is telling people when to back down or step it up and maintaining control, but we can't hear that over the music.

Even in the frenzy of this grading, I'm seeing a lot of technique. That makes me suspect that these students are doing some drilling. It can't be a free-for-all all the time, but at the end of a dan grading, I don't think there should be doubt in anybody's mind that the person who tested earned their belt, whatever the standards happen to be.
 

IcemanSK

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It would be best if it happens this way, I agree. Things usually don't work out so smoothly and easily, though.

I get the sense from this and other posts recently that a lot of people think TKD's Olympic status days are numbered... is there some particular reason for that (i.e., some strong hints from top brass), or is it just a sense that it's inevitable, as the cumulative result of all the crap that's gone down recently in the WTF and KKW?

For me, I have nothing to back it up. It's only the sense that I get. The IOC has to see that, despite the popularity of TKD in the US, it's not even on the US broadcast of the Olympics. That, in addition to the WTF's inability to make the judging fair, the Cuban's attack of the ref, etc. Heck, I just found an online poll on mookas*com that asked the same question..."will TKD be an Olympic sport past 2012?" I wonder if other sports know if they will be in the Olympics in 2016. Do you suppose basketbal wonders? Track? Gymnastics? Judo?
 

terryl965

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I know alot of people believe with everything that has gone wrong over the last 10 years, that it is just that time to let it go away and out of the spotlight. Instructors and GM think this is the best way to make it better in the near future to step back to go forward. You know for me I have mix emotion because of Zachary wish to be part of the Olympics and only having 2012 does not hive him the best shot at it.

My personal opinion is just get rid of the greed and the corruptive people running everything and it will be fine.
 

exile

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For me, I have nothing to back it up. It's only the sense that I get. The IOC has to see that, despite the popularity of TKD in the US, it's not even on the US broadcast of the Olympics.

That by itself could well be the kiss of death. From the IOC's point of view, everything depends on maximizing audience size (thereby maximizing advertising profits for the network, which in turn maximizes the IOC's cut). If the viewership drops off the edge of the earth, the sport itself is almost certainly gonna follow soon. Good point....

That, in addition to the WTF's inability to make the judging fair, the Cuban's attack of the ref, etc. Heck, I just found an online poll on mookas*com that asked the same question..."will TKD be an Olympic sport past 2012?" I wonder if other sports know if they will be in the Olympics in 2016. Do you suppose basketbal wonders? Track? Gymnastics? Judo?

Yes, the business with the ref was disgraceful. And I'm pretty sure that no sport, at this point, has privileged status. Doesn't matter whether it's hockey, the figure skating, gymnastics, track or whatever: if the viewership goes way down, so do the odds for Olympic survivability. It's pure dollars and cents for those people, when you scrape off all the piousness and kitsch ceremonialism.
 

Kacey

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Radshop, if you like where you are and what you and your son are getting - that's what's most important; just be aware that if you ever go somewhere else you may find different standards. They may be higher; they may be lower - but they will almost certainly be different. As long as you're aware, and you're happy with what you've got - nothing else really matters, no matter what any of the rest of us say.
 

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Money certainly talks in sports, as you said, exile. NBC only showed the TKD online. I watched every fight...waiting, hoping, praying that I'd see a good one. None comes to mind 4 months later. As a KKW BB, I so wanted something to proud of. While I don't do Olympic-style sparring, I wanted to be able to tell my students it's worth watching. It was uniteresting until the Cuban...then it was just sad.

I got a lot of enjoyment out of watching Judo (also, sadly, only online) & it's isn't even my Art.

As much as I'd like to see TKD be around for Terry's Zach, I don't see it happening.
 

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I think Taekwondo's last shot will be 2012. Taekwondo in this country is still mostly a fringe activity, and the Kukkiwon/WTF is having so many problems right now that the IOC likely will decide it would be better off without all the baggage.
One of my problems with the "McDojang" is the concept of using Olympic Taekwondo as a way of getting people to sign up. Their common ploy is "your son or daughter could eventually go to the Olympics." Be realistic. There is a 99.9% chance that ain't gonna happen. The Olympics are for elite competitors, very few of whom will attend "McDojangs".
 

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I too am in a similar position as the original poster. My daughter is 7 years she is currently a yellow belt.

But here is my take...when she is assigned a black belt, will she truely be a black belt? No. In my estimation it will take 10 years or more for her to be able to handle herself, maybe 15 years or 20 years of training. It will take that long to build strength, speed and the knowledge.

I don't believe in the belt system so much. I do believe in the importance of training. I try and teach my daughter is it not about the color of the belt but it is about the person wearing the belt that is more important. The belt only holds up your pants.

I train so I can be the best MA I can be and to be able to earn the respect of the black belts in my Dojang. One day I hope to beat them on all levels (forms, sparring, one step and any other measure I learn about along the way). My daughter will train (she doesn't know it yet) to beat me. I will be the hardest test she will ever encounter because I love her the most. Too much emphasis is placed on the stupid belt.
 

terryl965

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One thing we must all remember for the child it is about making them aware of there surrounding and helping them become more focus and eventually they will learn. For those of us that know what it is that makes us train daily need to look back at what has happen and try our best to make sure it does not happen again. TKD is an Art that can be a mean for self defense with the right people.
 

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I have had several kids come to my school because they were black belts at the mcdojo up the street and got beat up bad because they really did not know the basics fundementally!
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Let me clarify just a little! Because I think their was a little confusion with my post. The students who came to my school did not get beat up at my dojo, they got beat up on the street and then came to my dojo for real self defense training! Their parents put them in the martial arts to learn self defense and self control, they learned neither at the mcdojo! They were at the local park and got cocky with a group of kids and tried a three ninjas attack and it back fired. They are now at my dojo and probably three of my best, most respectful students and now know they don't need to flaunt their martial arts. Sorry for the confusion and I never promote violence...ever!
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radshop

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Let me clarify just a little! Because I think their was a little confusion with my post. The students who came to my school did not get beat up at my dojo, they got beat up on the street and then came to my dojo for real self defense training! Their parents put them in the martial arts to learn self defense and self control, they learned neither at the mcdojo! They were at the local park and got cocky with a group of kids and tried a three ninjas attack and it back fired. They are now at my dojo and probably three of my best, most respectful students and now know they don't need to flaunt their martial arts. Sorry for the confusion and I never promote violence...ever!
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Thanks for setting the record straight on that. Sure makes sense to me now.
 

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