In Defense of the McDojo

Touch Of Death

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If you're teaching baseball, you teach baseball. Not ethics, morals, or other life-development skills that have nothing to do with baseball.

If you're teaching golf, same thing.

Firearms instructors teach firearms. They may discuss laws of self-defense, licensing and regulatory requirements, but they don't teach how to be a good person, morals, or ethics.

Why would martial arts teachers insert statements of personal ethics and morals being a requirement for teaching?

I'm not saying it's wrong; but I noted how many martial arts business owners in this thread insist that this is a requirement for teaching their art.

Why is that the case with martial arts and nothing else?
The difference between sports and martial arts is that people can die if you teach the stuff to just anybody. You as an instructor have some responsibility.
Sean
 
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Bill Mattocks

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The difference between sports and martial arts is that people can die if you teach the stuff to just anybody. You as an instructor have some responsibility.
Sean

Firearms instructors? I'm not aware of any of them being required to teach values or morals - just laws of self-defense, gun safety, and accurate shooting. More deadly than martial arts.
 

Touch Of Death

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Firearms instructors? I'm not aware of any of them being required to teach values or morals - just laws of self-defense, gun safety, and accurate shooting. More deadly than martial arts.
Not really, when you consider that the gun is locked away 99.999% of the time. And, now that you bring it up, I am all for screening potential gun owners... trainers too.
sean
 
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Bill Mattocks

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Not really, when you consider that the gun is locked away 99.999% of the time. And, now that you bring it up, I am all for screening potential gun owners... trainers too.
sean

Depends very much on where you live. In Vermont, concealed carry is not only legal, no permit is required for it. And no one in most parts of the US is required to 'lock up' their guns ever. I am a law-abiding gun owner myself, and I can tell you that my guns are loaded and easily-accessible in my home. I'd never lock them up.

And what you propose in the way of having gun owners and trainers screened has nothing to do with my point. I said that firearms instructors ARE NOT REQUIRED to teach ethics, morals, or values in addition to firearm instruction.

Do you think they should be? OK, no problem. But they are not now. And nobody calls a firearms instructor a "McFirearms Instructor" because he or she does not teach 'values' along with target practice.
 

Touch Of Death

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Depends very much on where you live. In Vermont, concealed carry is not only legal, no permit is required for it. And no one in most parts of the US is required to 'lock up' their guns ever. I am a law-abiding gun owner myself, and I can tell you that my guns are loaded and easily-accessible in my home. I'd never lock them up.

And what you propose in the way of having gun owners and trainers screened has nothing to do with my point. I said that firearms instructors ARE NOT REQUIRED to teach ethics, morals, or values in addition to firearm instruction.

Do you think they should be? OK, no problem. But they are not now. And nobody calls a firearms instructor a "McFirearms Instructor" because he or she does not teach 'values' along with target practice.
I think they teach gun safety. When I was in the military, they flat out told us that the guy in the tower was there to shoot us if need be. It kinda gives you the message that guns are not to be toyed with. LOL I'll bet you that there are Mc Firearm instructors, now that you mention it.
sean
 
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Bill Mattocks

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I think they teach gun safety. When I was in the military, they flat out told us that the guy in the tower was there to shoot us if need be. It kinda gives you the message that guns are not to be toyed with. LOL I'll bet you that there are Mc Firearm instructors, now that you mention it.
sean

Of course they teach gun safety. That's not morals, values, or ethics.

You argued that martial arts instructors should be required to teach those things because martial arts are more deadly than learning to play the violin or pitch a baseball. I countered that firearms instructors are not required to teach morals, ethics, or values, and guns are more dangerous than martial arts, so that kind of blows your argument out of the water.

You may think that there are 'McFirearm Instructors', but society doesn't. Never heard of one. I *have* heard of McDojos, though. And I'm still trying to pin down what it is that makes a dojo into a McDojo. Nobody seems to be able to answer the question, but there sure is a lot of dancing around the point going on.

I am beginning to think a dojo is a McDojo if they have a successful business model. How dare they.
 

JWLuiza

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I am beginning to think a dojo is a McDojo if they have a successful business model. How dare they.

I've seen em. They exist. Some of them even have POOR business models. The same type of people who open these up end up on Soke councils too....
 

Touch Of Death

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Of course they teach gun safety. That's not morals, values, or ethics.

You argued that martial arts instructors should be required to teach those things because martial arts are more deadly than learning to play the violin or pitch a baseball. I countered that firearms instructors are not required to teach morals, ethics, or values, and guns are more dangerous than martial arts, so that kind of blows your argument out of the water.

You may think that there are 'McFirearm Instructors', but society doesn't. Never heard of one. I *have* heard of McDojos, though. And I'm still trying to pin down what it is that makes a dojo into a McDojo. Nobody seems to be able to answer the question, but there sure is a lot of dancing around the point going on.

I am beginning to think a dojo is a McDojo if they have a successful business model. How dare they.
That's easy. Your school is the real school, the school down the road is a Mc Dojo. Hope that helps LOL
Sean
 

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Bill, the obvious is being missed and I wonder if there is an accidental new purpose (to emphasize gun safety)?

Guns: Firing range. Point at target down range. Practice. Deadly. To do wrong requires leaving the range, loading, unholstering and shooting at folks a projectile that can cause death or destroy (the original text of "Thou shalt now kill" was "Thou shalt not destroy," meaning eyesight, vocal cords, etc.)

Martial arts: Firing punches, elbows, knees, fingers, kicks at each other on a regular basis. With control. With great control. Tempted by anger and abilities to react to situations at hand - yet with sufficient control. Our bodies are part of us. Move with us. Always with us. We are responsible for our reactions and level of control with our readily available weapons in order not to hurt others.

Responsible gun usage doesn't negate the need for martial artists to have integrity and set good examples. Hard sweat, memorization, dealing with stresses and fears in oneself and others and working past them together, sparring, encouraging classmates - these are part of MA but not gun use.

Power that comes easy is not the same as voluntarily enduring hardships, overcoming physical barriers, not crippling others, and listening and acting on honest criticism (felt by contact) - for months or years. A gun bought in solitude, with a license, and with lessons is not the same. The only control for a gun, that others exert on the owner, spoke to the owner years before. The gun can't be improved. It can't create greater or lesser force and the magazine can't hold more rounds because a person cares. A gun is a fixed level of puchased power. Respect and revision of values from sweating with others in equal hardships will occur when, while shooting at targets? It won't happen. It really isn't the same kind of power, and additionally it does not provide the same benefits.

Guns can be destructive over extended distances, are a deterrent, and are a threat.

Martial arts can be destructive up close, are seldom a threat, and are predominantly constructive (better health, confidence, interaction with others, awareness, understanding personal limitations, respect the sexes, expanding one's capabilities, inspiring others).
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Are we still seeking best practices for dojos in this thread, or did we take that as far as it could go?
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Alan

Of course they teach gun safety. That's not morals, values, or ethics.

You argued that martial arts instructors should be required to teach those things because martial arts are more deadly than learning to play the violin or pitch a baseball. I countered that firearms instructors are not required to teach morals, ethics, or values, and guns are more dangerous than martial arts, so that kind of blows your argument out of the water.

You may think that there are 'McFirearm Instructors', but society doesn't. Never heard of one. I *have* heard of McDojos, though. And I'm still trying to pin down what it is that makes a dojo into a McDojo. Nobody seems to be able to answer the question, but there sure is a lot of dancing around the point going on.

I am beginning to think a dojo is a McDojo if they have a successful business model. How dare they.
 
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Bill Mattocks

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Are we still seeking best practices for dojos in this thread, or did we take that as far as it could go?

Sorry, I didn't mean to derail that particular thread, but I started responding to 'a McDojo is bad because...X' comments. In this case, the often-heard statement is that the McDojo doesn't teach ethics, morals, or values (or alternatively, that they claim to teach same and don't). That just hit me funny. It was like, wait a minute, why should a dojo be required to teach ethics, morals, and values? And if they claim to, how does anyone know they don't actually do so? ???

This does go back to the business model in a sense, but it got long-winded, sorry. A McDojo is known for packaging martial arts training and often stripping away the 'traditional' or what some might call the 'mystical' aspect of it. Teaching kicks, punches, and blocks minus the learning a foreign language, practicing meditation, or having discussions about the value of human life. That's a business practice. The questions would be, is it a valuable one, is it a good one, does it lead to both profit and sustainability, and does it ultimately cause harm by not teaching 'values' along with martial arts? If it is indeed harmful to not teach ethics or morals along with kicking and punching, then it's probably a part of the McDojo business model that should not be incorporated into traditional dojos. If it's not harmful...then it might be useful to some.
 

Blade96

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maybe all the more reson for a gun person to teach morals ethics and all that stuff.

MA - teach you how to stay alive if you wind up in a situation.

Guns - kill people quickly and easily if in the right place and if some evil person knows how to do it. Arm the gun, cock the weapon, put finger on the trigger and pull.

I'd even say they are more dangerous sometimes than even MA.

and if MA's instructors teach morals ethics and stuff than gun people should teach the same.
 

AlanE

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maybe all the more reson for a gun person to teach morals ethics and all that stuff.

MA - teach you how to stay alive if you wind up in a situation.

Guns - kill people quickly and easily if in the right place and if some evil person knows how to do it. Arm the gun, cock the weapon, put finger on the trigger and pull.

I'd even say they are more dangerous sometimes than even MA.

and if MA's instructors teach morals ethics and stuff than gun people should teach the same.

Something brilliant about that, I just don't know how to do it. Unless we bring people into our homes for 10+ years and teach them values.

As in raising children, while not being lazy outside of society's view, and being encouraging examples for them.

It's handing a person too much power IF they were not prepared in advance. Like being given a military command when unprepared - the boys and girls in blue are going to be retreating.
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Bill, I love the thread's directions, BTW. You really have a hit on your hands starting this one!
_______
 

grydth

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Sorry, I didn't mean to derail that particular thread, but I started responding to 'a McDojo is bad because...X' comments. In this case, the often-heard statement is that the McDojo doesn't teach ethics, morals, or values (or alternatively, that they claim to teach same and don't). That just hit me funny. It was like, wait a minute, why should a dojo be required to teach ethics, morals, and values? And if they claim to, how does anyone know they don't actually do so? ???

This does go back to the business model in a sense, but it got long-winded, sorry. A McDojo is known for packaging martial arts training and often stripping away the 'traditional' or what some might call the 'mystical' aspect of it. Teaching kicks, punches, and blocks minus the learning a foreign language, practicing meditation, or having discussions about the value of human life. That's a business practice. The questions would be, is it a valuable one, is it a good one, does it lead to both profit and sustainability, and does it ultimately cause harm by not teaching 'values' along with martial arts? If it is indeed harmful to not teach ethics or morals along with kicking and punching, then it's probably a part of the McDojo business model that should not be incorporated into traditional dojos. If it's not harmful...then it might be useful to some.

I don't know that I'd generalize a McDojo as stripping away the traditional or the mystical.... indeed, I think some of these individuals have no tradition to begin with, while others seek to profit from faux mysticism (I am inspired here by running across a batch of Ashida Kim books today in a used book store.)

I do agree that certain components of McDojo operations could lead to traditional schools being more profitable - and without losing their tradition or legitimacy. Indeed, they might profit from running parody ads on McDojo claims, "We can't teach you to fly or walk through walls... NOBODY CAN..... but we can offer you the benefits of a real MA training, for example......"

As time goes by, I believe we will continue to see more schools showing parts of both traditional and McDojo...... and then the devil will be in the details, won't it?
 

AlanE

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I don't know that I'd generalize a McDojo as stripping away the traditional or the mystical.... indeed, I think some of these individuals have no tradition to begin with, while others seek to profit from faux mysticism (I am inspired here by running across a batch of Ashida Kim books today in a used book store.)

I do agree that certain components of McDojo operations could lead to traditional schools being more profitable - and without losing their tradition or legitimacy. Indeed, they might profit from running parody ads on McDojo claims, "We can't teach you to fly or walk through walls... NOBODY CAN..... but we can offer you the benefits of a real MA training, for example......"

As time goes by, I believe we will continue to see more schools showing parts of both traditional and McDojo...... and then the devil will be in the details, won't it?
"real MA training" - right! Ashida Kim & mysticism - right!

Is mysticism just flair over substance? I had a math teacher/chess coach/Christian get nervous when I told him I took up martial arts. Before you get a picture in your mind, he was easy-going and very popular, not ranting and raving or oddly-dressed. He wanted to warn me that some of the martial arts might be cults! I'll never forget his concern. He really cared; he didn't want to lose a young person he knew so well (chess tournaments & two math classes). He did not realize how my mind was prepared regardless, and Tang Soo Do had nothing at all mystical!

Are McDojo's bringing sexy back? No, just the opposite. No mysticism, just a pitch for positive activity, earned self-worth, self-defense. It's a choice to attend. Instructor and free classes have impressed potential students? Newbies are impressionable you say? True, true.
 

jks9199

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There are training halls -- and I wouldn't call them all McDojos -- that are cults. Cults are not automatically negative; in a strict definition, any church is a cult. But most MA cults are personality cults; students are strongly supportive of their instructor. When this relationship is used to build and strengthen the student -- it's good. When it's used at the expense of the student to build the so-called "teacher" -- it's bad.

Many McDojos aren't cults; they're barely clubs. The school owners simply care about making money, and they're as happy with nobody showing up at a class, so long as the billing for the month went through. (Yes, I'm using a bit of hyperbole.) The cult leader? He's going to care that each and every student shows up, and "worships." The real leader/teacher? He's going to care that the student shows up to learn and grow.
 

Touch Of Death

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I think teaching morals and basic saftey are nearly the same thing considering it is unsafe to teach deadly techs to just anybody.
sean
 

JohnASE

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I don't think McDojo's are bad by definition, or rather they shouldn't be. As other's have said, there's much contention as to what a McDojo is. Obviously, if you define one as having unethical business practices or teaching worthless martial arts, there's no real question, not that everyone can even agree on what is unethical. The McDojo model might appeal to unscrupulous people, but I think it's unfair to define the category by what I hope is a minority.

The "McDojos" I've seen are often filled with happy students. They enjoy what they do and value what they learn. They don't feel they're being cheated. Who are we to say they are? Maybe their martial art isn't the most effective, but whose is? I believe that what counts is that the students are happy with their program. Again, this assumes that the instructor isn't completely fraudulent.

By the way, I drove thru McDonalds this past Filet-o-Fish Friday and was happy. I enjoyed my meal and didn't worry about whether Mahi Mahi at Roy's Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine would have been tastier or healthier.

Regarding Bill's stated topic, I think knowledge is power, and I think people running a dojo can learn things from this business model. They can take from it what they want and leave what they don't. Recurring income is nice. Programs that keep students interested and motivated are good things. Charging money for crap... bad.

There are a lot of dojos out there closing because they can't cover rent. I haven't spent much time in the School Management Forum, but I think it's a great idea, and I hope discussions in this forum and this thread help people find ways to keep their dojo going without compromising their ethics.
 

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