In Defense of the McDojo

JWLuiza

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Bill. So far, you've been pretty adamant that profit is not just an indicator of business success, but the only one. You've said, "Money is the only measure of success." That "the business is measured only by how much money it earns. It is the only objective measure by which to measure the success of a business."

You've also said that "Investors and stockholders and business owners can only measure the success of a business by the money it makes," and that, "The [business] that makes more money *is* more successful."

So, I'll ask you again. Two BJJ Schools, A and B, and you have the opportunity to take over as a co-owner of either one. One represents a typical BJJ school that's well run. The other is a lucrative "MMA" school capitalizing on the typical McDojo business model. Both are turning a profit, although the MMA school is making significantly more money right now. Which of those would you choose to invest in, if you had the chance? As an investor, which of those two is more successful in your opinion?

What's the investment cost? What's the ROI per annum? Is this in the current climate? How long has the McDojo been in business?
 

Steve

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What's the investment cost? What's the ROI per annum? Is this in the current climate? How long has the McDojo been in business?
Investment cost would be the same for either. Let's presume that overhead is about the same for both, as well. Rent, salaries, insurance and such. ROI per annum, at least at short term, would be much higher for the mcdojo as it's currently turning a higher profit.

The McDojo has been in business for about a year while the other school has been around for over 10. This last doesn't matter, though. Right? I mean, it has nothing to do with profit.
 

JWLuiza

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Investment cost would be the same for either. Let's presume that overhead is about the same for both, as well. Rent, salaries, insurance and such. ROI per annum, at least at short term, would be much higher for the mcdojo as it's currently turning a higher profit.

The McDojo has been in business for about a year while the other school has been around for over 10. This last doesn't matter, though. Right? I mean, it has nothing to do with profit.

How long would it take to recoup the initial investment? The hard numbers really matter here. It may make more sense to invest in the McDojo if ROI is high enough and investment low enough. I know plenty of mcdojos who have in existence for 20-30 yeArs though. Also if the ROI on the solid club was low it wouldn't be a good investment either.
 

Steve

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:) Thanks, JWLuiza. What I'm driving at is that there are more considerations than which business is making more money right now. I could invent some actual numbers, but I think you've made that point very clear.
 

JWLuiza

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Like I said. I think the best discussion now is what are the lessons we should learn and what things should we stay away from.
 
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Bill Mattocks

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So, I'll ask you again. Two BJJ Schools, A and B, and you have the opportunity to take over as a co-owner of either one. One represents a typical BJJ school that's well run. The other is a lucrative "MMA" school capitalizing on the typical McDojo business model. Both are turning a profit, although the MMA school is making significantly more money right now. Which of those would you choose to invest in, if you had the chance? As an investor, which of those two is more successful in your opinion?

As an investor, I'd invest in the one that made more money. As a stockholder, I'd invest in the one that I felt was undervalued and had the opportunity for the stock to go higher. As a student, I'd go to whichever one I felt offered the best training.

But I've largely withdrawn from the thread at this point, because we're going in circles. You've constructed scenarios that support your point of view. McDojos have (in your scenario) a poor business model now because they're not sustainable; in your carefully-constructed scenario, all McDojos have an eat-em-up-and-spit-em-out mentality that guarantees that at some point their poor reputation and customer frustration will drive them out of business. Yet we have no evidence of this; as far as I can tell, the supply of customers is endless. As much as all small businesses have suffered in this economic recession, the chain McDojos seem not to have suffered unduly.

In any case, you're still arguing against something I've never said. I have not said that the McDojo is a superior training method, or that they offer great services, or that some don't engage in questionable practices to lure students in. I have said that the franchised McDojo business model is a successful one. And it is; that's demonstrable by their success and growth. The fact that they're in every strip mall in the USA proves it. I don't see how you can argue against it, it's beyond dispute.

But you want very much for the McDojo to not be a 'winner' in any frame of reference, from their actual training to how they treat their customers to their long term sustainability to even how economically successful they are (which you claim they're not). I get that you don't like McDojos. No problem. I'm not a fan of them either, from any standpoint other than their business model.

Other than that, I'm not sure what else we have to talk about in this thread. I stated my case, made my points. You keep constructing new scenarios to try to make your subjective dislike of McDojos into an economic proof, and you seem frustrated that I'm not agreeing with you. Can't help it, I can't agree with what isn't correct.
 

JWLuiza

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Actually, I think there is a wealth of opportunities to talk about GOOD business practices that would help even small club owners run their clubs/schools at a benefit to themselves and the student.

Some examples:
On recruiting here
On pricing here
 

Touch Of Death

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If your task is to better your community with your art of choice, five people in a basement; is not going to cut it.
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Steve

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But I've largely withdrawn from the thread at this point, because we're going in circles. You've constructed scenarios that support your point of view. McDojos have (in your scenario) a poor business model now because they're not sustainable; in your carefully-constructed scenario, all McDojos have an eat-em-up-and-spit-em-out mentality that guarantees that at some point their poor reputation and customer frustration will drive them out of business. Yet we have no evidence of this; as far as I can tell, the supply of customers is endless. As much as all small businesses have suffered in this economic recession, the chain McDojos seem not to have suffered unduly.
Honestly, I think this is an unfair characterization. The scenarios you're referring to were very specifically created only to demonstrate that profit is not the only measure of success in business. Really, the scenarios could have been about martial arts schools or any business. They were to counter an assertion made by you many times that at any given time, the business making more money is more successful. I believe it's been very thoroughly established that this is wrong.
In any case, you're still arguing against something I've never said.
You never said that profit is the only measure of success? I'm pretty sure that's not true.
I have not said that the McDojo is a superior training method,
And I've never suggested that you have.
or that they offer great services,
Again, I'm not sure where you believe I've suggested otherwise.
or that some don't engage in questionable practices to lure students in.
Okay. This one... I've said that many are unscrupulous. I don't think I've put any words in your mouth, though.
I have said that the franchised McDojo business model is a successful one. And it is; that's demonstrable by their success and growth. The fact that they're in every strip mall in the USA proves it. I don't see how you can argue against it, it's beyond dispute.
And while you kept it here, honestly, I had no problems with your argument. As I said before, if your point was strictly that a mcdojo can make money, there's really nothing to discuss. It's when you began asserting very strongly that a McDojo is MORE successful than other martial arts schools if it's currently turning a higher profit that I believe you went off the reservation.
But you want very much for the McDojo to not be a 'winner' in any frame of reference, from their actual training to how they treat their customers to their long term sustainability to even how economically successful they are (which you claim they're not). I get that you don't like McDojos. No problem. I'm not a fan of them either, from any standpoint other than their business model.
Truly, I don't care one way or the other about McDojos. I mean, no more than I care about the shady used car salesman down the street or any other questionable businessman. I just happen to think that you're wrong to suggest that a mcdojo is more successful than other profitable martial arts schools simply because it's making more money. Profit is not the only measure of success.
Other than that, I'm not sure what else we have to talk about in this thread. I stated my case, made my points. You keep constructing new scenarios to try to make your subjective dislike of McDojos into an economic proof, and you seem frustrated that I'm not agreeing with you. Can't help it, I can't agree with what isn't correct.
My only frustration is that every response you post makes it clear that you don't understand what I'm trying to say. You counter arguments I've never made, ascribe feelings to me that I don't have, presume things about my position that aren't correct and ultimately seem more interested in being right than engaging in an honest discussion about issues that you yourself brought up. That does frustrate me a little. I'm as frustrated with myself as anything because I'm sure I could be more clear, but I'm at a loss as to how.

JWLuiza, 24fightingchickens is a blog I've read for a long time and enjoy. I'm glad I'm not the only one. :)
 

scottie

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So true I was a product of a McDojo for almost 10 years I was promoted to 5th Dan in this art. I began learning the busness aspect of the school about five years ago. When I had a pontental student from another in town came in for a "inturductory free private lesson" (my teacher loved for me to do them because in two years I had a 100% sell rate) and asked me what katas we taught. When I told him we don't teach that junk because it does not teach you how to fight in the real world. He looked at me and said you don't teach karate and your five stripes are a joke, then left.

When I told my teacher that he made some comment about fighting and beating that guy up and quickly changed the subject. I told I wanted to learn katas and he said we don't teach that crap. if you want to learn the you need to go to my old teacher.

So I did it was the best move I ever made this guy had tracable lineage and I learned more in one class than I learned in 7 years in the McDojo.

After over 4 and a half years I have earned my first degree Black Belt. I have fallen in love with kata, and thank God every day for that guy coming into my school. Kata has taught me so much. It is awesome. O I also learned that my first teacher that wore a 7th dan had only just been promoted to brown belt which he really did not deserve when he opened his school. My current sensei said that taught him to never promote anyone above there ability to learn.

I spent 10 years at a very high price with 9 contract renewals to learn how to point fight not counting the Thousands of Dollars I spent on belt test. i don't know if I am more mad at myself for being so dumb or him for thinking what he is doing is the right thing.

It did however build self esteem and teach me the best defense for a fight is to stay away form one if all possible. Just my Thoughts I understand both sides not that I agree with both sides
 

Joab

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Bill, were you serious about all this or were you pulling our legs?
 
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Bill Mattocks

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Bill, were you serious about all this or were you pulling our legs?

Serious. But make sure you know what my point was - it seems to be getting missed in the general sturm und drang of hating on McDojos. To recap, I think that the McDojo business model is a valid and successful one, and that some of their methodologies could be used successfully in traditional dojos. I am not claiming that McDojos are wonderful places teaching great martial arts.
 

KELLYG

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If you could snag their business model and hold your feet to the fire as far as standards goes then by all means go for it. I think that you have to know where exact intersection is between excellent instruction and profit and not get greedy enough to cross it. Money for monies sake means nothing being able to sit back and watch your students grow in martial arts, and be proud of the results of your and their hard work, is where the real profit lies.
 

Blade96

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Serious. But make sure you know what my point was - it seems to be getting missed in the general sturm und drang of hating on McDojos. To recap, I think that the McDojo business model is a valid and successful one, and that some of their methodologies could be used successfully in traditional dojos. I am not claiming that McDojos are wonderful places teaching great martial arts.

If you dont mind I'll define this cause some people here arent history students :p

This means 'storm and stress' its a period of time in the second half of the 18th century of german history when german arts, like literature and music, turned towards freedom of emotion and what was just defined for me here in this thread, subjectivity. Before that they focused on being rational, and that originally came from the enlightenment period.
 

Blade96

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Blade96

Dude that's heavy. Thanks

np. Did a course on German influence on Russian history when doing Russian (one of my majors, the other one was history) and learned about that, thought I'd forgotten it because it was years ago but Bill's post reminded me again :) and i thought other people might be wondering what that meant
 

grydth

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Serious. But make sure you know what my point was - it seems to be getting missed in the general sturm und drang of hating on McDojos. To recap, I think that the McDojo business model is a valid and successful one, and that some of their methodologies could be used successfully in traditional dojos. I am not claiming that McDojos are wonderful places teaching great martial arts.

Just a note - you might have saved us significant cyber wind had the title of the thread been "In Defense of the McDojo Business Model" ..... not that this thread hasn't been a fun ride, though.

Methinks somebody has enjoyed "living dangerously"......
 
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Bill Mattocks

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Just a note - you might have saved us significant cyber wind had the title of the thread been "In Defense of the McDojo Business Model" ..... not that this thread hasn't been a fun ride, though.

Methinks somebody has enjoyed "living dangerously"......

But I put it in the 'School Management' forum. What else would it be about?

icon12.gif
 

Blade96

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btw i enjoy the 24fightingchickens site too. quite an enjoyable read. :angel:

PS bill, School Management. I guess that could include business practices.
 

AlanE

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If your task is to better your community with your art of choice, five people in a basement; is not going to cut it.
sean
According to some, 12 disciples made better an entire world. Whether one agrees or disagrees, my wife says many of us are not destined for public greatness. A few lives made better is a few lives made better.

Five from a certain basement vs. ten from a McDojo. Not a fair competition for somebody...
 
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