karate for kids?

laneyg

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We recently enrolled our 5 year old sonin the Tiny Tigers program with "Karate for Kids" with theATA. We pay $80 a month and the instructor is very good with thekids. My son loves him and the in the last couple of months, we havereally seen our son's confidence level go up. They work the kidshard and I can tell it's a good workout for him too.


However, I recently stumbled upon theterm, "McDojo" and feel fairly certain we are at one. There are upgraded classes like the Leadership program or the BlackBelt Club, etc.


The kids move up in belt rank aboutevery 2 months. I think an 8 year old kid could be a black belteasily. This never seemed quite right to me even before I learnedabout McDojos.


They had belt testing last night andevery kid passed. Even the ones who laid there like a slug. Now Ican SORT OF understand in the Tiny Tigers program - maybe movingeveryone up to build confidence or something. I'm not sure when thekids are moved to the next program if the testing is harder. I hopeso.


So, in the Tiny Tigers, there are whitebelts and green belts and "camo belts??" all learning thesame moves for testing. Again, I hope this is not what olderstudents do. Wouldn't a higher belt want/need to be learningdifferent things than a lower belt student?

They DO do sparing and do kick pads and bags.


We actually love the school. As Isaid, the instructor is great with the kids and they are learning. Ithink just like in regular school, the kids who have parents who pushthem to do well, will do well. The kids who's parents allow them tojust lay there won't get much out of it.


But.... maybe this is fine for our 5year old son. It's getting him active and building confidence andit's fun. Are we going to regret it when he's older and reallydoesn't actually KNOW martial arts?


What age will a good school evenaccept a student? Is 5 too young?


What are your thoughts on this?
Thanks so much!
 

ralphmcpherson

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From my understanding, mcdojos are largely driven by making money, even at the expense of good instruction. It is possible to have a mcdojo that still offers good martial arts instruction from what I understand, but the drive for money would probably make this rare. Many clubs make it easy for lower belts to pass gradings but as they go up the levels it should get harder to pass. I have friends with kids in mcdojos and their kids train hard and are progressing very well and are actually good litte MAists, BUT they train hard, love going to class and train a lot outside of class and for them it seems to be working. Their kids confidence has also improved. If the instruction seems good and your kids like what they are doing, then let them have their fun. I was put into a very 'old school' martial arts club as a young kid and it turned me off martial arts for years. Kids and adults require very different things from a martial arts club.
 

Tez3

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Isn't the ATA organisation TKD not karate?
 

wildcat91

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Don;t get caught up with what everyone else thinks, the question is, is it good for your son. The reality is at 5 years old if your son is interested in karate, a "McDojo" is likely going to be the best place for him at this time. Reality is the school is there to make money, just make sure you're not getting taken advantage of.

A couple of questions you might want to ask
Who is the instructer? How long has he/she been practicing and in what arts? Who will actually be teaching the class?
Take a look at one of the upper level belt classes. Even if you can't tell a side kick from a round house kick, you can tell if the instructer has kids focused or going through the motions.
In the beginner class look at the students who have gone through a few belt promotions. Are they respectful and setting an example for the new students?

All these things can give you an idea about what benefits you can expect as your child moves through the program.
 

jasonbrinn

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I agree with the others who are stating it is about the benefits for your child. If it is positive, and fun and your child is growing from it then it sounds great! Kids have all kinds of things like space camp, scout school, etc. which may or may not be the "real deal" and are really just about new experiences and having fun in a safe and nuturing place.

McDojo was/is a term created by people who want to feel McTough about themselves. In reality most martial arts fail realty self defense scenarios in all areas except for giving self-confidence, toughness and a will to win. The moves, techniques, etc are mostly crap across the board outside of the martial arts class. I know I am going to catch flack for this - but it is the truth! If it were about taught techniques actually working in self defense scenarios that actually occur then all martial artists could conduct studies and gravitate to the few things that actually have shown to work in real life scenarios.

And anyone in business not trying to make a profit is an idiot. when you leave your garage, yard or free park you are starting a business and as such should treat it like one. This doesnt mean you can't offer quality instruction - you should - but dont kid yourself. Unless you are going to privatley fund your classes you are in a business and in business your goal is to increase revenue while decreasing expenses.
 

Tez3

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I would have a question to ask though 'why are they calling it karate?'. Honesty there at least would be an indication of intent to teach honestly. What style of karate, what katas are being taught? What moves are being tested?
 

yaxomoxay

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Just my 2c.I am not much experienced, but both my children are training in tang soo do (and so my wife and I). My oldest son is almost 10 years old; my youngest is 5 and a half. My oldest has been training almost every day since early 2008. At the end of 2012 he can potentially be a black belt. My youngest kid first started with a program specifically for children. They could only do two 30-min classes a week (for about $25/month) and they could only earn stripes on their belts (up to ten I believe). They tested every other month. Once they are proficient enough they can join the regular classes, but they go back to white belt, no stripes since its a whole new curriculum. Of course the small children classes are not so serious, but they learn interesting stuff. How to line-up, how to reply, how to count in Korean, what is 911, how to throw punches (for their age), what is a kick, when to use self-defense etc. I believe such programs are very good introductions to the concept of Martial Arts. Not much should be expected by a 5-year old and we should not forget he is still a child, with a childish brain. They are so nice this way; I wouldnt change how they are for a perfectly obedient 5yrs old trained martial arts monster. However, regular classes are a different music. Of course white belt children are pretty much distracted and dont have technique, while most of the higher belts are more serious and have technique. I personally know of several kids who werent allowed to test or failed. Not many, but enough. My youngest son wasnt allowed to test for two extra months for his yellow belt and due to his age it will probably take two or three extra months to go to orange belt. Hes going to every possible class. In my opinion sometimes our teacher is too kind with some kids, including mine, but with some introspection I realized that this impression is due to the fact that I am never satisfied with myself. I am 2 nd Gup (red belt,1 stripe) and I am going to test for 1 st gup soon. So far I havent done a single test in which I would have promoted myself, however I always gave what I could give. I never held back anything (maybe at my first test due to shyness). One thing is important: unless its too easy and it requires just one year to go from white belt to black belt, most kids will give up and parents will give up bringing their kids to class even sooner. My school opened in 2006 or 2006 and there is no black belt child. Only three (my son and two more, but they are children of one of the assistants) below 15 can be eligible to test for black belt next year. It means that my kid will be the only child not involved with the school to become a black belt. And I have seen many many children. I have seen hundreds join the school from 2008 (when we started). When we joined, many were already ahead of my son. Everyone, every single one, gave up. And we dont practice a destroy-your-body-full-combat-live-or-die-style-art. Thats because after a while many kids realize its not about the belt. They realize that a black belt takes time, effort, sweat and even some blood. They realize it requires focus. They end up believing that playing soccer or football doesnt require that much effort (but they will find out that being good at those sports requires a LOT of effort) so they want to play that, just to be disappointed. They realize it requires respect. They realize it is a lot of trial and error. They realize it requires practicing basics over and over, every day, for years. Its repetitive. And believing that its all about the belt is just the perfect path for failure. No one in his mind would sacrifice hours of his life just for a belt. Those who dont give up understand a deeper meaning behind the belt. MA can be boring and there is no crowd cheering for your team (hence, parents involvement and faith in their kid is fundamental). I believe that kids have such sensibility, way more than us, so that it is even more difficult for them unless the parents push them and make them understand they are doing something special. One year and a half ago my son wanted to stop. I believe he was a red belt (I could be wrong). We simply told him no. We noticed he just couldnt find the meaning of what he was doing, especially repeating the basics over and over. We discussed about this with him (and we explained that to be like Alex Rodriguez you have to do a LOT of boring batting practice) and we discussed with his teacher. They worked together, we worked as a team. Now my son loves to go there, he loves to help other children. And, honestly, I am very proud of him. At his first or second lesson my son gave the middle finger to the teacher (as of today, I dont know how the teacher kept a round kick from smacking my son), which he learned in the place they call school. Today if necessary my son lines up the class, checks that the uniforms are ok, that every kid has the pads. Once the teacher had an unexpected problem and asked my son to teach for a while. Sure, he did not teach the best class ever, but he did his job. In 2008 I would have never thought he would have changed so much. My suggestion: dont look to the other children. Look at your own son, look at what he needs, and look at what hes learning. Look at his teacher; look at your sons classes. If you can join and be with him, join, even if you dont want to(if you cant, well, you cant). You wont regret it. If in one year your son is behaving better, if hes kicking better, if he feels more confident, than it was worth it. You cant know how your son will do only by looking at other children and other adults. Yes, there are some extreme things you should be careful with, especially at the beginning, but mostly they are monetary reason (a $100/month testing fee etc.). Look at his teachers resume and base your opinion solely on your child and your situation. Nothing else matters. As I said what I am not an expert, but what I learned is that Martial Arts enhance the individual, the ego. So if you trust the teacher just look at the individual that matters to you: your son.
 

decepticon

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In my opinion, a McDojo is a place where poor training, regular promotions, and overconfidence are exchanged for significant sums of money. Another characteristic I have heard friends talk about is that McDojo instructors often have large gaps in their own training but frequently teach far outside their level of qualification.

Talk to the instructor to see if promotions become based on merit later on in the program. Or visit other schools in your area to see if you can find one that does not offer the time/money based promotions. Change if they have an appropriate kids' class. It's much better to support a good school than a questionable one.

And be sure to gently explain to your son that he should not put too much confidence in automatic promotions that move everyone up regardless of ability. I think it borders on criminal for instructors to lead students to overconfidence. It could lead your child into some very dangerous situations.
 

MJS

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We recently enrolled our 5 year old sonin the Tiny Tigers program with "Karate for Kids" with theATA. We pay $80 a month and the instructor is very good with thekids. My son loves him and the in the last couple of months, we havereally seen our son's confidence level go up. They work the kidshard and I can tell it's a good workout for him too.


However, I recently stumbled upon theterm, "McDojo" and feel fairly certain we are at one. There are upgraded classes like the Leadership program or the BlackBelt Club, etc.


The kids move up in belt rank aboutevery 2 months. I think an 8 year old kid could be a black belteasily. This never seemed quite right to me even before I learnedabout McDojos.


They had belt testing last night andevery kid passed. Even the ones who laid there like a slug. Now Ican SORT OF understand in the Tiny Tigers program - maybe movingeveryone up to build confidence or something. I'm not sure when thekids are moved to the next program if the testing is harder. I hopeso.


So, in the Tiny Tigers, there are whitebelts and green belts and "camo belts??" all learning thesame moves for testing. Again, I hope this is not what olderstudents do. Wouldn't a higher belt want/need to be learningdifferent things than a lower belt student?

They DO do sparing and do kick pads and bags.


We actually love the school. As Isaid, the instructor is great with the kids and they are learning. Ithink just like in regular school, the kids who have parents who pushthem to do well, will do well. The kids who's parents allow them tojust lay there won't get much out of it.


But.... maybe this is fine for our 5year old son. It's getting him active and building confidence andit's fun. Are we going to regret it when he's older and reallydoesn't actually KNOW martial arts?


What age will a good school evenaccept a student? Is 5 too young?


What are your thoughts on this?
Thanks so much!

Yup, sounds to me like you're in a mcdojo. Others have talked about the benefits that this 'school' is giving your child. However, keep in mind, in cases of mcdojos, the inst. is going to make your child feel like they're the best in the school....as long as you're willing to keep shelling out the cash every month. Sorry, I dont mean to sound like a jerk, but what I'm saying is the truth. How can you promote a child when they're standing there doing nothing? This is probably one of the main reasons I'm not a huge fan of kids this young, enrolling in classes in the first place. I'm not saying all, but a large percentage of the kids that're that young, really aren't getting anything out of it. Its really more of a 30 free time for the parents...in other words, its a babysitting class more than a martial arts class.

As for black belt ranks....nope, I'm not a fan of giving anyone a BB under age of 16. Sorry, they just don't grasp the meaning of what the rank is all about.

In the end, its you that has to make the decision as to whether or not what you're paying and what you're kid is getting out of it, is really worth it. Good luck with your decision. :)
 

ralphmcpherson

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In my opinion, a McDojo is a place where poor training, regular promotions, and overconfidence are exchanged for significant sums of money. Another characteristic I have heard friends talk about is that McDojo instructors often have large gaps in their own training but frequently teach far outside their level of qualification.

Talk to the instructor to see if promotions become based on merit later on in the program. Or visit other schools in your area to see if you can find one that does not offer the time/money based promotions. Change if they have an appropriate kids' class. It's much better to support a good school than a questionable one.

And be sure to gently explain to your son that he should not put too much confidence in automatic promotions that move everyone up regardless of ability. I think it borders on criminal for instructors to lead students to overconfidence. It could lead your child into some very dangerous situations.
Quite true, most of the time. But I know of mcdojos with instructors with a wealth of knowlwdge and very good skill level, they are just driven by making money. There is a mcdojo in my area run by a very good martial artist, only problem is that all he wants is to get rich so he promotes anyone and hands out black belts like candy, but he personally is a very good, experienced, high ranking martial artist. From my understanding a mcdojo is more about money making than anything else. Quite often they provide an environment where a student can gain as little or as much as they want but the school doesnt care either way. As I said in an earlier post, if you go to a mcdojo and train your *** off and then go home and practice and practice and practice and always push yourself to the limits, you can actually gain something training at some mcdojos. The problem is though, that people of similar rank will be way behind in skill level because they usually just promote anybody.
 

MJS

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I agree with the others who are stating it is about the benefits for your child. If it is positive, and fun and your child is growing from it then it sounds great! Kids have all kinds of things like space camp, scout school, etc. which may or may not be the "real deal" and are really just about new experiences and having fun in a safe and nuturing place.

McDojo was/is a term created by people who want to feel McTough about themselves. In reality most martial arts fail realty self defense scenarios in all areas except for giving self-confidence, toughness and a will to win. The moves, techniques, etc are mostly crap across the board outside of the martial arts class. I know I am going to catch flack for this - but it is the truth! If it were about taught techniques actually working in self defense scenarios that actually occur then all martial artists could conduct studies and gravitate to the few things that actually have shown to work in real life scenarios.

And anyone in business not trying to make a profit is an idiot. when you leave your garage, yard or free park you are starting a business and as such should treat it like one. This doesnt mean you can't offer quality instruction - you should - but dont kid yourself. Unless you are going to privatley fund your classes you are in a business and in business your goal is to increase revenue while decreasing expenses.

I think you're painting all MAists with a very broad brush. First, while there are alot of BS schools out there, not all of them are teaching ineffective things. Second, just because you're running a school as a business, doesnt mean that you have to stoop so low as to only be concerned with the cash flow. Sure the cash is important, but quality martial arts is important as well, and IMO, I dont think that one should be sacrificed for the other.
 

decepticon

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I think you're painting all MAists with a very broad brush. First, while there are alot of BS schools out there, not all of them are teaching ineffective things. Second, just because you're running a school as a business, doesnt mean that you have to stoop so low as to only be concerned with the cash flow. Sure the cash is important, but quality martial arts is important as well, and IMO, I dont think that one should be sacrificed for the other.

There is nothing wrong with running a school as a business and being mindful of the cashflow. However, McDojos are notorious for practices that put the financial aspects above the learning ones. Primarily, holding promotion testing regularly and often and passing everyone regardless of ability. In my region they are also known for long term contracts that are hard to get out of if the child loses interest.

Secondarily, due to these regular and frequent promotions, McDojos are known for turning out numerous very young "black belts". This unfortunately has the negative effect of leading parents to believe that the training is superior there, or else why would it take little Johnny until he is 16 to get a black belt at this other place and little Tommy earned his when he was only 7. (Completely unaware of the fact that black belts are not created equal) And more importantly, that little Tommy may well buy into the idea that he is now a master of self defense - and such overconfidence could lead him to wading into a fight he is poorly equipped to wage or walking home through a rough section of town, because after all, he does have a black belt and can defend himself against all comers.

I'm sure there are some talented MA instructors who have fallen under the spell of quick money. So they add tips, stripes, spots, and extra colors to the belts to increase the number of promotions they can get the parents to pay for and hook the kids into staying to seek. They come up with lengthy contracts and pay more attention to whether the monthly bill was paid than whether the child actually attended class or is showing proper progress. They promote everyone who shows up for the testing - regardless of skill or knowledge. Unfortunately, in some areas, that is the can of paint into which the brush is being dipped and all MA facilities are being tarred with it. So parents hear that little Bobby got his black belt, yet they know the kid and know he doesn't know his backside from a hole in the ground so they steer their child in other directions, because MA is obviously a bunch of hokey crap - have you seen that Bobby kid? The whole industry in that region gets a black eye from the McDojo. It may well be that the instructor is good and knows his MA, but if he is not able to convey that to the students due to either their young age or his reluctance to set standards, then he is providing an inferior product regardless of his capabilities.

I think it is great that many dojos offer introductory classes to young children, but but IMO these are MA activity classes not training ones. I personally know one young black belt, who is good but he only has a little 7yo body to work with so sparring in a more advanced class, the attackers can easily pick him up and carry him off. He knows how to wave his hands and feet around in the air in a menacing way but he is unable to defend himself. IMO, it is wrong to let these little ones think they are acquiring abilities that they are not. It does a disservice to them, their families, and the MA community at large. And that is why I think McDojos are wrong. Not just because they make money.
 

WC_lun

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At 5 years old, the most important things are the physical activity and the mental training. Mcdojo or not, as long as you are comfortable spending what you are spending for what you get then it is fine. You do see what it takes to achieve the belts, so if you are having to pay extra for that, then there are alarm bells. If those extra programs charge money for exactly the same content, again there are alarm bells. These things would be similiar to a bank charging you hidden fees.

Training content becomes more of an issue when a child start getting into his teens...or an adult. The self defense skills supposedly taught might be relied upon. A student could get hurt relying on training that is subpar. In that case, a school teaching subpar material with subpar training methods while espousing "self defense training" is committing fraud. Unfortunately, that happens a LOT in the martial arts world.

Now if a school teaches martial arts as a sport and keeps to that narrower focus, its all good. Especially if that is what the student is looking for. It is important to know what you are getting out of a school and to know personally if that is worth the money you are paying.
 

shesulsa

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We actually love the school. As Isaid, the instructor is great with the kids and they are learning. Ithink just like in regular school, the kids who have parents who pushthem to do well, will do well. The kids who's parents allow them tojust lay there won't get much out of it.


But.... maybe this is fine for our 5year old son. It's getting him active and building confidence andit's fun. Are we going to regret it when he's older and reallydoesn't actually KNOW martial arts?


What age will a “good” school evenaccept a student? Is 5 too young?


What are your thoughts on this?
Thanks so much!

Thanks for posting this.

First let me say that it's great that you are placing a high value on the benefits your child is gaining from this experience. I have said before and stand by my opinion that it is the intrinsic values behind childhood sports that parents seek rather than the glory of excellent performance in the sport itself.

Your account gives the picture that your child is, indeed, enrolled in what we call a McDojo. I don't disagree with what others have posted here - so I'll try to address your concerns comprehensively:

1. Know what you're buying.

There are many types of martial arts - you've probably heard different terms like Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Judo, Kung Fu, etcetera. While they are all fighting sport arts they are not interchangeable in knowledge per se in that a person who reaches a certain knowledge point in a Tae Kwon Do school cannot take that same rank and knowledge into a Kung Fu school and continue where s/he left off. The knowledge base would be totally different and the student would have to start over.

Commercial martial arts can generally be segregated into a few categories: Traditional martial arts, Self-defense martial arts and Martial sports. Almost all of them advertise the same idealistic results from children's programs - focus, self-control, bullyproofing, confidence, how to make friends, manners, respect. Some martial sports use color rank as a sparring level designation and little more. Others use ranking to signify a progression in the accumulation of theoretical knowledge and physical agility. Yet others use color ranking to signify progression in learning, ability and the application of the underlying theory of the specific art as well as one's maturity with their individual knowledge base.

Most "respectable" martial artists will tell you that it is unconscionable to progress anyone who does not demonstrate some level of proficiency in a progressively challenging curriculum and that handing out rank every two months to paying customers regardless of performance, growth or lack thereof is a horrific practice that fosters false confidence and could endanger unskilled yet highly ranked young people.

Think about the term "McDojo." This studio is serving your child up with a new rank every couple of months, he leaves happy and confident ... and very likely underskilled and undereducated, much like a McDonald's Happy Meal would serve your child up with salty, cheese, yummy goodness, a sweet fizzy drink, a great playtime in an indoor playground where he can't get away from you and a toy he can take home. That's great sometimes - but I seriously doubt you'd be comfortable with McDonald's being the mainstay of your child's diet - it is incomplete in every sense of the word.

2. Know what you're getting.

Your child has - you say - increased confidence and he's happy and having fun. Would you be this satisfied if he were sailing through school this way? If he were getting promoted to the next grade each year regardless of whether he can add and subtract, write a complete sentence or read a 10-page book? Let's form another similar analogy: The day is coming when your son will have to defend himself - there is no question. His confidence will be high ... but where will his skill be?

You are getting what sales and marketing professionals coach school owners to have as a money-making class for their commercial dojo/dojang: the children's program. It is earmarked with specialized classes and gratuitous promotions and it pays the rent. You are also likely getting empty promises about an assistance in your child's character development (see promises above) without any sort of accountability. Truthfully, unless these things are part of your family lifestyle, you cannot hope for someone else to teach your young children anything that will stick for very long no matter WHAT martial art or team sport you put him in.

No other sport lends any credence to personal growth and safety from a marketing standpoint like martial arts. It isn't generally said, 'you're a defensive end in Pee Wee Football? I guess you could kick my butt, huh?' or 'you're a point-guard for a team in Hot Shots? I guess I'd better not mess with you!' or 'you scored 80% of the goals on your soccer team in the spring season? Remind me not to tick YOU off!' When people find out you train in martial arts, however, the go-to line is often one of the above ... and the challenge is on. When your child comes up against some other child who is willing to fight for a need for power-over, he will be challenged for the alpha spot automatically. And if he IS able to effectively defend himself and/or others, he will be labeled by the school as a potential bully because of his willingness to fight and you will have to fight THAT battle for your son ... if you're willing.

3. Know what you want.

If you are happy with your child getting gratuitous, unearned promotions because it makes him happy, and you understand the limitations and potential consequences to keeping him in a school like this, then more power to you.

If you find yourself still uncomfortable or unsatisfied in your curiosity, I recommend you take this discussion up with the headmaster of the school - but be prepared to either be schmoozed beyond belief or dismissed from the school entirely.

****EDITED TO ADD****

How old a child is when they start is all about the partnership between the teacher, parents and student as well as the child's ability to participate in the learning model for that age. There are skills young people can start learning that form a foundation to good training - but they have to be taught well. There is something to be said about giving some kind of visual, personal reward for effort ... but it should be *earned* else the lesson is truly lost. YOU will need to work with your child to be sure he has the home support for such a significant investment in his future.

****END EDIT****

I truly wish you and your child all the best of luck.

Sincerely,

Georgia Ketchmark
 
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MJS

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There is nothing wrong with running a school as a business and being mindful of the cashflow. However, McDojos are notorious for practices that put the financial aspects above the learning ones. Primarily, holding promotion testing regularly and often and passing everyone regardless of ability. In my region they are also known for long term contracts that are hard to get out of if the child loses interest.

Secondarily, due to these regular and frequent promotions, McDojos are known for turning out numerous very young "black belts". This unfortunately has the negative effect of leading parents to believe that the training is superior there, or else why would it take little Johnny until he is 16 to get a black belt at this other place and little Tommy earned his when he was only 7. (Completely unaware of the fact that black belts are not created equal) And more importantly, that little Tommy may well buy into the idea that he is now a master of self defense - and such overconfidence could lead him to wading into a fight he is poorly equipped to wage or walking home through a rough section of town, because after all, he does have a black belt and can defend himself against all comers.

I'm sure there are some talented MA instructors who have fallen under the spell of quick money. So they add tips, stripes, spots, and extra colors to the belts to increase the number of promotions they can get the parents to pay for and hook the kids into staying to seek. They come up with lengthy contracts and pay more attention to whether the monthly bill was paid than whether the child actually attended class or is showing proper progress. They promote everyone who shows up for the testing - regardless of skill or knowledge. Unfortunately, in some areas, that is the can of paint into which the brush is being dipped and all MA facilities are being tarred with it. So parents hear that little Bobby got his black belt, yet they know the kid and know he doesn't know his backside from a hole in the ground so they steer their child in other directions, because MA is obviously a bunch of hokey crap - have you seen that Bobby kid? The whole industry in that region gets a black eye from the McDojo. It may well be that the instructor is good and knows his MA, but if he is not able to convey that to the students due to either their young age or his reluctance to set standards, then he is providing an inferior product regardless of his capabilities.

I think it is great that many dojos offer introductory classes to young children, but but IMO these are MA activity classes not training ones. I personally know one young black belt, who is good but he only has a little 7yo body to work with so sparring in a more advanced class, the attackers can easily pick him up and carry him off. He knows how to wave his hands and feet around in the air in a menacing way but he is unable to defend himself. IMO, it is wrong to let these little ones think they are acquiring abilities that they are not. It does a disservice to them, their families, and the MA community at large. And that is why I think McDojos are wrong. Not just because they make money.

Agreed with everything that you said. I hope that my post didn't give the wrong impression. I was commenting on what Jason said, as it seemed to me, that he was saying that the majority of schools out there teach crap and that everyone is out to make a buck and that is the most important thing. I disagreed with him, in that while there alot of mcdojos, there are alot of quality schools as well, and although they do charge, they don't hand out fries with the belts. :D

Like I've said before....I'd say a large portion, probably 50%-80% of the parents who enroll their kids, have no idea about the arts, the school, nothing. Its sad that this happens, and IMO, it ruins the martial arts for the honest people out there. On a brighter note though, there are those students that aren't concerned with the belts, and more interested in the training.

Again, this is why I'm not a fan of kids under 12, training. Yeah, I know, people will talk about the benefits, blah, blah, but come on....a 4yo barely has an attention span of more than a few minutes, if that. Like I said, I've been teaching and training for a long time, and the number of kids that actually pay attention are greatly outweighted by those that don't. It was a waste of my time, and the parents.
 

ETinCYQX

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We recently enrolled our 5 year old sonin the Tiny Tigers program with "Karate for Kids" with theATA. We pay $80 a month and the instructor is very good with thekids. My son loves him and the in the last couple of months, we havereally seen our son's confidence level go up. They work the kidshard and I can tell it's a good workout for him too.


However, I recently stumbled upon theterm, "McDojo" and feel fairly certain we are at one. There are upgraded classes like the Leadership program or the BlackBelt Club, etc.

I don't do it now but our school(s) have a "black belt club". 20% increase in rates and twice as much training time, I never got what was wrong with that personally but it has been listed as a "McDojo" thing to do. Why are you concerned with whether we think it's a McDojo? Obviously he loves it and obviously you're impressed with the results.

FWIW I only charge slightly less than what you pay and I make maybe $3k a year profit on MA.

The kids move up in belt rank aboutevery 2 months. I think an 8 year old kid could be a black belteasily. This never seemed quite right to me even before I learnedabout McDojos.

Yellow stripe for my students happens in roughly 2 months assuming everything goes according to plan. Yellow belt is 3 months after that. Then we start being stricter. Basically as soon as the first form/pattern, stances, and basic kicks are good, I will test to yellow stripe.

They had belt testing last night andevery kid passed. Even the ones who laid there like a slug. Now Ican SORT OF understand in the Tiny Tigers program - maybe movingeveryone up to build confidence or something. I'm not sure when thekids are moved to the next program if the testing is harder. I hopeso.

I very rarely have kids fail. Actually I never have as a teacher, seen it maybe once or twice. If you're in my school and grading I have already evaluated you and you passed :)

So, in the Tiny Tigers, there are whitebelts and green belts and "camo belts??" all learning thesame moves for testing. Again, I hope this is not what olderstudents do. Wouldn't a higher belt want/need to be learningdifferent things than a lower belt student?

That depends. My students drill the same things at the beginning of class from white belt to black belt: Basics are essential. I demonstrated all of my basics at my BB grading and all my other ones and I'm sure most did too.

We actually love the school. As Isaid, the instructor is great with the kids and they are learning. Ithink just like in regular school, the kids who have parents who pushthem to do well, will do well. The kids who's parents allow them tojust lay there won't get much out of it.

If you like it you're golden. Don't worry about what anyone thinks is a McDojo, let him train and have fun.

But.... maybe this is fine for our 5year old son. It's getting him active and building confidence andit's fun. Are we going to regret it when he's older and reallydoesn't actually KNOW martial arts?

This is what's important for him to learn from TaeKwonDo.

Courtesy
Modesty
Perseverance
Self Control
Indomitable Spirit

That is what will make him a martial artist. If he's more confident, is working hard, and likes what he's doing, he's set at this stage.

What age will a good school evenaccept a student? Is 5 too young?


What are your thoughts on this?
Thanks so much!

4 is my youngest age. I have a specific class for 4-8 year olds and it's basically all games and motion drills, learning is hidden in there.

I teach a WTF TaeKwonDo school.
 

jks9199

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The danger and problems come when there's a Black Belt club... and you only get certain training if you're a member. Then there's the Leadership Club, with more "special training opportunities"... and so on. (I am not automatically including private lessons here.) In other words, when the quest for the dollar trumps the desire to teach and train and share the art. When the idea of adding a hot chocolate or espresso machine to the waiting area to suck a few extra bucks out of the parents comes ahead of buying a few extra pads or a new set of mats for the training hall, if I may be permitted to steal something from another thread.
 

ETinCYQX

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I get the idea but I don't really see an issue with a different class for more training or, for that matter, a separate class for people who want to coach, teach, etc. Kind of a moot point because I don't have enough time or students to do either
 

jks9199

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I get the idea but I don't really see an issue with a different class for more training or, for that matter, a separate class for people who want to coach, teach, etc. Kind of a moot point because I don't have enough time or students to do either
It's not the classes per se but the emphasis on collecting the cash over training...
 
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