MAIA, Did I hear this guy right?

J. Pickard

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I just watched an hour long MAIA Edge video that was about how to run increase revenue for Martial arts schools and at the 13:25 mark it really seemed like they were openly admitting to promoting "McDojo" type schools purely for the sake of increased revenue. Here is a link to the video I saw The Metzger Tassoul Show: I Just Need More Students it's on the CENTURY martial arts school owner page which is a private page so it may be difficult for some to see. I really want to hear other's thoughts on this. Did I misunderstand this guy? Or is MAIA really all about using the moniker of "Martial Arts" purely as a means for getting rich regardless of the legitimacy and quality of the martial art instruction they are promoting?
 

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I just watched an hour long MAIA Edge video that was about how to run increase revenue for Martial arts schools and at the 13:25 mark it really seemed like they were openly admitting to promoting "McDojo" type schools purely for the sake of increased revenue. Here is a link to the video I saw The Metzger Tassoul Show: I Just Need More Students it's on the CENTURY martial arts school owner page which is a private page so it may be difficult for some to see. I really want to hear other's thoughts on this. Did I misunderstand this guy? Or is MAIA really all about using the moniker of "Martial Arts" purely as a means for getting rich regardless of the legitimacy and quality of the martial art instruction they are promoting?
I have not watched the video. But does this really surprise you?
 

skribs

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I just watched an hour long MAIA Edge video that was about how to run increase revenue for Martial arts schools and at the 13:25 mark it really seemed like they were openly admitting to promoting "McDojo" type schools purely for the sake of increased revenue. Here is a link to the video I saw The Metzger Tassoul Show: I Just Need More Students it's on the CENTURY martial arts school owner page which is a private page so it may be difficult for some to see. I really want to hear other's thoughts on this. Did I misunderstand this guy? Or is MAIA really all about using the moniker of "Martial Arts" purely as a means for getting rich regardless of the legitimacy and quality of the martial art instruction they are promoting?
I started at 13:15 and listened until around 16:00. I heard the word "McDojo", but the rest of it seemed to be business related, and nothing to do with sacrificing quality of instruction. It was more about different ways you can make money from your school. In a perfect world, money wouldn't matter. But this is the real world. Even if you are doing martial arts purely for the passion of it, if the school doesn't make enough money to run, it cannot continue. If it's something the instructor is sinking 20+ hours per week into, then they probably should be getting something for their time.

In this case, he was saying the main ways schools can increase revenue is by increasing tuition fees or by increasing the number of students. This doesn't say anything about lowering the quality of training. .

Then, they suggest things that are not directly related to quality of the training: retail items, private lessons, birthday parties, parents night out (i.e. do a movie night for the kids so the parents can go out). One of these actually increases the quality of the training (private lessons). It doesn't lower the quality of the training Monday through Thursday if you throw a movie night for the kids on Friday.
 

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He says "McDojo" and mentions McDonalds. Then goes on to talk about how the hamburger is the staple for McDonalds however they also sell fries, shakes, etc.... Similarly, this should be true in any MA school/dojo/dojang/gym. There should be a core 'product' that is always consistent. Having other revenue generating outlets should not affect the core. This can be difficult if allowed, but as long as the core principles are upheld, then all is good.
Retail sales, after-school programs, subletting space, etc... are all fine. Promoting a sense of camaraderie through group gatherings is fine, within reason but they are usually an indirect marketing expense. Profit from this type of activity comes in the bigger picture. The 'social setting' stuff can go a little too far for me, but that is an individual business owner preference.
At the end of the day, if the end product is sound, (producing great martial artists) then all is good. Times, they are a-changing, so the for-profit model will change with it.
A great example is elite level gyms and sport specific camps/training. They cater to everyone, but if you are elite you have to pay for the additional training and attention. Conversely, not every MA's school/instructor has the skill or experience to train competitive martial arts to the elite level. As long as they are not delusional and do not promote themselves as such, no harm, no foul. Unfortunately, this happens all too often.
 

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I have previously defended McDojos, and I still do. Not as a place to get traditional or authentic or even useful martial arts skills, but as a business model.

Many dojos struggle financially. The standard McDojo business model treats a business like a business first; martial arts training is possible but unnecessary to that model. A 'nice to have'.

Would I train or teach at such a place? No. But then, I'm not the demographic they seek.

The McDojo exists to fill a niche between after-school soccer and basketball and band. Not every student can join the hockey team or the football team or the band or whatever. Those spots are limited. Everyone else has little in the way of extracurricular activities. Bowling isn't popular anymore. Martial arts is evergreen. Anyone can join. Advancement is nearly guaranteed. Belts and trophies provide motivation and feelings of accomplishment for parents and students alike. Competitions and travel fill time, videos make grandparents proud, and so on. It fills a social need for this things in Western society.

Don't argue about the usefulness of what's being taught, that's not the point. My car mechanic is a lousy dentist, but I don't go to her for dentistry.

"But they claim to teach self-defense and it isn't!" Yes, true. Sears claims to sell fashionable clothes. My toothpaste said it would whiten my teeth. My choice of car was supposed to get me some wild sex. Every restaurant says their food tastes best. Those who care will educate themselves and choose more wisely. The rest just don't care. If little Johnny isn't learning the very authentic and original super Ryu kwan duk half-pipe Genoa style foot fighting, they truly truly truly don't give a rip. Little Johnny may not be able to defend himself, but he's got belts, trophies, and the admiration of his friends and relatives and that is what was sought. He has his reward. Leave him to it.

McDojo's fill a niche. Following a standard business model, they produce a reliable profit for the owners, and fill a perceived need by their customers. There is nothing wrong with that for those who want those things. Does it offend you? Well, you're not the target audience.
 
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J. Pickard

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"But they claim to teach self-defense and it isn't!" Yes, true. Sears claims to sell fashionable clothes. My toothpaste said it would whiten my teeth. My choice of car was supposed to get me some wild sex. Every restaurant says their food tastes best. Those who care will educate themselves and choose more wisely. The rest just don't care. If little Johnny isn't learning the very authentic and original super Ryu kwan duk half-pipe Genoa style foot fighting, they truly truly truly don't give a rip. Little Johnny may not be able to defend himself, but he's got belts, trophies, and the admiration of his friends and relatives and that is what was sought. He has his reward. Leave him to it.
I was on board up to this point. I agree the "mcdojo" is a very successful business model, what I won't stand by EVER is conmen just trying to make a buck. I don't have a problem with schools that have lower standards if it works for them. What I do care about is intentional dishonesty for the sake of profit and personal gain. If someone claims to offer a specific service that they don't actually offer just for profit then they are a con. In a "martial arts" school it's worse because not only are they conning people, they are likely doing it while claiming to promote values such as Integrity. If a business actually makes the claims you listed above but don't deliver they get sued. Case and point; Red Bull class action lawsuit because it did not actually give customers wings and Taco bell claiming their meat was just beef when it also contained filler. This is a real thing. Implying something with vague and subjective wording like "May" or "could" or your example of "fashionable" isn't the same as making a blatant statement and is what many companies do to avoid lawsuits. That's not a matter of being the wrong demographic. The problem isn't he business model it's the blatant dishonesty and intentional lying to make a quick buck. If a Martial art school says some BS like "come learn the secret art of..." or "The thousands of years old martial art of Karate/TKD" or claims to teach you how to "fight" or learn "self defense" but you don't every get to do anything but kick and punch the air until you pay more money to participate in their sparring program or "special self defense program" then it's a con, you paid to learn self defense but they are telling you you don't get to learn it until you pay even more, a con. No decent person with even an ounce of morals would be okay with conmen taking a corner of any market and especially not one that claims to build character.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I was on board up to this point. I agree the "mcdojo" is a very successful business model, what I won't stand by EVER is conmen just trying to make a buck. I don't have a problem with schools that have lower standards if it works for them. What I do care about is intentional dishonesty for the sake of profit and personal gain. If someone claims to offer a specific service that they don't actually offer just for profit then they are a con. In a "martial arts" school it's worse because not only are they conning people, they are likely doing it while claiming to promote values such as Integrity. If a business actually makes the claims you listed above but don't deliver they get sued. Case and point; Red Bull class action lawsuit because it did not actually give customers wings and Taco bell claiming their meat was just beef when it also contained filler. This is a real thing. Implying something with vague and subjective wording like "May" or "could" or your example of "fashionable" isn't the same as making a blatant statement and is what many companies do to avoid lawsuits. That's not a matter of being the wrong demographic. The problem isn't he business model it's the blatant dishonesty and intentional lying to make a quick buck. If a Martial art school says some BS like "come learn the secret art of..." or "The thousands of years old martial art of Karate/TKD" or claims to teach you how to "fight" or learn "self defense" but you don't every get to do anything but kick and punch the air until you pay more money to participate in their sparring program or "special self defense program" then it's a con, you paid to learn self defense but they are telling you you don't get to learn it until you pay even more, a con. No decent person with even an ounce of morals would be okay with conmen taking a corner of any market and especially not one that claims to build character.
No one can legally define what Martial Arts or self-defense are or are not.

I (for example only) say your self-defense system is garbage, useless, you're lying if you say it works. You say it's legit. As the person making the accusation, I have to prove it in court. Worse, you can sue me for defamation for saying such a thing.

If a McDojo says they teach self-defense, chances are no one can legally impeach that view. Red Bull either does or does not give you literal, actual wings. Easily proven. Taco meat either is or is not pure beef. That's also an objective fact or a provable lie. Self-defense? What is it? No legal objective standard.


You dont need any experience in martial arts to succeed as a franchise owner with Premier Martial Arts, says Barry Van Over, CEO and Founder of Premier Martial Arts. We have developed a business model that places our owners as the CEO of their businesses meaning they are making sure that their businesses are running smoothly and are profitable. They are out in the community networking, implementing the marketing strategy that we provide, and ensuring that their businesses are providing the best martial arts experience to their customers.


Take a look. For a price, they'll take anyone, make them a sensei with some basic training, and show them how to run their business. And it is a business. There's one near me. It's been open going on 10 years now. Seems to be doing well.

Is it really self-defense or is it a scam, fake? It doesn't matter. You can't prove it's not legit in court. Their customers seem happy.

It's a business. It's not for people like us. It fills a niche.
 

drop bear

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No one can legally define what Martial Arts or self-defense are or are not.

I (for example only) say your self-defense system is garbage, useless, you're lying if you say it works. You say it's legit. As the person making the accusation, I have to prove it in court. Worse, you can sue me for defamation for saying such a thing.

If a McDojo says they teach self-defense, chances are no one can legally impeach that view. Red Bull either does or does not give you literal, actual wings. Easily proven. Taco meat either is or is not pure beef. That's also an objective fact or a provable lie. Self-defense? What is it? No legal objective standard.

Yeah. But that opinion just serves to degrade the service provided by all martial arts schools.

But yes self defence is a meaningless marketing term. Like approved by doctors. Or tastes better.
 
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J. Pickard

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No one can legally define what Martial Arts or self-defense are or are not.

I (for example only) say your self-defense system is garbage, useless, you're lying if you say it works. You say it's legit. As the person making the accusation, I have to prove it in court. Worse, you can sue me for defamation for saying such a thing.

If a McDojo says they teach self-defense, chances are no one can legally impeach that view. Red Bull either does or does not give you literal, actual wings. Easily proven. Taco meat either is or is not pure beef. That's also an objective fact or a provable lie. Self-defense? What is it? No legal objective standard.


You dont need any experience in martial arts to succeed as a franchise owner with Premier Martial Arts, says Barry Van Over, CEO and Founder of Premier Martial Arts. We have developed a business model that places our owners as the CEO of their businesses meaning they are making sure that their businesses are running smoothly and are profitable. They are out in the community networking, implementing the marketing strategy that we provide, and ensuring that their businesses are providing the best martial arts experience to their customers.


Take a look. For a price, they'll take anyone, make them a sensei with some basic training, and show them how to run their business. And it is a business. There's one near me. It's been open going on 10 years now. Seems to be doing well.

Is it really self-defense or is it a scam, fake? It doesn't matter. You can't prove it's not legit in court. Their customers seem happy.

It's a business. It's not for people like us. It fills a niche.
This is not true. Self defense is a legally defined word and there are many laws based solely on this term such as stand your ground laws and duty to retreat laws. This also depends on what country you are in as some countries have government bodies that regulate what martial arts schools are and are not allowed to open under the moniker of martial arts. There are also codified systems and practices for every major martial art so it would be easy to prove legitimacy. If you claim to teach shotokan but only teach kukkiwon poomsae it's pretty clear that what you are teaching is in fact NOT shotokan. This group you listed is what I would call a con/scam as they make claims they can't back up and appoint unqualified instructors, potentially sacrificing safety, just to make money. Martial arts also has a clear definition. If you claim to teach martial arts but all you do is play flag tag all day then it is clearly not martial arts. If you run a martial arts school with an inexperienced instructor and someone gets hurt because they weren't qualified to teach martial arts then the school could be in serious legal trouble that could have all been avoided by simply not trying to con money from people. Saying it is just there to fill a niche and that it's okay, despite the obvious lies, is immoral and potentially unsafe. Another example are the "alternative medicine" snake oil salesmen. It's not just a niche to market on it's unsafe lies. The problem comes from people not knowing any better so they get taken advantage of and because a large percentage of people don't know any better it becomes easy for these scams to run rampant and become the norm. It is not okay to scam people and openly lie to them for personal profit when it is potentially dangerous. This mindset of "it's just filling a niche, who cares if they are qualified" allows schools like this Taiwan boy thrown 27 times during judo class taken off life support to exist and it is dangerous and wrong.
 
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J. Pickard

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Yeah. But that opinion just serves to degrade the service provided by all martial arts schools.

But yes self defence is a meaningless marketing term. Like approved by doctors. Or tastes better.
Not true, in many countries Self Defense is a legally defined term.
 

skribs

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This is not true. Self defense is a legally defined word and there are many laws based solely on this term such as stand your ground laws and duty to retreat laws.
In that sense, yes. You can define what is self-defense and what isn't. However, you can't define what is effective or not. No matter what your level of self-defense is, there's going to be something that can beat it. There will be someone who is bigger, stronger, better trained, better trained at a specific thing, gets the drop on you, better armed, better prepared, has more friends, has leverage, catches you while you're impaired, etc. etc.

So how do you define what school teaches legitimate self-defense and what school teaches fraud? How do you do so in an unbiased manner, so that it's not up to the opinion of someone? Where do you draw the line as to what situations they should prepare you for? Are there some situations that it's always fraud to attempt to prepare for? How do you measure the effectiveness, especially in an art that has a point sport or isn't focused on the sport? That might work for sport arts in general, but what about specific schools: how do you measure the practicality of a boxing gym that specifically focuses on boxing, and not on MMA or self-defense?

Aikido is a much-maligned art for a general lack of sparring and pressure testing. Gun defense is something that is often touted as being impossible, to the point that if you train it, you're a fraud. Yet you can find articles of people who were held up at gunpoint and used their aikido in self-defense. In this particular case, the art and the training succeeded, and you can't call it fraudulent.

Or do you assess it after it fails? If something fails, call it fraud. If someone from a martial arts school gets beat up, then the school is fake and should be closed. Right? Well, any art can be defeated. If an MMA fighter with a BJJ base loses a fight to someone with a boxing base, do we say BJJ is a fraud because he lost? It's very easy to do so.

So how do you define it?
 

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I have previously defended McDojos, and I still do. Not as a place to get traditional or authentic or even useful martial arts skills, but as a business model.
I totally agree with this. Excellent business and marketing skills. You will never see me complain about their understanding of business. While I won't defend a McDojo. If the school is open and honest with what they do and their focus, then I don't have anything bad to say about them.

When I see the big martial art chain talk about how they teach discipline, responsibility, and that a child's confidence will grow, then I won't think of that school as a McDojo as they have made their products and services clear. They aren't misleading and they aren't lying.

It's only when a school pretends to be something they aren't and falsely advertise that they teach something that that they don't. That I begin to use the term McDojo. I say this because I told a parent that her child would learn real martial arts with me. She said she didn't care about that, she just wants her child to learn discipline. I responded with an Ok. She didn't put her kid in the school for martial arts. How can a school be called a McDojo when the majority of the students in there aren't in there to learn effective martial arts skills?

Some parents want their kids to have a black belt in 2 years and some schools are willing to provide the belt.
 
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J. Pickard

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In that sense, yes. You can define what is self-defense and what isn't. However, you can't define what is effective or not. No matter what your level of self-defense is, there's going to be something that can beat it. There will be someone who is bigger, stronger, better trained, better trained at a specific thing, gets the drop on you, better armed, better prepared, has more friends, has leverage, catches you while you're impaired, etc. etc.

So how do you define what school teaches legitimate self-defense and what school teaches fraud? How do you do so in an unbiased manner, so that it's not up to the opinion of someone? Where do you draw the line as to what situations they should prepare you for? Are there some situations that it's always fraud to attempt to prepare for? How do you measure the effectiveness, especially in an art that has a point sport or isn't focused on the sport? That might work for sport arts in general, but what about specific schools: how do you measure the practicality of a boxing gym that specifically focuses on boxing, and not on MMA or self-defense?

Aikido is a much-maligned art for a general lack of sparring and pressure testing. Gun defense is something that is often touted as being impossible, to the point that if you train it, you're a fraud. Yet you can find articles of people who were held up at gunpoint and used their aikido in self-defense. In this particular case, the art and the training succeeded, and you can't call it fraudulent.

Or do you assess it after it fails? If something fails, call it fraud. If someone from a martial arts school gets beat up, then the school is fake and should be closed. Right? Well, any art can be defeated. If an MMA fighter with a BJJ base loses a fight to someone with a boxing base, do we say BJJ is a fraud because he lost? It's very easy to do so.

So how do you define it?
based on the legal definition of "self defense" (which varies depending on where you live) you can very much determine what is effective teaching and what isn't. What you are referring to is the "use of force" part of self defense which, I agree, what's effective and what isn't is very subjective and variable. But if you just teach people how to fight and never teach the legality of their actions is it really self defense or just fighting? If a self defense instructor says you can just punch someone who verbally threatens to hurt you but you live in the UK where self defense is defined by the actual actions of the other person and not verbal aggression then they are not teaching self defense and could be potentially putting their client at risk of legal consequences or criminal charges. However in places like Michigan for example, a verbal threat does constitute a legitimate threat and a person can legally physically act on it by punching the aggressor in the face. For sure there is no definitive "best" physical self defense method but that is not the same as saying you can't measure the legitimacy of instruction.
No it's not.
Yes it absolutely 100% is. Self defense is a legal term. What constitutes self defense varies by country and in the US by state. In the US the legal definition is unanimous across the states up to one specific point: Self defense in the US is legally defined as "the right to prevent suffering force or violence through the use of a sufficient level of counteracting force or violence." The specific point that is regulated state to state in the US is the word "sufficient". Fore example in Florida the stand your ground laws allows somebody to proactively use force to stop a threat even outside of their own property. This means that you can be the first one to cause physical violence to another and it can still be classified as self defense provided they made a threat to you in some way first. In Michigan you can meet a threat with force even if you can safely leave without any use of force. However in states such as Arkansas where every person has a duty to retreat meaning that you have to do everything to leave or deescalate the situation before you are allowed to act (exception: Castle Doctrine), using force in anyway without first trying to leave or deescalate is a crime. So if someone in Connecticut for example is claiming to teach self defense but only teach you how to fight and a person starts yelling at you and shoves you and your response is to hit them because that's what you were taught was self defense then you are just as guilty of assault as the other person because you were not taught actual self defense as described by the law in that region.
 
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J. Pickard

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I totally agree with this. Excellent business and marketing skills. You will never see me complain about their understanding of business. While I won't defend a McDojo. If the school is open and honest with what they do and their focus, then I don't have anything bad to say about them.

When I see the big martial art chain talk about how they teach discipline, responsibility, and that a child's confidence will grow, then I won't think of that school as a McDojo as they have made their products and services clear. They aren't misleading and they aren't lying.

It's only when a school pretends to be something they aren't and falsely advertise that they teach something that that they don't. That I begin to use the term McDojo. I say this because I told a parent that her child would learn real martial arts with me. She said she didn't care about that, she just wants her child to learn discipline. I responded with an Ok. She didn't put her kid in the school for martial arts. How can a school be called a McDojo when the majority of the students in there aren't in there to learn effective martial arts skills?

Some parents want their kids to have a black belt in 2 years and some schools are willing to provide the belt.
Yes, I agree with this 100% We actually run a class for 5-9 year olds that we call TKD KIDZ SKILLS, our school describes it as a Taekwondo inspired life skills class designed to try to help kids develop better listening skills, focus, confidence, etc. When I hear "McDojo" I don't think of a rec class taught out of the YMCA that is just looking to give kids a positive outlet for their energy, I think of liars, scammers, conmen. The mentality of asking "what do you want to learn?" and only when the customer answers saying "oh yes, we definitely teach that" even if you don't just to get some money.
 

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"McDojo" I don't think of a rec class taught out of the YMCA that is just looking to give kids a positive outlet for their energy, I think of liars, scammers, conmen. The mentality of asking "what do you want to learn?" and only when the customer answers saying "oh yes, we definitely teach that" even if you don't just to get some money.
I really have a strong distaste for deception when people are seeking help. There is enough people in this world where there is a customer for any type of martial arts out there. Not everyone wants to fight with martial arts.

It's just better to be open about it, and people will have a lot of respect for the teacher and the business for being open. There are more parents who just need a place for their kids after school, then there are parents who need their kids to know how to fight. So there's no need to lie or pretend to be something that the school isn't.
 

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based on the legal definition of "self defense" (which varies depending on where you live) you can very much determine what is effective teaching and what isn't. What you are referring to is the "use of force" part of self defense which, I agree, what's effective and what isn't is very subjective and variable. But if you just teach people how to fight and never teach the legality of their actions is it really self defense or just fighting? If a self defense instructor says you can just punch someone who verbally threatens to hurt you but you live in the UK where self defense is defined by the actual actions of the other person and not verbal aggression then they are not teaching self defense and could be potentially putting their client at risk of legal consequences or criminal charges. However in places like Michigan for example, a verbal threat does constitute a legitimate threat and a person can legally physically act on it by punching the aggressor in the face. For sure there is no definitive "best" physical self defense method but that is not the same as saying you can't measure the legitimacy of instruction.
In this particular case, I guess you can. But that doesn't apply in the context of the thread of what is a mcdojo and what isn't. I'm sure that 99.99% of the time, when people talk about how a mcdojo doesn't teach effective self-defense, it's not because they tell you to do things that are legally considered assault, but rather because they teach bad technique (either bad because the technique itself is bad, or because they have low standards).
 
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J. Pickard

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In this particular case, I guess you can. But that doesn't apply in the context of the thread of what is a mcdojo and what isn't. I'm sure that 99.99% of the time, when people talk about how a mcdojo doesn't teach effective self-defense, it's not because they tell you to do things that are legally considered assault, but rather because they teach bad technique (either bad because the technique itself is bad, or because they have low standards).
I get that, I guess I'm just thinking of my own definition of mcdojo which is more in line with snakeoil salesmen type of thing and not so much about the technique.
 

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Or do you assess it after it fails?
It is statistically true that the above is the number one reason for change throughout history. All too often, things are not changed for the better until After a disaster happens.
I know this does not speak directly to your post, but I thought it poignant.

To @J. Pickard 's comment on self-defense, I feel the definition given is different from what is promoted by most MA schools, and I still maintain that the majority of people these days are informed enough to understand at least some of the differences.
I would argue that there are several different types of self-defense; physical, mental, of others, etc... This expands on your argument of 'what is' (SD, effective, accurate, etc...).
 

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