The definition of a McDojo!!

Daniel Sullivan

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Not really sure where your problem with this school comes from. The school looks like a typical TKD dojang. Mind clarifying your posting?
Possibly he's upset about some of the things said about his own style over in this thread:

http://martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=36049

No opinion of the style or the schools that teach it, so I have no comments about it. Not sure why he is deliberately going out of his way to degrade another school after taking such offense when it was done to his own.

Daniel
 

Daniel Sullivan

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For all those wondering what Mcdojo is check out this schools site. Look at their masters and black belt and look at their testing requirements! Its hilarious!!!!!!!!!


WorldTaekwondo.com:erg:
How is this hilarious? What is it about their masters and black belt that makes them a Mcdojo? The one picture of a master doing any technique was Linda Roth executing a front kick, and it looked quite good. Some of them have been featured on the cover of MA trade publications; not that this makes them any better, but it certainly is an accomplishment. What is it about the testing requirements that you feel is amiss? Please clarify your statement.

Frankly, I didn't see anything that would turn me off to this school just perusing the website. You were already asked in the very first response what your problem with this school was, but you've yet to respond on this thread at all.

Clarify your reasons for even starting this thread. If you cannot, then you shouldn't have started it in the first place, as all you're doing is degrading another school with no specific reason as to why.

Daniel
 

Twin Fist

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agree with Celtic tiger

other than teaching crescent kicks at white belt, and having required breaking at white, there is nothing about the web site that screams "McDojo"
 

BrandonLucas

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agree with Celtic tiger

other than teaching crescent kicks at white belt, and having required breaking at white, there is nothing about the web site that screams "McDojo"

I don't think even this would indicate a mcdojo, either...just calls into question why the students are being taught these techniques this early.
 

Twin Fist

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true, having those requirements at white belt doesnt scream McDojo, but it is a big fat hairy red flag.

for me anyway

YMMV
 

Daniel Sullivan

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It's funny that no one ever belongs to a McDojo, but just about everyone knows plenty of other places that are McDojos.
Most of us view our own school from the inside out. I am very careful not to speak negatively of other schools or organizations on a public forum, even if I've had personal experience with them.

I often wonder how our own school looks from the outside in. Who knows? I could be our own website on some other forum with someone posting a 'look at this McDojo' thread. After all, we have:

1. multiple schools
2. an after school program
3. a summer camp
4. poom rank students who wear black belts
5. contracts
6. little dragons at one of our locations
7. a GM with a 9th dan in two different arts

All of those things are often included in Mcdojo descriptions and we've got them all. No BB or Masters clubs, but the presence of such clubs doesn't automatically guarantee poor instruction.

Perhaps we should all think very carefully about throwing stones at other dojos/dojangs.

Daniel
 

dancingalone

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Perhaps we should all think very carefully about throwing stones at other dojos/dojangs.
Daniel

Good post, Daniel, but we have some rather empirical proof to look at. At the very least, this school is guilty of some serious belt inflation. As I remarked above, this boy's instructor did him no favors moving him up through the ranks.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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agree with Celtic tiger

other than teaching crescent kicks at white belt, and having required breaking at white, there is nothing about the web site that screams "McDojo"
Perhaps they're calling an into out axe kick a crescent kick?

Our dojang requires breaking at white belt to get promoted to yellow tag (no electrical tape, thank God!), so there is yet another thing to add to the list in my previous post.

Daniel
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Good post, Daniel, but we have some rather empirical proof to look at. At the very least, this school is guilty of some serious belt inflation. As I remarked above, this boy's instructor did him no favors moving him up through the ranks.
Thanks!

I'll have to take everyone's word for it; I cannot watch the video at work because my company blocks YouTube.

But I'll go out on a limb and say that I would be curious to see what an outsider to our school from another KKW school would think of me doing my forms.

I'm speaking generally (not about the video you referrence), but it is very easy for me to grab someone else's video from You Tube and pick it apart on a public forum while never posting a video of myself performing, say Koryo for comparison.

Sorry, I'm rather put off by the original post.

Daniel
 

BrandonLucas

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Good post, Daniel, but we have some rather empirical proof to look at. At the very least, this school is guilty of some serious belt inflation. As I remarked above, this boy's instructor did him no favors moving him up through the ranks.

I think that would be the biggest issue...that and the number of belts...

His technique wasn't worthless...just not up to par of a 3rd dan, like someone was saying before. I think he had some more work to do before he reached 3rd dan...alot more work.

It's almost a double edged sword in cases like this: it's sad that people are coming out of this dojo at the rank that they are, basically devaluing the blackbelt rank. But, at the same time, it's not like these students are untrainable. They are being taught the skills, just not being drilled the techniques.
 

Flying Crane

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A large number of belts doesn't mean poor quality instruction...not by any means. It usually means that the instructor is charging more money than what they should.

well, not really. It could just mean that that's the way the syllabus is structured. The number of belts has never been consistent from one system to another, even one school to another within the same or related systems.

Maybe the system is simply extensive, and it is parcelled out in manageable chunks, and it needs that many chunks to reach dan level. Just a suggestion.

Not every teacher charges testing fees, or outrageous monthly fees. Another belt is often not just an excuse to bleed money out of a student. My teacher charges very very little for monthly fees, especially considering the average rate in our area. He charges zero testing fees, and even provides the new belt when a student passes. He is definitely not getting rich off of this, regardles of the number of belts. As a Tracy kenpo school, we have 9 steps to and including shodan: yellow, orange, purple, green, three levels of brown, then shodan. It's just an extensive system. And my teacher is one of the senior-most instructors in the Tracy system, which some people might use as an excuse to charge more, but he doesn't. So while what you say MAY have some truth in some cases, here's just an example of where it just isn't true.

This really raises another question: how much money SHOULD a teacher charge? It's really hard to define this. Personally, I believe that the arts generally should not be one's primary source of income, because it's easy for money to get in the way of quality instruction. But some people are able to run a successful and profitable business in the martial arts, and still give high quality instruction. So it's tough to define how much is appropriate. But that's really another discussion altogether.

Have you ever stopped to think about how many ranks someone would really need? Wouldn't it be more important that the student spends an appropriate amount of time training before being told that he/she is ready to use the knowledge that they now have?

well, it's not about NEEDING ranks, but rather that the curriculum is divided into manageable chunks that make sense. I guess I've never thought about it in terms of how many colored belt rankings are needed. I just saw it as the road to learning a complete system, which Dan ranks are also part of.

Also, I don't know that you can ever tell a student that they are "ready" to use their knowledge. It's not like a student steps over a line, and now it all works, while yesterday it didn't. Being ready to use their knowledge depends on what's inside the individual. A white belt may have "what it takes", and be ready to use his stuff after a month. A highly trained black belt who has never been tested in a real self defense situation may find that he isn't "ready" to use it, because he doesn't have what it takes on the inside. He just didn't have an opportunity to find out, for real.

And that's another key point right there...if someone is able to make the journey from white to blackbelt in a short amount of time...say around a year...then something's not right. Either the student was given rank too quickly and passed through the art, or the student was truly worthy of passing in that amount of time.

99.99999% of the time, it's the former and not the latter.

Well, I will point out that back in the 1950s-1960s, it was fairly common that someone would earn their shodan in under two years. I'm just pointing this out, not because I'm advocating quick ranking, but rather noting the contrast between now and then. Who decided that shodan should take 4 or 5 or 8 years, instead of two? When did that happen, and what brought it about?

Of course fewer people back then were training at all, and those that did were probably more willing to train hard than people do today, because I think more schools back then had a tougher mentality.

Just food for thought.
 

BrandonLucas

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well, not really. It could just mean that that's the way the syllabus is structured. The number of belts has never been consistent from one system to another, even one school to another within the same or related systems.

Maybe the system is simply extensive, and it is parcelled out in manageable chunks, and it needs that many chunks to reach dan level. Just a suggestion.

Not every teacher charges testing fees, or outrageous monthly fees. Another belt is often not just an excuse to bleed money out of a student. My teacher charges very very little for monthly fees, especially considering the average rate in our area. He charges zero testing fees, and even provides the new belt when a student passes. He is definitely not getting rich off of this, regardles of the number of belts. As a Tracy kenpo school, we have 9 steps to and including shodan: yellow, orange, purple, green, three levels of brown, then shodan. It's just an extensive system. And my teacher is one of the senior-most instructors in the Tracy system, which some people might use as an excuse to charge more, but he doesn't. So while what you say MAY have some truth in some cases, here's just an example of where it just isn't true.

This really raises another question: how much money SHOULD a teacher charge? It's really hard to define this. Personally, I believe that the arts generally should not be one's primary source of income, because it's easy for money to get in the way of quality instruction. But some people are able to run a successful and profitable business in the martial arts, and still give high quality instruction. So it's tough to define how much is appropriate. But that's really another discussion altogether.



well, it's not about NEEDING ranks, but rather that the curriculum is divided into manageable chunks that make sense. I guess I've never thought about it in terms of how many colored belt rankings are needed. I just saw it as the road to learning a complete system, which Dan ranks are also part of.

Also, I don't know that you can ever tell a student that they are "ready" to use their knowledge. It's not like a student steps over a line, and now it all works, while yesterday it didn't. Being ready to use their knowledge depends on what's inside the individual. A white belt may have "what it takes", and be ready to use his stuff after a month. A highly trained black belt who has never been tested in a real self defense situation may find that he isn't "ready" to use it, because he doesn't have what it takes on the inside. He just didn't have an opportunity to find out, for real.



Well, I will point out that back in the 1950s-1960s, it was fairly common that someone would earn their shodan in under two years. I'm just pointing this out, not because I'm advocating quick ranking, but rather noting the contrast between now and then. Who decided that shodan should take 4 or 5 or 8 years, instead of two? When did that happen, and what brought it about?

Of course fewer people back then were training at all, and those that did were probably more willing to train hard than people do today, because I think more schools back then had a tougher mentality.

Just food for thought.


I agree with what you're saying. As far as the extensive number of ranks go, I do agree that it depends on the cirriculum, as many are different...I guess the thing to watch for is how many of the testings are charged.

As far as how much the testing fee is, I think it should be left up to the school...but, the price should be capped accross the board...there was a thread not too long ago for someone paying thousands of dollars to test for a dan.

Now, the key point that you made about the length of time it takes to reach first dan is that the people who trained back in the day did nothing but train...and they trained harder than most schools train today.

And I'm certainly not saying that earning a 1st dan can't be done in a year...but it takes a special student to really earn it, IMO. It took me 3 years for mine, and I was given ample opportunity to test in that 3 year span for different ranks. I just wasn't ready to test. Plain and simple.

So, I think maybe the bigger issue would be that many insructors allow their students to test and pass the test before they are ready for the rank.
 

Flying Crane

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As far as how much the testing fee is, I think it should be left up to the school...but, the price should be capped accross the board...there was a thread not too long ago for someone paying thousands of dollars to test for a dan.

in my opinion, that is inappropriate, I would never pay it, nor charge it. Actually, my kenpo teacher has told me that the one thing that Al Tracy will actually demote someone for is if he finds out they charge a fee for a test, he is just that dead-set against it.

Certainly fees, especially testing fees can get out of hand. BUt i think that there is probably a range in which most people would feel it is reasonable, and I don't think it's possible to make a hard limit and say, "above this amount, it is simply too much", because there are too many factors that go into it.

Now, the key point that you made about the length of time it takes to reach first dan is that the people who trained back in the day did nothing but train...and they trained harder than most schools train today.

well, yes and no. I suspect these people also had jobs or school and families that they had to balance, so no I don't believe they did nothing but train. However, I agree in that they probably trained harder and more brutally than most do today. I think martial arts schools were more restrictive in the sense that if you weren't up to taking a bit of punishment, you didn't stick around because there wasnt' the threat of lawsuits like there is today, and people were training to learn how to fight, not using it as a social outlet or a source of exercise. So the mindset of the people at that time was different, and those that couldn't hack it, left.

So, I think maybe the bigger issue would be that many insructors allow their students to test and pass the test before they are ready for the rank.

yes, I will not disagree with that. I actually agree with much of what you had said earlier, but just felt compelled to point out that it simply isn't true in all cases so it's important to be careful about making blanket statements. But good points that I can agree with, for the most part.

An example: a couple years ago a dojang opened in my neighborhood, and my wife and I frequently walk past in going from here to there and whatnot. We often see them conducting class, lots of little kids, very few, if any, adults that I've ever seen. Lot's of little kids with high rank and such. Yesterday we walked by and noticed a young teenager training, probably about 12-14 years old or so. Wearing a black belt. Working thru some combos or a poomsae or something. It was just really really sloppy.

Now I dunno, maybe he was struggling with something that he had just learned, but still, you would think that at least the basic strikes and blocks and kicks would look cleaner than that. My wife is a martial artist as well, and we just sort of shake our heads when we pass by that place.
 

Twin Fist

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Well, I will point out that back in the 1950s-1960s, it was fairly common that someone would earn their shodan in under two years.

This is true. Back then, every art was "pure"

they hadnt started teaching spinning kicks at japanese schools and grappling at korean schools etc etc

now, every art (more or less) has a MUCH larger body of techniques than it did then.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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This is true. Back then, every art was "pure"

they hadnt started teaching spinning kicks at japanese schools and grappling at korean schools etc etc

now, every art (more or less) has a MUCH larger body of techniques than it did then.
I think that also, the people who showed up to train trained a lot harder as a whole, so now, it takes longer to collectively get a class to what was blackbelt level back in the old days. To be fair, I think that life is also a lot more hectic now than it used to be too. In my lifetime I have noticed this trend.

Daniel
 

IcemanSK

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I think that also, the people who showed up to train trained a lot harder as a whole, so now, it takes longer to collectively get a class to what was blackbelt level back in the old days. To be fair, I think that life is also a lot more hectic now than it used to be too. In my lifetime I have noticed this trend.

Daniel

CT has hit on something here. Most people in America train as a part of their lives...rather than devote their lives to it. We fit it in among other hectic things in our lives. There are few "disciples" of MA anymore. Even colleges & universities have added short-term (but intensive) programs that make it possible to complete a degree in a shortened time period.

I add that as an example of how things have changed, not as an ideal.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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May not be ideal, but its what we have to work with. In a way, those who are earnest in their pursuit of the martial arts in the modern day actually may have it harder, albeit for different reasons.

A dedicated practitioner of the modern era must deal with:

1. serious time constraints
2. having to sift through potentially many very bad schools before finding one that is just okay, let alone very good
3. deal with a tournament/competition environment where the very top competitors are athletes of an order that could not have existed twenty or more years ago and the divide between them and the average competitor is much, much greater than it was twenty or more years ago
4. a general decline in the healthfulness of most modern diets
5. a massive amount of information to sift through due to information overload from the web, television, and the internet, involving many, many fraudulent claims and without much in the way of easily accessable (to the beginner) resource to check it against.

Daniel
 

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As a newbie, looking at his forms...they were horrible.

There was no passion, no emphasis, no force, no power...just some kid going through the motions. These forms should have meaning when being executed. Every move should have an exclamation point at the end.

Also, you can tell a black belt just by watching him/her, at least I can. They seem to size you up and look right through you, no fear, very confident. He didn't look that confident or in control to me. Also, the way they move is different then the lower belts. Very fluid movements at least the real ones I've seen.
 

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This is a McDojo.

I finally go the link to open, seems sometimes Youtube doesn't want to work at my office...

I am stunned.

What really amazes me is that these people believe this is something to be proud of, posting it up here on Youtube. The poster indicated it was a video he made for his fiance's younger brother. They don't even have a clue that these have got to be the lowest standards on the planet, and they are getting ripped off. ANY money they have paid to this school is too much, it is really that bad. I would burn that film and purge it from the world, if it was me. Unbelieveable.

Did these people do ANY due-diligence? Did they visit ANY other schools to compare? Maybe it's the only school around, maybe any other schools nearby are connected to this one, I dunno. But holy god, I was embarrased just watching it. How in the name of all that is good and holy does a school like this survive? Zero training is better than THIS.

I try to be open-minded and not judge, particularly when it's other styles, but this is just absolutely the worst thing I've ever seen. I'd give the kid a yellow belt, maybe, if I was feeling generous that day. What in the hell happened to Tae Kwon Do? I don't know anything about the ATA, but WOW!

By the way, the school I mentioned in an earlier post that opened up in my neighborhood a couple years ago, is also ATA. I guess that explains a lot.

Who is responsible for this clown show? How does he sleep at night? What an absolute disgrace. How does that teacher, in that video, look himself in the mirror each day, after awarding third dan for a performance like that? Jesus mother-****ing Christ!! **** piss **** ***** **** ****ing puke!
 

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I finally go the link to open, seems sometimes Youtube doesn't want to work at my office...

I am stunned.

What really amazes me is that these people believe this is something to be proud of, posting it up here on Youtube. The poster indicated it was a video he made for his fiance's younger brother. They don't even have a clue that these have got to be the lowest standards on the planet, and they are getting ripped off. ANY money they have paid to this school is too much, it is really that bad. I would burn that film and purge it from the world, if it was me. Unbelieveable.

Did these people do ANY due-diligence? Did they visit ANY other schools to compare? Maybe it's the only school around, maybe any other schools nearby are connected to this one, I dunno. But holy god, I was embarrased just watching it. How in the name of all that is good and holy does a school like this survive? Zero training is better than THIS.

I try to be open-minded and not judge, particularly when it's other styles, but this is just absolutely the worst thing I've ever seen. I'd give the kid a yellow belt, maybe, if I was feeling generous that day. What in the hell happened to Tae Kwon Do? I don't know anything about the ATA, but WOW!

By the way, the school I mentioned in an earlier post that opened up in my neighborhood a couple years ago, is also ATA. I guess that explains a lot.

Who is responsible for this clown show? How does he sleep at night? What an absolute disgrace. How does that teacher, in that video, look himself in the mirror each day, after awarding third dan for a performance like that? Jesus mother-****ing Christ!! **** piss **** ***** **** ****ing puke!

I completely agree. Especially with this part.
Jesus mother-****ing Christ!! **** piss **** ***** **** ****ing puke!

couldn't have stated it better.:uhyeah:
 

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