What do you look for in a gym


Blue Belt
May 15, 2012
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What do you look for in a gym and what makes you either take it or label it a mcdojo


Blue Belt
Mar 17, 2021
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McDojo has a lot of varied understandings. It doesn't necessarily just mean "a bad gym", so I'll steer away from that.

What I would look for though is 3 things as a minimum:
1) Are they friendly and welcoming? Do they ask about injuries, experience and give you that little bit of extra attention in your first class? If they don't care about you when you walk through the door, they probably won't care about you in a month's time.

2) How to they start the lesson? If they just jump straight in or tell people to warm up themselves before the lesson they probably don't really appreciate the value of a good warm up. When it comes to injury prevention and recovery this is key. I'm not interested in getting hurt because they started telling me to do head kicks cold. Sure you can say no, but then why are you there? A lot of places don't do as much as I'd necessarily like personally, but they have to have at least some.

3) Do they pay attention to the students? After they call a drill, do they look at what each person is doing, offer them tips to improve form, congratulate good work, stop everyone to explain common mistakes etc.? If they just stare at their phone, or give all their attention to a select few they aren't really training you, they're just a living workout video. They don't have to be super technical, but they've got to be helping people actually improve.

Beyond that you can have all sorts of variables. Focussed on money, easy going, hard ***, heavy sparring, light sparring, fun serious, prompt, relaxed, technical etc. This all comes down to personal preference/what you are willing to put up with. Found the best instructor in the city, but they want to charge you for every punch you throw? Might suck, but you could be willing to pay that price.

I would also throw how technical are the instructors in there. I'm interested in really honing my craft and understanding what I am doing and why, but that's a personal preference. Some people just want to have fun, get OK and do some exercise, and there is nothing wrong with that.

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