What is a mcdojo?

bjonson

White Belt
Joined
Nov 30, 2008
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
My new to martial talk and I hear a lot about mcdojos and I was just wandering what a mcdojo is?
 

Steve

Mostly Harmless
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
21,974
Reaction score
7,528
Location
Covington, WA
My new to martial talk and I hear a lot about mcdojos and I was just wandering what a mcdojo is?
There are different definitions, but the short answer is that it's a school which focuses more on making money than on teaching quality martial arts.

There are McDojos out there with very good instruction, but the general implication is that the quality is often questionable.

Some symptoms of a mcdojo are contracts, excessive fees, compulsory belt testings and/or "seminars", automatic promotions, black belt clubs and other things along these lines.
 

JadecloudAlchemist

Master of Arts
Joined
Feb 12, 2007
Messages
1,877
Reaction score
82
Location
Miami,Florida
Mcdojo-A place in which a dojo becomes commercial like Mcdonalds in which everything is done as a cookie cut fashion for profit over material taught.

Mcdojo's are popular forms of awarding rank based on pay rather skill demostrated giving rise to the famous 8yr old black belts.
 

terryl965

<center><font size="2"><B>Martial Talk Ultimate<BR
MTS Alumni
Joined
Apr 9, 2004
Messages
41,259
Reaction score
340
Location
Grand Prairie Texas
A Mc dojo is a place where you can get a black belt in a year with only two classes a week.
 

Guardian

Black Belt
Joined
Nov 11, 2007
Messages
635
Reaction score
23
Location
Wichita Falls, Texas
My new to martial talk and I hear a lot about mcdojos and I was just wandering what a mcdojo is?

It's a name given to a School or Place of Practice by those who either don't like what they see or don't want that type of place around. While it may not be the most acceptable or most honorable type of training establishment to learn a Martial Art, it's still a place to learn and that's the most basic essense of the whole thing.

Mcdojo's service a purpose, it might not be what some perceive as the truest form of the MAs or Schools, but they do serve a purpose to those who can't find anything else in their areas.

Stevebjj gave a decent description of a Mcdojo that one can get without being overally negative about it.
 

geezer

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Oct 20, 2007
Messages
7,371
Reaction score
3,584
Location
Phoenix, AZ
It's a name given to a School or Place of Practice by those who either don't like what they see...

Stevebjj gave a decent description of a Mcdojo that one can get without being overally negative about it.

Excuse me, but the term is inherently negative. Nobody proudly calls their own school a McDojo. Some might argue that a standardised, franchised school can still offer a quality product. They might even admire the McDonald's Corp. business model... but they aren't going to embrace the term Mc Dojo! It implies an over-priced, poor quality, pre-packaged MA "product" watered down for mass consumption by kiddies and undiscriminating adults. And if that's all you can find, well OK. Like you said it's a start. You can survive by eating at McDonald's too. I just wouldn't make it my core diet.
 

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
15,257
Reaction score
4,965
Location
San Francisco
Excuse me, but the term is inherently negative. Nobody proudly calls their own school a McDojo. Some might argue that a standardised, franchised school can still offer a quality product. They might even admire the McDonald's Corp. business model... but they aren't going to embrace the term Mc Dojo! It implies an over-priced, poor quality, pre-packaged MA "product" watered down for mass consumption by kiddies and undiscriminating adults. And if that's all you can find, well OK. Like you said it's a start. You can survive by eating at McDonald's too. I just wouldn't make it my core diet.


Well, I've seen it said by seniors in the various Kenpo methods that trace back to Ed Parker, that Mr. Parker embraced the idea of a "McDonalds-like" standardized and consistent system where everything was taught the same way in every related and connected school. There is even some acknowledgement, at least by some, that the product being taught was arguably of a poorer quality, or at least the METHODS of training and teaching that allowed for the standardization lead ultimately to a martial artist with skills and knowledge of less high quality. Apparently Mr. Parker felt this was an acceptable tradeoff to be able to make training available to a wider public. I don't know if he actually embraced the word "McDojo", however.
 

Shinobi Teikiatsu

Green Belt
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
156
Reaction score
15
Location
Austin
So, in a way, it depends on what you're looking for, according to Ed Parker, top notch knowledge from a rare school, or anything you want to learn from a less efficient school. For lack of better words, that is.
 

just2kicku

Black Belt
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
691
Reaction score
35
Location
SoCal
When you say "supersize" me at sign up and get your black belt on the first day. Might be a McDojo. :erg:
 

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
15,257
Reaction score
4,965
Location
San Francisco
well, it does become something of a slippery slope.

Once you decide that it's "OK" to teach something inferior to make it more widely accessible, where do you draw the line? How widely accessible to you want it to be, and how low are you willing to make the standards in order to reach that goal?

And is this decision driven primarily (or entirely) by money, and the desire for lots of said same?

Personally, I don't like the idea.
 

geezer

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Oct 20, 2007
Messages
7,371
Reaction score
3,584
Location
Phoenix, AZ
...how low are you willing to make the standards in order to reach that goal? And is this decision driven primarily (or entirely) by money, and the desire for lots of said same?

Personally, I don't like the idea.

How low??? OK, Here's something I just came across. The local Mc Dojo in my neighborhood strip mall was suddenly vacant, its store front empty. No mats, no posters, no more five-foot tall plastic trophies, and no more hoards of kiddie black belts swarming into the sandwich shop next door when I'm trying to have a nice quiet lunch. And not even a note in the window explaining what had happened. Broke? Moved? Busted for dealing drugs? Who knows! So I went on line and checked out their web site. Sorry, I got no answers as to why they were closed, but I did find this.

Apparently they specialized in birthday, holiday and special occasion parties, including sleep-overs. The magician is out of town? Can't book a clown for your kiddie's party? Well, you can hire one of their crack team of blackbelts to fill the occasion!!! And kids think clowns are scary.

Personally, I can't think of a better way to dignify the considerable time many of us have spent developing our skills than to host kiddie parties and entertain a couple of dozen screaming tykes all juiced up on cake and ice cream. Good Lord! Maybe the school didn't go broke. Maybe all the instructors just killed themselves.
 

Daniel Sullivan

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
271
Location
Olney, Maryland
My new to martial talk and I hear a lot about mcdojos and I was just wandering what a mcdojo is?
The term McDojo refers to a business model that is similar to that of McDonalds.

The business model is used by a lot of schools and is fairly formulaic, which is its main resemblence to McDonalds.

A McDojo business model is good for three things: turning profits, bringing in young students, and standardizing curriculum.

None of those things are, in and of themselves bad, though it does represent a level of commercialism. Often, the training of the students is secondary to profitability, thus the training is often likened to McDonalds' foot; looks good and tastey, but of little nutritional value. Note that I say often, not always.

Typical McDojo features are:

*Monthly dues in excess of a hundred dollars
*Lengthy (a year or more) binding contracts
*Direct debit of monthly fees
*Requirements to purchase all gear from the school
*Various clubs and programs that cost extra
*Ascending fees for promotions and a lot of belts.
*Automatic promotion up to and including black belt, regardless of skill
*Rapid ascent to blackbelt
*Seminars, either required or strongly suggested

None of these things by itself makes a school a McDojo. If a school is a McDojo, please keep in mind what I said earlier: McDojo is a business model and reflects a level of commercialism, not quality or lack of quality in training. Some McDojo schools have very good instruction.

Of course, some have lousy instruction, but so too do some "traditional" schools. Lousy schools have existed long before the McDojo model existed. No matter how traditional the trappings of a school are, if the instruction is lousy, the school is lousy. No matter how commercial the trappings of a school are, if the instruction is good, then the school is good.

Look at the cost vs. quality. If the school delivers excellent instruction and you feel that you are getting your money's worth, then is that bad? If your kids are in a McDojo and the instruction is good and all those little programs keep them from quitting when class gets hard, is that bad?

Best thing to do is to evaluate a school based on what it delivers as a whole rather than on the trappings.

Daniel
 

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
15,257
Reaction score
4,965
Location
San Francisco
Apparently they specialized in birthday, holiday and special occasion parties, including sleep-overs. The magician is out of town? Can't book a clown for your kiddie's party? Well, you can hire one of their crack team of blackbelts to fill the occasion!!! And kids think clowns are scary.

Personally, I can't think of a better way to dignify the considerable time many of us have spent developing our skills than to host kiddie parties and entertain a couple of dozen screaming tykes all juiced up on cake and ice cream. Good Lord! Maybe the school didn't go broke. Maybe all the instructors just killed themselves.

Well, this isn't even a matter of how low were they willing to lower their standards. In this case, it sounds like they weren't even teaching martial arts at all. Instead, they had simply become a daycare and entertainment center where the kids dress in funny pijamas with a colored belt holding it together. Arguably, this is a different animal altogether.

I was once offered a position in a school that was much like this, complete with kiddie krotty birthday parties. I didn't accept the position. I most certainly would have killed myself, if I had.
 

Em MacIntosh

3rd Black Belt
Joined
Apr 17, 2007
Messages
917
Reaction score
16
Location
Lynn Valley, North Vancouver, BC, CA
A McDojo waters down the standards of proficiency in order to cater to a larger market for the purposes of profit. Not everyone is cut out to be a martial artist. You need to have the willpower to put in the effort, not to mention the time. With 24 hours in a day and maybe 80 years to live you can't do everything so sacrifices have to be made. If you're unwilling or unable to sacrifice what you need to in order to invest adequately in your MA training, you'll probably find your performance unsatisfactory and get discouraged, not a low confidence thing but perhaps a bit of cautious cynicism. This creates a market in which McDojo's depend on the "acceptance-for-the-sake-of-convenience" or naivete of the practitioner. Some who've put the blood sweat and tears into their training might resent those who take karate for 6 months and buy a black belt for $1000. Normally I have no problem with people deluding themselves as it's their prerogative but I find the McDojo's dependancy on naivete to be predatory.

I resent when people call my business a McDojo. I run a respectable two week internet correspondance course that caters to busy lifestyles for people who want a black belt but understandably don't want to put in the effort or don't have the time. The course is $200, plus a $14 testing fee, $40 for the black belt, $25 for the certificate plus shipping and handling. For those who are interested in a more in depth course I offer a 3 month Menkyo Kaiden accellerated course for $2000, $40 for the black belt, $5 per dan ($50), and $50 for the menkyo kaiden certificate (ooooh, lamenated...)

If you're interested I also do IQ testing. It really works. I scored 167 on a test I made myself, and with an IQ like mine you know it's well designed and accurate.
 

searcher

Senior Master
Joined
Mar 15, 2005
Messages
3,317
Reaction score
59
Location
Kansas
The thing that seperates most schools from the McDojo is the level of skill that the student gains through training at that location.

Our local McDojo has many a student that have some very lofty rank with little to no skill(this is no stretch). I have had some of them come to my school and state they are _____ rank and then when they show their skills they can't even perform a front kick or reverse punch. When questioned about what they learned there, they state that the ranks were about a positive attitude and showing up to class. All I can do is shake my head. Many of them leave when they see they will not get to wear their previous rank and that they have to work hard to gain rank. So sad.
 

Latest Discussions

Top