Z-Ultimate and United Studios of Self Defense

MADENVER

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I've been involved in this kempo/kenpo lineage for years now, but am not an insider, and apparently those of us who aren't are pretty in the dark about goings-on. I was away from USSD for some years in the Denver area, and when I came back, there was Z-Ultimate in its place. I'm aware of the court battle but only vaguely and it doesn't make sense to me. What motives people might have for splitting 80 some schools from one that had twice that many. It's bewildering. But outside of that, I have no idea and have not chosen sides or anything. It happened while I was away - trying other things. I came back because this is my thing and I haven't found better - at least in the Denver area where I live.

I've been watching for several years as Z-Ultimate seems to be slowly dwindling down - closing one school after another. And tonight, I just did a Google Maps search on the whole country, for Z-Ultimate and USSD and see nothing showing up on the east coast anymore. Unless I'm wrong, or perhaps didn't zoom in enough.

But are there any insiders here? Have both these schools greatly diminished now? Does anyone know what's going on?

I've heard theories from one guy, about it being a tired old business model, but I just don't know. Other theories about the American culture having changed so radically, that few people are all that interested in self defense schools anymore. I'm not sure why.

I'd like to have a polite discussion here, if possible, about all this, without all the outsiders types of comments about "McDojo" and all that. Despite the observable problems that so many of us students see, there are a bunch of us here in the Denver area, who just keep going, for the simple reason that we still don't see anything better.
 

hoshin1600

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hey @MADENVER
i cant speak directly for your specific question i never heard of Z- Ultimate. but i was training in kempo back when USSD was on the east coast and Charlie Mattera broke off and went his own way on the west coast.

I've heard theories from one guy, about it being a tired old business model,
i would agree with this. there was a model where you rented a store front, the space has carpeted floor, change rooms and a separate room for private lessons. plain painted walls with a couple pictures hanging on the walls of a dragon and a tiger and some mirrors.
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this is so 1980's you might as well be listening to "flock of seaguls"

compared to todays MMA gyms, schools like that are very outdated and do not draw any interest.

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MADENVER

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That's like comparing tennis and hockey. MMA is a sport.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Not an insider per se, but I practiced USSD, and spoke with many 'insiders' or 'friends of insiders' (not sure exactly whom you're referring to with that word. From what I understand it was more of a business model disagreement, and personal disagreement that people had...multiple heads of schools had issues with the pressures the overall USSD organization puts on them to do well and succeed...I could go into more detail about some stories I heard, but would never say them online, especially since I can't confirm the stories that I have heard. But, basically, the heads of those schools were Z-Ultimate came about wanted to keep teaching the style, but did not want to have to deal with the negative aspects of the organization (I am intentionally calling it organization not style), so they split off.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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That's like comparing tennis and hockey. MMA is a sport.
He still has a point. MMA is just mixed martial arts. Plenty people go to an MMA school without a desire to compete, but for the same reasons they may have gone to a kempo school (self-defense, discipline, socializing, etc.)
 

hoshin1600

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That's like comparing tennis and hockey. MMA is a sport.
your missing the point of your own question. Tennis, hockey, soccer, karate it doesnt matter. you asked about business and schools going out of business due to lack of interest. like it or not MMA and every other martial art as well as other athletic activities are all in competition for the same thing...peoples time and money. if you do karate, MMA is your direct competitor and are stealing away your clients. if you teach kids karate, soccer, basketball and the Cub Scouts are your competitors and are taking your clients.
the way you responded to my statement i would take a guess that there are no kempo schools around but probably have 5 or 6 MMA gyms. in my area the few kenpo schools probably have 0 to 5 maybe 10 adult students while the MMA gym has hundreds. and guess what that MMA gym also has classes in traditional martial arts that are filled to capacity. its about the modern facitlity and modern business model.
 

Buka

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Having a dojo, any dojo, any style, that you like going to is a wonderful thing. No matter how long you train, it is a truly wonderful thing.

They are worth seeking out. May we all be lucky in our lives to find some.
 

Gerry Seymour

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He still has a point. MMA is just mixed martial arts. Plenty people go to an MMA school without a desire to compete, but for the same reasons they may have gone to a kempo school (self-defense, discipline, socializing, etc.)
I'd guess it's just as likely for someone to go to an MMA school for any of the reasons they'd come to my program (except competition - they'd be crazy to come to me for that).
 

now disabled

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MMA is the "new" in thing it gets the media coverage etc etc etc so people go and mostly find the new razzle dazzle environments to train in so they stay (maybe the gym offers trad arts to) and it gets the money rolling in.
It possible that they are not exactly looking for a specific art per se and due to the media exposure etc they go.
Will it last ? who knows only time will tell and the general public are a fickle lot lol so who knows if that model will stay

(I am not knocking the pro fighters here btw they are to me anyway a different "breed" in their training )
 

Flying Crane

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There is a United Studios of Self Defense school in the small town down the road from me, in the strip mall next to the Safeway. I dont shop there much, but when I am in the area it seems it is seldom open. When it is open, I cannot remember seeing more than three children taking a class, usually fewer. I do not believe I have ever seen an adult taking a class. I dont know how he stays open. Maybe he has more classes that Ive simply never seen. I dunno. I cant see how it can last, but he has been open for a number of years.
 

Flying Crane

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your missing the point of your own question. Tennis, hockey, soccer, karate it doesnt matter. you asked about business and schools going out of business due to lack of interest. like it or not MMA and every other martial art as well as other athletic activities are all in competition for the same thing...peoples time and money. if you do karate, MMA is your direct competitor and are stealing away your clients. if you teach kids karate, soccer, basketball and the Cub Scouts are your competitors and are taking your clients.
the way you responded to my statement i would take a guess that there are no kempo schools around but probably have 5 or 6 MMA gyms. in my area the few kenpo schools probably have 0 to 5 maybe 10 adult students while the MMA gym has hundreds. and guess what that MMA gym also has classes in traditional martial arts that are filled to capacity. its about the modern facitlity and modern business model.
I think it is hard to say that they are stealing your clients. There is no guarantee they would be your clients, even if you are the only game in town. Maybe the kids dont want karate, even if soccer isnt available as an alternative. Maybe the adults dont want what you are teaching, or simply dont want you as a teacher, even if the MMA gym down the street never existed.

Its easy to point at things and say that is your competition, but it might simply not be true.
 

hoshin1600

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I think it is hard to say that they are stealing your clients. There is no guarantee they would be your clients, even if you are the only game in town. Maybe the kids dont want karate, even if soccer isnt available as an alternative. Maybe the adults dont want what you are teaching, or simply dont want you as a teacher, even if the MMA gym down the street never existed.

Its easy to point at things and say that is your competition, but it might simply not be true.
I was and am speaking from a business perspective only. It has to be assumed that our market sample size only consists of consumers who are actively looking for a leisure activity.
My response was to the OP who stated karate and MMA are apples and oranges. I was pointing out that from a business perspective a karate school is in competition with all leisure activities. The major factors that will sway the consumer from karate to MMA is marketing, public opinion trends and amenities including price and value. The old school 1980s karate school has no advantage in any catagory except maybe price but a smart consumer measures price to value not just price.
 

Gerry Seymour

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MMA is the "new" in thing it gets the media coverage etc etc etc so people go and mostly find the new razzle dazzle environments to train in so they stay (maybe the gym offers trad arts to) and it gets the money rolling in.
It possible that they are not exactly looking for a specific art per se and due to the media exposure etc they go.
Will it last ? who knows only time will tell and the general public are a fickle lot lol so who knows if that model will stay

(I am not knocking the pro fighters here btw they are to me anyway a different "breed" in their training )
Media exposure has pretty much always driven MA attendance. Back in the day, it was all "Karate", whether it was Karate or TKD, or whatever - because that's all anyone knew from movies.
 

Gerry Seymour

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I think it is hard to say that they are stealing your clients. There is no guarantee they would be your clients, even if you are the only game in town. Maybe the kids dont want karate, even if soccer isnt available as an alternative. Maybe the adults dont want what you are teaching, or simply dont want you as a teacher, even if the MMA gym down the street never existed.

Its easy to point at things and say that is your competition, but it might simply not be true.
I think he makes a fair point, FC. Kids' parents have a limited budget and time allotment for activities. Every activity they sign up for makes it less likely they choose the kids' TKD class or whatever. Same for adults, with some different dynamics. The more time I spend training MA, the less time I spend playing golf. So, in a very significant way, MA is competing with golf, tennis, hiking, etc.
 

pdg

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I was thinking the reverse.:D

You can't fool me, I've seen golf on telly.

It was said that golf is a way to ruin a good walk - I disagree though, it looks like a pretty poor walk to me :p

That said, I did have golf fun once - one golf stick and a bagful of out of date coleslaw...
 

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