FAQ - What is a McDojo and How Do I Spot One?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by aikiwolfie, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Aiki said no beginner should sign a two year contract, not that no one should. (Edit- well in his original post he stated that. I see he said different later on.)

    Me, I am at the beginning of the third time I have signed a long term contract. My first one (after a year of study) was for 4 years, then next one and my current one 3.

    They have shorter contracts, I just opt for the long term one. It is a good deal. Nothing shady about it. I am completely happy with it. I am an adult and read all the terms. It has out clauses if I move or am too unhealthy to continue.

    I get a frozen rate for that time. San Diego is just about to implement a 44% increase in the minimum wage. That is going to make prices of EVERYTHING in San Diego go up, but even if my school raises prices- I imagine they will have to - my rate is locked in. I get additional bonuses, discounts on seminars and our tournament, extra classes that cost extra for regular members (weapons class particularly).

    I know I will be there using the school the whole time of my contract. I am completely happy with it. Just because some people use contracts in a shady way does not mean ALL contracts are bad. If one is not comfortable with contracts, by all means go to a place that doesn't have them, but to state they are bad for everyone is incorrect. Different strokes for different needs of differrent students...............

    As martialman said, many other places have contracts, I don't see why it is considered bad only in martial arts schools.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2014
  2. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    let me clarify. I don't like contracts period. I see no purpose to them other than to extort money from non-attending students or to discourage students from leaving. However I understand some people are happy to sign them.

    In the case of beginners, such contracts are especially inappropriate. There is a very high likelihood the beginner will not last 3 months never mind 2 years.
  3. mdgee

    mdgee Valued Member

    I just found this information on a Shotokan website about Selecting a Dojo and I think this applies to everyone, regardless of what style their studying. Don't you?

    Selecting a Dojo

    Whether or not you choose to train at NSK here are a few suggestions to assist you in selecting a Dojo.

    1. Be wary of contracts. Some students, especially children, change their minds about training after a month or two. Studying a martial art is a long, slow process and you may find the training is not for you.

    2. Find a Dojo that will allow you to train for a week or two at no charge. This will give you an opportunity to determine if the training is right for you.

    3. For children, do not worry about which style to choose unless your child has trained previously. It is more important to find an instructor that can capture their interest, keeping them excited and motivated in their training.

    4. Find a Dojo where the instructor is still actively training. Every karateka's (Karate student’s) first priority should be self improvement through continued study and training. If a Dojo's Sensei stops his/her individual training to pursue teaching then the Dojo becomes stagnant and cannot grow.

    5. Be wary of contracts.
  4. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    What is the point? That because one person on some other site also dislikes contracts, you think that it gives that opinion some sort of extra validiy? It is just one more opinion and I don't know that site or why we should give it any more credence. Especially since you don't even provide a link to the source you are supposedly quoting.

    Again, no I don't agree with this persons stance on #'s 1 & 5.

    Also not so sure about 3. Those two things don't have to contradict each other as stated. One can find an instructor to capture their intererest and motivate them whiile also looking for that in a specific style. If a parent or a child want to pursue a particular style, I don't think there is anything wrong with that.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2014
  5. mdgee

    mdgee Valued Member

    aaradia, short term contracts of three to six months are fine for me. However, if you ask me to sign a two year contract I'm running away as fast as I can. The reason is pretty much summed up in my last post. Something may change in three months and you decide you don't like what you're studying and want to study something else. Now, if you're locked into a two year contract...you're screwed.
  6. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    If it isn't for you fine, but I think deciding what isn't for you is the standard for everyone else is where you are quite wrong.

    I have been at the same school for 10 years. I know I am happy there, I know I will be staying there the whole time, so why not get the benefits that come with signing a longer contract?

    It's worked for me. I think you need to stop thinking your personal preferences are the only correct view on the matter. "this applies to everyone" is what I am objecting to, not your personal preferences.

    What is right or wrong for one student may be different for another student.
  7. mdgee

    mdgee Valued Member

    aaradia, i'm making suggestions and that's all. However, I have mentioned that I was sucked into a two year contract and how I god screwed by a McDojo because of this. If you're fine with your school, that's great. Let me ask you a question? How long before you knew you were seriously excited about the place you were studying at? Was it three months? How about nine months? Most people do not know if they're going to be excited about what they're studying. We, as human beings, are fickled. We may be excited about TKD one day and then two months from now we decide we want Muay Thai. It's even worse with children. I have three and, as a single dad, most people cannot relate with me. One child may love escrima while the others don't. Or, we may all go to Shotokan and three of them decide, after one month, that it's not exciting enough for them. If we are locked into any kind of a contract we are screwed. This is why I recommend against a contract. Maybe it's ok once you've been at the school for six months or so and you know you're going to be sticking around. Personally, and this is my opinion, it's not a good idea to lock yourself into a contract before you've tested out the art.
  8. furinkazan

    furinkazan Valued Member

    I've heard people use 'McDojo' to describe anything that's not a koryu school. How hard do I slap them?
  9. mdgee

    mdgee Valued Member

    oh, that stupid website called bullshido is famous for calling any school that the 3 or four admins don't like a mcdojo, which accounts for 99% of the various martial arts around the world.
  10. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Actually that is not true either - they are much more tolerant than they are given credit for, they just have low tolerance for idiots. The only burden of proof they have for an art being valid is "does it suit it's stated purpose?"

    You will find they also use the word "Mcdojo" differently than meaning "poor quality", and as the term itself was invented there they are correct (as an aside I also was the first to use the term "Dairy Kwoon" for Chinese systems)

    The term "Mcdojo" means "primarily run for profit", which may or may not reflect in the quality of the product. One of the Bullshido admins runs a self-professed McDojo

    Latterly many people throw the term around with a sense of holier-than-thou snobbery, despite the fact many of the things a "McDojo" is accused of are commonplace. For a negative epithet "belt mill" is far more damning.
  11. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Dairy Kwoon is hysterical.

    That is all.
  12. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    I don't get Dairy Kwoon. What's the joke?
  13. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    McDonalds = McDojo

    Dairy Queen = Dairy Kwoon

    It's a North Amercian Fast Food franchise :)

    I also came up with "Taekyon Bell" for Korean, but thought it was too specific
  14. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Hasn't there always been an element of "poor quality" though?
    In that McDonalds serve poor quality food?
    I mean...it's tasty when you want it but it's not top quality food.
    And...even if they invented it I'd say the term is now in the public domain and free to change definition? And that definition includes "poor quality" as one defining factor?
  15. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Again it depends on "poor quality" for what though. Your average "strip mall" dojo is good for friends and social, fitness and as a hobby

    If "works in a fight" is the criteria then you can wipe out 90% of schools instantly, the majority of which will be TMA's of some form. That's why the quality of the dojo output HAS to be linked to the stated purpose before it can be assessed as "poor quality"
  16. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Yeah sure. But I'd still say there's an element of poor quality though.
    "Just for money" doesn't seem enough justification to call something a McDojo.
    Most BJJ places are run for money (as it can charge more due to demand and being fashionable) but I'd hesitate to call even the most money centred BJJ place a McDojo because most BJJ places turn out nails grapplers.
  17. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    The term itself has taken a new life of it's own, and I actually do not object to that definition per se. My point was that Bullshido does not blanket call everything a McDojo and when they do teh criterai are not always as straightforward as people belive.

    Bullshido get's painted with a broad "MMA fanboy" brush by a lot of people who have no real understanding of how the site works - and it actually isn't true
  18. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    That's why I'm not a fan of "McDojo." It's become shorthand for "school holding priorities with which I disagree." Whatever the original intent, people apply it to denigrate any school they want really. Got kids' classes? McDojo. Require contracts? McDojo. Focus on fitness and community? McDojo. Etc.

    It's lost much of its usefulness as an indicator.
  19. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    Got many belts with stripes uner the rainbow? McDojo

    Got 5-8yr Black Belts? McDojo
  20. zombiekicker

    zombiekicker bagpuss

    beware the cult rings true with me, all the ninjers, cart wheels and backwards rolls? people grimacing as soon as they got touched at a grading, i could have spent two years having fiughts in pubs would have taught me more practical stuff.

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