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Thread: Can I Get Fries With That

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    Default Can I Get Fries With That

    We have had several conversation on here that have borderd on the Mc Dojo Phenoma so I cut and pasted a very old thread I started over on Martial Talk.

    In my opinion the Mc Dojo is ruining the martial arts for everyone. These belt factories that give black belts for good grades really bring us all down. There is a difference between a large successful school and a Mc Dojo. As long as the quality of the instruction, and quality of the student is not compromised there is no problem with the size of the school. We all know instructors who guarantee that a person will get a Black Blet in "X" amount of time and for this one low price. What do you guys think? And who is to blame for this phenomena?
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: Can I Get Fries With That

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Broad View Post
    In my opinion the Mc Dojo is ruining the martial arts for everyone. ... who is to blame for this phenomena?
    Why the need to place blame? Just do the best you can and don't worry about the McDancers. You won't be able to do anything about them, any how.

    Capitalize on their ineptitude. They introduce a lot of people to the martial arts. Find ways to show these people something better without running the Clown down and being negative, and you might pick up some students that otherwise wouldn't have been interested. I used to have my own business, and one of the interesting things I learned was that your competition is often your best ally. Most people have to be "hit" 5-7 times before they bite. You can't afford that kind of advertiseing budget. But when spread out over several businesses, they all tend to bennifit more than they would alone. Just make sure yours is the best product, and find positive and respectful ways to get that point out, and you should do ok.

    But, lets face it, there is always a large element that wants theirs cheap and quick. Let Ronald get fat off them, and they won't be bothering you. Only problem I see with this arrangement is that they are probably going to be the ones you have to throw out of your tournament. Nothing's perfect.

    Dan C
    There are things that are worth knowing for their own sake, worth finding for the pure joy of discovery.

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    Default Re: Can I Get Fries With That

    I think that the public may be to blame in this. In the US we want instant gratification. People expect to get what they are paying for. The problem is that most people do not understand commitment and perseverance. In many cases these McDojo's are the product of over zealous parents. To others it may just be an idea of naive.

    While instructing at an Aikido dojo I ran the kids classes as well as the Mid-Advanced class. The kidís class ran before the Mid-Advanced on Tuesday & Thursday. For all kyu ranks for adults there were no colored belt ranks until 2nd kyu. At 2nd and 1st kyu you wore Brown. Then at black you wore a hakama. We used the colored belt system for the kids, but that was not my idea and a whole other story. In any case I had a parent whose daughter was in the kidís class. She was a great student and was a quick study. She was one of the better beginners I had. In any event in the plaza nearby her brother went to a TKD school. One day after class the parent asked to speak with me. She informed me that she would no longer be sending her daughter to Aikido. When I asked why she told me that in the six months that she was there she should have been ranked much higher. I explained to the parent that is all depends on time in grade and my feelings as the instructor if she is ready to move along. The parent then told me that was ridiculous and that her son signed a "contract" that would make him a black belt in two years. I asked how often her son was training and she said twice a week. I informed the parent that this would not be the case here and all she had to say was "I know"! She told me I was not doing my job well enough and that she was transferring here daughter immediately to her sonís school. I remember looking over watching this little girl cry. She wanted to stay at our school, but the parents interfered. They thought that they were buying rank like they did at the other school.

    I'll never forget that. It really showed how uninformed the public really is. It also showed that people believe that they can buy rank for their children or themselves. It was really a disheartening experience.
    "Fear is the true opiate of combat."

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    Default Re: Can I Get Fries With That

    I also saw this first hand. After my wife and I were engaged she decided to take up TKD. She picked out the school on her own and liked it at first. Then she would come home and complain about this or that there. She asked that I come and visit a few classes prior to her next belt test. I did as she asked. When there I was approached b the instructor and he seemed like a kind person. We started to talk and he asked if I trained before. At this point I was in-between teaching Aikido as I just moved and had not found another dojo. I told him I did. He told me if I'd like to join his school he could transfer my rank in Chung Do Kwan to his TKD black belt level and my Aikido rank to Hapkido. I sat there like a deer in head lights. I said "just like that?" He said yes. He told be that if I wanted I could pay 2 thousand dollars to transfer both ranks. I kindly declined and told him I was only there to support my wife. He left to start class and during the class he would wave me on to the mat as if to get me out there. At all times I declined respectfully. After watching warm-ups I was in horror. I watched the students bickering amongst each other. They all seemed to have their own agenda. When basics began all the students were moving with no passion and purpose. Most of them wore black belts. Then when self defense time came up I almost fell off my seat. Students were just talking amongst themselves and when they would do a technique they would either not be paying attention or would do it with no passion or conviction. Then at the last 10 minutes it became a tae-bo class. When I asked my wife how much she was paying she told me 250 dollars a month. It was horrifying. Needless to say that was her last class. We moved to a different part of the state and she found other hobbies. Now that she's watch some Kenpo she may want to get back in it. In any event for the uninformed it's a buy beware market for McDojo's.

    After we moved I found a few Kung Fu places and the first I went into was a real McDojo. They could only answer questions from a script or from what was in their binder. It was like being in used car salesmen hell! They called for about 6 months after the visit. Considering they could not answer one question about the history or the family / style, I was all set with that place.

    In the end I found my Kenpo School and have be happily impressed with my find of a diamond in the rough.
    "Fear is the true opiate of combat."

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    Default Re: Can I Get Fries With That

    I also think the McDojo is a product of the general public and I don't think this applies to just martial arts. For the kids you've got hockey (think crazy hockey parents, my kid is the next Gretzky), soccer, football, gymnastics, etc. and in all of these endeavors you have the good with the bad in terms of coaching and the attitude of the league, parents and participants. If the McDojo sparks a real interest in a student they may some day see the light and seek out 'real training'. In the meantime the student is getting fit, learning some basic skills, and improving self esteem. These are all good things and in themselves will be of benefit.

    Do I wish that all teachers were of high moral, ethical, and technical standards, sure. We don't get that anywhere in life, including teaching (I mean school here), banking, politics, religion, so how can we expect it in martial arts?

    I think the best we can do is to do our absolute best and let the students figure it out by seeing the difference between ourselves and the others.

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    Default Re: Can I Get Fries With That

    It's supply and demand so I guess "Capitalism" is to blame! LOL

    What I can't understand is why someone would simply want a document stating they were a "black belt" and not actually have any skill. That boggles my mind!! I mean, sure you can call yourself a "black belt" but you couldn't fight your way out of a wet paper bag!! You might as well call yourself "King of the Universe!" The title has about the same substance.

    People simply don't want to put the work in required to obtain anything of value any more. It's all about instant gratification. Even the most adept and skilled individual has to put in a few years to get a black belt in Kenpo. But you can go to a McDojo and as long as you pay your dues and show up 2-3 times a week you'll have a "black belt" in a matter of months. It's a paper title only, but they don't care because now they can brag to their friends, family, co-workers, the girls/guys etc that they are now a martial arts master and show a pretty piece of paper backing it up.
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." Ė Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Can I Get Fries With That

    Quote Originally Posted by ronin6 View Post
    I think that the public may be to blame in this. In the US we want instant gratification. People expect to get what they are paying for. The problem is that most people do not understand commitment and perseverance. In many cases these McDojo's are the product of over zealous parents. To others it may just be an idea of naive.

    While instructing at an Aikido dojo I ran the kids classes as well as the Mid-Advanced class. The kidís class ran before the Mid-Advanced on Tuesday & Thursday. For all kyu ranks for adults there were no colored belt ranks until 2nd kyu. At 2nd and 1st kyu you wore Brown. Then at black you wore a hakama. We used the colored belt system for the kids, but that was not my idea and a whole other story. In any case I had a parent whose daughter was in the kidís class. She was a great student and was a quick study. She was one of the better beginners I had. In any event in the plaza nearby her brother went to a TKD school. One day after class the parent asked to speak with me. She informed me that she would no longer be sending her daughter to Aikido. When I asked why she told me that in the six months that she was there she should have been ranked much higher. I explained to the parent that is all depends on time in grade and my feelings as the instructor if she is ready to move along. The parent then told me that was ridiculous and that her son signed a "contract" that would make him a black belt in two years. I asked how often her son was training and she said twice a week. I informed the parent that this would not be the case here and all she had to say was "I know"! She told me I was not doing my job well enough and that she was transferring here daughter immediately to her sonís school. I remember looking over watching this little girl cry. She wanted to stay at our school, but the parents interfered. They thought that they were buying rank like they did at the other school.

    I'll never forget that. It really showed how uninformed the public really is. It also showed that people believe that they can buy rank for their children or themselves. It was really a disheartening experience.
    That is truly saddening. It is all about what you can buy these days, instead of what you actually earn.
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    Default Re: Can I Get Fries With That

    As an instructor I know about having to pay the bills, and they never stop. But to simply hold gradings because people have been their for X number of classes doesn't equate. I personally use the idea of if they are ready then they can test, not until. But it is tempting for an instructor to put up a couple other people during the next grading just to have a nice Christmas. I go both ways on the half belt idea. For adults no. For children why not, you can cut the material in half for each belt, but you should also cut the cost of testing to maybe 2/3 because you still have to pay for the belt, the certificate and your time. Instead of giving belts for achievement I gave crests and that worked a lot better than rapidly promoting people for good grades and attending your special events. The Mc Dojo is a dangerous thing they give people a false sense of security and that can be dangerous.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: Can I Get Fries With That

    True that! I personally feel any...instructor, and I hesitate to use that title here, that promotes a student that is not ready and instills in them a false sense of security demonstrates a blatant disregard for said students well being. They should be hung up by their thumbs and flogged within an inch of their lives. I know that sounds extreme but I take this very seriously. These people are completely irresponsible putting the lives of several others in jeopardy by falsely leading them to believe that they have learned the skills necessary to protect themselves and their loved ones.
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." Ė Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Can I Get Fries With That

    Quote Originally Posted by execkenpo View Post
    Do I wish that all teachers were of high moral, ethical, and technical standards, sure. We don't get that anywhere in life, including teaching (I mean school here), banking, politics, religion, so how can we expect it in martial arts?

    .
    It may be impossible to actually achieve ethical/moral perfection, but we can only improve upon the status quo by demanding it and not accepting it as is.
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." Ė Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Can I Get Fries With That

    Quote Originally Posted by ronin6 View Post
    I remember looking over watching this little girl cry. She wanted to stay at our school, but the parents interfered.
    That's very sad. this must be the epitome of what can be wrong in parent's perceptions and expectations in a school.
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    Default Re: Can I Get Fries With That

    Quote Originally Posted by flying crane View Post
    That's very sad. this must be the epitome of what can be wrong in parent's perceptions and expectations in a school.
    I know. It will always be burned into my mind.
    "Fear is the true opiate of combat."

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    Default Re: Can I Get Fries With That

    Quote Originally Posted by Takai View Post
    That is truly saddening. It is all about what you can buy these days, instead of what you actually earn.
    That was exactly it. They wanted to buy rank instead of earning.

    To Mr. Broad's points:
    There was a time in grade guidline but for the most part in the adult and kids class you never were told you were testing until class started. People were tested when all instructors thought the student was ready. Most of the time we woudl tell you in advance that the test was coming. However for the advanced grades that was not the case. We would hint at the idea that maybe you need to get ready. In any event I wish parents were just more educated.
    "Fear is the true opiate of combat."

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    Default Re: Can I Get Fries With That

    Quote Originally Posted by ronin6 View Post
    In any event I wish parents were just more educated.
    I think being educated about it is part of the solution.

    I think a lot of it however has to do with this weird sense of entitlement we often see in the martial arts. Parents of young kids just expect and assume that their child will get lots of rank in a hurry. For some, I think no amount of education will change that expectation. We have become an extremely selfish and greedy society and it can be downright embarrassing.

    On the flip side, we see a lot of the same thing among adults in the martial arts as well. I can't help but think this entitlement mentality is at play when people start to come up with creative ways to give themselves higher and higher rank. They can't seem to be satisfied as a 4th degree, so they create an organization with their friends and every couple years or so they give each other another stripe and "sanction" the promotion amongst themselves. Everyone just assumes more rank will always follow, no matter what. Personally, I think most people could spend the rest of their lives very respectfully and honorably at a level such as fourth degree, or third or second or first. I think the higher levels should just be really really rare, but instead they are becoming common as dirt, and almost laughable. I'm not saying these people aren't skilled and talented. I just don't think that rank should be automatic or expected or assumed by anybody. It's silly, and it sets the example for the kids and their parents.

    Is it really any wonder that we see problems with the kids and their parents?
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    Default Re: Can I Get Fries With That

    Most McDojo scams are perpetuated on children and their parents. Parents love to hear that their children are doing good, so they buy right into the fact that their child is the next up and coming Black Belt. It is harder for McDojo's to scam adults. They have to play their cards just right with people who have no or very little martial arts experience. It is usually played on some one who has low self esteem, and is usally a loner.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: Can I Get Fries With That

    Quote Originally Posted by Celtic_Crippler View Post
    True that! I personally feel any...instructor, and I hesitate to use that title here, that promotes a student that is not ready and instills in them a false sense of security demonstrates a blatant disregard for said students well being. They should be hung up by their thumbs and flogged within an inch of their lives. I know that sounds extreme but I take this very seriously. These people are completely irresponsible putting the lives of several others in jeopardy by falsely leading them to believe that they have learned the skills necessary to protect themselves and their loved ones.
    Your words warm the cockles of my heart.

    *..sniff-sniff...*

    You're absolutely correct. If we made examples of a few of these Belt Factories, and went all Fist of Legend on them, perhaps they'd learn and we'd get to take over some really cool School Real Estate complete with hot & cold running students. Oh the Dark Ages couldn't have been as bad as everyone lets on.

    It is the Fast Food, Digital Camera, Instant Gratification society that we live in though. Everyone wants something tangible and they want it now! What ? 1 Hour Photo ? Oh no. That's unacceptable. I need Instant Photos. That's the same mentality that insists on Microwavable BLackbelts.

    However, it has been my experience, that many of these folk, (the worthy ones anyway), in due time discover that you do indeed get what you pay for....(and I mean pay, not just in the finacial $$$ sense, but in the investment of time and effort as well)...my class is full of former Black Belt, Inc. students who realized (eventually) that they weren't really learning a thing. They were flying rank, and didn't know anything.

    Sure, we lose some folk, who decide that they earned their blackbelts, due to their exceptional skills in 6 weeks. "That ka-rotty-stuff ain't so tough, afterall!" However, I submit, that I really wouldn't want many of those students anyway. It does give everyone a bit of a black eye, but this is something that occurs in a capitolistic society in every industry. There are charletons who ducktape cars back together to sell them to unsuspecting consumers. There are stores who knowingly buy inferiorly made products and sell them cheaply, and don't care about peddling shoddy goods. Everyone makes choices to either support these crooks, or shop around and seek out the true values, even if they sometimes cost more...on every level. This goes back to what was said earlier about proper salesmanship. If we truly DO have a superior product, then it is our duty and responsibility to educate the consumers and convince them, we are not only the real deal, but ain the long run, a better deal.
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    Default Re: Can I Get Fries With That

    Again, here is one of my favorite topics, hope you enjoy and I would love to see your opinions.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: Can I Get Fries With That

    Definitely need to revive this thread for our newer members
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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