What Is a Mc Dojo

What is a Mc Dojo

What is a Mc Dojo? Mc Dojo is a term that is used to describe a school of martial arts that is not quite what it seems, the problem with begining to seek out a martial arts school is that you are looking for someone or something to give you something that you haven’t got, the usual thing that most people look for in a martial art is that it will teach you

  1. How to fight, this could be to defend yourself in a fight or it could be for fighting in a sport
  2.  You may wish to to a martial art to improve your sef esteem
  3.  You may just want a way to get fit that doesn’t involve just gym work
  4. You may want a social life that doesn’t involve alcohol, dancing or eating

All of these things can be gained by joining a martial arts school which is fine, the trouble is if you are looking at the martial arts as a away to defend yourself then the class should be honest and tell you that they can teach you and also they should be able to demonstrate something to you that makes sense. As a beginner your training is in their hands. Spotting a Mc Dojo is very hard because as a novice the chances are that you won’t know what to look for,

Spotting a Mc Dojo

Mc Dojo 2






So how can you spot a Mc Dojo? Well it’s not easy, in the old days of the martial arts you had to be able to fight and win before anyone wuld even consider going to you for lessons, but for quite a long while maybe from the time that Bruce Lee was in his element untill about 1990 people were popping up as maters of ancient martial arts, they would say that they had benn to Japan and trained under some mystierious master, the master would usually be nameless. Because Bruce Lee was on screen looking fierce and powerful lots of people belived that the way to defend yourself would be to be like Bruce Lee. Some very smart but unethcal people realized that there was big money to be made from being a martial arts teacher so traing halls sprang up in every town, city and village, quite a lot of the schools would tell the potential students,(me being one of them) that you must keep what you learn a secret, this is not new because even in the Bruce Lee films they would say do not show your martial arts to anyone and then when you are attacked you can surprise your enemy, this secretive way seemed to work well in the movies so why would it not work well in real life?

This martial arts tournament put the effectiveness of martial arts in the public eye

Being quiet about your martial skills could be good because it may stop bad people from trying to exploit your good nature, and showing off that you know a martial art could make your enemy try to use dirty tricks on you, so being quite has it’s benefits, but there is a down side to this secrecy, and this is where all the Mc Dojo’s get their inspiration. Here are some clues to look out for if you do wish to start a martial art.

Below is a copy that I found on this website and it goes into great detail about wht makes a suspicious martial art:

Written By Jesse Enkamp

93 Warning Signs Your Dojo is a McDojo

1. You wear multicolored uniforms.

2. The dojo advertises as “Non-Contact Karate”.

3. You wear a thousand badges/patches on your gi.

4. You are awarded black belt in 1-2 years.

5. Advancement to the next rank is an expense (and a hefty one at that), instead of an honorful achievement.

6. Prospective students are required to become a member/subscribe before even trying a lesson.

7. Your sensei is a “grandmaster” with 7th dan or above, yet is 30 years or younger.

8. There is a “special course” that’ll get you black belt in 6 months or less.

9. (And yes, that course is super expensive.)

10. Your sensei won’t spar/fight with you because he “doesn’t want to hurt you”.

11. Individual development and personal expression is virtually non-existant. Instead, a strong conformist mentality is encouraged, since this inflexible mindset is what makes it easy for a sensei to rule the dojo.

12. You are never taught bunkai (applications) to moves.

13. If you are taught bunkai, they never work – except when your sensei does them.

14. Instructors wear special ‘instructor belts’ rather than regular belts reflecting their true ranking.

15. There are many claims of being an “award winning dojo”, with little or no solid evidence to back this up.

16. Your sensei studied marketing longer than Karate.

17. Instructors are required to have the dojo’s decals on their car.

18. You never practise low kicks.

19. There is a sign that says “Guaranteed Black Belt”.

20. There are 11th dan, 12th dan, 13th dan or even higher grades.

21. Your sensei has one of those grades.

22. …and he “got it in Japan”.

23. Your style was created by your sensei, yet it’s still “traditional” – and it has several “special advantages” over all other styles. Oh, and most likely, the name of the style is absurdly long.

24. There are camouflage belts.

25. You have stripes on your belt that signify how much you have paid (rather than what rank you have)

26. Gradings are fifteen minutes long.

27. There are 7-year old black belts.

28. The dojo sign has the words ‘traditional’, ‘commando’, ‘classical’, ‘effective’, ‘100%’, ‘original’, ‘Okinawan’, ‘dragon’, ‘Japanese’, ‘secret’ and ‘elite’ in the same sentence.

29. Between belt grades you get colored tabs on your belt to denote ‘half’ or ‘quarter’ ranks.

30. You can grade via mail order.

31. Wearing/buying the dojo merchandize is mandatory.

32. Your dojo is cluttered with trophies. So cluttered that every time you take a step towards any direction in a kata, you’re actually stepping on a trophy.

33. Speaking of kata; there are waaaay too many of them.

34. Your grandmaster is 14-times World Champion (WKITSKTFKTAF)

35. You are not allowed to compete. It is not “honorful”.

36. You are required to compete. It is “honorful”.

37. Cheesy sales tactics are used to effectively bind up loyal customers (a.k.a. “students”).

38. You are doing kata to music.

39. If you use weapons, they glow in the dark and weigh a maximum of 3 oz.

40. The instructor uses students as punching bags.

41. Movements don’t have names – they have numbers.

42. The dojo’s web address is printed on the back of your uniform.

43. The dojo’s phone number is printed on the back of your uniform.

44. The instructor refuses to teach you certain techniques, because they are “too deadly”

45. (When in fact, the instructors is just holding you back for fear that you’ll get better than him.)

46. The instructor demands respect. He doesn’t earn it.

47. Red gi for the grandmaster, black gi for instructors and white gi for regular students.

48. You must pay for an entire year up front, no refunds (long-term contracts with no termination clauses).

49. Your sensei sounds and acts like a motivational speaker.

50. Besides teaching Karate, your grandmaster also teaches ‘cardio kickboxing’ (or similar).

51. Reference is repeatedly made to the notorious “street”, and what works/doesn’t work there.

52. The dojo has an official mascot.

53. Your sensei can’t explain the meaning of any given technique.

54. Nobody ever fails at a grading.

55. Kids’ classes are more games and chaos than actual Karate.

56. First thing that greets students when they enter the dojo? A cash register.

57. Senior students are required to recruit new members door to door.

58. Your dojo website doesn’t say anything about the actual style of Karate, but instead makes lot of reference to “empowerment”, “mindfulness”, “concentration” and tournament results.

59. Time-based progression through ranks, rather than achievement-based.

60. Your sensei has registered his fists as ‘deadly weapons’ with the local police authorities.

61. Your grandmaster rarely teaches stuff hands-on (he has assistants for that).

62. There are “forbidden” techniques that only certain students are taught.

63. You’re wearing a taekwondo uniform.

64. Cross training is discouraged.

65. Other schools are talked down.

66. Kyu grade students are recruited to become instructors early on, and put in ‘accelerated learning programs’.

67. Your grandmaster has a habit of dating students.

68. “Sensei, when will I learn my next kata?”

69. “When you buy the DVD!”

70. You are rarely taught philosophical concepts, strategy or theory.

71. Doing stuff that’s “correct” is seen as more important than doing stuff that actually works.

72. You practise harnessing your ki/chi power.

73. Quantity is encouraged over quality – both physical and theoretical.

74. The sensei is always right, everybody else are wrong.

75. The style is always right, everything else is wrong.

76. The dojo is always right, everyplace else is wrong

77. Questioning the style, teacher, lineage or dojo is a big no-no.

78. New students aren’t allowed to watch a class; “Just sign the dotted line.”

79. Your sensei adds/changes/removes techniques when he feels like it. Which is basically every week.

80. Your sensei teaches crescent kicks as disarming techniques for handguns and knives.

81. You train defense against baseball bats by blocking with your forearm.

82. Your sensei invokes fear.

83. You bow to a huge portrait of your sensei hanging on the wall.

84. There are “hidden” techniques in kata.

85. When you practise self-defense, it’s always based on a scenario where your opponent steps towards you with a straight punch and then leaves his/her arm dangling in front of you as you execute 5-10 different finishing techniques.

86. Your sensei knows the ‘no-touch’ K.O.

87. Your memory to recall techniques is tested more often than your actual skill in performing techniques.

88. Your instructor prefers to use “grandmaster”, “master” or “sensei” rather than his real name. Both in print and person.

89. Showing techniques you learnt from someplace else is frowned upon.

90. The dojo equipment can’t stand full contact use.

91. Students scream more than they bow.

92. If you make a mistake, it’s quickly (and often loudly) pointed out by your sensei. But when you make something correct? Crickets.

93. You practise backflips.

The full article can be found here


What is a Mc Dojo

Mc Dojo





There are many ways to spot a suspicious martial art but the ones above should give you plenty to think about. There is a cross over in some arts that are good and bad. The best way to be in fomed is to only join a club that will let you talk to the other students, train for free with the other students on a trial basis. The more distance that is put between you and the top master the more suspicious you should be. It can be hard to know why someone wants to join a club but if it is to learn to fight it would make sense that you practice fighting that has only limited rules for safety, if not then all you will learn is theory that may work or may not, I am not saying that there is one martial art that can guarantee that you will win every fight and if a club tells you that, they are lying, even the best fighters can and do lose, Anderson Silva is a very good fighter but when he has either made a mistake or has met a better fighter he has lost.

Royce Gracie, Kasushi Sakuraba, Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Wladimir Klitschco. Connor Mc Gregor. Jose Aldo, the list goes on and on and on, the point I suppose I am trying to make is that a martial art should aim to improve YOU, it is not meant to prove how good your teacher is against YOU, youy teacher should try to improve YOU both physically an mentally.

When the ultimate championsips started no one seem to understand what a real fight was going to be like and almost all the competitors had a shock, since then up until quite recently Brazillian jujitsu seemed to be the one and only nartial art worth studying, quite a few martial artists ditched their old martial arts, lately I have noticed that even the Brazillian jujitsu masters that were winning in MMA are now losing with pure jujitsu, this doesn#t mean tha jujitsu is no good it just means that ALL martial arts have got antidotes, all martial arts are alive and to believe that what you do is the best is recipe for disaster, the clue is in the word art, art doen’t stay the same it changes it advances it learns by doing, so if your teacher says, my way or the highway, they are not willing to learn and improve themselves, so how can they improve you? Sticking just to tradition is good if you want to learn a dead art, but if you want a dynamic art you must move with the times.