Home > Karate, Martial Arts, Random Thoughts, Training > McDojo: Extra Fries With That Black Belt

McDojo: Extra Fries With That Black Belt


OK. The first time I talked about “McDojos” it was sort of a joke. Here are some things you should really look out for when chosing a martial arts school.

The school or instructor promotes the idea that his school and/or style is the ultimate best in the world, or that cross training in another form of martial arts is 100% unnecessary.

If the school or instructor forbids entering tournaments, or if tournaments are restricted to specific styles or associations.

If the instructor has two other “businesses”.

If the idea of take-downs or wrestling is never addressed, or if “anti-grappling” techniques are taught.

If the test for belt advancement consists mostly or entirely of memorization and making your form & one-steps look pretty

If board breaking has a heavy emphasis, or is taught to be an indicating to how well you would fight, or is used as a supplement to full contact fighting.

If the school has too many belts, or made up belts (such as camouflage belts)

If when you visit there are so many people on the work-out floor that no one can possibly practice.

If the school insists on long contracts and or uses collection agencies for late or missed payments

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If there are expensive clubs that you must join in order to learn or participate in various clinics or seminars, such as the “black belt club”, or “masters club”

If the instructor makes ludicrous claims that he can “kill a man with his bare hands”

If the school uses a pitch book to get you to join or to convince you to sign your kids up

If the self-defense techniques that are taught aren’t at full speed or contact, or if the school is insistent only on one way of doing it

If the equipment (gear/uniforms/weapons) costs too much and/or is only ordered through the organization

If testing and monthly fees are excessive, for any reason

If the instructor is a master, yet under 40.

If the instructor’s credentials seem sketchy or are non-existent.

If the instructor proclaims to be a master of many arts, and is also extremely young.

If the school advertises that the grandmaster of the style regularly teaches there

If the school has many students, such as over 100, or if there are many black belts

If once reaching black belt students are encouraged to go start their own school or consider teaching

If ground-fighting is offered, it’s exclusive to club members (which usually have a high fee) and/or not allowed until a high rank

The instructor rarely works out with the students and has his assistants do most or all of the teaching

If they teach weapons like the sai and nunchaku as a form of self-defense

If they are a Chinese martial art and use karate belts

If the school “imports” other instructors or other systems to teach self-defense.

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  1. May 8, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Great, great guidelines here to help parents chose the right dojo for their children’s martial arts training. I must have been very blessed in the choice of the school where my son earned his black belt!

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