Friday, April 8, 2011

Walking Blindly into a McDojo

There are plenty of articles and posts that tell you what to watch out for when you are looking for a martial arts school for your children and yourself. I touched on it as well here. Though you may be following some of the guidelines, you can still unknowingly walk into a McDojo.

One of my co-workers asked if I knew of any schools in her area for her daughter. There aren’t any Uechi-ryu dojos nearby, so I asked my teacher if he could recommend anyone in her general area and gave me a name to try. I looked him up and apparently he is a well-respected martial artist with years of experience, a rather large school with a few locations, and he runs a large annual tournament.

When my co-worker went to check it out, her daughter loved it. But the staff started hitting her with a large registration fee, a uniform fee, and mandatory paid pre-training sessions which is in addition to the pretty high monthly fee for regularly scheduled classes. All in all it was about $300 upfront, not including the regular class fees. Oh, they also require a contract. ;-)

I felt really bad about it though she took it well and has since found another school that is more sane. The recommended school’s website does not list schedules, costs, etc. which is normally a red flag, but I assumed it wouldn’t be an issue based on the recommendation. That was wrong on my part. I am sure my teacher does not know how that school is run, as he was basing the recommendation on martial arts reputation, not a business model. It really irks me how these schools are run, and it gives martial arts schools a bad name. I’m just glad my co-worker didn’t drop martial arts out of consideration.


  1. The line between a McDojo and a commercialized dojo can be very blurry--it sounds like they found a commercialized dojo, however, if the martial arts reputation was good despite the costs. Some instructors (although it does certainly seem to be a minority) are good at making money AND good at teaching martial arts, but most are only good at one or the other.

  2. It's possible this one could be both, but the prices and the hard sell were a bit much. You never can really tell until you go to the dojo yourself. Thanks.


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