Students>Finding a school>McDojang/McDojo

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Some martial arts schools are non-commercial, they only seek to make enough money to keep the doors open so they may teach the martial arts they love. Some schools are commercially oriented, they seek to make some money for the time and effort they are putting into the school. However, some martial arts schools are greedy, they seek to make as much money as possible, even if it means degrading their martial art and shortchanging their students. These types of schools are known as McDojangs, McDojos, etc. The following are some indicators of this type of school.

Why are they called McDojangs and McDojos?

They are called this since they are much like McDonald's fast food restaurants:
  • There is one on every corner.
  • The school spokesperson dresses like a clown and sometimes acts like one.
  • Most employees are teenagers and are clones of the supervisor/instructor.
  • You may order any combination of what is offered, for a price.
  • There are always specials on the cost of the product.
  • They pursue quantity, not quality.
  • While the product may look like the real thing, it is a poor imitation.
  • Speed is important; they want to take your money and serve you quickly. They test every month or two, awards black belt in one or two years, and then move on to the next customer.

Some other indicators of McDojangs and McDojos


  • School uniforms are multicolored with more patches and stripes than a high priest.
  • Instructors wear special uniforms and belts that make them look like ancient warlords.
  • Whereas a basic uniform is relatively inexpensive, to add all the school's patches, stripes, embroidery, etc. to the uniform costs an extra 50 to 100 dollars.

Prospective students

  • Prospective students are required to sign a contract before even trying a class or even watching a class.
  • Prospective students are required to sign a long-term contract with no termination clause.
  • Black belts are guaranteed, and, for an extra fee, one may participate in a fast track course of instruction and be awarded a black belt after only a few months of training.

School and instructors

  • The school's style was created by the “master” as a combination of the best techniques of many different martial arts. The “master” holds high rank in each of these arts, and of course, is the "supreme exalted grand master" of this new martial ar
  • The “master” is less than 30 years old.
  • The school teaches cardioversions of the martial art.
  • The “master” does not spar with students because he or she is so deadly that the student may be injured.
  • The “master” says there are “secret” techniques that are only taught to special black belts because they are “too deadly.” This ensures you will never think the “master” has taught you all he or she knows.
  • Instructors use students as practice dummies.
  • Instructors demand respect but never do anything to earn it.
  • Instructors sound and act more like preachers or motivational speakers than teachers or coaches.
  • Instructors date students.

Ranks and rank tests

  • Rank tests cost more than the monthly training fee.
  • You perform your rank requirements with a group rather than individually.
  • Students receive a passing grade on a pattern performance if they do all the movements in correct order. Power, speed, precise movement, and perfection of technique are not considered.
  • The time a student spends performing rank requirements is less than 15 minutes and students rarely fail tests.
  • The school uses time-based progression through ranks, rather than achievement-based progression.
  • There are numerous color belts. Since each belt requires a test and each test requires a fee, the more belts there are, the more income there is for the school.
  • There are 11th degree and higher black belts in the school or organization.
  • There are 7-year-old black belts and 2nd degree or higher black belts who are not even teenagers.
  • Anyone may be awarded a black belt. Certain requirements are waived for students with limitations, such as mental or physical disabilities, poor fitness, obesity, old age, etc. If you have the money, you will receive a black belt.
  • School awards "honorary" black belts.


  • Students are encouraged to buy and put school decals on their cars, backpacks, books cover, etc.
  • All your sparring equipment must have the school or organization logo and be bought from the school at an increased price.
  • The school’s web address and/or phone number are printed on the back of your uniform.
  • The school has an official mascot.
  • You get discounts or awards for bringing in more students.
  • Instructors encourage students to get their teachers to invite them to perform demonstrations for other students.


  • Self-defense techniques are taught that only seem to work when the instructor demonstrates them against long-time students.
  • You never train using low kicks or leg sweeps.
  • You never spar using punches to the face, which is the way most attacks start.
  • The class seems more like a gymnastics class than a martial arts class.
  • Students practice backflips.
  • Children’s classes are more like game playing than training in the martial arts.
  • The school does not compete against other schools or organizations of the same style.
  • Patterns are performed to music and some are ones that you create yourself.
  • Techniques don’t have names; they have numbers or descriptive terms like “dragon snaps tail.”
  • Students are not taught the history of the martial art and do not know any of its history.
  • Students are rarely taught concepts, strategy, or theory.
  • Students are not taught the legal ramifications of using a martial art.
  • The instructor cannot explain the purpose of any technique.
  • The instructor is unable to perform properly the techniques he or she teaches.
  • The instructor teaches crescent kicks as disarming techniques for handguns and knives.
  • Students are not taught the violent part of the martial arts; the part where you must be violent to survive and where you will probably be injured no matter how well you defend yourself.
  • The instructor teaches using a forearm block against a ball bat.
  • The instructor teaches there are “hidden” techniques in patterns.
  • When you practice 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 different finishing techniques.
  • The instructor knows the ‘no-touch’ knockout.
  • Your ability to recall the name of techniques is tested more often than your actual skill in performing the techniques.
  • If you do something incorrectly, it’s quickly (and often loudly) pointed out by your instructor, but when you do something correctly, the instructor says nothing.


  • Visiting other martial art schools is discouraged or forbidden.
  • Other martial art schools and styles are talked down.
  • Using techniques you learned somewhere else is frowned upon.
  • Questioning the organization, style, school, instructor, procedures, or effectiveness of techniques is forbidden.
  • Color belt students are recruited to become instructors early on, and put in "accelerated learning programs."
  • Students scream more than they bow.

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