S2E2 – How to Spot and Avoid McDojos

David and Justin discuss what constitutes a McDojo, how to spot them, and how to avoid them.


Episode Transcript

David: [00:00:09]  This is the Drunken Fist Podcast with your hosts, I’m David Bordeaux.

Justin: [00:00:21] I’m Justin Plavic.

David: [00:00:22] This podcast is made possible by the fans of the show. For more information, please visit DrunkenFistPodcast.com/fans. How did we decide to come up with the topic of McDojos for today?

Justin: [00:00:38] Well lately. I mean, we try to be pretty informative at the best of our ability. And I feel like, you know, when I was shopping for other martial arts to do around the town, it seems like it’s popping up more often than it should be. Before we get there though,  what are you drinking?

David: [00:00:53] I am drinking a Founder’s Dirty Bastard, scotch style ale. when I lived in Toledo, the Toledo area, Northwest Ohio, especially like when I was in bowling green, but all over Northwest Ohio. I most of the, the breweries that I used to drink from were Michigan breweries. Shorts, Bells. and I really miss drinking the good old fashion, Michigan breweries, and Founder’s happens to be one of them. They’re from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and they just have some really amazing brews. When I went to the store to pick up some, well, okay. I don’t know why I say I went to the store because I did not go to the store. I went to Amazon fresh and said, deliver me some alcohol. Anyhow. When I saw that they had, founders on there and that it was dirty bastard. I’m like, Oh yeah, let’s, let’s do this. It’s it’s a strong, it’s a strong beer. I don’t, I’m not even sure what a scotch style ale is. I mean, I’ve had this before, but I don’t know that I’ve ever had any other scotch styles, nor am I aware of any other scotch styles doesn’t mean that there aren’t any, but,

Justin: [00:02:12] Is it kind of like a Killians?

David: [00:02:13] It’s … err, no. This is good. This,  hold on, let me take a sip while I’m taking the sip, because you know, I’m going to let you know what it tastes like and whatever, what is it that you’re drinking today?

Justin: [00:02:26] I w I shot for the stars today. I want a little bit different. there was one time on the show I was drinking wine and I’m like, yeah, I’m probably not going to do that again. But I do have a bottle of saki next to me.

David: [00:02:38] Really?

Justin: [00:02:39] Yup. I just got the, a very cheap Gekkeikan even says it’s the finest sake, 15% alcohol in a 25 ounce bottle.

David: [00:02:50] Nice

Justin: [00:02:51] And it’s actually one of my favorites. I don’t mind it for how cheap it is. It’s only like seven or $8 for a bottle.

David: [00:02:58] Jesus.  That … that’s pretty cheap.

Justin: [00:03:01] Yeah, I didn’t warm it up or anything. I’m just drinking at room temperature,

David: [00:03:05] Well, not all saki is meant to be warmed up.

Justin: [00:03:08] Right. This one’s actually a little bit better cold, but I didn’t feel like putting it in the fridge and habit to take up a room, but even got my nice little Saki glass today, you know, little tiny carafe, then I’m probably just going to skip all these and start drinking on the bottle eventually.

David: [00:03:22] Right on. Alright, so I am, or as you were talking I’m I pulled up Untappd for the listeners, for the listeners who may not know, Justin and I are on, Untappd with the old name of DrunkenFistPod.  Anywhere we are, you can find us by searching DrunkenFistPod. Justin, how do you spell pod?

Justin: [00:03:46] that’s P O D

David: [00:03:48] I was pulling that up and putting I’m checking in for this Founder’s Dirty Bastard on Untappd and that stuff, this dirty bastard, great fucking name. It’s malty, like very malty, and with the malty flavor, you get sweetness with it, which is something I really like. it is a, a higher percentage alcohol. Yeah, there it is. 8.5. So, I mean, Nowadays is kind of considered middle of the road for some, but yeah, it’s I love the, the malty flavor. And even on the back, it says that it has a complex finish. I don’t know that if it’s really, I don’t know for me, I don’t know that I would consider a complex finish, but it kinda reminds me somewhat of, a peated, whiskey. I would almost kind of say it has like a Carmel. Well caramel flavor. but it’s definitely a strong ale. One that I definitely recommend,

Justin: [00:04:56] When they do that. Pete smoking with whiskeys and stuff. That’s really good. Those are probably one of my favorites. The saki,  it’s got that very strong gasoline after taste. it’s good though. I like it. I just drank straight gasoline when I run out of booze. So it’s fine.

David: [00:05:12] Kerosene is my preference, but, you know. It was interesting when  in the one episode that you drank wine and I was just appalled at your wine tasting abilities and drinking

Justin: [00:05:23] it was amazing. That’s what it was. I’m a wine connoisseur.

David: [00:05:30] Yeah. Yeah. and, and, and maybe I felt a little intimidated, and that’s why I even said that maybe, you know, I’m going to have to drink wine on one of these, and I have a whole shit ton of wine, but I have yet to pull one out. maybe in the next couple episodes, I’ll pull one out and do my best to hide my insecurity as of how awesome you are at drinking. And, expressing the taste of wine, but that, that might be coming up sometime soon.

Justin: [00:05:57] My wife won’t stop buying those shipments. So she gets like, Six to 10 bottles a month and she’s barely cracked into him. I’m like, come on, start drinking. If you’re gonna keep buying’em.

David: [00:06:07] Some of the listeners may have seen on our Instagram page that I found out about a brand called empathy wines, and they are a small, some small farmers, who. Make blends. They do reds whites and rosés, but   I’ve, I’ve drank, I’ve drunk. I have drunk, I’ve consumed wine. that tastes like this, like at a 40 to maybe 50, 50 is a little bit high, but like a 40, $45 a bottle of wine. And. I have a membership now, where in the spring they send three bottles of Rose, the Rose, a blend in the summer of three bottles of white, which I just opened one last night to eat with Chinese food. Cause apparently because I like Kung Pao chicken, I don’t know why. Well, I, I love just saying it, like when I order on my Kung Pao and I apologize to anyone who might be offended.  I was like, shit, I got a lot of wine. What should I drink? And I, I went online on my, Hey, what goes good with Kung Pao chicken? And I’m just like laughing to myself. Like I won’t find anything. And there were actually several recommendations for different wines. Some I’ve never heard of. I mean, like they were very specific to, A vintage, a particular blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But then I found some general recommendations for Chardonnay and I had just finished my bottle of Chardonnay the other night. I’m like, damn it. And the only wines that I have left are, from Marlow, red blend, Zinfandel. whatever. but I didn’t have any whites, but then I remembered I’m like, fuck, I just got that shipment of empathy. Now. It’s not a Chardonnay. The Chardonnay that I had the night before definitely has some, oakiness to it. It wasn’t dry, but it was like drier than the, empathy. But anyway, but when I had the empathy white with. The Kung Pao chicken. Like, it was really good.

Justin: [00:08:09] Yeah. She keeps getting these hundred dollar or ID two. I keep, we keep getting these like hundred dollar vouchers to places like this, where you order them online. And then you just pay for shipping and handling, which is usually like 40 bucks. But I mean, the wine you’re getting is still worth more than $40. So, but she does the same thing. Like, you know, you pick what. She’s not allowed to pick the exact kinds, but like she’s allowed to put like, you know, does she like reds or whites or rosés and stuff. And then it just send you a mix of whatever you chose.

David: [00:08:37] Yeah.  for now I’m drinking those dirty bastard and it is delicious.  let’s get back into a little bit of album. I’ll put anybody out, but let’s get back into the McDojos.

Justin: [00:08:46] McDojos

David: [00:08:48] so what did

Justin: [00:08:50] what.

David: [00:08:52] I promise it’s not the beer yet. I just opened it. what is it that we’re going to be doing with the topic of McDojos?

Justin: [00:09:00] We’re gonna start with how to spot them so that you can have a better idea on how to, you know, make your decision based on where you want to go.

David: [00:09:09] Well, in order to spot them, one might have to know what a make dojo is.

Justin: [00:09:17] Yeah. There you

David: [00:09:18] it probably would be beneficial to detail for those who might not know. I’m pretty comfortable in saying that I’m sure that many of our listeners know exactly what a Mcdojo is, but at the same time, I know that there’s might be a few out there. Who’ve never heard of it, especially some who are from different parts of the world.

Justin: [00:09:40] Yup. That’s my fault. I assumed too much. I felt like, sorry. Well, McDojo that is, comes, the mic comes from McDonald’s how there’s just a billion of them out there, all over the country. And you know, it’s relatively cheap to go out, to eat at McDonald’s it’s a diamond doesn’t, the McDojo refers to that. It is a place that is technically fake and, but they’re trying to sell it off as, as, as a real martial arts place. and there’s a lot of factors that can go into a McDojo,

David: [00:10:09] I’m going to interject here.

Justin: [00:10:11] Please do.

David: [00:10:11]  I’ve often heard. McDojo is referred to as fake martial arts schools. I have a problem with that understanding, and I think like the best way to explain my point, but even in my idea, to get an idea as to what a McDojo is, is to look at, you know, like the part that you say with a mic coming from McDonald’s now. If we’re looking at fake, what about McDonald’s either the company or what they sell? Would you consider fake?

Justin: [00:10:47] Right. And you know, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a fake martial art too. I think McDojo really refers to the fact that the person is really just trying to do everything they can to just pull as much money as possible. So if you think about McDonald’s, they’re all over the world and they make millions of dollars a day. So it’s, it’s. It goes back to that kind of concept. Like what can I do to just pull in as much money as possible while kind of like leaving the authenticity of the art kind of behind.

David: [00:11:18] Okay.

Justin: [00:11:19] So I think that’s more what I wanted to steer with and I just came off wrong.

David: [00:11:23] right on. I have to agree with the money idea, because if we look at the corporation, And the McDonald’s corporation. It’s not even a restaurant corporation. It is a real estate corporation. It’s a real estate business because McDonald’s corporate owns the land that all of the franchises are built upon. And it creates like this. what is it indentured servitude to McDonald’s like, if you own a franchise, you cannot build one anywhere. You have to build one on McDonald’s property. so, so you have that, but like the reason why it’s there, I mean, why, why that aspect of it is important is because of the idea that the McDonald’s corporation is trying to get as much money from what they do as possible. like kind of going back to, to the business side, or, I mean, to the restaurant side, at least. When it comes to the actual martial art. We have to, I would say we have to kind of look at a hamburger as being the equivalent of a martial art with regards to McDonald’s. Now, when you go to McDonald’s, there are certain, like when you, and you order a hamburger, you know, you’re getting a hamburger because there are certain aspects to a hamburger that make a hamburger. One, there’s some sort of Patty, usually of a beef origin, although I’ve seen hamburgers. Or burgers, if you will, you know, call like chicken burgers, and then you have like the veggie burgers and stuff. but I’m going to, when I talk about burger, I’m gonna refer to it as maybe a beef-based Patty. So with a hamburger you usually have. a bun, you have a beef Patty and you may or may not have condiments. usually, condiments are sold with it and, and, and that essentially is a burger. Now you go to McDonald’s and if you order just a hamburger, you get a bond, you get a beef patty, it’s somewhat seasoned, heavily seasoned with salt, actually. and you get diced onions. You get pickles and you get catch-up technically hamburger. Now, is it the best hamburger you’ve ever had? Is it a healthy hamburger? Is it this burger? That bird, the answer most typically is no, it is a McDonald’s hamburger, still very much a hamburger at the same time. It may not meet the merits of other hamburgers.

Justin: [00:14:11] just trying to appeal to the common. Average of a burger.

David: [00:14:16] I mean, it’s one of the most inexpensive burgers you can find. I can, I can just go right down the road, pick up a burger and boom, I’m done. I, you know, I can get two of them for two bucks. I can get a, a McDouble, which is a special, fancy one with two patties, but only one slice of cheese. Pickles, ketchup onions for $2. The point being is that I can just go anywhere, get one. It’s a hamburger now. Is it a gourmet burger? Fuck. No, I, when I make my burgers, I like to, To grind my own meat, three different types. Sometimes I will, make my own bones, but that’s really kind of depends on time and definitely put in some tomato. I usually do like a, a special sauce that I mix in. cause catch-up Manny is Bob, blah, blah, blah. But when I make that. The taste is way better than McDonald’s, but they are still both burgers. They are slightly different. Now it costs timewise a bit more time to make mine. ingredient-wise a little bit more because I like to mix in, I like to grind my own meat and the three different types of meat or cuts of me, that go into it. My burger might cost more, both in money and time, however, and tastes it it’ll definitely taste different, but they’re both burgers. Another thing like with McDonald’s is, I don’t think that McDonald’s is a place that cares about people. I don’t think that they care about whether people like the food or not. Like, I think that they, it seems that they care just like enough. That people like their food just enough to go and get it. If people can’t afford something better, they almost always do for those who do they’ll default to McDonald’s because they can afford it. It’s cheap, it’s quick. And they go there. But I really don’t consider. McDonald’s a place that cares about people. Like, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone into McDonald’s and the restaurants are just filthy, including I live near Dublin, Ohio, which is kind of a well to do suburb. and I’ve gotten into McDonald’s in Dublin and they’re filthy. They’re filthy. And that seems to be kind of like, kind of like a common denominator in my experiences and McDonalds. I, it doesn’t seem that they care about their customers. The, the customer experience. Like they, they, they, they give you just enough to get your money and the hopes that you come back. I mean, and it’s not even like really like a hope. It’s kind of like that. Well, we know you can’t afford anything else. And if you want a burger, you’re probably coming to us. So you go there. now there is like this guise of care, and I know that we’ll probably get a lot of argument on this because the, McDonald’s corporation, they have Ronald McDonald House, which that particular. Branch or wing or association of McDonald’s is a really good, a good organization that does a lot of help and has helped lots of families in need. you know, especially, I mean, for, for those who are going through really tough times with medical treatments and that Ronald McDonald house is a really great thing. And, and I’m, and I’m seeing this with great, like with the most sincerity that I, I truly think that the Ronald McDonald house is great and I know that it’s related to McDonald’s, but I do not. I do not see those two things as being the same. I see it as like, McDonald’s way of like, Oh, but we do care. We do well, but I don’t see it in their food. I don’t see it in their restaurants.

Justin: [00:18:13] I used to work at one. And like, if I feel like anyone who has worked at a McDonald’s probably doesn’t really eat there. I have, I have seen some stuff. I’m not going to not going to get into that. Cause that’s not the episode, but. They don’t care and they definitely don’t care about their employees.

David: [00:18:33] That was something that I was going to say, but I can’t talk to that directly because I’ve never been employed by McDonald’s. I’ve worked at burger King and there’s some sort of relation, but every time that I’ve talked to a McDonald’s employee, it’s worse, it’s much worse. I mean, it’s just like damn. And what I find interesting is that McDonald’s seems to be very comfortable. When they can get away with it hiring like 16 to 17 year olds and putting them in positions of management. They’re not managers, they are not doing well, but in the, in the stores that they can get away with it, they will put, I mean, the people may be qualified or like they may have actual managerial ability. I, I I’ve seen it more often than not though that McDonald’s will put these. Very young individuals in a management position and have to deal with things way above anything that they’ve ever experienced. And a lot of times I’ve seen in well I’ve, I personally know people who have been burned by that. Now there are some who have learned and have grown, grown, and then gone on to be really good managers. But that, in my experience of talking to the people that I have, that doesn’t, that seems to me, you army exception than the rule. But it is, and it’s almost kind of cult like the way that, you know, it’s like, you must. Do what we say do with the way that we do it, come in, even though you’re not scheduled to, but you know, like you don’t even have to because you’re not scheduled, but we really need you to, and if you don’t come in and there’s going to be consequences for you, I can’t tell you the number of times, the people that I know who have been fired. For not coming in when they didn’t have to, but because someone called off and the managers would ask them to come in. And so there was always like that fear of, Oh gosh, if I don’t do it today, you know, if I don’t go in today, I might get fired. And then I know people who have gotten fired because every time they’d been called. I’m sorry, I can’t do it. And then it kinda like brings like this cult, like mentality where anything that McDonald’s says anything at any time, you really need to do it. You need to kind of like get in line with everything.

Justin: [00:20:54] well, and you know, I don’t know if this is, you know, I’ll just, I’ll just tell my story real quick that I don’t know if this is every McDonald’s, but when I was working there, I was only like 14, 15 years old. So I’m still a dumb kid. But I was amazing at grill. I worked the morning shift. I get there at four 30 in the morning and start everything up. And then I was there when we were still switching over to lunch, but they would make me do the dishes, which is fucking awful, man. That’s the worst thing I hate to end dishes to this day. And it’s because of that fucking job. And, but my other buddy they’d put him on grilling me on dishes, but I liked doing grill and I was really good at it. Like I was very efficient. And he liked doing the dishes. Cause he could just do the dishes and go home. Cause we had just like the way our shifts lined up. He always left first. it was kind of weird. I got there first, but he left first. I don’t know. I think he just had something to do where he agreed with McDonald’s where like that’s, that’s the end of my shift, but they’d always put me on the dishes until like one day we both flipped out and we didn’t say anything. We just switched spots cause he wanted to do the dishes and just go home. And I just want to do grill until my shift ends. Cause I worked in from breakfast into lunch, which is completely different way of cooking breakfast actually way harder. Cause you had to deal with a bunch of shit,

David: [00:22:10] Yes. Yes. obviously I’ve not worked. I obviously didn’t work at McDonald’s, but I worked at burger King and there are times where I went from breakfast all the way to dinner shift and lunch and dinners. It’s the same menu is just. Different speed in what you have to, to kind of go, you know, but yeah, G breakfast, but breakfast was definitely as an and that change over. Cause it changed over right as lunch started. And man, yeah. So anyway, I apologize,

Justin: [00:22:40] no, no, no worries. Yeah. The changeover was always rough. even to this day, I think I’d still get agitated if I had to do that. But you know, we, we just switched spots one day without even saying anything. Cause they’re like, all right, Justin, go do dishes. All right. So and so go do grill. And we’re like, we just looked at each other and we just walked the opposite directions. And, you know, the manager came over and flipped out on us. It’s like, why are you trying to put us in positions where we’re most efficient this way you recognize I’m good at this. He’s good at that, but yet you still want to fuck around. But anyway, I definitely got fired from there for a good reason. Not from not coming to a shift. I wasn’t supposed to be at. I said, yeah, I’ll just say it. Cause that’s just kind of funny number I’m only 15 years old or 14. But, somebody ordered a fish filet and they were somebody called out the order for whatever reason. Cause I can see it on the screen, but I’m like, okay, one Nick, penis filet coming up they sat me down in the dining room to like, Justin, this is a family restaurant. I’m like, really? I can’t tell.

David: [00:23:43] right,

Justin: [00:23:44] And they’re like, all right, well you’re suspended. So go to your suspension. We’ll talk later about your job. And I’m like, Oh no, I’m not coming back. And I just walk out.

David: [00:23:54] Right. So clearly McDonald’s has some issues. So with that, back with that framing of how McDonald’s at least through our experiences is, or was what, in what ways does it make dojo reflect McDonalds in your opinion?

Justin: [00:24:18] just exactly like we were saying before, they don’t really care about, so here’s the thing, here’s kind of how I see it. I don’t think McDonald’s really cares about the customer, but more as the facade of like, what could a customer want? What can we appeal to? That’s why they come out with a different burger every fucking month. And then you have the mic dojo is. I don’t care about you, but I’m going to give you what I think you want. And you want this mystical mountain top, you know, that I’ve never been to. And you want this lineage that

David: [00:24:53] But I have been there.

Justin: [00:24:54] I have been there. I’ve been to mountain

David: [00:24:58] but don’t ask me too much about it.

Justin: [00:25:00] Right? Exactly. And

David: [00:25:01] don’t, you dare look into my history because well, bad things will happen. Come into your shift next Tuesday.

Justin: [00:25:10] And that that’s exactly what it is. It is. They just, it’s a, it’s a marketing scheme almost, you know, it’s whatever they can do to stay afloat. And unfortunately we live in a world where anyone can open a martial arts dojo. You don’t have to have any credentials.

David: [00:25:23] We’ll see, and that’s why I wanted to clarify, or at least to define the way that we understand what a McDojo is, because I know people who are working hard to keep their business. I mean, and, and not even talking about, COVID-19, which is what we’re currently experiencing right now is as we record this, not even talking about that, but there are times where there are martial arts instructors. Who are not business people. They love martial arts. They want to teach and they own, they ha they have a school. They, which technically is a business, but they don’t have any business background. And because of that, their, their schools sometimes suffer. I mean, there are some who, who learn and along the way, and they get good at it. And there’s others who still just struggle. And unfortunately, those good instructors with a good intention who care about their students and. Obviously care about keeping the business open, they will sometimes do the same thing, same sort of thing that you were kind of like alluding to where they will. Oh, Krav Maga sounds really important. And like, they’ve heard about the seminar and the seminar talks up huge about crowd Magog Hey, sign up here and you can, you can license Krav Maga and teach it at your school. And you know, and there’s no deaths on Krav Maga. The what the, what the challenge comes in is this good intentioned business owner now starts to add this program. And then they, Oh, well, maybe that’s not working. And sometimes again, because they’re not good business people, they. To quickly try to add something else because you know, like that Krav Maga offering doesn’t bring stuff in almost immediately. but th th see, the difference though, is that, MC dojo will often offer so many different things. And it’s not because they’re trying to keep a float. And I mean, in some cases, it is because they’re, I’ve, I’ve met far too many. McDojo owners who just, they have no business being in business. Not because I think because they run a muck dojo is they, they just don’t Jesus Christ, but they, they too will just throw anything. Here’s Oh, Krav Maga here, mixed martial arts today. We’re teaching par core. we have some in Olympic, flipping going on and it’s like, you know, cool. I appreciate it. If you’re trying to keep your business open and you’re trying to serve what your customer wants, but you may not be going in the right direction, but there are like legit McDojos. Who are not in financial trouble who offer this because quantity for them is King. They don’t care about quality. If they can get someone through the door to pay, that is what they care about. And unfortunately, there are some, there are these lines that it’s hard to tell. Cause like I said, I know people. Dear friends of mine. So I won’t call them out, but they just keep adding program after program, after program, after program, hoping that that is what will keep their business of flow. And. In reality, it’s the idea that you really just need to learn a business or get somebody to come in, who can do business for you.

So, I mean, there are these, these, these hard areas is to kind of like when I was trying to talk about defining a burger, you know, I can make my homemade burger that tastes different than McDonald’s burger. It’s still a burger, but it’s like, Why would I make this burger different? Now, if I need to start pumping stuff out, because like I need to now live off of burgers. I too might not grind three different types of me. I might just put one type in I’m. I might get the most inexpensive fun. I can hopefully as much quality as possible, but then my burger starts to look like a McDonald’s burger. No, it’s still my taste different and hopefully mine would still be better. But when I start to change things like that, then I start to kind of look like a McDonald’s same sort of thing with McDojos it’s sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. So with that in mind, what are some other ways that you are, what are some ways that you think are kind of like, here’s an easy way to tell what a McDojo is.

Justin: [00:29:48] I’ve I’ve had, I have tons of things that I’ve seen throughout here. Cause I’ve, I’ve been trying really hard to find a place to kind of just start over.  in Japanese jujitsu is fucking awesome, but I’m like, you know, I should just start over. Cause I can’t practice that same art anymore. When looking around, I see a lot of places now. Like, McDonald’s kind of catered to the masses. So everybody, and this is one of my pet peeves. Oh my God. I’m sorry. You can’t see me, but my face is down. everybody calls martial arts karate nowadays. So if you’re at TaeKwonDo plays, some even I’ve seen even Brazilian jujitsu places do this, they call it on the front of their building karate. It’s so annoying. It is not, it does not mean martial arts people and it’s so that, that’s just one of the ones for me. And then the second biggest one, there’s, there’s tons of these. So we’ll, we’ll have plenty of room to talk about it, but longterm contracts, if you want to sign up here, you got to sign a contract and you gotta be here for a year. That’s a bad, no, no sign. I have never been into a dojo gym establishment that makes you have a longterm contract. That’s usually month a month, which you don’t have to sign anything. I’ll have you.

David: [00:31:02] I have, and again, this comes back down to one of these gray areas. There’s people who do not know business, like they don’t know it intuitively they are not business people. And they, there are some who, who sign up with, billing, programs or billing, companies that tell. The martial artists that are martial arts instructors. Hey, there’s a way to make money the way to go. Are longterm contracts, the way to go, blah, blah, blah. And some of these billing companies are billing companies that also work with places like gyms, where, like fitness facilities, where longterm contracts is how a fitness facility make their money, because there are people who let’s say sign up at the beginning of the year. They have huge intentions. Maybe about like a month and a half later, maybe even three months later, then for whatever reason they stopped going. Well, it would be too easy to say. I would like to cancel my membership and then bounce. So in order to keep gyms afloat, They have these longterm contracts, which keep people locked in and there are well intentioned martial arts, martial artists who own businesses who hear these things because they’re being told that by people that they’re paying good money to, and they get into that now

Justin: [00:32:32] with it. Now. I also have to preference really quick, not one of these things, or even a handful could make your establishment and McDojo. But if you have quite the list, Remember, we’re just trying to see how to spot a possible McDojo. I think the naked eye can show people exactly like, okay, this isn’t the establishment for me, but just remember, we’re not saying that any one off this list makes you a McDojo. We’re just, we’re going through the kind of list on how to spot it. And if you see multiple, you just, some red flags might need to go up in your head about it as well.

David: [00:33:07] All right. So what’s the, so what’s another one beyond the, the contract

Justin: [00:33:11] Beyond the contracts and the karate sign, which is my favorite.

David: [00:33:15] karate dude. I have a, I have a friend who. He runs a Tung Soo Do school. And this friend continually refers to it as karate or karate. I’m working to say karate now because when our episodes are transcribed, the transcription service just does all kinds of crazy stuff. But anyway, my friend who does Tung Soo Do. we’ll even post things on the internet or like on Facebook and that it’s like, blah, blah, blah, blah. That’s what karate life is like. And there’s just, Oh my God, stop, stop there. Let’s keep going. This is, going to be a  long episode  if I don’t stop, so please keep going.

Justin: [00:34:03] no, that’s okay. Oh, this is my favorite one. Hiding your lineage.

David: [00:34:08] Okay.

Justin: [00:34:09] So not actually, you know, you say you’re a black belt, but kind of where’s, where’s the proof kind of thing. And when you bring it up, they get really defensive

David: [00:34:18] Gotcha.

Justin: [00:34:18] or you have this, I’ve been on a mystical mountain, top training with monks for years kind of

David: [00:34:23] Right,

Justin: [00:34:24] And it doesn’t mean it’s not true. Like I said, one of these doesn’t make you a mic dojo, but I’ve seen more often than not. I’ve. man, I can’t remember who they were and I wouldn’t say their name anyway, but searching online. It literally said that it said like I was on a mountain top trained with so and so, and blah, blah, blah. And I’m like, I’ve never even heard of this place or person. So,

David: [00:34:47] Right.

Justin: [00:34:48] and you were there for 20 years. Okay.

David: [00:34:52] All right. Yeah. As he, and it’s kind of interesting because. people who ran schools back in the day, it was a lot harder to verify particular information. But now in the age, in which we live information is at our fingertips, we can totally do it. And if we can’t particularly find it, there are people on the internet who can find it for us. If we have suspicion. All right, what’s another woman.

Justin: [00:35:22] ah, well, those ones are my favorite. So we’ll get into the other ones that are a little bit more, It doesn’t exactly make you a mic dojo, but like combinations of these can get dangerous for the person trying to purchase your, your brand or, well, I’m gonna call it a brand. Cause that’s what they’re doing. They’re

David: [00:35:38] Well, I mean, any business should be branded, but anyway, go ahead.

Justin: [00:35:43] another one is you have way too many belt colors to get through.

David: [00:35:50] Yes.

Justin: [00:35:50] you have whites, whites with black Stripe white, with two black stripes, white with four black stripes. Oh. Then we can go to yellow with black shirt. So you just, you keep chunking out these hundreds of belt colors. that one’s a big one for me. I haven’t seen too much of that, honestly.

David: [00:36:07] Oh my gosh. I have, I have, and that, and that’s, that’s a huge peeve of pet peeve of mine because. I’ve and I, and I know someone too, who happens to be in, in, in one of these schools and I feel so bad for her and, but she loves it and just like, it’s her life and everything. So I don’t have, I mean, like there is no point for me to even point out the areas that like, Oh, don’t think you’re in the best school, but, but anyway, yes, where. Like, like what you said, Justin, there’ll be a white belt. and then like a white Stripe and then maybe, excuse me, a white belt with a black Stripe, then a double black Stripe. And they may be as white, half white, half yellow. Then there’s a yellow belt. Then there’s a, a yellow, white Stripe, a yellow double white Stripe, a

Justin: [00:37:01] an orange,

David: [00:37:02] Stripe.

Not even, not even dude, not even.

Justin: [00:37:05] not even getting there yet.

David: [00:37:06] then there’s a black Stripe, then there’s a double black Stripe. Then there’s a half yellow half, whatever the next color is. And he just goes on and on. And the question is why now some will argue that we do this to promote.

Justin: [00:37:23] some like the small steps to get to your final destination. So like, they’d like to see the small promotions

David: [00:37:30] The, the progression. Yeah.

Justin: [00:37:32] the other side is.

David: [00:37:34] Well, the other side is, is exactly this where this is going to add into it, but it’s like the longer you are in a certain rank. Okay. But supposedly making progress by getting these stripes. But the longer that you’re in this belt, the longer year in my school and the longer you’re in my school, you are. And the schools that really get on my fucking nerve. In addition to the MC dojo specifically, the McDojos that have them. Zillion different belts. So that way people always have to stay in the school just to pay are the schools that also charge a hundred plus dollars per belt testing. And they test going from white to black Stripe to double black Stripe, to half white, half yellow, and every single time along that you have to pay. For this testing, that absolutely burns me the fuck up. And for me, even if somehow, somehow a school that legitimately and I’m doing air quotes right now, legitimately does that. If that is not a motherfucking mic dojo. Jesus Christ dude. And I apologize for those who I just offended with by saying Jesus Christ. I’m I’m I’m getting well. I’m I care about our

Justin: [00:39:02] I know I care too, but we’re, we’re in a heated conversation. So it’s the battle of passion right now. My

David: [00:39:07] Oh my God.

Justin: [00:39:08] Oh man. My wife works with somebody and she has her kids. And this comes, this is going to come to my next one for a McDojo. Oh dude. Yeah. Keep drinking. You guys can’t see it, but his beer is almost gone. He’s gonna have to open another one.

David: [00:39:21] no, we’re,

Justin: [00:39:22] want to see my bottle of Saki here?

David: [00:39:24] do, we’re going to have to wrap it up here pretty quickly.

Justin: [00:39:26] You see.

David: [00:39:28] I see. But our listeners can’t so that doesn’t help.

Justin: [00:39:31] A 24 ounce bottle people is almost gone. That’s my bed. Oh, alcoholism. All right. Anyway, but my, this is going to lead perfectly into my next example, but my, my wife works with another coworker and she puts her kids in TaeKwonDo.

David: [00:39:48] Okay.

Justin: [00:39:49] when they could easily just train him with me for pennies or honestly, probably nothing. But that’s okay. That’s besides the point, it’s not about me,

David: [00:39:59] Okay.

Justin: [00:40:00] but they are required to do belt testings, even if they’re not ready, besides that they are required, required to go to seminars that are hundreds of dollars to go to.

David: [00:40:15] Goddamn ripe.

Justin: [00:40:17] purchasing the belt at a constant thing and purchase purchasing these seminars. That is a huge sign. That’s a no node like that. That’s so much money out of your pocket just to get a black belt. So it’s like a, I’m not

David: [00:40:31] Well, it we’ll see. I mean, like, even that verbiage kind of frustrates me, but I, I know, I know what you mean. I mean, it’s like, it’s not, and, and that’s, the problem is like when we get into this, this cycle of things, it then is the, to get a black belt, like a legit thing to hold because I’ve spent thousands upon thousands of dollars to get here and you know what fucking happens. People almost always. Fucking leave those schools. As soon as they get a black belt, we already have a problem in the martial arts community with helping to educate people that a black belt does not mean the end of the journey. Now, in some styles, it means you have reached like the top at the same time. Even in those styles, you can still keep going, but the problem comes in. Is that not only do we have to educate people, to let them, to help them understand that the black belt is not the end of the journey. Now, if you wish to stop your journey there, Hey, that’s on you please, you know, do what feels best for you. But. W H what happens is that when people have been exhausted paying thousands upon thousands of dollars for, just for tests for each belt for however many months, years, that they’ve been in there, they’re done. They’re cashing the fuck out. And that’s why these McDojos add more belts. Cause they know as soon as they get to the black belt, these people are gone. Well, no matter how good of a business person you are, you’re going to have people that will still stop regardless when they get to black belt, there’s nothing you can do about

Justin: [00:42:12] to be a consideration, you know, keep a

David: [00:42:15] You don’t that shit’s not, I mean, they’re, they’re just going to leave, but there’s people who would stay longer, who to continue their journey in martial arts, but it is up to the instructor. It’s up to the entire facility to help the person understand the value that they get. And if they have the means to, and the want to. You know, they can see the value in going then they’ll keep going, but a fucking make dojo offers no goddamn value. It’s just like, you know, going back to McDonald’s. If McDonald’s stopped offering inexpensive shit burgers. You know, like, let’s say they charge $3 for a shit burger. The people are not going to buy those shit burgers. They’re going to go to another fast food place that has a burger that’s more tasty and might even be more appropriate for the person’s interests because $3 at that point. So they drop the price. So that way it’s like, dude, you can’t find a cheaper place anywhere else. And a lot of times he’s damned mugged Jojo. Sometimes we’ll even get you with these cheap prices like this cheap month, a month, but then again, the bell testings, a hundred fucking dollars

Justin: [00:43:25] or more.

David: [00:43:27] and then  these mandatory, workshops or seminars that are not. Specific to the curriculum. Cause if it’s specific to the curriculum, it should be in your classes at your fucking paying for and dammit. I didn’t realize I was going to get so fucking worked up about this shit. So I apologize,

Justin: [00:43:45] don’t

David: [00:43:46] but this shit pisses me the fuck off. God damn

Justin: [00:43:49] I’m, I’m kind of jealous cause I was an a doesn’t make my art, not anything. So, but I’m just saying I’m jealous. Cause I’ve tried at Aikido, my jujutsu I’ll just stick with my jujutsu. That was, you were either white or black and you still had the ranks of, you know, going up, but you’re just different levels of white. So you get to that black

David: [00:44:12] It just wasn’t designated by the bell color or the belt. Yeah.

Justin: [00:44:16] How you knew someone’s rank you practice with them. It is, it’s kind of like Kendo, Kendo has ranks, but they don’t have belt color. They don’t even wear a belt. I’ve always wanted to try Kendo. I just couldn’t afford it.

David: [00:44:29] Speaking of money.

Justin: [00:44:32] but that’s kind of the same idea. And then you have these people that are just. They give into it. They want that black belt. So they’re going to pay for it. There are some places that I’ve heard of that have accelerated programs where you can get your black belt in three months. I have another person telling me. I won’t say her name, but I will say the organization because I didn’t say it. So I’m not calling them out. She is. but she was,

David: [00:44:57] you’re okay. There’s no verification of that. This person exists other than you said that, blah, blah, blah. So you are calling them out. You are calling them out.

Justin: [00:45:08] Fine. I won’t, I won’t say the organization’s name, but let’s say a circuit, a certain American TaeKwonDo

David: [00:45:18] Oh organization or association?

Justin: [00:45:21] place. we’ll do that. I’ve already said most of it. Yeah. Sorry. David’s giving me faces right now. but a certain American TaeKwonDo association, I don’t know if I’m using the terms correctly. Let’s just say organization.

David: [00:45:37] Okay.

Justin: [00:45:38] even she called it a black belt factory where she sees people taking their black belt test, not even doing their required stuff, which is just fucking breaking boards. Most of the time get their black belt.

David: [00:45:51] Yeah, yeah. yeah, yeah.

Justin: [00:45:52] We’re going to talk about board breaking in a second.

David: [00:45:54] Well, board breaking is one thing. Well, I mean, it is what it is, but, yeah, that, that organization sounds very familiar. Very similar to the one that I was just talking about, how the, the lady that I know who. Dearly loves her school and has put years upon years of vested interest in it, you know, and time and effort. And she loves the school and I’m in no position for her, you know, like, Oh, well, you know, but I remember blah, blah, because for her, she gets out of it, what she needs and what she

Justin: [00:46:32] really your place to tell her what it is. And it’s the same thing. When my wife’s coworker, she it’s in a very similar TaeKwonDo organization and it’s very expensive.

David: [00:46:43] Yeah,

Justin: [00:46:43] It’s a shame.

David: [00:46:45] well, like going kind of, kind of like piggybacking on the fast track thing, which the know McDojos will have fast track programs where you can get your black belt in a year. I’ve never heard three months, but I, I can imagine, you know, get it in a year, get it in two years. So, but like the opposite of the bazillion half belts, part belts and all of this is the. You earn your black belt in one to two years, even if they don’t even call it a fast track. one, one year.

Justin: [00:47:16] That’s still a fast track. In my opinion, a black belt should not take one to two years for. Many arts,

David: [00:47:24] Well, is he well, well getting into, I mean, like getting into how long it takes to do a black belt is kind of a challenge that we have right now with not. Identifying a particular art. For example, if we’re looking at Brazilian juijitsu, a, a very common timeframe to earn your black belt is 10 years in, in a, I almost said karate

Justin: [00:47:53] And I believe that

David: [00:47:53] karate.

Justin: [00:47:54] I think a black belt in Brazilian juijitsu is 10 year longer.

David: [00:47:57] Yeah. I mean, well, there are some.

Justin: [00:48:01] much of some of the attitudes that come from the people that do BJJ, but I mean, it’s, it’s a hard art.

David: [00:48:09] Well, I mean, like almost any art is hard that the challenge when it comes to Brazilian juijitsu is the way that you earn your rank. And this isn’t a show to talk about it. Okay. But th th th so getting back to it though, I mean, like, I’ve known some people who who’ve earned their black belt in Brazilian juijitsu in six years now in Brazilian juijitsu, six years, it’s kinda like, wow, that’s quick because if 10 is the, the kind of common target, then six years will be very quick. Now in karate,  about four years is pretty common . Whereas, you know, going up to six years definitely is a thing it’s not as common, but it’s definitely a thing. And then maybe getting it in three years and you know, it’s like,

Justin: [00:49:00] Chuck Norris got an a one year in Japan, so that’s pretty impressive.

David: [00:49:05] Okay. And Chuck Norris is qualified in how many arts.

Justin: [00:49:12] I have no idea. I can look it

David: [00:49:13] Okay. Well, let, let’s not ,  even the three year thing here.

Justin: [00:49:18] We’re going to look it up.

David: [00:49:19] in TaeKwonDo,  specifically in Kukikwan, I have known people who’ve earned their. Black belt in two years, I’ve actually associated with an individual who, who runs a school that is certified under Kukikwan, who pumps out black belts like it’s nobody’s business. he’s no longer in business. And, I think I might’ve even talked about him on one episode or not, but yeah, he’s no longer in business. But TaeKwonDo seems to be about a, in a non-McDojo school, about a three to four year, program. So, but yeah, so anyway, getting back to like, you. McDojos can either be identified by a bazillion different belts and it takes forever to earn your black belt, or you can earn it at about a year to two years. and yeah, I mean, especially if you do the fast track.

Justin: [00:50:24] Alright,

David: [00:50:25] got any more, man.

Justin: [00:50:27] I do, but we can always do a part two, cause I

David: [00:50:31] Let’s do a part two. Let’s do a part two, a couple of things that like, while these aren’t ways to identify McDojos, these are kind of things that I would say to look for in a school. I’ll get this one out of the way, because this is more of a personal preference. Is that look for a school that if you’re learning martial arts, look for a school that teaches reality based, self-defense or reality based techniques and applications. Now not every technique is going to be quote reality,  because some of the scenarios  were not created in our time and therefore those techniques and that may not be applicable now. However, it’s still part of the art,  I would encourage people to look for schools that teach techniques that would help with today’s situations of harm of attack and that, but that, again, that’s more just like of a personal thing. But a couple of things that I would say is look for a school that cares more about the knowledge over money. Yes. There are going to be businesses and yes, they still need to make money. They need to be able to have, have the four walls, the lights and everything. So you can go to that school to train. I’m not saying if they charge money, that they’re McDojo and, and there’s a lot of people who seem to think that, which fuck them, they’re wrong.

Justin: [00:51:59] again, not one of our things that were topics that we were talking about makes you a mic dojo. It’s it’s just enlightenment to you make your own decision on it.

David: [00:52:09] Yeah. Well, I, I was kind of going off on people who seem to think that martial arts should never be charged chore in that. And you know, that’s fine. At the same time, if you’re going to a martial arts school that has a physical location, they need to pay for that location, you know, to be able to keep it on. But anyway, look for knowledge over money. Look for the instructors who, who genuinely care about your development and the development of other students in that art, as opposed to looking after it. Because of money or for money. The other tip, kind of relates to this, but it’s looking for quality over quantity, kind of going back to the McDonald’s thing. McDonald’s want to get out as many shitty hamburgers as they can for as less as they

Justin: [00:52:56] but that’s hard to see for newcomers people who, who don’t know martial arts, they might not see quantity or quality. They just might see like, Hey, this is, he’s got what I’m looking for. I’m going to be a fucking secret Ninja.

David: [00:53:10] Well, again, secret Ninja, that should raise red flags, but if that’s what you’re looking for, and I’ll kind of get that to that at the end here. but look for quality over quantity and like, cause if you, if you join a school or if you know of a school and you see people who are just advancing a rake, they look like fish on a, on a ground and everybody kind of looks like that, but they seem to be advancing then. There’s something going on. That’s more of quantity over quality. Now you might have some floppy fish people who, who go up in rank. In those particular, but if everybody else, if they, if the majority isn’t like that, then that might be a fucking special case. And special cases should be accommodated for in some way. Now I’m not going to tell somebody how they, how they should rank people. I’m not going to say how other people should be ranked, but if everybody on the floor looks like a flopping fish, and everybody is able to be ranked up. You know, and they just keep carrying rank. That is a huge sign. So look for quality over quantity. another, and this, this one kind of comes back to McDonald’s in a way, but look for safety and cleanliness now safety there’s a lot of times in McDojos people will get hurt left, and right now I’ve broken fingers. and I’ve broken my pinky finger. In a safe environment, but my martial arts at the same time, martial arts is inherently dangerous.

Justin: [00:54:42] right. That’s why you sign a waiver. Most of the time to say you’re doing a dangerous art, but there are some people that don’t give the consideration to

David: [00:54:51] Or, or, well, the thing is like, they don’t give a consideration to safety because in their world it doesn’t exist or they don’t even have the cognitive foresight to think about such things. And now, again, if that is the only one that doesn’t necessarily make it a McDojo, but it makes an, an irresponsible school GTFO. Get the fuck out. But then it comes to the cleanliness thing. You know, like when you walk in, if it’s smells like a locker room, it just filled with sweat in that and the equipment is dirty and there’s just stuff stacked up in that get out. There’s no reason why you should ever have to be in an unclean environment. And especially now that we’re dealing with COVID  and everything. The sanitation  and cleanliness standards need to be a lot higher anyway, but look for safety and cleanliness, because that’s a key thing, but really

Justin: [00:55:43] up to the instructor too. So if the instructor doesn’t recognize that cleanliness that’s his or her fuck up, I

David: [00:55:50] Absolutely. Absolutely.

Justin: [00:55:53] high school age, who I was teaching in bowling green for quite a long time. And she walked in and she had, she didn’t tell me, you know, When you’re wearing a geek and stuff, it’s hard to tell, but then she was finally like, Oh, I have scabies. I’m like, get the fuck out right

David: [00:56:10] Whoa,

Justin: [00:56:11] get the fuck out of my dojo. I made everybody bleached the mats. I made everybody wash their hands and their wrists and their arms, whatever it was fucking touch. And I’m like, everybody would just go home. Like this is now a health hazard.

David: [00:56:23] Yeah.

Justin: [00:56:24] So, I mean, there are some things that you, you don’t have privy to. I guess it’s just. But like, as soon as I found out, I’m like, no, this is fucking shut down. Get outta here. And there was bad. So, you know, it’s up to

David: [00:56:38] the last thing, the last thing that I want to say though, is that even if you find yourself in a McDojo and as long as you’re safe, but specifically like, as if you’re safe, as long as you’re happy, Then keep going, or

Justin: [00:56:55] Right

David: [00:56:55] if you’ve, if you’ve not yet gone there, then go ahead and go. If it checks all the boxes for you, if you don’t mind spend, like, if it’s a school that has a bazillion different belts, you don’t mind spending the kind of money that it takes to earn those belts or buy them in some cases, then go if you know, If really your whole goal is to quote, get a black belt as soon as possible, and that serves your purpose, then do it. Now I have my opinions on that. I’m not going to share it at this time

Justin: [00:57:30] Right, right, right.

David: [00:57:31] That, ultimately as long as you’re safe, other people are safe

Justin: [00:57:35] Right

David: [00:57:36] and you’re happy. Fine. It doesn’t make It

Justin: [00:57:39] could lead to an accident.

David: [00:57:42] I mean, it could, it could,

Justin: [00:57:44] But I mean, even a safe martial art can, but I will say we gave too many negatives. The positive would be, I think McDonald’s are really good

David: [00:57:51] The positive of a McDojo?

Justin: [00:57:53] They’re really good for kids. Get them

David: [00:57:55] What the fuck is wrong with you?!

Justin: [00:57:57] Oh, this is not good for the parents. Cause they’re

David: [00:57:59] Get them interested because then if they know nothing else than they think that is the Marsh. Okay, Justin, we got to end this.

Justin: [00:58:07] but they’re kids.

David: [00:58:08] No fuck you, man. Fuck you. Kids deserve the right shit. They deserve better.

Justin: [00:58:12] No, they definitely do.

David: [00:58:13] Fuck you.

Justin: [00:58:14] But I, I have, I have seen

David: [00:58:15] Fuck!

Justin: [00:58:16] Some McDojos that actually get kids interested in martial arts and then they figure it out and move on. To better things, but that’s the only positive I can get out of it. I mean, in the beginning, it’s not too horrible.

David: [00:58:29] Fuck! Shut the fuck up. Justin no, we’re done. We’re done. That’s all. For this episode of the Drunken Fist Podcast show notes are available at DrunkenFistPodcast.com. Be sure to subscribe to the show at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and anywhere quality martial art podcasts are provided. This show is made possible by its fans. To learn more, please visit DrunkenFistPodcast.com/fans. And until we hit the mats again, thanks for drinking with us! Prost!

Justin: [00:58:58] Bye guys. Have a good day.

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