|Seiyo no Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai (photo by Ken Knight, Casper, Wyoming)|
Do you just give up? If you have the opportunity, it is best to try to talk your way out of these situations, but if you don't have such an opportunity, you'll be wishing you had listened to your friend and had signed up for that karate or self-defense class. We have a saying in the traditional martial arts - "sweating blood in the dojo is a lot easier than bleeding in the street".
So how do you defend against a McDojo? McDojos don't have golden arches displayed on their windows, but there are sites on the internet that provide you with general guidelines on what to look for. It is not easy for a beginner to determine what is real and what is a McDojo; but, just know, there are some really good instructors and schools in the Phoenix valley of Arizona in the mix with the many McDojos.
Some suggest McDojos began to arise in the 1970s. But from my experience, these didn't start to pop up until about the beginning of the 21st century. And now they are as common as used car lots with their salesmen. In the 1960s, it was easy to identify who were the martial arts used car salesmen because nearly all used the same line - "my hands are registered!" Registered for what? Picking your nose? But nowadays, most forgot this classic line, but today, McDojos use all kinds of other lines and contracts and promise you a black belt in a contract after so many months of training. One of our students who helps her husband run the Utah Shorin-Ryu Kai karate club told me that one of their young students asked if it was possible just to buy a black belt? She replied it was, but then he would have to fight Hanshi Watson, 9th dan. That's when it really sunk in.
Yes, anyone can dress the part of a black belt, but what good is it if the black belt comes only with argyle socks and with no, poor, or ineffective training? Sure, money will buy you many things, but it can't buy experience, happiness, or a way to heaven. These have to be earned.
In addition to the McDojo, a recent and alarming fad has been the development of so-called superhuman feats with people using star wars martial arts or martial arts magic to stop opponents. These martial arts cults abandon martial arts abilities (if they ever had any) and likely arose from Star Wars and Marvel comic books and Hollywood. They are easy to spot as they use the force (farce) which only works on their students and has no effect on outsiders. Another thing to watch for is that most McDojos (and sport martial arts) have large picture windows. Some are located in malls and we even saw one that was actually located in a Walmart in Gilbert, Arizona.
Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo and, in particular, training under Dai-Soke Sacharnoski with Juko Kai International. Juko Kai is one of the larger US-Okinawa martial arts associations in the world who practice traditional martial arts.
TRADITIONAL MARTIAL ARTS
Traditional martial arts focus on self-defense and self-improvement and traditional martial artists do no compete. This is one of the major differences between sport and traditional martial arts. In my definition of traditional martial arts, I see these arts as self-defense weapons as taught for centuries on Okinawa.