The transcript below is from the video “How To Spot a McDojo / Fake Martial Arts School [Funny]” by Martial Arts Journey.

Martial Arts Journey (YouTube Channel):

McDojo’s are a fascinating phenomenon that some people fall for. In order to raise our consciousness on how to spot a McDojo and how to avoid it in this Martial Arts Journey video we will take a look at a list of 40 points which distinguish McDojo type of martial arts schools.

Martial Arts Journey:

1. The instructor refuses to teach you certain techniques because they are “too deadly”.
2. The dojo’s phone number is printed on the back of your uniform
3. The diploma shows Japanese language that even the Japanese do not understand.
4. The dojo sign has the words ‘traditional’, ‘commando’, ‘classical’, ‘effective’, ‘100%’, ‘original’, ‘Okinawan’, ‘dragon’, ‘Japanese’, ‘secret’ and ‘elite’ in the same sentence
5. There are camouflage belts.

Martial Arts Journey:

6. Your sensei has registered his fist as ‘deadly weapons’ with the local police authorities
7. You practice harnessing your ki/chi power
8. Your sensei teaches crescent kick as disarming technique for handguns and knives
9. You train defence against baseball bats by blocking with your forearm.
10. When you practice self-defence, 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 5 to 10 different finishing moves

Martial Arts Journey:

11. There is no resistance allowed during “self-defence” drill because any resistance means your arm will get broken
12. The instructor is overweight and does not warm up with the students
13. Your instructor prefers to use “grandmaster”, “master” or “sensei” rather than his real name; both in print and in-person
14. The instructors says they won’t/ can’t be taken to the ground.
15. Your “grandmaster” rarely teachers stuffs hands-on (he has assistants for that)

Martial Arts Journey:

16. Your sensei won’t spar/fight with you because he “doesn’t want to hurt you”
17. You are not allowed to complete. It is not honourful.
18. You are required to complete. It is honourful
19. Your style was created by your sensei, yet it is still traditional and it has several “special advantages” over all other styles. (also, most likely, the name of the style is absurdly long)
20. Your sensei has never been in a real fight.

Martial Arts Journey:

21. There are “forbidden” techniques that only certain students are taught.
22. You are never taught applications to moves.
23. If you are taught applications to moves, they never work-except when your sensei does them.
24. The technique works perfectly against the black belts, but do not work against beginners, because the beginners don’t know yet when they are supposed to fall.
25. The dojo advertises as “Non-Contact Karate”

Martial Arts Journey:

26. You are awarded a black belt in 2-4 years.
27. Your Sensei is a “grandmaster” with 7th dan or above, yet is 40 years or younger.
28. Your Sensei is 12th dan or above, although only 10 dans exist. (This is not a joke, in my home country Lithuania, there’s a guy who claims to be a 12th (XII) Dan. He also claims to be the world “leader” of “Tenchi Bogyo Ryu” school)
29. Greetings are 15 minutes long.
30. Nobody ever failed at grading

Martial Arts Journey:

31. There are black belts under the age of 16
32. The instructor demands respect, he doesn’t earn it.
33. Time-based progression through ranks rather than achievement-based
34. Cross-training is discouraged.
35. You are often thought philosophical concepts, strategy or theory but not the actual application.

Martial Arts Journey:

36. Doing stuff that’s “correct” is seen as more important than doing stuff that actually works.
37. Questioning the style, teacher, lineage or dojo is a big no.
38. The words “os” and “osu” are spoken often.
39. The instructor talks down about MMA mainly because his/ her style always gets their asses kicked in MMA.
40. They teach defence against 3 or more attackers where the attackers cannot strike or are all armed

Martial Arts Journey:

While this list is somewhat humoristic, there’s a good saying that says “every good joke has a 60% truth in it”. Meaning, every good joke are still inspired by reality. It just happens so that this list is one of those moments where there’s a lot of truth behind the points. So, if you’re looking at this list-it’s not necessarily a definitive list- and if you’re having one point at your dojo- some of them are not as bad- maybe there’s a sign already stating that it’s not a dojo. But if you have 2, 3 or more on some of the major ones, be careful.

Martial Arts Journey:

It’s not the end of the world if you’re training at a Mc Dojo. Often times they’re offering something that they’re not delivering and if you’re searching for effective martial arts, oftentimes it’s not the place to go. If they’re honest about it and they’re letting you know- ”this is not effective for self-defence, it’s more for your health”- it’s fine, but just be clear that you’re getting what you want from that gym.




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