Before I moved to Arizona, I taught my son and daughter karate at the University of Wyoming, and both became legitimate black belts. My daughter even had to use her training in self-defense from her Ex, who is twice her height and mass. He ended up calling the Cheyenne police department for help after trying to beat up my daughter. It's likely a good thing I didn't hear about this until later, as I would have provided him with a nice plot in my backyard, but still, I think it's entertaining my little girl beat the living - well you know. I also taught two of my grandsons karate. Their dad, a cop, often would attack the little guys when they were least expecting it just to be sure they were learning self-defense. Just imagine being doubled over by a 5 year old's mae geri (front kick). So, yes they learned well. Over the years, I've taught more than a thousand martial artists at four major universities, Gold's Gym, my own dojo, and elsewhere. I am a member of the black belt hall of fame, recognized as a Who's Who in Martial Arts Legend, and I am certified as judan (10th dan) by two well-known grandmasters - one from the US and the other from Okinawa.
Back to my grand-daughter. To make things worse, her parents started her at three local dojo in Gilbert, Arizona - all three could easily be McDojo, but I can't say that for sure, since I refuse to take part in this game. And after the first two proved to lack any form of legitimacy, she was recently sent to a Lifetime Fitness gym dojo. Last night, I saw videos of a training session taken by my wife, and if these people are legit, I would be shocked.
The videos show complete chaos. Kids scattered all over the gym with no supervision, groups of kids standing in circles talking, and only one or two were doing any karate entire night. And the sensei, (apparently a sandan) continued to walk back and forth with his hands behind his back, and NOT providing ANY input or instruction the entire night. To be honest, I have no idea why he was even there? Not once did he provide any instruction to anyone.
But the other two schools that my grand-daughter was signed up for, may have even been worse. One advertised they were MMA - a dead giveaway they most likely lack legitimacy (although a few legit schools have actually call themselves MMA because the name is popular). This is sad as MMA does NOT have values of traditional karate or any traditional budo, and anyone can claim to be yudansha (black belt) or instructor (sensei) in MMA, even though there only experience may be wrestling in high school. Remember, any one can walk into a martial arts supply house and buy a black belt for $5 or $10. But wearing that belt correctly requires years of training, experience, expertise, and a long lineage!
Too bad parents have no idea what martial arts are? But this isn't surprising, as many North American martial artists don't even know. My own personal instructor, has told me a few times over the years that he often gets inquiries to join his Japanese/Okinawan/US association, and at least 85% of the people who apply have absolutely NO legitimacy. I never paid much attention to his statement until this recent incident with my grand-daughter. And I suspect, he is right, and it could be even higher.
Even though my grand-daughter is suffering through this, her parents are getting what they paid for. I just pray she doesn't end up getting hurt. People don't realize kids have growth plates; and fractures of these can result in serious problems down the road. In particular, joint locks on kids need to be limited and closely supervised - and it really appalled me when some years ago, I witnessed a kids class at the Chandler community center in aikido. Aikido is all about joint manipulation!
And when kids are taught basic karate punches known as tsuki, they have to be closely monitored constantly, to keep their wrist straight, otherwise, they can easily fracture their wrists just by punching a bag. PARENTS - you need to be aware of this!!!
The second school my grand-daughter attended is located in Gilbert not far from Lifetime Fitness. My wife told me some lady in street clothes walked around the dojo screaming Japanese and English words, while a couple of older students in yellow belts (keep in mind, a yellow belt has practically no experience) taught kids how to hop, skip, jump, tumble, do push-ups, etc. Yes, can you imagine that, the martial arts school was not teaching them more than 2 minutes of karate. In the 2-minute period of karate, my wife told me the kids were taught a high block (jodan uke), a front kick (mae geri), and an outward block (soto uke). PERIOD!!!
|Google Earth air photo showing our location at the traffic light marking MacDonald and Baseline. |
Click on photo to enlarge.
So, the next time you check your dojo or instructor, do a search on the internet of his/hers dojo or of his/hers name. Next, look inside the dojo for a dojo license (this should be provided by a legitimate international martial arts association), and look for copies of his/hers diplomas. This is where it gets a bit challenging, knowing what is a legitimate, and what is not. Take a few notes and do some internet research. Most high-ranking martial artists know what to look for, but we keep some secrets to ourselves to be sure illegitimate martial artists don't get wind of it. For example, some years ago, a German martial arts association gave me a diploma for the rank of judan (10th dan) in jujutsu. I kept the diploma to show my students some phony characteristics of a McDojo diploma.
Soke Hausel, the world head of Seiyo no Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai has been training and teaching martial arts for nearly his entire life. He is not only a hall-of-fame martial arts instructor and a Who's Who martial arts Legend, but also a hall-of-fame geoscientist. You can find all of this information on the internet.
Oh, and I almost forgot - if you are tired of running into questionable martial arts teachers and schools in the Phoenix Valley, be sure to Google or Bing us, and please do a search of my name (Soke Hausel) - I have nothing to hide like apparently some other schools in the valley. Copies of my certificates are posted so anyone can see my lineage and legitimacy - see if any other dojo does the same?