With the amount of people posting and responding, I've come to one of two conclusions. Either there aren't nearly as many McDojos out there as people think, or so many people are in denial that they are in fact one. Personally, I think it's a little of both. But let me tell you something that will be hard to swallow. You are a McDojo! I'm a McDojo! Everyone is a McDojo! Why do I say this? Well, we first need to understand what a McDojo is.
So in reality, everyone is a McDojo. No matter what you do, someone will find fault in it. It doesn't matter how authentic your training is. It doesn't matter how many competitions you win. It doesn't matter how hard core you claim to be. Someone will have a different philosophy. Someone will be jealous of you, whether it's your financial success or the quality of your students. Someone will disagree with how old you are, what rank you are, what organizations you belong to. You may promote your students too quickly, or not enough. Someone, somewhere, will call you a McDojo. But that's the great thing about the martial arts. There truly is something for everyone, and no matter what you're looking to get out of martial arts, you can find it.
Do you want to get in shape? There's a school for you.
Do you want to compete? There's a school for you.
Do you want to learn self defense? There's a school for you.
Do you want to learn about another culture? There's a school for you.
Do you want to become immersed in tradition? There's a school for you.
I could go on and on, but hopefully you get my point. As much as I like to write about what I feel martial arts should be, at the end of the day it is only my opinion. And in reality, opinions only matter as much as the respect you have for the person giving it.
Do I think there is a growing trend in the martial arts community that caters to the soccer moms? Yes I do. Am I frustrated at what most people consider self defense training? Of course. But rather than simply complaining about it (and I do my fair share on this blog), I also make an effort to educate those around me. I visit other schools within our brotherhood on a regular basis and share my experiences. I try to be proactive. So if all you're going to do is rinse off your paper plates and cloak yourself with the "starving artist" complex while complaining online that the instructor down the street from you drives a Ferrari, you need to just stop. No matter how legitimate you are, you have become the keyboard warrior that we all loathe. You have become the problem.
There's nothing wrong with being fairly compensated for your time and experience. In fact, you should be. You've put in countless hours of blood, sweat and tears to get where you are. However, keep in mind that success as a martial arts instructor is not measured by how big your school is or what car you drive. Our community is unlike any other industry. All those material things prove is that you're a good businessman/woman. It has nothing to do with you being a good instructor, the proof of which is on the mat and in the heart of your school. Do you simply have customers or do you have true students? Are they simply paying for a service or are they genuinely invested in the well-being of the school? Are they just a paycheck that allows you to be self-employed or are you fully committed to seeing them succeed not just on the mat but in life? That to me is the measure of a good instructor.
So if the school down the street wants to call you a McDojo, let them. None of it matters, except what you are doing for your art and your students. At the end of the day, we are all on our own unique journey of Budo and if my path is different than yours, so be it. Let truth come from whence it may.