August 16

Who Is Ruining The Self Defence Industry? (Hint; You Know Them)


They told you to hate the McDojos, so you did.

They pulled all your frustrations around your lack of self-defence or Martial Art students and put them into one big sack, then wrote 'MCDOJO' on the sack.

Mentally you needed someone to blame, we all need someone to blame.We blame the economy, the area and now the McDojo.

But let me say this; The McDojo is not to blame.

Instead, it is the guy you just high fived on Facebook.

Yes, your Facebook buddy just scammed you.

They took you to the cleaners.

They had your pants down, and now they are skipping down the lane counting the cash.

So how did they do it, how did they pull a scam on you that you did not realise was happening?

This is what you will find out today:

The McDojo Myth

The Students of the McDojo could have been yours.

Or at least this is what we tell ourselves, but it is not true.

Have you ever seen students of a McDojo?

They wouldn't have lasted a week in your class, and they would never have joined anyway because people like them never fight!

McDojo students tend to be the square pegs in the round holes; they never fit into any other socially acceptable form.

They are nice people, they have never had a real fight or been attacked, and their lifestyle means the chances of that are ridiculously small.

They only want an exchange.

They want to exchange their money for a sense of belonging.

Deep down these people know that they cannot fight, their lifestyle bubble means that they never will.McDojos are not the danger; they provide a service for people that would never be your customers.

They modified martial arts just like white collar boxing has taken the sweet science and turned it into a pillow fight with huge headgear and sparring gloves.

So if McDojo's are not to blame, who is?

A Sheep In Wolves Clothing

In the UK alone there were an estimated 1.3 million victims of violent and sexual crime last year.

Those are 1.3 million people who might be open to the idea of Martial Arts and self-defence lessons.

These people have tasted violence, and they fell foul of it.Now also add to this the people who saw crime reports, YouTube videos or even witnessed violence.

These people are open to the idea that self-defence is something they need.So why aren't they training?

Some are, a lot probably are, but they are not training with you.

They are training with your Facebook friend.

But how does this happen?

Because a long time ago, savvy, morally bankrupt men and women who can't fight their way out of a paper bag realised the truth.

If they walk like they can fight,

If they talk like they can fight

And if they dress like they can fight.

People will think that they can fight.

And this is where it happened.

Not in some McDojo but in front of your very faces!

They are good at this because this is how they lived their lives.

They are pretenders, smart talkers and world beaters on Facebook.

They saw a technique that everyone liked, that all the credible people agreed worked, and then they copied it.

They teach how you teach. Therefore they must be like you.

They mocked some crap on the internet, and they joined you.

You thought 'hey they agree with me, they must be ok.'

But they and their 'systems' are shallow.

They are photocopies of something they do not understand, something that they do not care about.

The student who desperately wants to learn self-defence to protect themselves and the people they love are told lies.

They are told to 'learn this, and you will be safe', but the instructor couldn't even protect themselves, let alone teach others.

The instructors like this breed other instructors like a plague, they sell their courses, and the students all believe that this works.

Then on a cold night, they find out that it doesn't work.

They feel the impact of a size ten boot smashing into their skull.It is too late for a refund; it is too late to change systems and instructors.

It is too late to survive.

So how do you know if you have been lied to?

How do you know what you have been taught is good?

How do you know that you have even a tiny amount of fighting ability?

The Bag Of Truth Finds Them Out

I believe that all self-defence classes should have punch bags on the walls.


Because the punch bag is the one place, you cannot lie.

The punch bag finds out your weaknesses.

The punch bag shows your faults.

The punch bag gives you feedback.

It is the one piece of equipment that takes everything you have to give and still stands there, looking at you as if you were weak.

The punch bag breaks you down.

It is very tough to make something that is bad, look good on the punch bag.

But some students have never hit the punch bag. Their systems have never asked them to.That is ok.

But if you have not got access to one, go and buy a bag.

Stand in front of it and do your work.

If you stand there and pause, if you stand there confused, then it is over.

Because if you can't fight a sand filled bag that is standing there challenging you and throwing nothing back, you will never stand a chance in a real altercation.

If you do start your work, the bag will tell you if you are good.It will whisper to you in a voice that will penetrate your body deep into your soul.

At that point, your soul will hear ' you are shit', 'you can't fight', 'you are slow'.

Or it will hear 'you have power, you strike hard, damn these would destroy anyone'.

But it is not just the bag that can do this; the focus pads do as well. They are the brother of the bag.

They are the tools that find out the truth as well.

But if you are not using either, it begs the question why you are not?

Lifting The Industry

So how do we move forward, after all the sheep are now dressing up as wolves?

It simply is not practical to demand people show their skills on the pads or bags.

How do we change?

We go deep, and we go honestly.

We go beyond the 'grab here and do this' demonstration.

We need to have deep conversations about training;

We need to film footage of our lessons.We need to let people see not only 'pre arranged' technique footage, but our daily work.

The guy who trains in his garage can upload his footage, start a YouTube channel and we should watch, listen and learn because he may have more experience and skill than 100 'certified instructors'.

The instructor who trains in the church hall with his ten students should show us the work.

We need to share the work we do.


Because this depth makes the fakers uncomfortable.

This level of honesty cannot be faked.

This transparency will change the industry because the same tools that have allowed the fakers to thrive will now make them squirm.

The lights will come on, and they will sweat.

They will disappear.

They will not share their craft and this in itself asks questions.

When I first started, I showed my footage of my boxing matches and Judo fights, both wins and losses.

I am there for all to see, stripped of any pretence! Are you?

Is the person next to you?

Be honest, be transparent and share your skills.

Blog, vlog and engage in deep conversations. This is how we will make change happen.

Thanks for reading


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  1. Some good points, but I don’t agree that people join McDojos because they are “square pegs”, or they just want to fit in, or they have never been victims of violence –
    “square pegs” often are victims because they are different, & they present like victims. They join because they have been sold “the myth” – the myth that the McDojo sells them (as you so rightly point out).
    In a local paper (I won’t mention the town – but it’s called Retford) a young girl was awarded her black belt, & it she was pleased that she could now defend her friends & family from attack. NO!!! This is a McDojo at its worst. 2 & 3 year contracts for children – who get taken to court if they try it, don’t like it, & want to stop attending & therefor stop paying. This is a McDojo who has exploited a young man with learning difficulties – long term contract, buying loads of kit he doesn’t need. The young man is too frightened to complain.
    Shocking, but true.

    1. Hey Bob, thanks for taking the time to write a detailed comment so let us go through this bit by bit.

      A square peg does not = victim. A square peg just doesn’t fit in anywhere. For example ‘John’ is a square peg, he has few friends if any, he likes Jazz and country music, he was an air cadet, he likes camping and poetry. John drives to work, he drives home, he doesn’t go out much and if he does it is to the cinema or the country pub. John is not a victim or present like one, he knows he cannot fight so he does everything he can to avoid any situation that might start one. But John also wants to make friends, he wants to be a bit more flexible, he wants a little workout each week and to be part of something more. He would be happy to learn how to punch and kick ‘just in case’ but the thought of going the gym makes him feel out of place, he has seen instagram and the gym is not where he belongs. He sees a leaflet for the local ‘McDojo’ and it ticks all the boxes. John would never have gone to a self defence class, John does not want to learn how to fight.

      Moving on to the girl. Young girl thinks she can defend herself because she has a black belt. That is the issue, for her the black belt is a goal that means ‘invincibility’ and this is what is wrong, the reward system that gives her a false sense of security.

      That is actually far more common that you think. One of the most respected self-defence instructors in the UK gives black belts to kids and I think cheapens the grade, but he is not what people think is a McDojo.

      And again this goes down to the issue, just because they ‘look like’ they are a great and respected self-defence instructor on the surface, but behind closed doors operate in the same way as the hated ‘McDojo’.

      Contracts: I am in a 2 years phone contract, I knew this signing up. Children never sign up for anything, parents do.

      That being said, children change their mind like the wind so there needs to be a happy medium for the coach and also student/ parent. I think contracts for the length of a school term are fair. This gives the instructor financial stability and makes the parent/ child respect what they are signing up for.

      Finally the learning difficulties: Sounds like a criminal issue to be honest, certainly a trading standards issue. You can bring that to their attention without the need for the young man to get involved.

      So more long reply cut short; many of the so called best people out there use a lot of the tactics of the McDojos but never publicly say. Yet they get endorsed.

      Sure there are bad McDojos, a lot of them too but quality is low all over the industry

Comments are closed.

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