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Potential Mcdojo?

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  • Potential Mcdojo?

    Hi, I'm new to this forum. I have a question though. One of my friends has recently taken up ninjutsu, and I thought hey, good for him. However, upon asking him to show us (His friends) some of what he has learned, he cannot. After looking at his dojo's website, I have a feeling that something fishy is going on. Could someone take a look and give me some advice on how to break it to him that his dojo might be a mcdojo? Website is: http://www.maxclubchina.com/ninjutsu.htm

  • #2
    Unless your friend is getting financially ripped off by a pyramid scheme (I do not know what the case is with Bujinkan) or the practice is unsafe it is perhaps better to leave him or her be. If you yourself practice budo, the best thing is to arm yourself with information and when discussions arise, to present what you are aware of in as unconfrontational a way as possible sort of like how talk therapists asks key questions to provoke thinking rather than assert judgement. If you do not practice budo, it's all the more reason to leave people to figure things out for themselves.

    Just to note, I say this about any potential "McDojo" situation without saying either way about Bujinkan. There is a lot of discussion out there already on this organization so I leave it to you to research and make up your own mind.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by dillon View Post
      Unless your friend is getting financially ripped off by a pyramid scheme (I do not know what the case is with Bujinkan) or the practice is unsafe it is perhaps better to leave him or her be. If you yourself practice budo, the best thing is to arm yourself with information and when discussions arise, to present what you are aware of in as unconfrontational a way as possible sort of like how talk therapists asks key questions to provoke thinking rather than assert judgement. If you do not practice budo, it's all the more reason to leave people to figure things out for themselves.

      Just to note, I say this about any potential "McDojo" situation without saying either way about Bujinkan. There is a lot of discussion out there already on this organization so I leave it to you to research and make up your own mind.

      I see, thank you Dillon! I do practice budo, I'm currently shodan. I'll try to talk to my friend, and see what happens from there. Also, what exactly is the pyramid scheme?

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      • #4
        A pyramid scheme is basically where money trickles up to the top of the pyramid and the base of the pyramid expands to keep things going. With a pyramid scheme McDojo organization, basically new members pay exorbitant fees to their dojo, which then mostly wind up in the pocket of the person at the top of the organization. The organization seeks to expand and members are eventually asked/encouraged/ordered to recruit new members (sometimes getting a small cut). Often the criteria for promotion is not skill in the art (if the organization even has such skill) but recruitment success.

        I've come across a couple of times with people who do not follow what most of us on this forum would consider the straight and narrow budo path. One time was with a backyard samurai and another was with an ex-member of a McDojo who did not/does not realize he was in a McDojo. In the case of the backyard samurai, the guy was actually a member of a recognized koryu but I had the impression he did not get to practice too often (it was in another city) and he liked to talk about his backyard experimentation more than the koryu (he seemed very proud of making up imaginary techniques). I told him what I wanted to get out of budo but I did not feel it was my place to tell him what he could and could not do at home. The ex-McDojo member had not been a member for a number of years and still (at the time) believed he attended the dojo of a "hall of fame award winning master". Since he did not intend to return to the McDojo, I did not feel it was necessary to try to tell him he was probably not learning anything remotely useful (other than maybe sweating a lot).

        Some "illegitimate" organizations (in the sense that their lineage is suspect) really believe their own story and do not operate like a McDojo but like a legitimate school with fee levels in line with legitimate schools (e.g. reasonable amount to cover overhead costs plus a bit for a rainy day, the teachers are not gaining anything financially). It is sometimes hard to pick these out.

        For me personally, it is important to go see the dojo in practice or (in the case where the dojo is a branch with mid-ranking teacher so not necessarily representative of full potential) the senior members of the art perform in a public embu to get a feel for not just what they do but how they do it. Legitimate schools with top level sensei come across with a sense of power, agility, grace and dignity that McDojo cannot reproduce. Those schools where they believe their own suspect lineage story also lack these characteristics due to the fact that they are not actually transmitting substantial budo.

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        • #5
          It doesn't have to be a pyramid scheme to be what is commonly regarded as a "McDojo".

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          • #6
            That's true. What I mean is unless there is a pyramid scheme or a safety issue I wouldn't intervene too hard.

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            • #7
              Looks like garden-variety ninjers to me. Unless they are demanding 3 year contracts for silly money or something like that, let them live.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill View Post
                Looks like garden-variety ninjers to me. Unless they are demanding 3 year contracts for silly money or something like that, let them live.
                I agree with this.

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                • #9
                  AH. The bunjinkan folks. Used to be quite popular in middle America. Haven't seen much of them lately. They used to enter kendo tournaments and get regularly thrashed. I remember having a post competition keiko with one and getting confronted with all sorts of strangeness.

                  The central group website:

                  https://www.bujinkan.com/index.htm

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                  • #10
                    They used to enter Kendo tournaments??? Wow, now that would be quite spectacular in its entertainment quotient.

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