Legit reasons for not being allowed to train at another dojo?

by admin on April 3, 2011

I recently started training at a kickboxing/jujitsu place near me. I talked to the owner/head instructor and one of the rules he mentioned when I started is that we weren’t allowed to train at other schools/dojos while we were attending his. This interested me because I read that one of the signs of a McDojo is no cross training. Additionally, he stated that classes were mandatory and that we would have to call in if we were going to miss a class. He also asks us to make up the class if we miss it.

I would appreciate it if perhaps an instructor or school owner could tell me the reasoning behind these practices could be. I would just go straight up and ask him, but I don’t want to seem overly inquisitive. My gut tells me it’s not a McDojo because some of the students actually compete in MMA events outside the school and win. The fees are also reasonable (0 a month, no contracts). Just curious, thank you.


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    { 13 comments… read them below or add one }

    Shienaran April 3, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    You mistakenly assume cross training means you can just train in another school anytime you want. If we were to really examine the true spirit of cross training and the context in which it is used by martial artists, it assumes that the one who cross trains already has achieved a proficient level of skill and understanding of the basics of his base art. Meaning a 1st Degree Black belt in Karate who joins an Aikido class can be considered to be cross training, but a white belt in the same karate school joining an Aikido class would not. A white belt does not have the level of understanding and skill in one art enough to be able to compare, differentiate and appreciate the principles of both arts, so how can he be considered to be cross training? He’s basically just learning two different skill sets at the same time, which as most would point out can hinder your progress in both arts. So I don’t see anything wrong with your instructor prohibiting you from training in another school while you are still at novice or Kyu level.

    Ummmmmmmm April 3, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    No cross-training -_- you just said it was a kickboxing/jujitsu dojo.
    He probably is a good teacher, most mc dojos make you sign contracts so if you quit you can’t until the contract is over. You can quit since no contract was signed.

    Leo L April 3, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    We don’t allow it either. The premise is that you can only have one Master, one person telling you how he wants things done. Cross training will muddle techniques. We have spent an incredible amount of time documenting our art. We also do not want these documents being shared with other schools.

    Karateka April 3, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Maybe to keep from cross-contamination of technique. Not really a legit reason, but I can see it being a legit concern.

    JR April 3, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    this actually goes back to when the dojo was first in use. students would often live at the dojo, or in some cases the instructor would live with the student in return for training. the student’s wouldn’t usally be allowed to leave unless they became black belts or instructor ranks.so that is the one thing: tradition
    another one is, what if you are told to do something by one dojo and another thing in your other dojo? your instructors wont be able to a work it out completely, also every dojo teaches differently. some will say "just do what your teacher tell you at one dojo, and listen to the other at the other dojo" that works for the dojo but if you need to use it out side of the dojo for self defense then your stuck in a bind most likely slowing your self and fighting your self because your trying to do two different things. theres a few more: how well your training is, self defense, and difficulty
    so what i covered: tradition, training, self defense, and difficulty… there are many more you just have to think hard enough

    Rikashiku April 3, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Its disrespectful to both gyms, McDojos and Real. Cross-training is the same as stealing other gyms ideas and using them at another place. You should only learn their own system and no other. There’s always that possibility that you wil end up joining one of them for good and you would have stolen the others methods. Sometimes people will follow and one gym would have lost all its students.

    I lost one student but we got him back at the following fight night.

    JASON April 3, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Cross training is great…for the MMA fighter. But if your a practitioner then you should find everything you need at your school. Owners and operators don’t like the idea for a couple of reasons the majority being
    1- injury, if you get injured there and can’t train because of it, then it’s lost revenue for them, let’s face it, it’s a Buisness so respect that
    2- disease- many and I mean many schools do not disinfect their mats everyday. I have had students cross train and come back with ring worm and worse!

    Mcdojo is a dumb term. It’s coined by jelouse people who can not maintain more then 100 students. Is extreme cotoure a mcdojo because they make you sign a contract??? Buisness is Buisness and they need to be able to open theirndoors the next day.

    Hope this helps

    Lee April 3, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    If it’s for sporting reasons, I could probably see his point, but I would be suspicious of this as I have been cross training virtually all my career as a Martial Artist in more than 5 arts! I don’t suffer from technique ‘confusion’ or contamination and many of my students benefit from the extra variety of techniques that I adapt to whichever style I’m teaching!

    And $100 (about £60 here) a month!!!! We charge £3 (roughly $4.50) per session. I seriously hope that it’s worth it, but good luck anyhow!

    callsignfuzzy April 3, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    While I generally don’t like that policy, the most practical reason for it is so a rival school doesn’t get inside info on what goes on at the first place, like "Oh, you’re fighting Brad in two weeks? Man, he hits hard, but he’s a sucker for body shots" or something.

    For most people, the "legit reason" comes in the form of money. Training ain’t cheap!

    samuraiwarrior_98 April 3, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    A couple of things are key in your question and one of them you state in the first words of your explanation or comments, "I recently started ….." I discourage students from cross-training especially in the beginning. They often times get confused about things and are mixing things up or trying then to incorporate something from one place into their training at another where they just started. That really becomes counter productive in allot of cases and I suspect that’s one of his reasons.

    Secondly his time is valuable and he wants you to understand that and wants you to make a commitment to him and the class schedule and this also helps build and instill discipline if used properly. I am somewhat like this in my approach although I do try and accommodate students and can since I am retired. Perhaps he isn’t and you missing leaves you behind then in something that he has covered. Not only that but it is one less person in the class for others to train and partner with. While I am not as strict I can tell you that if you don’t make it to classes enough in my school you will fall behind and create problems for yourself and me. I will address this with students and fighters at the proper time and if it continues I will just send you down the road.

    I think he is being honest and upfront with you and if the training is good and meets your needs you have your answer.

    possum April 3, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    I have never heard of "no crosstraining=mcdojo". In the context of contracts, that might be mcdojo. But it’s got nothing to do with crosstraining. Shieranan says it best: crosstrain when you have a significant degree of proficiency in one style before crossing to another. That is what I do. But I am lucky: I train in Aikido and Taekwondo, and they are both complimentrary. Other than cultural issues, there really aren’t too many conflicting concepts, save one. One says "don’t strike". The other says, "strike". What will I do when faced with having to use my skills? I’m guessing I’ll fall back on what I’m comfortable with (taekwondo). What will a newbie to both do? I don’t have a clue.

    I instruct. Almost all of my adult students and maybe half my children students cross train. It gets to be a problem for the new students who are not used to my style and my rules. It is for this reason some instructors do not allow cross training: the students simply get confused.

    If you ask why, my response would be another question: why would you want to? As an instructor, I would be thinking, "what is it about my school that others have to go elsewhere to get training?"

    Sometimes, the beef isn’t with you, it’s a problem between two competing schools that have bad blood. You DONT want to get tangled up in that kind of politics.

    Your instructor sounds reasonable. It’s okay that he doesn’t allow cross training, perhaps he just wants you to focus on what he’s teaching. He’s backing that up with the mandatory make up and call-in for absences.

    clevermohs79 April 3, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    The exclusivity rule is about BUSINESS. However, you only need one art and one school
    if the art/school is good enough!

    You may not like the exclusivity rule, but without it or something like it, it is hard to be in business.
    Instructors know that the magazines (Black Belt, IKF, etc.)
    make students want to do a new martial art each month.
    And no matter what art you take, whether it’s tkd, jkd, aikido, karate, muay thai, etc. there are a million-and-one internet warriors who will tell you that your art sux- quit your art and do mine!

    My instructor is very open. He says- I teach tae kwon do, and that is my art. If you want to go take boxing, MMA, judo, or something else on your own, fine. Just do not teach what you learn from another school in my actual school to my students. My school is only for tae kwon do.
    He wants to maintain a sense of integrity about his art, but he also understands that it’s a business.
    He understands if kids need to stop coming because of baseball or soccer, and then want to start again. He understands if people need to quit because of unemployment and then come back later after things get better. He does not think he is the Buddha. He does not think he is Master Pei Mai

    from Kill Bill Part 2.

    John Kajukenbo April 3, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Some instructors have this rule so as to prevent ill will and to stop any inter-school rivalries before they start.

    Many old-school sensei and sifu act as if their art is only art and their school is the only school.

    But the ATA has this rule because it is a cult.

    Your question has some valid points but I do not think it applies to the majority of cases.

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