My Dear Readers,
If you have come across this blog post hoping to find any hints of hate against McDojos of any kind (or any Bullshido-related material for that matter), you will most likely end up getting disappointed. McDojos deserve a place in a different blog post category if you ask me.
First, you need to keep some of these questions in mind:
1. What are your goals?
Are you planning of being capable to deal awesome damage to other people in a short time, say 3 months (consequences notwithstanding)?
Do you intend to impress a girl (or a boy, or your parents, or a donkey) that you occasionally see on gym class?
Are you willing to submit yourself to months and years of sweat, drudgery and effort to gain all knowledge that interests you?
Do you intend to improve your overall character as an individual?
Are you open to learning an entirely foreign culture while learning a martial art?
Introspection is key. If you think you have found answers to your questions that sound like the ones I have mentioned above, then feel free to explore the choices that will begin to open up to you.
2. What are your expectations in a teacher?
Some teachers are extremely well-versed and technically skilled in their own craft, yet they have no clue at dealing with people or running a business.
Some teachers are also extremely well-versed and technically skilled in their own craft, yet work alongside you and is well intent on improving you and your skills.
Some teachers will work with you only if you pay them (bluntly put).
Some teachers will work with you not only if you pay them, but if you’re good looking too — and (s)he will be all over you. Believe me, this happens a lot.
Use your best judgment. This is usually intertwined with your goals, short or long-term. But keep in mind that a unique bond between student and teacher is paramount. This is what you are after.
3. How committed are you?
In my opinion, commitment should be the given the most amount of consideration when looking for a Dojo. Even if you have money to burn for your equipment purchase and membership fees, pursuing an Art with regret after weeks of practice implies serious integrity issues on your part.
This is a perfect opportunity to ask yourself whether you can establish a connection with you teacher or otherwise. This is why good Dojos offer potential students first-time trial sessions. Consider yourself fortunate if they do offer your first month of introductory sessions for free.
4. How much resource do you have?
Money. Although not necessarily applicable to everything, this is needed at least to maintain a Dojo’s upkeep. But if you are committed, interested, and have already made a decision in your head, this should be less of a problem if you keep your affairs and budget in order.
However: If your potential teacher tells you up front that you must be kept under a contract for quite a long time — longer than you expected and before you even started, this should raise a huge red flag. They’re only after your money. When in doubt, how about you take a morning walk for a week, to give you enough time to think about it. No decent teacher should pressure you into parting with your hard-earned savings before you fully understand what you are about to spend it on.
Time. How much time are you willing to spend on learning a new craft? Are you only available until you win a competition? Or are you fully prepared to take this new road a journey for a lifetime?
Location. Sometimes it matters. Driving 2 hours on your way to the Dojo can be quite exhausting. But it also offers lots of opportunities to train your patience and resilience. After all, you are training in a Martial Art that is supposed to take your training, mostly outside of your Dojo.
On the other hand, if you live five minutes away from your Dojo, you will be at risk of making your mind grow soft and mushy just like a couch potato.
5. How strong is your support system?
A burning sense of enthusiasm. Burning so bright that nobody is supposed to stop from doing what you like. Until your spouse, parent or friends tell you otherwise. Probably because they can’t live without you during short-term pleasures and the partying at night before your Session.
In the end, it is your responsibility to choose what lies before you. Either to uncover your own potential, or an easy path to your ruin. I hope that the factors I offered you above can help you choose which you think is best for you. Have a happy journey.
Cheers, and spread the love.