McDojo: All You Need To Know

Due to the spread and commercialization of martial arts over the past years, a huge percentage of McDojo have appeared all over the world.

But what exactly are they and how can we spot them?

Table of Contents


The term “McDojo” refers to a martial arts school that exists exclusively to make money rather than teaching martial arts.


The word ‘Mc-Dojo’ is the union of two words: McDonald and Dojo. A Dojo is a place where martial arts are taught and practiced. And, as you may be aware, McDonald’s is a popular fast food chain.


The prefix ‘Mc’ is added to the name to detract from the concept of Fast-Dojo.

Like fast-food, which is prepared instantly and contains a variety of harmful substances, McDojo is a dojo where in a short period the more you pay high commissions the more you will be rewarded by learning instant and impractical techniques.


The success of these McDojos is due to the fact that the new generation has no patience and expects immediate results.

They want to learn, grow, and achieve their goals faster than anyone else.

As a result, many impostor martial arts coaches take advantage of it, discrediting the core concept and soul of true art.

no patience

The main difference

The main difference between a real Dojo and a McDojo is that the first one may need money to survive and the second one exists with the sole aim of making money.


Talking about karate benefits, you will hardly get any benefit from attending a mcdojo!


Read on to find out the main signs of a McDojo, and if your school checks off the majority of these characteristics, your school could very well be a McDojo!

McDojo's main characteristics

Now that we have introduced what McDojos are, let’s analyze the warning signs to instantly recognize a possible dojo created only to eat your money.

Fast Black Belt program

If the school offers a “guaranteed black belt program”, in which you pay a fee and you will quickly be promoted to the black belt in a few years or less, this is a sure sign that this school exists exclusively to make money (as a top priority) and teaching martial arts only as a non-priority.


Becoming a black belt in any martial art takes time, dedication and commitment.

Students are all world champions

The dojo could compete in dozens of world championships held by unknown federations each year, and every single student would receive a participation trophy regardless of their performance, so they can spread around that their school only produces “winners”.


Students' uniforms are multicolored

The karate uniforms are only WHITE! In traditional karate there are no blue, red, green, white or rainbow karategi!

mcdojo colored karategi
The only red and blue colored things are the brand patterns on the shoulders of the karategi to differentiate athletes in tournaments.

The amount you pay determines how much you learn

As we said at the beginning of the article, McDojo are money making machines and as a result, the prices will be exorbitant and they will charge for every little thing you want to learn more.

Other characteristics

– Before trying a class, prospective students must first become a member/subscribe.

– Your teacher is 14 times world champion of an unknown federation.

– You have to pay a transfer fee to keep your belt from another dojo.

– Black belts don’t even know how to punch correctly (click on the link to check if you’re doing it correctly!)

– The name of the style you are studying contains the name of your teacher. Example: Matthew Ryu Style.

– Instructor claims to be a 10th degree black belt or even higher (the highest possible degree is 10th and is earned through a lifetime of dedication and practice) 

– Guaranteed belt promotion test within 3 months of beginning training


ATTENTION! It is not always a McDojo if it reflects one of these points, there may be exceptions.


Spending years in a McDojo and not seeing results is a complete waste of time and money.


The biggest problem is not the financial damage, but the psychological damage that a mcdojo can cause to a student.


Making a karateka’s family make huge sacrifices to pay for travel to fake world championships with 3-4 people (all of whom will be on the podium) hurts…


But what really hurts is later seeing the student lie to his family and friends about the number of participants because he is embarrassed to say that he is world champion on 4 people and because he doesn’t have the courage to tell his parents that the tournament he did was a joke.


Nobody deserves this, so please before choosing a dojo make sure that it’s not a McDojo!

Karate Martial Art Team

Karate Martial Art Team

The Karate Martial Art Team is made up of 3 contributors who have full-time job and in their free time are dedicated to martial arts and writing. Do you want to become one of the Team? Get in touch on the contact page.

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