4 Signs Your Martial Arts School Sucks

So, you want to learn martial arts: nice choice! It’s a great pastime, not only because it gives you the ability to fight, but also for reasons of fitness, confidence, and mental/spiritual discipline.

With that being said, let’s point out that many—not all, but many—martial arts schools are absolute shit. How do you tell if the school you’ve been prospecting is that eternal subject of mockery amongst MA practitioners, the dreaded “McDojo?”

As luck would have it, there are many easily noticeable signs of the McDojo, and this article will list a few of the most egregious ones.

1. Fatbody Masters And Students

This is probably the biggest one (pun not intended). If the master is a fatty, the school is most likely a crappy one. Just to clarify, I’m not talking about an older master who has gone to seed via the ravages of time, but is still as capable of doing the techniques as he was when he was in his fighting prime. No, I mean a lardo that can’t even do ten regular push-ups, lift his leg above his waist, or hold the horse stance for more than 20 seconds.

This criticism of people who are objectively not in shape goes for the pupils as well. I can tolerate a white belt or the equivalent rank being fat if they’re clearly making an effort to slim down. But if multiple students are fat—and high-level belts in particular are fat—you can clearly see that something is wrong. Just look at the featured image for proof of that.

2. Wildly Impractical Techniques

If fatness is the number one sign of a bad martial arts school, this is undoubtedly the second biggest. Despite what a julienne of hack “masters” will tell you, the martial arts are, in fact, ...

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