McDojo? Not at NIMMA!

Renowned Martial Artist and Martial Arts Instructor Dave Kovar responds to the suggestion that instructors who teach children are “sell outs”.


Yes, I do teach kids. And no, I haven’t sold out.

It’s amazing to me how often I interact with someone on social media who feels that somehow working with children is beneath them. Yesterday, a guy personal messaged me to tell me that he felt that real Martial Arts instructors should only teach adults and if you teach kids, it means that you have sold out and you’re only in it for the money.

I would like to clear up a few things for this gentleman and anyone else interested in listening. Speaking for my team and I , this is our profession, and just like schoolteachers, police officers, doctors or postal workers who deserve to get paid for their services, so do we. We are not hobbyists. We don’t teach part time at “Y”, or weekends in our backyards. We choose this for our full-time careers because it is what we were put on this earth to do. We charge tuition for lessons, but money has never been our main motivation. We love working with children(and of course adults as well). We love to see the impact that Martial Arts training has on them.

Since 1976, when I took over the youth program at my instructor’s school, I have seen firsthand, time and time again, the transformation that can happen when a child takes up martial arts training with a competent instructor. I think I speak for most martial arts instructors that work with kids when I say that I’m proud of what we do.

For the gentleman that personal messaged me yesterday, you say that we have sold out and that we are a McDojo because we have a lot of kids in our program? I say, “We have a lot of kids in our program because we are good at what we do. We are filling void. We are providing a much needed service for our youth. What the hell are you doing for the next generation? Everyone should have a purpose in life. I am clear on mine, and an important part of it involves teaching children Martial Arts…a lot of them. Are you clear on your purpose, or do you just slam others because you haven’t found yours yet?”

We at NIMMA take pride in the quality and growth of all our programs.  The children’s programs start at 2-years old!  That the Dojo can’t be treated as a sustainable business is inappropriately holding on to the “just us in a club”, or one of the other misconceptions addressed above.

My Kenpo training was only with high school aged and above.  We rarely saw someone reach first degree black belt before going off to college.  That NIMMA starts students on the path so young, leading to shodan and above before leaving, is a testament to the validity of this model.

Brian Dillon                 What do You think?  Let us know!

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