GKR door knockers...

Discussion in 'Karate' started by Hiroji, Mar 6, 2007.

  1. Mike Flanagan

    Mike Flanagan Valued Member

    That is the theory. The reality in some dojos is quite different. You have to remember that the core GKR syllabus contains virtually no pre-arranged partner work. So students are not able to develop a decent sense of distance. Then they start sparring. Accidents are bound to happen. In some dojo you get young lads with egos the size of planets who've been pumped up and told what great 'senseis' they are.

    I know of one lady student who I believe was in her late 40's or older who had a bone broken by some young lad who was a 'sensei', smashing into her with a front kick during sparring, if I remember correctly. Another GKR 'sensei', who also pretended to have achieved 2nd dan in Ninjutsu under Matsaaki Hatsumi, fractured the rib of one of his students in an informal 'conditioning' session.

    Of course accidents do occasionally happen, even under proper supervision and controlled conditions. But when you have incompetent and arrogant young men being placed inappropriately in positions of authority, its bound to end in tears.

    I'm not given to displays of chest-beating, but sometimes I'd really like to get some of these 'senseis' into our dojo to teach us what they know.

    All that said, I know there are many GKR instructors who despite lacking ability, actually have bagfuls of integrity and sincerity. They've just been taken advantage of by a cynical organisation.

  2. puma

    puma Valued Member

    Not a lot more to add is there? A lot more bad than good isn't there?
  3. Jaae

    Jaae Valued Member

    When I started karate, many moon's ago, I didn't know about styles, associations, who was who, what was what, as an impressionable youngster, I believed the blackbelt taking the class was both an ' expert ' and a person of integrity. Luckily for me, he was and thirty years later, he's still my Sensei and I still train with him regularly. I had managed to walk into one of the top dojo's in the country, purely by chance.

    Today, there is so much crap about, the chances of that happening again are very remote, unless you do a lot of research. There IS good karatejutsu out there but you have to dig deep....................... very deep. That's why Karate has so much bad press and why most people say Karate is no good for self defence and / or fighting.................. generally, it isn't, apart from one or several last bastions of the ' true ' art.

    Most GKR blackbelts wouldn't be worth a yellow belt in dojo's I've either trained in or been around and has for non - contact, well the less said the better. But as I have stated before, why put all the blame on them !? We have enough idiots of our own !!! We know who they are, yet sections of the martial press and media bend over backwards to them and deify them ?
    ( I guess it has nothing to do with their large zombi - like membership, all a potential magazine buyer !? ). Yes GKR are naff, but they are one open sore on the body of Karate covered in open sores. They are a symptom and not the whole cause in the decline of Karate as a genuine martial art.

    Last edited: Mar 26, 2007
  4. puma

    puma Valued Member

    I don't think anyone is blaming them for anything other than their own actions. It is just that the thread was aimed at them, and they do some terrible things, and it really doesn't get much worse than them. How can it get any worse than having ridiculously low grades teaching uninsured and everything else they do? I don't think they or anyone else should get away with it. For me, there is no defense at all for GKR. Their actions can not be excused in my book.
  5. hilly1981

    hilly1981 New Member

    I was recruited by GKR about 11 years ago after having trained in a Shotokan style for about 5 years.

    I started training and found my instructors not being the high quality I expected (compared to my previous instructors), and noticed they had a black belt with white stripe. When I would ask what rank that is they just made out they were a black belt but only Sensei/Sempais wore the belt.

    Anyway after about 6 months training a bloke turned up asking anyone who would be interested in training to become an instructor. I thought why not, Ill probably have to train for a year or 2 at a high level to even be looked at. To my surprise after they had a look over me during training, they invited me to train with the seniors immediately.

    1 month later they had me taking classes as relief on my own!!! (mind you I was 16 at the time) I was given the black and white belt and awarded the title of Sempai. At first I thought it was good. I felt great running a class on my own, however the regional instructor would tell me to follow the class structure provided to the letter. After a few times doing this I thought this would be too boring for both myself and my students in the long term, so I started implementing my own ideas to make the classes more enjoyable. Students began commenting on how much more they were enjoying themselves and learning more.

    After doing this for a few months I lost interest in the whole setup of the organisation. Something just didnt feel right overall. Dont get me wrong current GKR practitioners, I did draw some positives from the whole experience, however I wanted to learn from high quality instructors to improve myself. Having trained in a previous style with quality instructors I was able to identify this much easier than say a current GKR student who has only ever trained with that organisation.

    I personally stripped myself of the title Sempai, and then called it a day and left GKR.
  6. Mike Flanagan

    Mike Flanagan Valued Member

    Well said hilly.

    I think you sum up in a nutshell that because of your previous experience you were able to smell a rat, whereas the unsuspecting novice might be sucked in for a much longer period of time.

    Welcome to MAP by the way.

  7. puma

    puma Valued Member

    Surely though people should know there is hard work involved in Karate? Surely even an uneducated novice can tell if someone can't kick and punch and is generally no good? Or is that it nowdays? People want the grades and the titles, want to stand in front of people who call them 'sensei', but don't want to know about the hard work, effort, pain, and everything else that goes into being a good Karateka?

    By the way, do they know what 'sensei' actually means in GKR? I don't think so because to me none of the people who teach for them are what you can describe as 'sensei's'.
  8. Sam

    Sam Absent-ish member

    There’s "kicking and punching" and then there’s kicking and punching.

    The fact of the matter is that karate training isn't something Joe public witnesses, until he goes and tries it out himself. The average person looking to train in martial arts won't do the research and will, at the beginning at least, take things at face value.

    In all fairness if they are completely new, how do they know what they are being taught is absolute bollocks with nothing else to compare it too?
    On the surface most ineffective techniques and training methods look fine, unless you know what you're looking for, you aren’t going to spot the flaws and that is if you even have the common sense to look for them.

    After all the person standing in front of them is wearing a black belt, so he must know what he is talking about, that, a good sales pitch later and bobs your uncle Joe here is kicking and kiaiing with the best of 'em.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2007
  9. Mike Flanagan

    Mike Flanagan Valued Member

    GKR sessions can be hard graft, at least the one session I attended was. But then, it consisted almost completely of basics on the spot for over an hour. It was sweaty (it was the middle of summer mind) and the next day my arms felt like they'd worked. I think GKR students are allowed to believe that if they're sweating then they're learning.

    Not necessarily. If the class is so controlled and rigidly structured that all you see the instructor do is basics then basics is the only thing you have to judge them by. If you don't see them performing next to someone who really can cut the mustard then you really have no basis for comparison. Yes, people see through it, but it usually takes them a while.

    Oh but they do, that's the worst part of it IMO. The organisation fully understands how cynically it is using the hierarchical nature of martial art instruction to sell snake oil to people. The paying punters are suckered into an unquestioning loyalty towards their so-called senseis, and the senseis are suckered into believing they really do deserve the 'respect' - all the more easy to manipulate those with fragile egos.

    So all the more credit IMO to those GKR senseis who wake up, realise they've been sold a lie and leave the organisation.

  10. hilly1981

    hilly1981 New Member

    Dont forget though... you have those who become instructors in GKR that have also had previous martial arts training like myself, whom had as a junior about 5 years of training in Shotokan (2-3 hrs a week) yet didnt grade very often before coming to GKR).

    Then you have those that have just started from scratch and havent had the time to develop technique, speed,power and focus. Yet are still handed the black and white belt are called Sensei/Sempai.

    Whilst I was not a high grade in GKR, I was able to draw on my previous experience and training under quality instructors to pass on more than some other instructors within GKR could. I felt I taught some good things to my students, however after a little while I knew within myself that this was wrong. There was so much more to learn before I should stand in front of the class and teach. I didnt want to hold back my students in any way, shape or form.
  11. puma

    puma Valued Member

    I completely understand what you say. I still can not for the life of me understand why so many people are sucked in to GKR. And with very limited instructors, surely people get bored fairly quickly? Lets face it, they don't have a lot to offer do they?
  12. Mike Flanagan

    Mike Flanagan Valued Member

    Several reasons:
    1. Hard sell techniques used by the door-to-door salesmen.
    2. By the time you see it you've already paid your membership for you and your family, so you feel more inclined to commit even if you have doubts.
    2. A well practiced and well-honed method of presenting the classes so that the unitiated are less likely to see that its all about 'money for old rope'.

    In short, people get sucked in because its specifically designed to suck people in. In that sense it is certainly fit for purpose.

    And they do have a high drop out rate, but they also have an army of unpaid (commission only) door to door salesmen to continually drum up new custom.

  13. puma

    puma Valued Member

    That is the other thing I don't get. The fact that so many people actually pay on their doorstep! Someone knocks on their door, they have no idea who they are, and they give them money! Surely they would want to check it out first?

    I heard about a year ago now, that a guy was knocking on doors, taking money for a new GKR club he was starting, but when the people turned up for the 1st lesson he was nowhere to be seen!
  14. Moosey

    Moosey invariably, a moose Supporter

    They use tried and tested sales techniques. Every regional manager in GKR has been given books on sales techniques to read, been given seminars on successful door-to-door salesmanship etc which they then pass on to their doorknockers. The thing to remember is that door-to-door sales is a scattergun approach to money making. It relies on the fact that only, say, 10% of calls will be successful. Most people do tell them to take a hike, but the sales strategy and pricing is optimised for this figure - the business can flourish on a 10% success rate.

    What GKR do is to present you with an option that sounds great. "Join us today for a bit of money or if you want to do it later it costs lots of money". This means that the small number of people who qute fancy taking up a new hobby think "ah, why not! It's a special offer!".

    You've got to remember dude, GKR isn't a karate club that's adopted some business strategies; it's a huge international business that happens to have chosen karate to sell.
  15. 2E0WHN

    2E0WHN Homebrew for idiots

    Whne they come round they will say "Hi. I am your local black belt instructor....". They sort of deflate after you say "Okay... So am I" :D

    But I do know the local GKR instructor and he is a good person. I told him if he wants to train with me when I get the local one up and running he is welcome to come down and get thrown about a bit. Nothing more better than seeing someone look lost when that is said.
  16. Mike Flanagan

    Mike Flanagan Valued Member

    I think that sums it up more succinctly than any other comment I've heard on the subject.

  17. puma

    puma Valued Member

    Yeah. So what do you think people that do GKR make of it when they read things like this thread? Why do people still back GKR's actions? :bang: Why don't they just move on rather than trying to defend GKR?
  18. Mike Flanagan

    Mike Flanagan Valued Member

    Some do just move on. I once had a brand new GKR member ring me up because he'd seen a discussion I'd been involved in (on a GKR forum in fact). He wasn't clear whether I was a GKR member or not but he realised I was, shall we say, 'sceptical'. I made sure he realised that I have nothing to do with GKR and tried to give him a frank, unbiased but honest opinion of the group - merely to give him the information he needed to make an informed decision. I'm not entirely sure what decision he reached, I think he may have kept his young son involved but looked elsewhere for training himself.

    But generally, why do they defend it so vehemently? Partly its about clever indoctrination, but partly I think its just natural. Imagine you'd been training for a while in your present system (assuming its your first martial art), then you go on the internet and see someone slagging off your sensei, your whole art in fact. Wouldn't you feel a bit aggrieved? Probably even more so when you begin to realise their criticisms actually have some validity! You could face up to reality, but that would mean acknowledging that everything you've come to hold dear is a sham. Easier perhaps to not think too hard about, just bury your head in the sand and hope the nasty people just go away and stop trying to make you face up to reality.

    Some take one path, some the other. Many people simply go quietly, voting with their feet, having eventually got the measure of GKR without even coming across loudmouths like us on tinternet.

  19. puma

    puma Valued Member

    Makes sense.
  20. Openmind

    Openmind New Member

    Wrong!.....or lies?

    GKR members pay a one-off lifetime membership fee, which you can transfer to someone else if you want to quit.

Share This Page