Is GKR a scam?

Discussion in 'Karate' started by puma, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. puma

    puma Valued Member

  2. Llamageddon

    Llamageddon MAP's weird cousin Supporter

    - Ah, the old numbers argument.

    - Yes, indeed...

    - all of them?

    - Lots of ad hominems. Nice. Surprised he found the motivation to carry on with MA!

    Just a few observations there.

    Is GKR a scam? No. Does it mean that makes it somehow a reputable and upstanding association/institution? No. Who knows, maybe the author's club is really technically good, forward thinking, employs mature instructors of a decent standard and age. Good for him. If he's happy with his training, that's great.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2012
  3. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    The scam part I think is giving fairly inexperienced students black belts (of sorts) and getting them teaching without making that abundently and transparently clear to new students.
  4. Killa_Gorillas

    Killa_Gorillas Banned Banned

    also heavy emphasis/obligation on students to recruit via door knocking. At least that used to be the case.

    I've heard GKR referred to as a Karate pyramid scheme.
  5. Llamageddon

    Llamageddon MAP's weird cousin Supporter

    I haven't heard anything saying they've changed this. You'd think someone would have been on here by now to say so, wouldn't you?
  6. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Apparenlty there're GKR clubs in York.
    Might go along for splits and giggles.
  7. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Careful though because I've just seen that GKR tried to sue the Yorkshire post for calling into question its door to door methods.
  8. Llamageddon

    Llamageddon MAP's weird cousin Supporter

    GKR must be the only club system where you can legitimately say 'I want to speak to the manager'
  9. finite monkey

    finite monkey Thought Criminal


    this is my name in Japanese
  10. Mike Flanagan

    Mike Flanagan Valued Member

    There was a time when GKR was emphatically a scam - in the sense that they would put 'instructors' with as little as 6 months total martial art training in front of students and pass them as experienced 'sensei' by:
    a) disguising their grade by giving them a special black and white 'instructors' belt
    b) decreeing it 'disrespectful' to ask an instructor what their true grade is

    I don't see how that can be construed as anything other than a scam.

    However, I think this is less of a problem than it used to be in the UK. GKR has been here for a good decade and has acquired a much greater number of dan grade instructors. Some of them are quite decent at karate-do (some of them gained their karate skills elsewhere before joining GKR). But some will surely be rubbish. I get the impression that the standard is very variable.

    I'm glad that nowadays the standard of instruction is generally better than it used to be. However, where instructors stick rigidly to the GKR syllabus its extremely limiting. Whether an individual instructor does so or not I suspect is governed partly by their own knowledge but also partly by their own instructor's attitude. Some will tolerate deviation from the party line, others won't.

    Unless things have changed in the syllabus I believe that there is no impact training at all. Nor is there any partner work other than free sparring. Students go from basics & kata in isolation to free sparring without any partner work (formal or informal) to act as a stepping stone. Certainly in the past I know there have been many unnecessary injuries in (the supposedly non-contact) free sparring as a result of this gap in the syllabus.

    As I said though, I believe there has been gradual improvement across the organisation over the years. But make no mistake, GKR has but one purpose - its a business designed to put money into the pockets of the owner, his subordinate zone directors and their subordinate regional managers. Teaching Karate is simply a vehicle to that end, rather than an end in itself. The man at the top takes home a lot of money - 13 million Australian dollars a year at one point if I remember correctly. Perhaps he could afford to spend a few quid of that on pads for his students to hit?

  11. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Or some Karate lessons for himself going by how he spars. :(
  12. Kave

    Kave Lunatic

    Here is a link to a GKR job currently advertised in New Zealand.

    Nothing has changed. They hire door-to-door salesmen, give them shoddy training and then let them instruct classes. As far as I am concerned GKR is a scam. They prey on their students, but also on their instructors. Door-to-door selling is a hard way to make a living, and generally attracts people who have absolutely no other options (I should know, I have done door-to-door selling, albeit briefly). Long before I had any knowledge of martial arts, while I was in dire financial straits I applied for a GKR job, they offered to employ me but the pay and conditions were so poor that I declined.
  13. righty

    righty Valued Member

    I know someone who started GKR. To get his yellow belt he had to be able to read the written sales pitch as it was held upside-down in front of him. He quit before getting his next belt.
  14. Shotokan_Andy

    Shotokan_Andy Valued Member

    It's the door-to-door method of recruiting that doesn't sit right with me. Yeah, there will be many students who go along to a GKR dojo of their own accord, but what sort of self-respecting Karate club would need to go door-to-door to gain students?

    It's all about the money, and I don't like that. My instructor covers his costs, and teaches becasue he loves it. It's never about profit.
  15. puma

    puma Valued Member

    I just thought it was hilarious that on the front page of it's website it is trying to defend being called a scam! Not the thing you immediately want to bring to people's attention. If that doesn't tell you all you need to know then I don't know what does! Brilliant! I also liked the fact that people who don't like what GKR are doing are referred to as "morons". How dare anyone criticise such a brilliant club! GKR rule!

    The numbers argument is stupid. "50,000 can't all be wrong....." What sort of argument is that? How do they count their members anyway? They don't licence. I bet this is just a made up number plucked out of thin air. How can they prove it? And even if it was true, it doesn't make them "the biggest" as is claimed. If you call them an association, it's nowhere near the biggest. If you refer to them as a, dare I say, a style, they are still nowhere near the biggest. How many people do Shotokan?

    Who wrote this garbage? It's almost like a cult. The writer must have been drugged! Funny though. It's hard to believe these idiots actually exist.
  16. Ros Montgomery

    Ros Montgomery Valued Member

    Why is trying to get students by knocking on doors so heinous? Is advertising in the papers, or leaving leaflets in prominent positions as bad? It's all just recruitment strategy. Also, why shouldn't someone make a living by being a martial arts instructor? It should be possible to both love something and make a profit from doing it - karate included.

    I did less than a year with GKR before realising it wasn't for me. None of the above bothered me at all, but low grade (or even black belt) instructors who really didn't have a clue about body mechanics, bunkai, strategy or anything beyond superficial 'move your leg a millimetre to the right' type stuff; 'non-contact' sparring; no pad work and being told you weren't allow to go to external seminars did bother me.

    I eventually found my home in knockdown karate a couple of years ago and looking back, the GKR instructors knew even less than I thought they did - which is saying something!
  17. Llamageddon

    Llamageddon MAP's weird cousin Supporter

    That's probably the worst thing - the most scamish - that what is touted as 'karate' is in fact a vacuous MA by numbers.
  18. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    To just seems a bit unseemly, try hard and desperate.
    I don't like door-to-door selling anything let alone something like martial arts which shouldn't be, and for the most part was never intended to be, for the "masses".
  19. Shotokan_Andy

    Shotokan_Andy Valued Member

    How can you even compare knocking doors to advertising in newspapers? For one, no-one is pushing a newspaper in my face, forcing me to read the ad and promising I'll be a black belt instructor within a year. Like I said, it doesn't sit right with me.

    Where did I say Karate instructors shouldn't make a profit? I was merely making an observation that IMO there is a difference between instructors motivated by profit, and instructors motivated purely by the love of the art.

    I know which motivation I prefer.
  20. Mike Flanagan

    Mike Flanagan Valued Member

    That's not actually the GKR website. Its the site of a rather sycophantic member. I doubt you'd get the official website acknowledging any possibility of dissent.

    Actually (unless things have changed) they only recruit through door-to-door. You won't find advertising posters (even in their training locations) telling you where and when training is on. If you ring them, they'll just arrange for a door-to-door salesman (aka 'self defence consultant') to come round your house to sign you up.

    The idea is that you join before having seen a class. Spectators are not encouraged, I've even heard of dojo doors being locked during a class to prevent outsiders seeing what goes on. Of course, things may have moved on but I remain to be convinced.


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